Performance by local Deaf theatrical group named "Sunflower"

The Oita Prefectural School for the Deaf, located in Oita City, celebrated its 100th anniversary since established on November 22. The JSL play, which was interpreted, was performed for about one hour. It was applauded with flying hands by the audience.

Mr. Hiroshi Yoshida (51), a Deaf leader of the theatrical group and works for the ceramic goods processing company, humorously acted an old man, who worked part-time in the restaurant, in the play called "Mito-komon," one of the popular ancient stories. Mito-komon, a former land lord during a warrior time, traveled nationwide with his two men to see how the people lived.

The theatrical group, called "Sunflower," has about 30 Deaf members and interpreters aged between the teens and sixties. They produce not only creative plays, but also plays based on folk tales such as "Momotaro."

The interpreters interpret what a Deaf member acts, and other persons do note-taking, which is repeated until the play is refined. An interpreter explains that it is difficult to match sign language to the spoke language. "If feelings are not matched, it is useless."

The theatrical group members make use of each special skill like woodwork, dressmaking, the Japanese dressmaking, etc., to make all clothes and the stage sets.

Yoshida says, "We Deaf members often are helped by the interpreters. We feel grateful, but we want to do something to make everyone feel happy."

The theatrical group is often called to perform at facilities for the senior citizens, etc. outside the prefecture, with a play that everyone enjoys regardless of the existence of disabilities.

The theatrical group "Sunflower" was established in 1995. Yoshida, who loved acting, invited Deaf individuals persons to join the theatrical group no matter they have met or not. He says, "I believed a theatrical activity was a good method for a Deaf person who tended to shut by him/herself in to open up to the society."

According to him, shy Deaf persons became cheerful after joining the group and their acting improved, too. He laughed saying that accordingly the average age of the members were up.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun, Nov. 30, 2008
Japanese edition:

Annual lecture meeting on medical treatment for Deaf consumers to be held in December

The Showa University Hospital has held a lecture meeting on medical treatment for the Deaf every year since 2006. It is getting popular.

The third meeting is scheduled as follows:

Date: December 20, Saturday, 2008, 13:00 16:00

Place: Showa University Kamijo Hall
(Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo)

Admission: Free

-Diabetic, and arteriosclerosis

-Health of teeth and mouth: To enjoy eating

-Physical exercise for the mouth

-The needs of Deaf outpatients

Interpreting, note-taking with OHP (over-head projector), and magnetic loops for hearing aids will be provided.

Co-sponsoring with Showa University Hospital is Pfizer Ltd, with cooperation from the Tokyo Federation of the Deaf, the Tokyo Society of the Late-Deafened and Hard of Hearing Persons, the Tokyo Dispatch Center of Interpreters, etc.

Real-time captioning system newly developed for Deaf students at hearing universities in remote places

Tsukuba University of Technology, where students who are sight impaired or Deaf/hard of hearing are enrolled, and Logoswear, Co. , both located in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture, has developed the real-time captioning system for Deaf/hard of hearing students in hearing universities in the remote place.

The spoken language of a lecturer are converted into textual information in real time with a computer, which is presented to the students.

In around the middle of January, 2009, the system will be distributed free of charge to educational institutions and groups across the country that support Deaf or hard of hearing students. The workshop will be provided, too.

In the class the Deaf/hard of hearing students depend on the specialists who convert a lecturer's spoken language into textual information with a computer. The textual information is projected onto the screen or the display of the personal computer.

However, a large of number of the specialists who have a knowledge of engineering and science live in the metropolitan area including Tokyo. So the large load of time and the high cost to send the specialists to the provinces are required.

This time, the system, called "UDP Connector," connects the hearing universities and the office in a big city where the specialist are in service by using the Internet, thus offering support to the Deaf/hard of hearing students in the class in a remote place.

About 1,300 Deaf/hard of hearing students attend hearing universities or colleges in Japan.

Source:Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nov. 26, 2008
Japanese edition:

Sign language: a communication tool for nursing the hearing senior citizens in Japan

Communication is important even in nursing a senior citizen. However, when to converse with a senior citizen with poor hearing, one cannot help using loud voice, and both might do the hangnail of feelings each other. So, the attempt to convey the intention and feelings in sign language has started.

Takako Suzuki (45), an interpreter living in Tokyo, has nursed her hearing grandmother for two years and explains from the experience how useful sign language was.

"The communication will be easy because sign language is a visible language and is understood by looking. When the communication is effective, a painful feeling from nursing is reduced by half though it is fully a serious thing. "

A book, titled "Support in Sign Language," had been published by UD Japan this autumn. It proposed the use of sign language in nursing. Suzuki selected 150 basic vocabularies based on her experience in the daily conversation exchanged with the grandmother.

Sign language seems to be hard to learn, but she advises, "for those who are not familiar with the sign language, don't use it as Japanese sentences. You sign a word while voicing such as 'delicious' or 'glad'."

If one doesn't understand sign language, which makes communication difficult, she says, "As the baby may memorize the word by mother's talking, sign along with voicing everyday, so that one will come to understand little by little."

A home helper (46), who works in Tokyo, said, "Every time an old hearing woman eats, I ask her if it is delicious, lightly patting my cheek and voicing at the same time. She responds with the same sign language meaning that it is delicious."

Sachiko Kondo (64) , an interpreter in Nagoya City, holds the course, titled "The Senior Signs," and had published a book on it. It proposes that sign language should be made the best use for nursing. The Senior Signs simplifies the sign language to an easy-to-use way, and gestures are also included.

For instance, when to say "konnichiwa" meaning "Hello" during the daytime, you signs two words. In the Senior Signs only one sign "Greeting" is used. Kondo explains, "Therefore, if 'Greeting' were signed in daytime, I think you can mean to say 'Hello' as well. "

An old man who lost not only hearing but also the memory did not speak. When Kondo talked to him with the Signs a few times, he became responsive in a positive way. Kondo emphasized that she wanted everyone concerned to use the Signs to wake up one's feelings, and to urge feelings that start telling the desire."

Both the interpreters pointed out that sign language is useful also for the conversations of the middle or advanced aged who were not able to utter any word because of the sudden deafness, the tongue cancer, etc. Kondo said that these people tend to avoid the communication with people around them, usually feeling lonesome.

Source: Tokyo Shimbun, Nov. 19, 2008.
Japanese edition:

Third Japanese Deaf Futsal Championship held in Ebetsu City

The Japanese Soccer Society of the Deaf hosted the 3rd Japanese Deaf Futsal Championship in Ebetsu City, Hokkaido in the north of Japan for two days from October 25, 2008.

About 100 players and the staff gathered from nationwide. Ten teams for boys and 2 teams for girls participated and the exciting game was unfolded.

As the girl teams were only two, the victory was decided by the third match. The G6 team from Hokkaido won the first place, beating the North and Love team, a mixed team from Hokkaido and Aichi Prefectures.

For the boys the ZERO team from Tokyo was the winner. The team accomplished two successive victories following last year. The Tama Spirit Com from Tokyo was placed the 2nd.

It was especially noted that the "Tohoku Army Corps Deaf FC," composed of deaf players from Miyagi, Iwate, and Yamagata Prefectures, participated from the Tohoku Region for the first time, and was placed the 3rd. (See the photo in the link)

Takuya Sato (25), MF and team leader, who had played soccer for the Tohoku High School located in Miyagi Prefecture, said that he was satisfied with the result though the other teams were younger than his and it was tough to play with them.

The team was formed by 15 deaf players from three prefectures in the Tohoku region this spring. They practiced about once a month and were anxious if they could cooperate one another during the game. They rode the wave by winning the close games. Sato said in retrospect that everyone's eyes blazed up every time they played.

One thing that worries him is that the team does not have enough players. Sato said he would ask young players who live in the Tohoku region for the joining. "Next year we will aim at the top."

Source: Kahoku Shinpo, Nov. 21, 2008
Japanese edition:

Japanese Deaf students make hearing people enjoy comic story telling in JSL

The Prefectural Kumamoto School for the Deaf (81 students enrolled) , located in Kumamoto City, Japan has a unique club, called the JSL traditional comic story telling club (rakugo), the kind of only one in the country.

The JSL Rakugo Club has 17 boys and girls from the junior high school and the high school. They perform the traditional comic story telling in JSL with a lot of use of the gesture and facial expression, saying that they would like a lot of people to laugh and enjoy it. (See the photo in the link below)

The group started 20 years ago. In order to make it formal, it was promoted to the club as recognized by the school administration in 2006.

Because the JSL Rakugo doesn't use the voice, how the content of a story is conveyed on through the body movement and the expression is vital. For example, in the "Sumo," a Japanese traditional sport, to show the mouth is swollen in the stretching scene the face frowns, and the hands are thrust out slowly. As for the scene that one is pushed back, the student acts as if he desperately endures not to fall behind. There are about 20 repertoire, all of which the club members invented.

They practice for about one and a half hours after school on Wednesdays. Expression is practiced more by performing the theme such as "a cat that challenges the vermicelli flow."

Ayaka Kono (18), a high school senior and sub leader, says that she studies how to express the feelings, etc. by observing people around her, and seeing the TV comedy program.

Her friend, Tomoko Yamaguchi (17) joined the club because she had been shy and wanted to change the personality." She came to be able to go up to the platform in a dignified manner to perform rakugo in JSL. Her mother Yoko (49) is pleased, saying that "The JSL Rakugo gave her confidence."

The club members perform outside of the school over ten times a year. It takes a performance 5 or 10 minute per person.

Nobuo Goto (44), a teacher and adviser of the club, stays under the stage, interprets concisely for the audience.

The JSL Rakugo Club was invited by a sign language circle in Oita Prefecture to perform in the public hall in July, and about 150 hearing people roared with laugher.

Before the open house at the school, the members increased the practice day at the school, worked hard with the family and friends at their home or the dormitory. Ryo Sakai (18), the leader, was enthusiastic and said that the club members all would love to see a lot of people enjoy the JSL Rakugo.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov.22,2008

Deaf group sells handmade products in Nagoya City

"Tsukushi" (meaning a horsetail), a incorporated non-profit organization located in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture, has supported activities of Deaf persons who have additional disability such as intellectual disability.

The organization currently works on the production of cosmetics. The sales of handmade cosmetics with natural aromatic started in the "Orange" Cafe, a part of the office of Tsukushi this month.

The Deaf persons with additional disability, who work well with concentration, have worked for three years to product the commodity with a high additional value.

While researching how to make cosmetics, the procedure on a necessary drug legislation for the manufacturing sales was prepared; the sanitary management of workshop, the manufacturing process, and the inspection system were straightened. And finally authorization was obtained this summer.

There are four kinds of products now; the lip cream, skin lotion, soap, and bath oil.

Eight workers aged from twenties to fifties are working three times a week in the workshop.

Until today, most of time the products were sold at the charity bazaar. People who bought some of the products said, "The smell is not too strong which is good." So popular that the members of "Tsukuchi" had been made up to do something for the profits.

In the "Orange" Cafe the products valued from 150 to 800 yen are exhibited to tie to steady earnings.

Eiko Murakami (56), Director of "Tsukushi", is enthusiastic about the project. "We want to make the commodity that can be used many times by learning from the consumer's reaction directly, and to increase the pay and expand work space for the Deaf workers."

Source: Chunichi Shimbun, Nov.12, 2008
Japanese edition:

Japanese Deaf people enjoying policy briefing by candidates for mayoral election in Nishinomiya City

The election of the mayor and the municipal assemblymen will be held on November 16, 2008 in Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture in the neighborhood of Osaka.

Prior to the election, the Deaf Section of the Municipal Association of the Deaf and Speech Impaired held a meeting for policy briefing with interpreting at the central public hall on November 11, 2008. The candidates who run for the post of the mayor were invited to speak on their own policy.

Masuhiro Ikeyama (69), chair of the Deaf Section, said, "It is ideal for the municipal officials and candidates to do the lecture meeting with interpreting. Meanwhile we will provide such an opportunity for the Deaf before voting in the future."

In the past for the national election , the Association had set up the meeting to show the video of candidates' speech which was interpreted.

However, for the local election, there were few candidates who made the video. Many people who are Deaf and hard of hearing have complained; "I did not understand what these candidates spoke to the public on the street," "I wanted to know more what they stood for."

Thus, the members of the Deaf Section visited each candidate's office directly and explained the purpose of the speech meeting. On the day each of the candidates spoke for ten minutes while the participants were taking notes ardently.

A Deaf company employee (56) who participated said, "I was able to understand what idea each candidate has for our city and to see their personality, too, which would not be possible on the street where they appeal for the vote.

Source: Sankei Shimbun, Nov. 12, 2008
Japanese edition:

Group representing persons with disabilities met with governor on self-reliance support and welfare

Representatives of the Nagano Prefecture Council of Promotion for the Social Participation of Persons with Disabilities met with Governor Murai in the prefectural government office on November 10.

They demanded support for self-reliance and the enhancement of the welfare for the persons with disabilities. (See the photo in the link below)

Chairman Shimizu of the Council mentioned the plan of the prefecture middle term which includes promotion of the regional shift of the persons who reside in the facilities, etc., and demanded that "measures should be made so that they truly feel comfortable in living in the region."

Moreover, as well as the communication issue for the persons with disabilities at the disaster, enactment of an ordinance that prohibits discrimination against the persons with disabilities and more employment, etc. were requested.

Each representative of the Welfare Association of the Persons with Sight Impairment and the Deaf Association, which are the member groups of the Council, requested that the Nagano School for the Blind, Nagano School for the Deaf, and Matsumoto School for the Deaf should remain as a single school.

One of the people present at the meeting pointed out, "There are a lot of people, who were not able to marry in the age when persons with disabilities were faced strong discrimination, are 70 or 80 years old now, having lived alone, too. A facility for them should be set up."

The governor promised that the prefecture would try to do more to protect the rights of the persons with disabilities, secure more jobs, and develop disaster measures.

He was very careful about a discrimination ordinance, saying that he believed as the Juvenile Protection Ordinance the people in the prefecture were aware and would work in cooperation.

As for the schools, the officials said, "It is important to gain understanding among the parties concerned in order to advance."

Source: Shinano-Mainichi Shimbun, Nov.11, 2008
Japanese edition:

International project planned in Osaka; Evelyn Glennie invited

The International Exchange Project, called "Touch The World Festival," will be held in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture early in the afternoon on December 14, Sunday, 2008, as the news release said.

Dame Evelyn Glennie, a well-known Deaf percussionist from UK, will give a keynote speech as well as her performance.

The admission fee is free. (reservation request)

The event will be sponsored by the Osaka Prefecture Foundation for Promotion of the Regional Welfare, Inc., and the International Exchange Center for Persons with Disabilities (Big Eye;

The following performers are planned:
Evelyn Glennie (percussion performance)
Mai-taico Asuka Group (Japanese drums performance)
Youth Choir Earth Group (chorus)
Ai Kawashima (band performance)

Glennie, a genius percussionistis who won the Grammy Awards two times, has taken an active role by appearing on the TV and the movies, giving the performance in all parts of the world, involving in welfare and educational projects, etc. For her distinguished services, she was given the title of Dame by the British Royal Family.

Lecture meeting by South Korean Deaf artist to be held in Japan

According to its news release, the organizing committee (the Nagoya Association of the Deaf and Non-profit Organization of the Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened, and Nagoya Information Center for the Deaf) will sponsor the 16th Japanese Festival of Cultural Activities for the Deaf. It will be held in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture on December 6, Saturday, 2008, 13:30-16:00.

As a part of the event, Pak Kwantek, a Deaf artist from South Korea, will talk about his life and art works.

Pak was born in Pusan, South Korea in 1959. When he was 6 months old, he became deaf which was caused by cholera. He attended the high school for the deaf, and studied hard at three universities including a graduate program. He studied not only the Oriental painting but also special education at the universities, and acquired the teacher's license. He currently teaches at the special school in Pusan and at the same time works on paintings.

Most of his paintings reflect his feelings about his own silent world through the nature. His art works often have been exhibited in his country and abroad. In 2007 "The Special Art Project Exhibition of Mr. Pak Kwantek" was held in the Nagoya City Works Exhibition for Persons with Disabilities. His works and his positive attitude toward life in spite of deafness have touched many visitors.

Along the lecture meeting, Pak's art works will be exhibited on December 2-7, 2008, 10:00-17:00 in SMBC Park Sakae Gallery (2F), Nagoya City.

Fire rescue training at the Deaf school in Japan

There was rescue training on assumption of the occurrence of a fire in the Prefectural Matsuyama School for the Deaf (41 Deaf children enrolled) in Matsuyama City on November 6.

About 215 people in total, including the Deaf children, residents and the staff from the Matsuyama City Central Fire Station, participated. Persons who acted like injured ones were treated with sign language; Deaf children who left behind were rescued, etc.

A red lamp flashed at once in every classroom. Also the teachers interpreted the emergency announcement via the school speaker system and directed the children where to escape.

Three female members who were able to use sign language from the Matsuyama City Fire Fighting Group that was organized with the residents also participated. They asked children who acted as the injured, "Are you all right?", "Is there anything else you feel painful?", etc. in sign language and gave the emergency medical treatment.

Anri Goto (12), a 6th grader, said, "A fire scares me. Today the female member who rescued me was so nice that I felt safe."

Source: Mainichi Shimbun, Nov.7, 2008
Japanese edition:

Dr. Jacobowitz's lecture meeting planned in Osaka, Japan

Dr. E. Lynn Jacobowitz, associate professor in the Department of ASL and Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University, will give a lecture on a worldwide trend about the language right concerning sign language based on the culture and values of the Deaf community.

14:00-16:00, November 30, Sunday, 2008

Osaka-Umeda Campus, Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan

Admission: Free

Both ASL/JSL interpreting and spoken Japanese interpreting provided.

Kwansei JSL Study Group, Kwansei Gakuin University (School of Human Welfare Studies, Center for Language Studies and Education, Graduate School of Language, Communication, and Culture), and Language Communication Culture Academy.


History of Kwansei Gakuin University
English version:

Japanese Federation of the Deaf conducts a two-month leadership skills training for Deaf persons

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) commissions the Japanese Federation of the Deaf (JFD) to conduct a 6-week program for leadership skills training for Deaf persons from developing countries every year.

JFD is the national organization of the Deaf in Japan with member associations of the Deaf in 47 prefectures throughout the country.

According to its news release, the training course for the Deaf already has started in October and continues through November, 2008.

The Deaf trainees chosen from around the world are 10 members from Uganda, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Vietnam this year.

On October 15, the opening ceremony took place in the JICA Osaka International Center. Toyoki Ando, president of JFD, gave a welcome speech encouraging the participants of the training course.

In response the Deaf trainees showed their desire to learn many things by all means during their training in Japan.

They learn the social welfare service for the Deaf and its history, the organization activities of JFD, and visit facilities related to the Deaf for observation in Osaka, Toyama and Hiroshima Prefectures in Japan.

The communication mode used for the training program is International Signs.

JFD's History:

Monthly meeting for Japanese Deaf youth gives a chance to grow up better

The staff of the Deaf section of the Independent Living Center, called "Mainstream Society," located in Nishinomiya City near Kobe City, started "WAKAMON (the Youth) Meeting" that the Deaf youth meet once a month. (See the photo in the Japanese edition)

The staff members, Kanako Haruyama (32) and Fumio Harabuchi (48), both Deaf, started the activities of the Deaf section two years ago. They have offered counseling service related to deafness two times a month. Then they have become concerned the fact that few Deaf youth have visited the society.

The staff arranged a meeting of about 10 young Deaf persons from teens to thirties. At the monthly meeting some young Deaf complain that they can't sing a song, so they won't enjoy karaoke with hearing friends. Some say the support to Deaf students varies with schools and it is hard to know what kind of support will be provided.

Haruyama stresses that the Deaf are misunderstood because people believe they can live without difficulties in spite of deafness. She also said that care for the Deaf is socially underestimated.

She hopes that the monthly meeting will give the Deaf youth a chance to discuss what problems they have faced and to grow up with self-confidence through the program.

The two-day workshop camp will be planned at a natural park center on November 15-16 to deepen the fellowship exchange.

Source: Kobe Shimbun, Nov. 4, 2008
Japanese edition:

National welfare conference for Japanese hard of hearing held in Okayama City

The 15th National Welfare Conference for the Deafened and Hard of Hearing Persons was held in Okayama City, a western part of Japan, for two days from November 1, 2008.

It was sponsored by the All Japan Federation of Organizations of the Deafened and Hard of Hearing Persons.

On the first day, there were sessions on education and marriage issues. About 500 concerned persons participated. They shared the experiences and discussed.

In the session on education for the hard of hearing persons, Prof. Shoichiro Fukuda of the Kawasaki University of Medical Welfare emphasized that it is important that the society should not be specially much conscious about persons with disabilities who receive various services.

Tomoko Uchida, a teacher of hard of hearing children in the mainstreaming setting, reported on her approach adopted when her students participated in the classroom activities with hearing children.

Source: Sanyo Shimbun, Nov. 2, 2003
Japanese edition:

Deaf and sign language circles enjoying anniversary of establishments

The Asahikawa Association of the Deaf, an organization of the deaf in Asahikawa City, Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan, celebrated its 60th anniversary since establishment with Asahikawa Sanshin-kai, an organization of 9 sign language circles in the city which was established 40 years ago. They made 100 years old in total and held the commemorative ceremony in the hall in the city on October 26th, 2008.

The Asahikawa Association of the Deaf, established in 1948, has made efforts toward the citizens course that trains the interpreters, as well as the movement to improve the legal system such like the acquisition of the driving license for the Deaf, etc. The members are about 180.

Asahikawa Sanshin-kai, formed in 1968, has about 170 members who are not only deaf persons and teachers of the deaf, but also housewives and company employees. The group holds the fellowship exchange program for the sign language circles, and support the interpreter training course.

On the special occasion, the officers from both the organizations made a vow. "We will work in cooperation in order to make the society so that deaf persons would not have to be worried about deafness in daily life."

Katsuya Nozawa, chairman of the Kanagawa Prefectural Integrated Welfare Association of the Deaf, gave a keynote lecture on sharing of the Deaf and interpreters as the theme.

Source: Hokkaido Shimbun, Oct. 27, 2008
Japanese edition:

A Japanese sign language circle awarded for their community service

As one of the annual national events, most of the prefectures across Japan make announcement who will be awarded.

A sign language circle, called "Kawanoe Sign Language Circle-Nogiku," was chosen to receive the Autumn Medal-Green Order for the community service in Ehime Prefecture.

Eiko Uda (49), president of the circle, expressed her delight, saying that all the members were surprised at the announcement." (See the photo in the link)

The circle, formed in 1981, has about 30 members, and most are hearing women. Their occupations are varied; company employees, housewives, and others. Uda is a registered nurse.

The members not only to learn sign language, but also meeting deaf individuals through events and activities.

They held events such as a weekly friendships exchange program and the sign language class for the beginners, and visit the elementary school in the city as a part of the integrated study to introduce how persons with disabilities live.

The activities of 100 or more a year include such as enjoying the cherry blossoms, the camp, and a Christmas party.

Also all the members have studied hard to pass the nationwide sign language certificate examination for the improvement of the sign language skills.

Uda said, "We believe a lot of events and activities that we have been doing for a long time were highly evaluated. Hereafter, we all want to keep up."

Source: the Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 2, 2008
Japanese edition: