Creating a Workplace of Human Equality
The city of Beppu, in Oita Prefecture, has for centuries been beloved as a hot-springs resort. Today Beppu is home to a number of rehabilitation facilities that take advantage of the region’s abundant spas, which are rich in minerals having great therapeutic value. Taiyo-no-Ie, or House of the Sun, is a welfare facility for the disabled located in Kamegawa-cho, Beppu. It is the first facility in Japan to offer people with serious disabilities an opportunity to work.
The sampling inspection process at Taiyo-no-Ie, when the operation was still functioning under the Precision Machinery Section
Taiyo-no-Ie was founded in 1965 by Dr. Yutaka Nakamura, an orthopedic surgeon who once said, "There are people with mental and physical disabilities around us, but there is no such thing as ‘disability’ when it comes to work." An advocate of the concept of "work opportunities rather than protection," Nakamura worked to ensure that disabled persons would have a chance to experience true happiness in life; to use the remaining functions in their body to participate in productive work together with able-bodied people. In this way, he felt, they would share the joy of being productive members of society.
Soichiro Honda was introduced to Dr. Nakamura at Taiyo-no-Ie in January 1978, by Masaru Ibuka, the founder of Sony. As Honda was touring the workplace under the guidance of Nakamura, he said suddenly, "I don’t know why, but I can’t hold back my tears. Let’s do it. Honda must do something that is as good-spirited as this."