On 1 July 2023, the Soka Gakkai Peace Committee in Japan organized an online screening of the film Siblings as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) online cinema series.
Today, an estimated 1.3 billion people experience significant disabilities. This represents 16% of the world’s population, and the number is increasing as many countries are transitioning toward an aging society. SDG 3 calls for a society that ensures healthy lives and promotes well-being for all at all ages and SDG 10 aims to reduce inequality within and among countries. These goals cannot be realized without the inclusion and well-being of persons with disabilities. In alignment with these goals, the film Siblings portrays the often-overlooked challenges faced by persons with disabilities and their families in Japanese society, arising from deeply entrenched biases and a significant lack of understanding of this issue.
Following the screening, the film’s producer, Hitomi Mima, presented a talk on the background of the production, including her personal experience with her younger sister who has schizophrenia. She noted that while situations of persons of disabilities are gradually being recognized in society, difficulties experienced by their families are still mostly unheard of in public spaces and remain hidden behind closed doors. Reflecting on how she grew up repressing emotions, which eventually contributed to a panic disorder in adulthood, Mima emphasized the importance of being listened to and feeling heard by others.
During a Q&A session, a participant asked how they could contribute to creating a more inclusive society. Mima replied, “It is first and foremost important [for] each and every person in society, regardless of whether or not they have [a] disability, to become satisfied with their own life. That, in turn, nurtures society’s capacity to embrace differences and overcome invisible divides between people with disabilities and their families and the rest of society.”
One participant commented after the event, “The movie made me think about what I would do if I had a sibling with [a] disability. I’d like to continue to challenge myself to get rid of unconscious biases. Even if I can’t do anything special, I want to be someone who can listen to others when they want to be heard—someone who can be by their side.”
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