Saya Kamiko and her mother Ms. Saya Kamiko is active as an actress · Her Mother shares her thoughts

Saya Kamiko and her mother Ms. Saya Kamiko is active as an actress · Her Mother shares her thoughts - "Down Syndrome = Not Unhappy"

 On weekdays, Saya has been working as a member of the welfare staff at the local city hall, and during weekends she takes acting lessons at “The Key Planning” center where she is a proud member. In August, she successfully starred in the musical "Moshi Moshi Watashi (Hello I)". On this occasion, I interviewed Saya and her mother after her lesson. Saya Kamiko is 148cm tall and tiny, but she expressed her feelings as much as she could, clearly and with such a sweet voice. She is a woman whose dedication is so empowering that everyone feels a connection to her and wants to cheer her on. 

<Saya Kamiko’s regular life> ~regular ordinary life and actress job~ 

ーDo you regularly live with you mother ? (Saya): 

Yes, I live with mother, grandmother and my cat named “Soup”. I picked up Soup from the street and took him home. I became a fan of cats as Soup became like a family member. Soup and I get along very well. 

“After I found what I like, the world has expanded.”

 - When did you start working as an actress? 

(Mother): "It was around the end of the 6th grade when she joined the key planning. At Japan’s only down syndrome special medical institution, IG clinic, a doctor told me the story about a facility where children with disabilities can incorporate lessons such as acting and singing into their treatment, so we decided to participate there.

- How is your actress job?

(Saya): "I loved singing songs very much since I was a little girl. Since I’ve attended lessons, I have really enjoyed expressing myself through singing songs and performing. And there are also people who praise my voice. My mother tells me that expressing myself is suitable for me, too. I am very happy about it and it inspires me to do better. "

After Saya thought for a moment she spoke to me straight. 

- Do you have a hard time with your work? 

 (Saya): "When I was practicing musicals for August, there was a scene in the play where my sister (in character) was angry. I knew it was a play, but I felt so sad that I started crying. I am such a crybaby at times. And when I was assigned as a main cast role, it was very difficult for me to memorize because there where so many lines and movements ... But my teachers and friends encouraged me, so I tried my best to make them proud.”

Saya is very sensitive, so she often seems to empathize even if she is just watching a play. I felt her to be someone with a very kind heart who cares a lot about other people and takes pride in expressing herself through her own words.

- Has anything changed before and after the actress job?

     (Saya): "Since I joined the key planning, I’ve made many friends through the lesson. Of course, there are friends from school as well. The other day, I had a chance to go out with my friends. I love to sing, so we went to Karaoke and it was so much fun. "

"I love old melodies and beautiful harmony!"

 ーDo you like Karaoke? 

 (Saya): "Yes, I also go to Karaoke with my mother. I like a little old melody such as “Duke Aces and Dark Ducks.” Also, there is a chorus group called Foresta, and I love that group’s mezzo soprano singer and I am taking lessons from that person. I love the harmony of a singing voice along with the sound of piano. "

 (Mother): "When she was a little, I was told that letting her listen to music is very therapeutic, so I used to play children’s songs for her, one of which was a CD sang by Duke Aces and Dark Ducks. 

“I love my mother very much!”

ーSo you had a great time with your friends at Karaoke?

(Saya): "Yes, I enjoyed it so much, but I love being with my mother and grandmother. Even if I am enjoying time with my friends, I am worried if my mother and grandmother are worrying about me.”  

ーSaya, you love your mother very much. 

 (Saya): "Yes, I love her! I would love to be with her forever. I feel so worried and sad when I think they might be gone.”

<Mother’s thoughts> “It doesn’t matter if my child has down syndrome or not, I felt like she is my treasure! “

 ーHow did you feel when Saya was born?

 (Mother) "Since she was in my stomach, she was very weak and was born 1 month earlier than her due date, and by C-section. She was born premature and was placed in NICU immediately. Until I personally could heal, I couldn’t see her … but a nurse showed me her picture. I felt like she is my treasure!” 

ーHow about after you were gifted Saya?

 (Mother) "I also had another sickness, so I was really trying hard to protect this child’s life. It doesn’t matter if my child has down syndrome or not, to raise a child is very hard thing to do. And even if my child was born with down syndrome, there are not only disabilities to see. After I was gifted Saya, I realized how small I was as a human being. I also learned more about down syndrome. Saya is the love of my life, and no one can replace that.  

However, after my family is gone, I am very worried about how she can live alone. I hope I can take care of her until her end, if possible. "

- What do you think about prenatal diagnosis?

(Mother) "Actually, I did not have any knowledge of Down syndrome at all. Of course, before she was born, I have never thought about a baby in my stomach having Down Syndrome. I found it out for the first time a month after she was born, when my doctor then explained it to me. If I knew about the prenatal diagnosis and had a result that showed the possibility of Down Syndrome was high ... I am 99% sure I would have opted for an abortion. So I seriously believe that I was really glad I didn’t take that test. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have met my Saya like now. "

<Ignorance creates prejudice>

 “I want more people to have knowledge about Down Syndrome.” 

ーWhat do you think about other people taking a prenatal diagnosis?

   (Mother) "I think people will have a difficult time deciding whether to get an abortion or to give birth. So I don’t think I can say which is right or wrong. But simply, I just want more people to have knowledge about Down Syndrome. When I was notified that my daughter was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at the hospital, my doctor provided much advise and education, and also proclaimed “She will be your proud child!” At that moment, I doubted it would be like that, and that it was only a consolation for me. However, now I feel that my doctor’s comment has become a reality!”

Saya was in tears listening to her mother’s reply. She was surely receiving her mother’s love in her heart. Her Mother, Hiroko, was looking at her and continued: 

 (Mother) "I want Saya to be surrounded by many of her friends and experience a lot of fun things. I want her to enjoy her life with a smile till the end.” 

<Hope for society> “Not only see the negative part of disabilities, but we also need more opportunities to know about them.”

 ーPlease advise, what do you hope from society from now on. 

 (Mother) "Definitely, I would like more people to be educated about Down Syndrome. I believe ignorance creates discrimination and prejudice. I want more people to know there are many people who share happiness with you and are living happily even though they have Down Syndrome. For example, create the opportunity at schools to learn more detailed information not only about Down Syndrome, but about all kinds of disabilities. It is necessary to not only see the negative part of disabilities, but we also need more opportunities to know about them.

<Your dream in the future>

 “I want to make many people laugh and enjoy life.”

 - Lastly, what kind of adult do you want to become?

 (Saya) "I am working at the welfare department at city hall on Mondays through Fridays, doing business and cafe work, which is, of course, fun. This is my main living indeed, but since I love making people laugh and express themselves, I would like to progress as an actress and continue to be better. " 

<After interview>

Saya has a very sweet smile that attracts people. She also has been writing a diary since elementary school to even now. She is very organized and loves to clean, so if she thinks her room or any magazines, etc. in living rooms are not properly set, I heard that she gets bothered. She also enjoys vacuuming to help out her mother and grandmother. When I was interviewing Saya, her ideas were overflowing and her story spread in various directions. Her mother seemed to be very concerned about it, but Saya could think by herself and expressed what came to her mind confidently in her own words. This is also one of her charms. I am looking forward to Saya and her mother’s continued success, and offer them my full support.  


It made my heart smile to see how Saya and her mother looked at each other with such love. Thank you very much. Interview/Photo/Text by 

Fumi Wada 

After 20 years in apparel planning, I was interested in listening, writing and communicating through learning - such as marketing and behavioral psychology. As such, I became a writer since 2015. I am mainly engaged in interviews, coverage and profile writing. It is my motto to deliver sentences that express what a person is thinking. 

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