2012 Volume 11 Issue 1 Pages 136-155
The meaning of Jiritsu (Japanese for independence) for disabled people, particularly in relation to employment, was investigated based on their mothers’ narratives. Narratives were collected through a group interview between a researcher, a welfare institution staff member and two mothers whose daughters had recently found employment, as well as subsequent separate interviews with each mother. By analyzing the narrative data from the group interview, five narrative forms were identified. The mothers’ narratives constructed through these narrative forms diverged from results in the separate interviews in that issues related to "after the parents’ deaths" were latently expressed. Based on these findings I argued that: (1) the mothers’ narratives involved a contradiction caused by the discrepancy between present and future perspectives; (2) reconstructing the relationship between the mother and the child was required for both of them to achieve Jiritsu; and (3) talking about Jiritsu as a goal for their children was important for the mothers in striving for it.