At the invitation of his Chinese classmate Ding Ningning, Japanese orthotist, Yuto Kikuchi, who produces of artificial limbs, came to China to start his own business with Ding in October, 2019.
Now in his 30s and born into a family doing the business for generations, Yuto thinks the large number of people with disabilities in China offers rich business opportunities and giving him a chance to further improve his skills.
In his workroom in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, Yuto checks the conditions of his customers. To customize the product, he needs to use plaster to mold the parts of the limb where the customer needs to install an artificial limb, to make a plaster socket to test whether it fits and then produce a final artificial limb.
Yuto said artificial limbs must be tailor-made for each customer, and he also needs to test which parts of the stumps after amputation can withstand more pressure to ensure the artificial limb fits not only its shape, but also the customers’ feeling.
Yuto said many people with disabilities don’t want to use the remaining parts of their amputated limbs, causing functional degeneration of the stumps. He encourages them to take advantage of the artificial limbs to do more exercise while also receiving rehabilitation therapy.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, he found that to combine games and rehabilitation can generate a better therapeutic effect.
Yuto learns Chinese language every day to make sure he can communicate better with his customers. That makes his life easier in China. He hopes he can help more people to improve their life quality. “I still need to improve my technique. We need to create a better environment to improve services to our customers,” he said.