No One's Perfect by Hirotada Ototake

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Hirotada Ototake -- known by his friends as Oto -- has proven again and again that hard work, humor, versatility, and an upbeat approach to life are as valuable as limbs. No One's Perfect is his true account of how he met and beat one challenge after another.

In a style purposefully meant to reach all ages, Oto writes about his unique childhood growing up in Japan, a country that traditionally has shielded the disabled from the public eye. From his earliest days, he brought such a winning optimism into the crowds around him -- curious kindergartners, skeptical members of the school board, gaping passersby -- that people soon lost sight of what was missing.

Now, as a young adult, Oto has taken on the work of establishing a "barrier-free" environment for others, in the government, in the media, in the eyes of all he meets. His book has sold over four million copies in Japan, where he has utterly changed the way people view the disabled.

Unsentimental and understated -- you know the day-to-day routine couldn't have been as easy as he makes it sound -- Oto's message nonetheless hits the heart. Strong parents and unconventional teachers bucked the rigid status quo to give Oto a chance at a normal life, and he took it from there. Running races, joining the basketball team, learning to swim, even getting into fights, he helped make his classmates realize that he was one of the gang. They then found themselves joining forces with him to break down the barriers he faced.

No One's Perfect is the triumphant story of one young man's incredible courage and delight in what life can offer. It's also a campaign to illustrate how acceptance of other people's imperfections can make our own livesless imperfect.


About Hirotada Ototake

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Ototake was born with tetra-amelia, a congenital condition leaving him with almost no arms and legs. Motivated by the idea that there are some things that only a disabled person can do, he became actively involved in a campaign for a "barrier-free" society while he was majoring in politics and economics at Japan's prestigious Waseda University. From April 1999 he worked as a co-presenter of a prime-time TV news program.
Published January 1, 1998 by Kodansha International Ltd. 226 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Ototake developed from a bossy kid who expected veneration for his motorized wheelchair and unique body to one who gratefully and naturally accepted the special “Oto-chan rules” (invented by his classmates) during recess sports or swimming requirements.

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In it, Ototake, a 24-year-old Japanese man born without arms and legs, recounts the story of his life and explains how he coped with disability and adversity: buoyed by his parents' generosity and love, he adopted an optimistic attitude and challenged himself to try anything.

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