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GozeWomen, Musical Performance, and Visual Disability in Traditional Japan$
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Gerald Groemer

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190259037

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190259037.001.0001

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The Production of Visual Disability

The Production of Visual Disability

(p.15) 1 The Production of Visual Disability

Gerald Groemer

Oxford University Press

This chapter searches for the sources of definitions and judgments of visual disability in Edo- and Meiji-period Japan. It argues that what is considered a “visual disability” is a historical and social determination, and not an “objective” one. Among the most important factors determining “blindness” in early modern Japan are economic pressures, religious discourses, and medical discourses. The combination of such forces produced or sought to produce what I have called a heteronomous and subaltern “disabled subject.” It was these determinations and their social consequences that goze sought to contest in practice when they established their occupational associations.

Keywords:   visual disability, blindness, Japanese religion, Japanese medicine

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