Manami Ito – Japanese Superwoman!
The power of determination! Manami Ito is a Japanese nurse, violinist & former Paralympian swimmer who lost her arm in a car accident. She plays the violin beautifully with a specially designed prosthetic arm & stole the show at the Tokyo Paralympics Opening Ceremony.
She is the first qualified nurse in Japan to have a prosthetic arm and has defied the doubters by continuing her work and playing music.
The 39 year old doesn’t let her disability define her: “There were always people who told me: ‘No, you can’t do it. It’s impossible,'”
Every time I faced that kind of wall, I thought to myself: ‘They are saying that because no one has done it before. So I will do it’.”
She struggled in the dark days after her accident at age 20 and contemplated not leaving the house: “I thought I would confine myself at home for the rest of my life,” she admits.
“I didn’t want my friends or neighbours to see my body, I didn’t want them to know what happened to me.”
Ito’s family had encouraged her to play the violin as a child and with the basics in place, she decided to give the instrument a try after her accident.
She originally taped the violin bow to her foot but eventually received a special prosthetic arm that enabled her to create magic with her violin.
Buoyed with confidence, she reignited her other childhood passion – swimming, and went on to swim at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008 and London 2012, reaching the finals three times.
It was a harrowing time for her to reveal the scars to the world but it became cathartic:
“I never wanted anybody to look at my scars, the scars were the most vulnerable part of my body,” she said.
“But I began to think about exposing them to the world because otherwise, I would never be strong.”
“I want to show to the world that just because no one else has done it, it doesn’t mean I can’t do it,”
“What is normal can be different for each person and family.”
A salute to Manami for showing us a key life lesson – to do what you can with what you have.
If you enjoyed reading this article make sure you subscribe to our social media channels.