Deaf Japanese History: 2006-2009

- The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities adopted in the United Nations General Assembly in December.

- On April 1, two new nursing homes for the Deaf aged persons open in Saitama and Hyogo Prefectures as a result of fund-raising efforts by the Deaf communities. Both facilities provide private bedrooms to all residents, divided into blocks for living together in small group units.

- On April 7, 2006, the National University Corporation, Tsukuba University of Technology holds its Enrollment (Matriculation) Ceremony at the Tsukuba International Conference Center. The Faculty of Industrial Technology, where the Deaf students study, is divided into 2 departments: the Department of Industrial Information (with 35 freshmen this year) and the Department of Synthetic Design (with 15 new students).

- 54th JFD national conference held in Shziuoka Prefecture in June.

- Second Japan-Taiwan Friendship Baseball Game held in Japan.


- 16th Winter Deaflympics held in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. February 1 - 10, 2007, hosted by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD). A total of 314 athletes from 24 countries competed in Alpine Skiing, Snowboarding, Cross Country Skiing, Ice Hockey, and Curling. Japan sends delegation of 39 athletes, coaches and staff, etc. 17 Japanese athletes competed in 11 different categories of 3 competitions: Alpine Skiing, Snowboarding, and Cross Country Skiing.

- Showa University Hospital, located in Shinagawa, Tokyo, starts the "Out-patient Clinic for the Deaf" on March 3, 2007. This initiative is the first of its kind undertaken by a university hospital.

- Yo Hosokawa (28) is first deaf teacher hired to teach in the elementary department of the Kawasaki City School for the Deaf located in Nakahara Ward starting in April.

- The Tsukuba University of Technology (NTUT), the first higher education institution for blind and deaf students respectively in the world, holds first Enrollment Ceremony to welcome new students since its restart as a four-year university.

- 55th JFD national conference held in Kagawa Prefecture in June.

- NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) starts to broadcast emergency broadcasting right after the Chuetsu earthquake but there is neither captioning nor interpreting on these broadcasts, nor is there any news in sign language. The Japanese Federation of the Deaf (JFD) concerned that the request they had sent to NHK after the Noto Peninsula earthquake on March 25, 2007 had been neglected and commented that Deaf persons had been watching TV screens just to increase their anxiety.

- JFD requests again on July 18, 2007 to NHK, stating that, as a public broadcasting station, NHK should provide interpreting and captioning on emergency broadcasting. JFD also sends letter of request to the local TV station in Niigata to ensure information access for the Deaf. Also JFD sends letters of request to Cabinet Office, Ministry of Labour, Health and Welfare and Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications to encourage NHK and other private TV stations to ensure information access of Deaf persons at the event of emergency.

- On July 19, 2007, the Ministry of Labour, Health and Welfare contacts the local government of the affected area to demand consideration for information and communication support for the Deaf residents. The authority of Niigata prefecture instructs each municipality to ensure information access and distributed 1500 flayers stating "Contact us if you need help including interpreting" at the shelter in Kashiwazaki City on July 18,2007. It also dispatches a few interpreters in the afternoon of July 20 and several interpreters to the evacuation center from July 21, 2007.

- "The Deaf Cafe," where deaf persons and signers enjoy communications in Japanese Sign Language (JSL), set up in Kobe City in August, managed by a group called "Hyogo Deaf Net."

- Tomihiko Shionoya and Okubo Yasuyuki, both deaf men, successfully reach the North Pole in August for the first time.

- Okubo Yasuyuki(36) reaches the South Pole on January 9th, and becomes the youngest deaf man in the world who successfully reached the both poles, the North Pole and South Pole. He is a company employee in the Kanazawa city, Ishikawa Prefecture.

- The bill which revises a part of School Education Law, etc" is approved in June, 2006, and effective in April, 2007. This law defines the special support education to provide all children with disabilities including deaf children.

- Foreign Affairs Minister, representing the Japanese Government, signs the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the headquarters of UN in New York in September.

- A deaf mountain climber, Satoshi Tamura, reaches the top of the 200th reputed mountain, called 乾徳山, in Yamanashi Prefecture in November.

- Okubo Yasuyuki(37) reaches the tops of Mt. Kenya (altitude 5,199 meters) right under equators on December 25, 2007, and Mt. Kilimanjaro (altitude 5,895 meters), the highest peak in the African Continent, on January 1, 2008.

- Kumiko Takezawa, a 25-year-old deaf woman from Otsu, passes the medical doctor's license examination in March. She was the first deaf person since the Medical Practitioners Law was revised in 2001 to allow the deaf and visually impaired persons to take the test.

- Meisei Gakuen, a private school for the deaf, opens in April, 2008. It is formerly known "The Dragon's Kids School," operated by The Bilingual Bicultural Education Center for the Deaf, an incorporated nonprofit organization (NPO). Granted by Tokyo Metropolitan Government as an educational Toc district. 41 students in total; 16 children in the kindergarten and 25 children in elementary school. Nine teachers are hired. All the children and teachers are fluent in Japanese Sign Language. A junior high school department is scheduled for 2010.

- Kansei Gakuin University in Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture offers sign language as a second language to the hearing students majoring in human welfare, as well as English, German, and French, etc. in April. It is the first university to offer the two-year course as required for the credits towards to graduation. Ninety students are accepted for the sign language course.

- The Police Department announces a new mark for deaf drivers in May, 2008 prior to the enforcement of the revised Road Traffic Law scheduled for June 1. The mark arranges with a yellow butterfly in the green tract of land framed in white in the circle of 12.2 cm in the diameter. The reflection material is used so that it be easily identified at night. The revised law does not require a deaf applicant to take an audiological test to get the driving license. However, while driving, the deaf driver is required to display this mark on the front end and the back of a car and to attach the wide mirror as well. When failing these, the penalty of 20,000 yen or less will be fined.

- The fire alarm device (smoke detectors) installation in the existing housing in addition to the new housing is required according to the revision of the Fire Protection Law effective on June 1st. The devices must be put in the bedrooms, the stairs, and the kitchen. Some cities provide persons with disabilities and the senior with the "Daily Living Tools Supplies Project" to assist the purchase expense of the daily living tools needed. In the end of May the flash alarm device for fire warning for persons with disabilities in addition to a general fire warning devices can be obtained with the project.

- The court system to involve citizens as jury is to start in May, 2009. The Supreme Court makes it clear how to provide persons with disabilities with accommodations in May. The document of the procedure to select jurors is translated into braille and sent to the person with visual disability. Sign language interpreting and/or note-taking will be offered for the deaf and hard of hearing persons during legal meetings and discussions.

- 56th JFD national conference held in Fukui Prefecture in June.

- Kousui Yamada (26), wins the judo 100 K class at the World Deaf Martial Arts Championships held in in Toulouse City, France on May 24-25th. Employed by a police department in Akita prefecture since 2005. It is the first victory for a Japanese individual ever since 29 years ago when the first championships held. The championships held once every almost two years from 1979. 100 persons from 17 countries join the competitions in the judo, the Karate, and taekwondo. Yamada, who holds the fourth judo class, wins a complete victory by the round competition with five players of the the 100 K class. He also wins the third place through the open category competed by the winner of each class. Yamada, who loses hearing from high fever when he was an infant, starts judo as a third grader.

- New facility opens in Yokohama City to train abandoned dogs as hearing dogs for the Deaf. The center, Ansunaro Gakko, run by the Guide Dog and Service Dog Association of Japan. There are only 18 hearing dogs nationwide as of March.

- Satoru Fukushima (45), Deaf-blind and associate professor of Tokyo University Science and Technology Research Center, receives the doctor's degree in science during the commencement on June 11th. His dissertation is on the process to which the conversation with the person revived after losing sight and hearing is analyzed. Fukushima says with a smile, "In conclusion my life was experimented." His acquisition of the doctor's degree as a Deaf-blind person is probably the first in Japan, and unusual worldwide.

- Michinori Nakahashi (47) of Toyama City, who becomes deaf at the age of two from a severe illness, has reached the 20th year working on the serial of four-frame comic strip for a monthly national newspaper for the deaf, titled "Japanese Deaf News" published in Kyoto City. The 228th comic appears in the June edition. He draws a comic with a sense of humor on current topics and concerns related to the Deaf Community. He graduates from a school for the deaf and is the first deaf city officer for the maintenance and repairs section.

- The Supreme Court publishes a guideline on how to provide accommodations to persons with disabilities in May, 2008, in the preparation for the trial system that involves citizens as jury (lay juror) starting in May, 2009. In July a first-ever mock trial is held in Tokyo District Court. During the two-day trial, a deaf juror is present with three interpreters provided.

- The Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications asks for public opinions in August related to "the notification draft to revise a part of the regulation for election candidates' speeches including their career through broadcasting media" in order to provide interpreting in the House of Representatives proportional representation election. Currently the interpreting provided is only limited to the House of Representatives small electoral district election (for the use of video brought) and the House of Councilors proportional representation election.

- "The hearing dog and service dog training center" completed in Miyata-mura, Nagano Prefecture, run by the Hearing Dogs Society . It is reportedly the first kind in Japan for making a whole barrier-free building as a training facility for hearing dogs and service dogs. The hearing dogs are very fewer. The training of hearing dogs starts in the 1980's.

- Dr. Satoru Fukushima (45), a Deafblind man and a well-known advocate for the rights of the Deafblind, promoted to the professor on October 1 at the University of Tokyo Highly-Advanced Science and Technology Research Center. He is the first Deafblind person who is a full-time professor in Japan. Since April, 2001, he has been the assistant professor and later the associate professor.

- The "Prefectural Information Support Center for the Deaf," a central center that provides deaf persons with various services including counseling, interpreting, note taking, etc., opens in Yamagata City on October 1. It is the 40th among such kinds of centers for the Deaf across Japan.

- 30th National Skills Competition for Persons with Disabilities held in Chiba City on October 24-26, sponsored by the Employment Support Institute for the Aged and Persons with Disabilities and Chiba Prefecture. Harue Murakami (46), a deaf dental technician from Morioka City, awarded the gold prize from the the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare.

- 38th National Meeting of Deaf Women held in Tokyo on October 25. Princess Kiko, the wife of Prince Akishinonomiya who is the younger brother of the Japanese Crown Prince, gives a keynote speech in sign language.

- First Asia-Pacific Deaf Baseball Tournament held in South Korea on October 25-27, sponsored by the South Korean Deaf Baseball League and co-sponsored by the All Tokyo Rubber-Baseball League of Deaf Adults, the Chinese Athletic Association of Persons with Disabilities and others. The participating teams are from South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and China.

- Students of the Yamanashi Prefectural School for the Deaf receives letters of thanks from the Chengdu City Special Education School in Sichuan, China where the large earthquake struck before the Olympic Games started in Beijing.

- 11th National Conference on Japanese Deaf History held in Kobe City in Hyogo Prefecture on November 1, sponsored by the Japanese Deaf History Society.

- The Cultural Seminar for the Deaf at a university level takes place in Tokyo from May through July. The lecturers from the various fields are all Deaf. It takes place again in November.

- 60th JFD national conference held in Ibaraki with more than 2,500 participants.

- 9th World Deaf Golf Championship will be held at the Tsu CC in Mie Prefecture in October, the first-ever championship to take place in Asia.

Deaf Japanese History: 2000-2005

- The Headquarters on "Action Policy for the Movement to Revise Discriminatory Laws,"collects a total of over 2millions signatures and about 70 million yen as donation. Both the number of signatures collected and the funds raise far exceeded the expected target.

- In March JFD submits signatures collected during campaign to Speaker of House of Representatives, President of House of Councilors, Assistant Manager of Headquarters for Promoting Welfare of Disabled Persons, Prime Minister's Office (position held additionally by Minister of Health and Welfare).

- 49th JFD national conference held in Niigata Prefecture.

- Disqualification clauses are articles of laws which stipulate that Deaf persons are not qualified to obtain licenses for certain occupations, etc. Some even prohibit the Deaf from taking the qualifying examinations. In June, most of those disqualification clauses eliminated as a result of a nationwide movement led by the "Headquarters for Revision of Laws Discriminating Persons with Hearing Impairment," established in partnership with different organizations related to persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, in 1998.

- 50th JFD national conference held in Okinawa Prefecture.

- On October 17 the 14th WFD RSA/P Representatives Meeting held. Following the 6th World Assembly of DPI, the Osaka Forum held on October 21-23. The Osaka Forum is one of the main events to mark the end year of the "Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993~2002." The High-level Intergovernmental Meeting to Conclude the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993-2002, held on October 25-28 in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture.

- By law, hearing dogs, as well as guide dogs and service dogs, allowed to accompany persons with disabilities in facilities.

- The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare's decision to restrict the provision of financial aid for home help services for persons with disabilities from FY 2003 (starting April 1, 2003), meet with strong opposition from organizations of persons with disabilities. Over 1000 people gathered in front of the building of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare for a large-scale protest demonstration which continued until late at night on January, 16. On January 27, the Ministry finally concedes to alter the plan so as to maintain the level of services which had been provided until now, by introducing an "adjustment subsidy" system as an interim measure.

- 51st JFD national conference held in Yamanashi Prefecture.

- Deaf teachers hired for the first time by 6 prefectures: Iwate, Nagano, Yamanashi, Gifu, Miyazaki, and Nagasaki. Aichi Prefecture also hires a Deaf teacher for the first time in 70 years. On the island of Kyushu, Deaf teachers specializing in Physical Education and English respectively hired.

- 52nd JFD national conference held in Iwate Prefecture.

- Most of the disqualification clauses eliminated as a result of a nationwide movement led by the "Headquarters for Revision of Laws Discriminating Persons with Hearing Impairment," in partnership with different organizations related to persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, in 1998.

- On March 25th, the disbandment ceremony of the Headquarters is held in Tokyo. However, questions remain as to whether all discrimination against persons who are deaf or hard of hearing have actually been abolished.

- 53rd JFD national conference held in Sapporo City, Hokkaido.

- First Japan-Taiwan Friendship Baseball Game held in Taiwan.

- Tsukuba College of Technology upgraded to university, "Tsukuba University of Technology" offering a four-year vocational programs to students with sight impaired and deaf students respectively.

- Hearing universities attempt to solve problems that deaf students faced by offering real time caption system and note-taking service.

Deaf Japanese History: 1990's

"The Deaf Movement Quarterly," one of JFD's publications, changed to name "Mimi Quarterly."

11th World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf takes place in Tokyo, attracting over 6,000 participants from all over world.

JFD commissioned by Ministry of Health and Welfare to promote and spread sign language.

JFD holds Leadership Training Seminar for Asian Deaf Persons.

- JFD begins "Leadership Training of Asian and Oceanian Deaf Persons" under sponsorship of Japan International Cooperation Agency.

- First experimental use of communications satellite to broadcast television programs made exclusively for the Deaf.

JFD begins its 50th Anniversary "National Caravan of the Deaf for Discussion with Governors."

- JFD holds Goal Ceremony of the above event, commemorates its 50th Anniversary at 45th National Conference and publishes Japanese-Japanese Sign Language Dictionary.

- After the JFD national conference held in Saitama Prefecture, a nationwide movement starts, aimed to revise Civil Law Article 969, which stipulates that no notary deed drawn up with the assistance of sign language interpreters and/or note takers be accepted. As a result of the movement, the Ministry of Justice responds that they would look into this matter from a positive perspective.

- In December, JFD sends a petition requesting the revision of the Diet (National Legislature) Bill on Speech Therapist Qualification which includes the disqualifying clause that "deaf people are not eligible for obtaining qualification." However, the Bill with the disqualification clauses adopted at both the House of Representatives and House of Councilors, with an accompanying resolution attached to review the disqualification clauses in the actual enactment of the law. This incident strengthens the partnership with other organizations such as the All Japan Association of Hard of Hearing People and accelerates the movement to abolish the discriminatory laws.

- A Network of Health Care Professionals Concerned with Medical Issues of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons is formed.

- In June, at the General Assembly of JFD held in conjunction with the National Conference in Aomori Prefecture, JFD decides to advance the movement to eliminate all legal discrimination in order to realize the "revision of all disqualification clauses," which is one of the targets in the National Action Plan for Persons with Disabilities, adopted in 1995.

- Toyoki Ando elected as president for the first time at the JFD Conference at Aomori Prefecture.

- In July, JFD sets forth its "Action Policy for the Movement to Revise Discriminatory Laws," which focuses on the collection of 1 million signatures from the general public, fundraising, and petition to national and local legislatures. With this policy, JFD invites other national organizations related to deaf persons to participate in the first joint movement and launches the Headquarters in autumn.

- While the Headquarters started negotiations with relevant ministries in November, local headquarters established in 47 prefectures throughout Japan by the end of January 1999. The Headquarters and local headquarters starts signature collection and fund-raising activities as well as lobbying local assemblies to adopt statements.

- Nationwide campaign to revise discriminatory laws begins; over 2,220,000 signatures collected.

The Dragon's Kids School, a tutoring school, formed to teach deaf children in Japanese Sign Language as their primary language, and to teach how to write and read in Japanese.

Deaf Japanese History: 1980's

JFD commissioned by Ministry of Health and Welfare to set up Videocassette Library Project

- Michinori Nakahashi of Toyama City, who becomes deaf at the age of two from severe illness, employed to be first deaf officer in the maintenance and repairs section in Toyama City Hall.

- JFD commissioned by Ministry of Health and Welfare to set up committee to investigate and examine Sign Language interpreter services.

- "Report on Research Concerning Sign Language Interpreting Services" submitted to Ministry of Health and Welfare.

- 1.2 million copies of "I Love Communication," pamphlet on communication through sign language, distributed.

Deaf political candidate not allowed to have his campaign speeches interpreted. This sparks nationwide campaign to allow sign language interpretation for election campaign speeches.

- WFD decides at 10th World Congress of the Deaf in Finland to hold next World Congress in Japan.

- First higher institution for the Deaf, "Tsukuba College of Technology," established in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture.

- JFD's Senior Section formed in Okayama Prefecture.

- "Report on Research Regarding Issues Including Standardization of Certification Exams for Sign Language Interpreters" submitted to Ministry of Health and Welfare.

Deaf Japanese History: 1970's

- Training program for voluntary interpreters starts.

- First interpreter placed at welfare office in Kyoto.

- JFD Deaf Youth Division holds first national committee meeting in Kamakura.

- 19th JFD national conference held in Tokyo with 2,000 participants.

- JFD Deaf Youth Division holds first national meeting with 360 participants during JFD national conference.

- JFD head office forced out of Bell Welfare Center.

- Deaf person fired sues employer, publisher, for discrimination.

- Ministry of Education outlines new curriculum for children with disabilities including deaf at elementary level.

- Captioned film library services start in Tokyo.

- Ministry of Home Affairs confirms to reimburse fees for interpreting at election campaigns.

- National Institute for Special Education opens in Yokosuka.

- JFD publishes 2nd book on JSL.

- 20th JFD national conference held in Okayama with 2,000 participants.

- JFD head office opens in Shinjuku after having been moved from Osaka.

- WFD holds 6th World Congress in Paris.

- First national meeting of deaf women held in Kyoto with 600 participants.

- Sunday classes start for deaf adults for promoting social integration.

- Trial on driving license lost and appeals to hight court.

- JFD publishes 3rd book on JSL.

- Shunsuke Itoh, teacher of deaf children and interpreter, wirtes "Deaf Issues and Deaf Movements" for publication.

- 21st JFD national conference held in Nagano with 2,500 participants.

- Tokyo forms Tokyo Metropolitan Association for Dispatching Interpreters and funds its service fully.

- Shizuoka TV station provides first interpreting in TV programs.

- Committee set up for revising of Traffic Law that prohibits deaf persons to drive, and 30,000 signatures collected to appeal to Diet for right to drive.

- Police office confirms right of the deaf to obtain driving license with use of hearing aid.

- 22nd JFD national conference held in Osaka with 3,000 participants.

- Junichi Tsuchiya elected to JFD presidency.

- Japanese team wins 9 gold medals and 4 silver medals at 12th WGD in Sweden.

- Interpreters form organization to review issues on interpreting services.

- Fukui School for the Deaf refused participation in national baseball games, later approved.

- 23rd JFD national conference held in Aomori with 1,500 participants.

- JFD publishes 4th book on JSL.

- Ministry of Health and Welfare starts interpreting workshops for social workers.

- Ministry of Labor decides to publish a list of employers unwilling to hire persons with disabilities.

- Eiichi Takada, JFD Secreary General, addresses at session of Lower House Budget Committee on Article 11 of the Civil Law and other Deaf issues.

- 24th JFD national conference held in Nagoya with 3,000 participants.

- JFD forms Deaf Women Section.

- Japanese delegation to 7th WFD World Congress in Washington, D.C.

- JFD relocates its head office in Tokyo.

-JFD begins giving certification exams for sign language interpreters.

-JFD starts campaign to collect signatures of approval on four major issues: 1) revision of Traffic Law for granting of driver's licenses;
2) revision of Civil Law Article 11;
3) official recognition and support for Sign Language interpreting service systems; and
4) establishment of center for deaf people or those who have speaking impediments.

-JFD publishes quarterly magazine named "The Deaf Movement."

- JFD commissioned by Ministry of Health and Welfare to establish sign interpreter instructors' training program and to conduct studies on standardization of Japanese Sign Language.

Deaf Japanese History: 1960's

- Curriculum for deaf high school students outlined.

- First hard of hearing class set up in regular school in Okayama City.

- Traffic Law revised; term, "deaf-mute," changed to "hearing impaired," or "unable to hear."

- New Traffic and Road Act requires deaf person to wear hearing aid in taking driving test.

- Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK: Japanese Brodcasting Group) starts new program for young deaf children, titled "TV School for the Deaf."

- Employment Promotion Law for Persons with Disabilities enacted.

- JFD holds 10th national conference in Hiroshima with 1,500 participants, resolving to found main center for deaf people.

- Ministry of Health and Welfare plans to fund main center for the deaf.

- First movie on deaf couple produced, "Nameless, Poor and Beautiful," based on experiences of Deaf couple from Tokyo. Directed by Zenzo Matsuyama. His wife and actress, Mineko Takamine, plays role of deaf wife.

- Ministry of Health and Welfare reports hearing impaired population to be 163,000 as result of last census.

- Founding of main center for the deaf named "Bell Welfare Center" granted.

- JFD holds 11th national conference in Shizuoka with 1,700 participants.

- Parents having deaf children hold national meeting.

- Parents of children with speech disorders form organization.

- JFD holds 12th national conference in Fukuoka with 800 participants.

- Dormitory planned for National Rehabilitation Institute for the Deaf planned.

- Fukuoka Center for the Deaf opens.

- PTA of deaf schools forms federation.

- Bell Welfare Center construction starts.

- First sign language circle formed in Kyoto.

- Japanese Athletic Association of the Deaf (JAAD) joins CISS.

- JFD holds 13th national conference in Kyoto with 2,500 participants.

- WFD holds 4th World Congress in Stockholm.

- First deaf student, Masayuki Matsumoto of Kyoto, passes bar examination to be lawyer.

- JFD Board and representatives meet.

- Zenichiro Oie elected as JFD president.

- Deaf Japanese make friends with deaf foreigners during Olympic Games held in Tokyo, Japan.

- Deaf man arrested for stabbing hearing man in Tokyo, leading to demands for fair trial.

- Bell Welfare Center opens in Tokyo.

- JFD sets up head office in Bell Welfare Center.

- Ministry of Education publishes manual on speech-aural training for hearing impaired children.

- Dormitry at National Rehabilitation Institute for the Deaf opens.

- Tokyo sets up rehabilitation center for the deaf.

- JFD holds 14th national conference in Tokyo with 3,000 participants.

- First Japanese team competes at 10th World Games of Deaf in Washington, D.C.

- The number of deaf children enrolled at regular schools increases as the performance of the hearing aid improved.

- Ministry of Education outlines curriculum for deaf high school students.

- Trial of deaf man opens; first deaf lawyer, Masayuki Matsumoto, stands for defense.

- Deaf issues are on agenda at Kyoto prefecture meeting and interpreting provided.

- JFD holds 15th national conference in Sappro with 2,300 participants and resumes publishing of a monthly newspaper, "The Silent News."

- First national workshop for deaf youth held in Kyoto with 160 participants identifying problems caused by discrimination and declaring equal status.

- Deaf people in Tokyo demand that interpreters be provided at campaign in rallies of candidates in general election; interpreting provided at campaign rally for election in Tokyo.

- Deaf man arrested for driving without license.

- National meeting held in Tokyo to review issues of persons with disabilities.

- Ministry of Labor publishes overall policy toward employment of persons with disabilities.

- JFD holds 16th national conference in Matsuyama with 1,600 participants.

- First Japanese delegation attends 5th World Congress in Poland.

- First national sports games for deaf held in Tokyo.

- Teacher training program offered to deaf students comes to end.

- First trial on driving held and JFD president Zenichiro Oie stands for witness.

- Deaf group sues for right to drive.

- Ministry of Education reviews on deaf students in pursuit for higher education.

- Bell Welfare Center closed down due to financial problems.

- National meeting on education of deaf held in Osaka.

- Workshop held prior to placement of interpreters at welfare offices in Osaka.

- First winter games of deaf held in Gunma Prefecture with 160 participants.

- JFD Board decides to form campaign headquarters for obtaining the right to drive.

- JFD presents first award in rehabilitation and culture.

- 2nd national meeting of deaf youth held in Fukushima.

- Interpreters hold first national meeting during the youth meeting held.

- "Deaf Almanac" published first since 1935.

- Osaka holds first workshop prior to assignment of interpreters in welfare office.

- Kyoto City hires a part-time interpreter; protests by Kyoto Association of the Deaf results in the employment of a full-time interpreter following year.

- Kyoto Center for Deaf opens.

- JFD Board sets up committee to study Bell Welfare Center problem.

- 18th JFD national conference held in Kumamoto with 2,000 participants.
- JFD forms Deaf Youth Section.

- Japanese team joins WGD in Yugoslavia, winning three silver medals for table tennis.

- JFD editorial office holds workshop on periodicals in Kyoto.

- JFD publishes first book on Japanese Sign Language.

Season's greetings to the Deaf communities!!!

Deaf professional wrestlers entertaining in Kobe City

A Deaf professional wrestling group, called "Toromon JAPAN," which is located in Tokyo will hold the professional wrestling event in Kobe City on December 25, 2008.

The mike appeal. etc. in sign language are devised. Magnum TAKASAGO (real name Kazuyoshi Keduka) (28), the born Deaf wrestler representing the group, is enthusiastic about the event. "We want to show that the spectator can be able to be amused even by the Deaf, and to give the persons with disabilities the dream and courage."

Keduka loves to watch the professional wrestling games. Since the school days, he had wanted to have his own professional wrestling group some time. "I wanted to appeal that it was possible to do even by the Deaf." Keduka followed hearing professional wrestling groups across the country, watched them play, and studied how to carry out the activities and performances.

The Deaf wrestling group was formed in November, 2006. It currently has 19 Deaf men and women aged between twenties and forties. They work or do the routine things on the weekday, and practice in the gym in Saitama Prefecture on the weekend.

The upcoming event will show the hot games with the variety of techniques as well as the comedy-like performances so that the adults and the children may enjoy it.

The third event after the group was formed was held in Tokyo in February this year, attracting about 950 people. This gave Keduka confidence. He believed, "If I do it, I can."

This time, together three games of in total by a man and woman's single match each and one game by four wrestlers for the remaining war.

The sign language circle for hearing students in Kobe City helps with the guide in the seat and progress. Deaf children will be invited, and the stocking filling by the wrestlers is also planned.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun, December 24, 2008
Japanese edition:

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:

Deaf people at the forum learn what mental health service should be for them

On December 21, the forum on mental health service was held at the Toyama Prefecture Center for the Deaf, located in Toyama City in a northwestern part of Japan. It was sponsored by a group, called the "Group for the medical services for the Deaf in the Toyama Prefecture."

The Deaf often have hard time to communicate with their hearing coworkers as well as with his hearing family at home and always feel isolated, which causes them uneasiness and the stress. It is true that medical institutions and clinics do not have a group of experts who are aware of the needs of the Deaf.

Some prefectures have offered the counseling service with the Deaf counselor. A disability group has employed the Deaf professional equipped with knowledge of clinical psychology. According to Funada, the leader of the hosting group, the Toyama Prefecture does neither.

On the other hand, it is not easy to tell the counselor who does not know sign language through interpreting or writing a note. Funada says, "It is necessary to have a professional who has the knowledge of the Deaf community and its culture and who also understands the psychological state of a Deaf client.

At the forum, about 50 Deaf persons attended and learnt the emotional ailment while enjoying the game and the quiz.

The lecturer was Dr. Kazuhiko Katakura, the director of a clinic in a suburb of Tokyo, is a hearing psychiatrist who is fluent in sign language. As a member of the "Network of the Health Care Practitioners Interested in the Medical Service for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing," he has worked to support the Deaf victims in the stricken area of the great earthquakes.

Dr. Katakura explained a mental medical treatment plainly. He called the audience, "Deaf persons easily feel isolated. The feeling of isolation causes the suicide and the sickness of mind. To prevent these, a bond with the persons in surrounding is more important than any doctor, which should be acted immediately."

Source: Mainichi Shimbun, Dec. 22, 2008
Japanese edition:

Local city offers Deaf citizens easier access in communication through video telephone system

On December 19, Murayama City in Yamagata Prefecture started the interpreting service through the video conferencing system aiming at smooth communication with the Deaf citizen who visits the City Hall. (see the photo on the link below)

According to the NTC Business Union that manages the call center, the city is the third city that introduced the system in the prefecture, following Yamagata City and Sagae City.

The IP video conferencing system that uses an optical line was set up in the welfare office in the city hall. The staff who receives Deaf visitors, etc. operates the system, and she connects to the interpreter service section at the call center.

The interpreter interprets for the Deaf who tells the purpose of his visit. Then her vocal message is conveyed to the staff through the headphone. When the staff replies, it is similarly interpreted to the Deaf.

Eri Takahashi, the representative from the union, acted as a Deaf woman and communicated with the staff using the video conferencing system on this day when it became a start first day.

The number of Deaf/hard of hearing persons in the city is estimated to be 168. It is expected that the service offered by the city will be easier through the service by the video telephone system, though there are differences in the level of their troubles and language skill, etc.

Source: Yamagata Shimbun, Dec. 20, 2008
Japanese edition:

Deaf residents tell hearing students about their own experiences as a part of the school program

Recently, the hearing students had a welfare workshop at the Mizuho Junior High School in Kyoto Prefecture. The workshop was to give the students an opportunity to deepen understanding to the problems that the persons with disabilities are faced in the community. (see the photo on the link below)

Deaf residens told a group of about 30 senior students how their daily life looked like. The students learned basic sign language and note taking as part of the welfare services to the Deaf.

The Deaf residents related how difficult it was for them to go shopping as they were often misunderstood as hearing persons by the salesperson. They also said there are not enough interpreters. They taught the students how to use basic signs.

One of the interpreters gave an example of a passage which was blocked with bicycles parked in disorder, and said, "Observing the social rule benefits the person with disabilities, too."

Members of the note-taking circle in the town also introduced the activity. The student wrote some sentences on the vinyl sheet of the overhead projector, experienced the flow projected with the projector, and learnt the difficulty of summarizing the content of speech, and the difference in speed between the spoken and the written languages.

Source: Kyoto Shimbun, Dec. 20, 2008
Japanese edition:

"Ear Mark" seal project to help medical professionals to understand the communication needs of people with hearing disability

The NPO (incorporated nonprofit organization) Iwate Prefecture Association of the Late Deafened and Hard of Hearing (NIPALDHH) is working on the spread of "Ear Mark" seal project to the medical institutions in the prefecture.

The "Ear Mark" (耳マーク) is a logo symbolized with the shape of the ear. At the bottom of the seal the phrase is printed: "I have a hearing problem" to show that you will need to use hand signals with the hard of hearing. The aim of the mark is to let a hearing person know the needs of the communication needs of people with hearing disability.

Persons who have a difficulty in hearing are often misunderstood at a glance as they look normal. NIPALDHH is promoting the use of the "Ear Mark" seal. "The seal is easy to put on the consultation card and the clinical record."

It has distributed the seals to the hospitals and clinics in the prefecture through the Prefecture Medical Association this June. The professional association sent 1000 sheets (ten pieces per sheet) of the Ear Mark to about 100 medical institutions in the prefecture in September.

At a hospital in Morioka City which has introduced the seal project since about ten years ago, the staff obtains the patient's consent, puts the seal on his/her clinical record so that it is easy for the concerned staff to notice.

The Director of the hospital actually feels the effect, saying that "By doing with the seal project, the staff can communicate slowly while seeing patient's eyes."

When the name is called in the waiting room in the hospital etc. , the person with hearing disability doesn't often notice. He/She understands neither what the doctor explains nor what he directs, and easily get puzzled.

The Chair of NIPALDHH says, "The doctor or nurse sees the seal on the clinical record, and tap the patient's shoulder when to call, and by writing explains the condition and treatment. Because more people get older now, I want them to use the seal, too."

Susumu Sato (81), a resident of Morioka City and a NIPALDHH member, also says "I want many more hospitals and clinics to introduce the seal project."

Source: Iwate Daily Report, Dec. 16, 2008
Japanese edition:

Deaf man practices hard to become a professional drummer

Toshiyuki Ajiki (46), a Deaf man with weak sight who lives in Matsue City in a western part of Japan, played the drum performance at a regional conference for the DeafBlind in Matsue City held on November 15-16, 2008. (See the photo on the link below)

He is now enthusiastic, saying "I want to continue the effort to go professional."

Ajiki joined a club for the DeafBlind which was formed three years ago. When he learned the regional meeting would be held in the city last May, he thought of something he could do, and decided to challenge the drum which he had yearned .

He was afraid if he would be refused due to the disabilities when he visited the music studio. They told him, "No matter how much you can hear, you will certainly feel the sound by vibrations with the body."

The music score was copied onto the expansion. Ajiki received a lesson for 30 minutes three times every month with interpreting. He single-mindedly learnt how to interpret the music score and the meaning of the note first.

He had a hard time in how to take the rhythm. He was taught that three group notes were counted by tapping in sign language, and that the bass drum was hit with the first note.

At the regional meeting, Ajiki splendidly performed on stage. Big applause was given to him. His parents, friends and a lot of participants told him how much they were impressed with the wonderful performance.

Ajiki said, "I accomplished because I had the goal to play the drum on stage though I sometimes wanted to stop. You cannot make good music without any efforts." He will continue to practice hard to become a professional drummer in the future.

Source: Sannin Chuo Shinpo, Dec. 15, 2008
Japanese edition:

Deaf children enjoy the visit to Toyota Motor

About 40 Deaf children visited Toyota Motor in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture on December 10, 2008. They were from the 4th grade to the 6th grade of the schools for the Deaf located in Gifu and Mie Prefectures in the Tokai region in the central Japan.

Toyota Motor has accepted the children's visits as part of the social contribution activity every year since 1973.

Each child introduced himself/herself and shared the experience with drawing. They were offered a picture of a "Dream Car" with soap bubbles instead of the vehicle exhaust emission which was prepared beforehand for the event.

They enjoyed coloring with felt-tip pens actually that the designers of this company use, based on the rough sketch of a "Dream Car," with help from one of the designers. (see the photo on the link below)

The headmaster of the elementary department at the Gifu Prefecture School for the Deaf said that the children had been looking forward to the visit for one month. "It seemed that they were really happy, and I am glad about it."

After this activity, the Deaf children visited the assembly process such as Corolla at the Takaoka factory.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 11, 2008
Japanese edition:

A vlog earns high popularity in the Deaf community

A vlog titled "The Man on Monday" that the Shizuoka Prefecture Association of the Deaf runs as a part of its official site is very popular.

The website is:

There are topics on the left side.

Kozo Morisaki (46), the Deaf owner of a barbershop, introduces the work of every day and the communication with the family in the comic monologue style in JSL. (see the photo on the link below)

Even "The Man on Monday" fan club has been formed in Osaka Prefecture, Kanagawa Prefecture and others because "The comic monologue is interesting," "The vlog is a good material to learn JSL," etc.

Morisaki narrates in JSL for a few minutes in the vlog, updated weekly.

Here are examples; he did a haircut too much on the forelock of the female customer who slept; the wife tried to conceal the hole in a black trouser by painting black on the hole with the felt-tipped marker. The summary of each content is captioned.

The Association started up the official site in June, 2003. In order to get a person unfamiliar with sign language interested, the vlog that would offer a familiar topic in the sign language was planned in May, 2006.

Because he had a sense of humor and a charm in which every one would be attracted, Morisaki was requested appearance.

"The Man on Monday" was titled indicating the regular holiday of the barber shop. Morisaki said, "The knack of making the person laugh I use a lot of gesture, facial expressions and anything that conveys the message."

The vlog became known gradually by the rumor after having started on the official site, and the number of totaling accesses went up to 130,000 or more in over two years.

It also became so popular that Morisaki was asked to give a lecture at a local lecture meeting.

Morisaki has to give an anecdote every week. "I feel stressed if there is no material. When I make a story out from a piece of my family life, I will be scorned. Honestly it is hard and serious." He smiles wryly.

However, he got a lot of acquaintances across Japan through the vlog. He said, "Now this time is the happiest though I had have a difficult life. I want to tell all the people nationwide that there is such a happy moment to enjoy JSL, too."

Source: Mainichi Shimbun, Dec. 10, 2008
Japanese edition:

Deaf professional baseball player visits Deaf school and encourages the students

Yuya Ishii (27), a professional pitcher of the Yokohama baseball team, visited the school for the deaf in Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture next to Tokyo.

At the lecture meeting, he told ten Deaf students about his own experience that he had become a professional baseball player while unable to hear since his birth.

When he started to play baseball in the elementary school, he was happy though communications might not have been effective enough. "I practiced desperately for the dream of becoming professional."

Ishi encouraged those students who wanted to become a baseball player like him, "Never forget that you want to be good. Never give up the dream".

See the past posting on Ishi:

Source: Sports Nippon, Dec. 10, 2008
Japanese edition:

Deaf marathon runner resulted in highest record for the Deaf in Japan

Koichiro Yamanaka, a 27-year-old Deaf man from Tokyo, achieved the highest record as a Deaf runner in full length marathon in Japan. He is a member of the Atomi Club.

The prestige 62nd Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championships was held in Fukuoka Prefecture on December 7, 2008. This was also a trial to select the fasted Japanesse runners for the 12th World Championship.

The participants including the runners from around the world competed. As the result, Yamanaka was placed at 65th by the record of 2:28:00.

Source: (English version)
/Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 8, 2008

Services by Hearing dogs for the Deaf start next January in Hyogo Prefecture

A social welfare group, called "The Hearing Dogs Society," located in Nagano Prefecture is involved in the promotion of hearing dogs that help the life of Deaf individuals.

This society established the Kansai Branch in Ashiya City, Hyogo Prefecture next to Osaka. On January 12, 2008, it will start the counseling service related to the hearing dog and recruits volunteers, etc. once a month.

The society has loaned a hearing dog, named Iko, for the first time to Yori Fukui (76) who lives in Amagasaki City in the prefecture. (see the photo on the link below)

The spokesperson of the society said, "We will train dog's promotion volunteers, and increase more hearing dogs for the Deaf in the future." Currently 18 hearing dogs are serving the Deaf nationwide according to the society.

Koi is a Shih Tzu dog, estimated to be 5 years old. She has been trained since October, 2007, and was recognized as a trained hearing dog for the Deaf. She has lived with Fukui since March 2008.

With the help from Iko, Fukui is now able to go out, takes the train, and dines out. She said, "I really enjoy being together with Iko. When she told me that the door signal rung for the first time, I was very happy."

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 9, 2008
Japanese edition:

Former high school Deaf baseball teammates relate experience how they overcame discrimination

There was a school for the deaf, called the Fukui Prefecture School for the Deaf, in Fukui City.

In the summer of 1974, the school's baseball team won the prefecture rubber-ball baseball game. But they were told that because of being Deaf, they were not possible to play in the Hokushinetsu Game, one of the regional games, which would lead to the National Rubber-ball Baseball Games for High Schools if they won.

However, the team's zeal moved the High School Baseball League, and got the chance to participate in the national baseball game at the end.

The panel discussion was held in Fukui City on November 6, 2008, sponsored by the Fukui Prefecture Welfare Society of the Deaf. About 150 Deaf and hearing people gathered. (see the photo on the link below)

After a documentary film taken at that time had been shown, the panel discussion was held. The former members of the Deaf baseball team related their experience at that time.

Nobuhiko Fukushima, who was an ace and the captain, explained how he reacted when he knew that his team was not allowed to play the baseball at a national level. He was angry and felt discriminated in spite of that all people are the same human beings.

Shinichiro Hamada who was the shortstop said that still he never gave up and focused on the practice because "I loved baseball so much that I had dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player."

Currently Hamada works as a ceramic artist, and Fukushima is a lacqering master. They say, "The hardship we had faced at that time had been got over afterwards."

Akihiro Yonaiyama, a professional Deaf actor from the Japanese Theater of the Deaf, who served as the coordinator at the panel discussion, commented that the Deaf team worked so hard that it became a legacy: to review the regulation on participation limitation for a school serving children with disabilities in Japan.

The audience in the hall sent the generous applause to the effort that the former baseball team members who had kept chasing "a white ball" to the utmost.

Source: Chunichi Shimbun, Dec. 7, 2008
Japanese edition:

Deaf professional magician as a roll model for Deaf kids

A professional magician, named Magic Toshima, freely manipulates red and blue strings in front of ten fifth graders at the Otsuka Metropolitan School for the Deaf in Tokyo. The children, amazed, talk to the next peer in sign language at once when all the strings which were apart away are connected in the circle.

Toshima's real name is Norihiro Toshima who is born deaf. When he was a second grader, he saw a magic show for the first time and loved it instantly.

He went to Tokyo to learn magic after he graduated from the Kagoshima School for the Deaf in a southern part of Japan. He attended the magician class for three years while doing the newspaper delivery, etc. Toshima was the only Deaf student in the class.

The interpreter did not understand the technical terms used in the magic world, so Toshima studied the manual of magic tools and learned the techniques from the performances of his teacher. He became a professional magician in 2000, and currently performs for the show, instructs Deaf students, etc.

Because he uses sign language during the show, heavy tools are put on the table. There is no sense of incompatibility though this is a point which is different from the hearing magician.

Deaf persons, who are not good at spoken conversations and karaoke, tend to become alienated in a gathering place. However, if the magic show were performed, all the people including the Deaf persons will enjoy it together. Toshima says, "Magic is a useful method to help the Deaf and hearing persons share the feelings and communication."

He understands why Deaf children feel irritated and uneasy because he himself has the same disability. "I want the Deaf kids to have something more what he likes, and to foster self-confidence. I hope they will never give their dream up and make use of it for work." With such a desire, Toshima travels around in the country to perform a magic show.

Akira Yokkaichi, a professor of the University of Tsukuba and the principal of the Special Support School for the Deaf under the arm of the University, said "It is good that Deaf children see the Deaf adults active in professions despite of the disability, as their role model. It will give them a chance to learn more to prepare for the future."

Source: Mainichi Shimbun, Dec. 4, 2008
Japanese edition:

Osaka mayor hospitalized for "sudden deafness

On December 4, Mayor Kunio Hiramatsu (60) in Osaka City said that he was diagnosed as "sudden deafness." He is unable to hear with an ear.

Hiramatsu will be hospitalized in Osaka Prefecture for four days until December 7, 2008 because of the rest and treatment. He has canceled official duties. The cause is uncertain, and the treatment method has not been identified for this disease either.

It was early November, according to Hiramatsu, when the symptom appeared first. His right ear suddenly lost hearing and he received the examination in the hospital and the administering treatment occasionally. The high fever of about 39 ゜C caused by the side effect of the medicine, and he did not feel well. If he doesn't pick up, he says, he will test new treatment while being hospitalized.

The sudden deafness is one of the specified diseases that the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare specifies. The ministry research group found out through the investigation in 2001 that there are 35,000 patients a year who receive treatment across country due to this disease.

A popular singer Ayumi Hamasaki became a sudden deafness in January, 2007, having made it public got into the news.

Source: Sankei Shimbun Dec. 4, 2008
Japanese edition:

Deaf professional baseball player vows to continue to play

Yuya Ishii (27), a professional pitcher of the Yokohama baseball team vowed that he would play again as a new patron saint.

He had the contract renewal and won the yearly pay valued 30 million yen in total, added by 13 million yen, on December 4, 2008.

He says, "I was asked to be the stopper by my coach Sugimoto at the autumn camp. I have feelings that I want to do it."

Ishii was transferred from the Chunichi baseball team by the trading in June, and played the 35 games, the largest number that he has ever played for the Yokohama baseball team. He made the highest result in earned run average 2.38 in the fourth year.

Ishii was born hard of hearing and attended a mainstream program. He was a baseball team member through the school years. He plans to shortly visit the special support school in Yokosuka where the deaf children attend.

He laughed with a smile after he said, "If the kids see me as their role model, I would be very delighted."

Source: Nikkan Sports, Dec. 4, 2008
Japanese edition:

Deaf American won 5th place at the Japanese Speech Contest in San Francisco

The Japanese Speech Contest for the Americans was held in San Francisco on November 2, 2008. This contest was an event that continued for 35 years, and a person with hearing loss participated this year for the first time.

The person is Matthew Fido (27), a student at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has studied Japanese since six years ago.

He lose hearing when he was 15 months old because of meningitis. He had cochlea implanted when he was two years old, and his hearing ability much improved. However, the ability of discriminating sounds and speech are not the same as the hearing person.

At the speech contest, Fido said "Long before when people around me laughed at jokes I pretended to hear and laugh with them."

"One time I realized that I would be deaf forever. Ever since I determined to accept myself as a deaf person and live by this."

Fido said he wanted to get a job that helps the Deaf around the world, and appealed, "I want this speech contest will be the first step for me." He accomplished the fifth place winning a prize.

While other contestants fluently spoke Japanese, Fido was the one whom the audience gave thunderous applause.

Source: Tokyo Shimbun, Dec. 2, 2008
Japanese edition:

Lecture meetings planned for Anday Vasnick in Japan

Anday Vasnick, one of the founding members of the National Theater of the Deaf in the United States and a well known American Deaf actor himself, is coming to Japan.

With a BA in literature from Gallaudet University and an MA in education from Pennsylvania University, he had been teaching English literature and the play for ten years at Gallaudet University.

Vasnick came to Japan as a lecturer at the "Seminar on Theatrical Activities for the Deaf in Japan" in 1981, and made the foundation in the Deaf theatrical field in Japan. He is appearing on not only the stage but also the television and the movie, etc.

The lecture meeting with Vasnick will be held by the following schedules.

1) 'Why is Japanese Sign Language beautiful?'

Date: 10 and 12, December, 2008, Wednesday and Friday, 19:00 21:00
You can come on both the days or either of them.

Admission: 500 yen per one day
Place: Totto Cultural Center (Shibuya Ward, Tokyo) (Japanese)


2) The 1st international exchange and culture lecture meeting

Date: December 14, 2008, Sunday, 13:30-15:00
Place: Nagoya City
Sponsor: Nagoya City Society of the Hearing and Speech Impaired

Flyer: (Japanese)

Academic investigation on disaster information for the Deaf

It rained heavily in torrents, which Japanese people call "Guerrilla downpour," that came one after another in the whole country this summer.

The Japan Society for Disaster Information Studies will study concerning how the communication was taken in the emergency situation in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture and Aichi Prefecture.

The Society's investigation committee on the heavy rain conducted the investigation in Kanazawa City on November 25-27, 2008, followed by the last one on October. This time, the method of communication for the vulnerable people will be verified through the investigation for the Deaf and hard of hearing persons.

The information offered to the local residents on an emergency evacuation area or route is transmitted through TV, a disaster prevention administrative wireless, and the check by the fire fighting group, etc. The Deaf and hard of hearing persons have no access to any of such, unaware of the looming crisis.

Even though the text message is sent to the Deaf as a method of the visual communication, some of them gets puzzled with unfamiliar written words such as "Evacuation Order." It is necessary to tell them plainly with words easily understood.

According to an expert of the Society, as Asano River in Kanazawa City flooded the area due to the downpour disaster at the end of July, city officials sent the document to the Deaf and hard of hearing persons by fax, which was written, "Take shelter to the second floor if water is deep near your house," etc.

The investigation committee plans to verify "whether the communication was appropriately offered or not?" and "was persons with disabilities able to take the evacuation activity?", etc. based on the result of the investigation to the Deaf and hard of hearing persons.

The reports will be put together by next March based on the investigation conducted in Okazai City and Nagoya City in Aichi Prefecture against further disasters.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 25, 2008
Japanese edition: