The pair have faced some criticism, with a tweet declaring their presence in parliament “a nuisance” that would impede speedy deliberations drawing 49,000 likes and 23,000 retweets.
But they entered parliament at a time when Japan is working to better accommodate people with disabilities ahead of the 2020 Paralympic Games.
Japan’s government says there are 9.63 million people with physical, mental or intellectual disabilities in the country, accounting for more than seven percent of the total population.
Progress has been made, with accessibility improving in Tokyo and legislation setting quotas for hiring people with disabilities in government.
But rights activists say more must be done: the government was earlier forced to apologize for padding its disability hiring data, after regularly failing to meet its own quotas.
Funago wants Japan to ensure people better understand how those with disabilities live, arguing for “inclusive education” where children learn together, regardless of disabilities.
And the new lawmakers have garnered plenty of support despite the critics, particularly from within a community that often feels marginalized.
“It’s important that we, those with disabilities, go out and raise our voices,” said Shinya Ando, 45, who was paralyzed from the chest down after a motorbike accident in his teens.
Ando runs Personal Assistant Machida, a firm which dispatches some 250 helpers to disabled people.
It also employs 15 people with disabilities, including some in managerial roles, by providing them with helpers while at work.
He wants to see inclusion rather than just acceptance of people with disabilities, and said the election of Funago and Kimura was a surprise, but a positive one.
“It was like leaping two steps forward at once,” he said.
“I thought ‘now society will change’.”