Deaf painter publishes book on deaf history and importance of sign language

Hideto Noritomi (39) is a born-deaf painter who lives in Obihiro City, Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan (down).

He recently published a book, titled "I want to live by JSL" (up). The book displays 25 illustrations based on his oil paintings.

Hideto said he wanted to tell a lot of people about a sad history of JSL and a wonderful experience to use the sign language.

Kazuchi (5), Hideto's eldest son came home from the kindergarten division of the school for the deaf and ran up to his father. He reported on the cards given by his friend and animated cartoon DVDs one after another in JSL.

Hideto smiled at his son. "He tells what he wants to say and explains how he feels very well compared with the time when I was five years old. I am glad about it, eagerly talking to him."

Hedeto was a former student at the school for the deaf, too. The use of sign language was prohibited in the school at that time. He was taught by "oral training," which the Deaf children watched their teacher's mouth, read the words from the movement of the mouth, uttered, and pronounced. They were scolded when they used sign language. The hands and the arms were beaten or tied behind the chair.

Hideto remembered he was not able to utter very well. He was not able to lipread, either. He often felt so impatient and painful that he felt like screaming.

Hideto studied the design, and found employment in the enterprise. Afterwards, he went to Paris to learn the oil painting. He married a deaf woman, Kazuko (35) when he was 29 years old, and began to make a living as a landscape painter.

The eldest son was born in 2003. Hideto did not want him to have the same experience as he did. He determined to publish a book on the history of JSL and Deaf culture.

In 1878 the first school for the Deaf was established in Kyoto, Japan and the education for Deaf children by sign language started. However, the majority of educators of the Deaf started thinking that sign language was useless. They believed it was necessary to adopt the oral training that matched to the hearing person. The idea gradually widespread worldwide. It was not allowed to use the sign language in the schools for the Deaf across Japan in 1933. In the book, such a history is indifferently written down with Hideto's own experience.

He says, "There are still a lot of schools for the deaf in Japan which are passive toward JSL. However, JSL is the first important language for the Deaf children to express himself. I want a lot of people to understand it."

The oil painting works based on sign language, called "Deaf Art," were used for the cut-in illustration. With the blue and white colored background, abstract motif such as birds that have the wings similar with the shape of the hands, etc. is beautifully expressed.

Hideto hopes to become the bridge of the two worlds, Deaf and hearing.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 5, 2008
Japanese edition:


adreanaline said...

Where can the book be ordered?

Deaf Japan News said...

You can order on the Internet in Japanese;

Jiayi Zhou said...

I would like to contact him for a potential artwork exhibition, can someone tell me what his email address?