Inclusion Through Universal Design:. Influence Of Japanese

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Inclusion through Universal Design:
Influence of Japanese Monozukuri in Accessible Design

He swings left to right, growing more agitated with each passing second and then abruptly stops. Looking overwhelmed and defeated, he appears to have given up on his cause. Approaching cautiously, I ask if I may offer my assistance and he gladly accepts. Hand in hand we cross the dangerously busy intersection and part ways. As I cross back, I recall my professor’s lectures on the pervasiveness of bad design within society. The bad design of the inaccessible crosswalk for the visually impaired man continues to linger in my mind. Three months later, I find myself in Japan observing the empowerment of their society through the use of universal design.
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This mindset brings innovative and universal design solutions across Japan. Toyota also states that “in Monozukuri, workers ‘bring their mind to work’ and are fully empowered and trained to deal with different situations creating an elevated sense of ownership”. (SA Partners, 3 )

In my observations, monozukuri acts as both a pre/post step within the design process. While in Japan, I observed monozukuri in many places, but its use in accessible design stands out to me.
The lack of accessible products is a global issue that is often given little attention.
Lack of accessible design limits the autonomy that lesser abled persons have with their surroundings. Enter the concept of accessible design, which aims to ensure that products and environments are made suitable for a diversity of people with various ages or physical and mental ability. Monozukuri influences accessible design as its foundation is created from increasing awareness of the environment and community. Japan seamlessly integrates accessible design, lessening societal obstacles for people who need these accommodations.
For instance, take a hazard like a busy crosswalk. In Japan, crosswalks use both visual and auditory cues to tell when it is safe to cross. (Guidelines for Accessible Pedestrian Signals) The crosswalk in Shibuya (Figure 1) and Shinagawa emitted loud bird like chirping whenever it was time to cross. Intrigued, I attempted to cross with my eyes close using
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