Hirotada Otatake was born with no arms or legs, but it didn’t keep him from trying to do good things in this world.

Having a disability, whether physical or mental, doesn’t have to be something that holds you back, which is something we can learn by watching the Paralympics or listening to a one-armed woman play the violin.

Educator and author Hirotada Otatake, born with no arms or legs, has become a voice and partner in the fight for minority rights in Japan, and an inspiring image for people all around the world with all he has achieved. In an interview with YouTube channel Asian Boss, Otatake talked about what it was like to grow up with a disability, and what he has striven to accomplish in spite of it.

The 20-minute interview starts in Otatake’s apartment, and shows him learning to use robotic prosthetic legs, step by step. The process is exhausting and difficult, but he hopes he can one day use them regularly to walk, sit, and climb stairs. But the practice is not for his sake alone; he hopes that his experience with the prosthetics will help make “a contribution to the advancement of prosthetics and social welfare” for disabled people.

Asian Boss’s reporter Hiroko then asks Otatake about his childhood, and what sort of experiences he had growing up. How did the other children react to his disability? Did anyone impact his life? As you’ll see from the interview, a couple of teachers played a huge role in encouraging his emotional and intellectual growth as a child, which helped him see what he was capable of.

Otatake has also written several books, the first of which was published when he was still a university student. He describes the unexpected backlash he received about his book from some members of the disabled community in Japan, and how that made him feel about his writing and his role as a celebrity. The interview also touches on other consequences of fame, such as scandals in his personal life, difficulties in his career as an educator, and how his friend and manager helped him get through it all.

The interview is fascinating, and puts much into perspective. Otatake is not a perfect person by any means, but his work supporting the youth of Japan, the disabled community, and the minorities fighting for their rights can’t help but leave us with admiration for a man who has worked hard to be the best person he can be.

Source, images: YouTube/Asian Boss
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