Shizuoka native Manami Ito is no ordinary young woman.
As a high school student, she set her heart on becoming a nurse to help the sick – but then, during her college studies, she was caught up in a traffic accident that amputated her right arm. She became the first nurse in Japan to receive prosthetic surgery, and on graduation worked with rehabilitating patients through swimming and water activities. Fast forward a few years, and she became well known as a serious competitor in the Paralympic women’s swimming scene, scoring from eighth to second in a number of different breaststroke and butterfly races.
But that’s not all Ito can do. Equipped with a special prosthetic that comes with its own violinist’s bow, she can perform incredible pieces of music. She skillfully manipulates the bow with her shoulder while her other hand supports the weight of the instrument.
She recently performed the “Theme of Marco and Gina” from lesser-known Studio Ghibli hit "Porco Rosso."
Her performance followed a speech she gave at a sports meet in Awaji for children to empathize with and play in the style of disabled athletes. Ito often goes to conferences, talks and daily events to tell the story of her successes and perform pieces on the violin. Her delicate touch with the violin teases out exquisite, emotional sounds that take the listener on a journey; it feels like you’re feeling her courage and determination though her music.
With her unstoppable enthusiasm, beautiful smile and bevy of finely honed talents, Ito is one of the shining stars of the Japanese sports world and elevates it higher and higher with every performance.
Source: Laughing Squid, Toyama Association of Occupational Therapists, Facebook/Kazushige Masuda
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