Makiko Sugawa is a 47-year-old Japanese illustrator. Her leg was amputated 15 years ago due to a tumor. Makiko got a prosthetic leg which helped her be more active. Later on, she joined ” Start Line Tokyo “.
The Start Line Tokyo is a track club consisting mainly of prosthetic limb users. For approx. 30 years, this club has been letting prosthetic users learn the joy of running by holding training sessions. People from all over Japan with different levels of amputation, such as above-knee amputees and below-knee ones, as well as those with functional disorders, gather every month. They enjoy practicing walking and running, setting their own goals.
Fumio Usui (age 64), the representative of the club, has been involved in the manufacturing and repair of 5,000 prosthetic limbs as a prosthetist from the Gishi Sogu Support Center (prosthesis support center) of Tetsudo Kosaikai, a public interest incorporated foundation. He discovered prosthetic limbs for sports in Hawaii, which he visited for his honeymoon. He was attracted to them and became committed to the development of the devices. Now he is known as the leading figure in prosthetic limbs for sports. He established the track club in 1991, believing that, “Those who have lost their legs should know the joy of feeling the wind.” Since then, he has continued to hold monthly training sessions, working close with participants. The club has also produced athletes who participated in international games such as the Paralympics.