Experimental program with the use of Sign Language at schools for the Deaf in Japan

The experimental program with the use of "Japanese Sign Language" (JSL) as the first language of the Deaf children has been carried out for two years at three schools for the Deaf in Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan. It ended when the school year was over at the end of March, 2009.

In the classroom at the Sapporo School for the Deaf, located in the capital of Hokkaido, Mizuho Tanaka, a hearing teacher, taught two fifth graders arithmetic. She wrote a question in Japanese sentences on the blackboard; "You bought three candies of five yen a piece, and you have 94 yen in the purse. How much did you have at the first place?" And then she signed to the children. One of them wrote the expression to lead the correct answer on the blackboard. Tanaka praised him patting his head. She said, "The Deaf children quickly understand when taught in JSL".

Though the education of the Deaf has been conducted mainly in oralism up to now, the number of parents and guardians who hope for JSL as an instruction method for their children has increased as they believe that the oral method is difficult for those born deaf.

The Sapporo School for the Deaf offers two selective teaching methods for the instruction in the classroom; oral method or JSL. Twenty-two out of total 49 children in the elementary division chose JSL.

The Hokkaido Board of Education is specifying the school for the deaf in Asahikawa and Obihiro besides one in Sapporo for the experimental program. The signing skills of the teachers and teaching practice in the classroom have been advanced for two years. Based on the result, all of the eight schools for the Deaf in Hokkaido will start the experimental program in April, 2009 when school begins for a new term.

However, as it is said that there are sign systems such as manual signs besides JSL, the Board has yet decided which one to be adopted for the instruction in the classroom.

Moreover, it takes time to master sign language. According to the survey of the Board, out of 334 teachers from all the schools for the deaf in Hokkaido, 50.4% answered that they were fluent enough to converse in JSL on daily basis. Actually the percent or number of teachers is expected to be less when it come to the classroom teaching where JSL is completely used all time. The issue is how to train a qualified teacher with JSL.



Source in Japanese:
http://mainichi.jp/hokkaido/kyouiku/news/20090320ddlk01100256000c.html

Interpreting provided for the Deaf at regular plenary meeting of local town council in March

Interpreting was provided for Deaf persons during a general question session at the first regular plenary meeting of the Hayama Town Council in Kanagawa Prefecture, a neighboring area of Tokyo, on March 24, 2009. Such interpreting in the assembly hall was first according to this town council secretariat.

An assembly member asked questions taking up one of the Town's political measures, titled "the promotion of the social participation of the persons who are Deaf and hard of hearing", which was interpreted simultaneously in the assembly hall.

A Deaf resident visited the welfare office in the Town Hall and requested the hearing during the question session. The chairperson of the council accepted it. Then interpreting was offered in the assembly hall.

The welfare officials said that when the first regular plenary meeting was held in February last year, the interpreting was done in the observation area, but it was pointed out that it was so far from the the assembly hall that the Deaf viewers had a difficult time to see how the session was carried out.

The Hayama Town Hall has responded to the Deaf community such as by arranging the interpreter twice a month at the reception on the first floor of the Town Hall, etc.


Source in Japanese:
http://www.kanaloco.jp/localnews/entry/entryivmar0903532/

Deaf movie preview in Tokyo late March

Her Imperial Highness Akishinonomiya Kiko
speaking in sign language (second from left)

Eriko Imai and her co-star
who acted her Deaf boyfriend in the movie
(photo:http://www.sanspo.com/)


A movie, titled "The Transfer Leaves", was produced in commemorative of the 60th anniversary of establishment of the Japanese Federation of the Deaf. A preview of the movie was held in Tokyo on March 28, 2009.

Kentaro Hayase, a Deaf man, directed the movie last year. The theme was about the life of a Deaf man who fought against discrimination. The opening of the movie to the public is scheduled for the middle of June this year in Japan.

Eriko Imai (25), a hearing singer, attended the preview along with Hayase and others concerned. In the movie she acted the Deaf man's hearing girlfriend who supported him.

Imai said in sign language, "In the movie, an important thing for living is drawn". She is striving to bringing up her son Raimu (4), who was born Deaf.

Her Imperial Highness Akishinonomiya Kiko (42), the wife of the Crown Prince's brother, was invited to attend. She is familiar with sign language.



Source in Japanese:
http://www.sanspo.com/geino/news/090329/gnj0903290503012-n1.htm

Hearing college students required to master sign language for obtaining teaching license

According to the press release of Japan College of Social Work (Kiyose City, Tokyo), the College will set up the teacher training program for the special support school (Deaf) in fiscal year 2009 staring this April, and learning Japanese Sign Language in the program, required in obtaining the teaching license, will be the first time in the nation.

The teacher-training course of the special support education by the Ministry of Education does not require the sign language. The College's approach of that defends the right of deaf children to receive the education in their own language is paid attention.

The student is required to master JSL for 90 hours in total as an advanced condition to the training program. In the program there will be lectures only in JSL for a course. The student will practice teaching at Meiharu School, the first educational institution in Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo taught in JSL.


Source in Japanese:
http://prw.kyodonews.jp/

7th National Deaf Basketball Game held in Kyoto in March



The 7th National Deaf Basketball Game was held in the gym in Kyoto City on March 21-22, 2009, sponsored by the Japan Deaf Basketball Society, a nonprofit organization.

Twenty teams in total, 12 boy teams and 8 girl teams from Hokkaido, a northern island of Japan, to Fukuoka, a southern part of the nation, participated and about 200 players competed the league game on March 21.

The chief umpire used yellow gloves that stood out to the Deaf players, and the sideline men shook the flag so that the Deaf players could notice easily.

The shout of joy went up to an intense dribble and the shot during the game. There was a tournament on March 22 to determine the winner for the boy team and girl team each.


See more photos in the link:
http://www.tatunet.ddo.jp/jdba/gallery/002.html



Source in English:
http://www.kyoto-np.co.jp/article.php?mid=P2009032200033&genre=L1&area=K1H

Hearing university to set up disability office to secure the educational right of Deaf students, etc.

Miyagi University of Education will set up an "Office to support the students with disabilities" in April when an academic fiscal year starts.

More and more students with disabilities are being enrolled in colleges/universities across Japan, and many of the higher education institutions are in trouble to meet their needs.

The University officials explained, "Our university will play the role model in supporting the students with the disabilities. The University had 16 students who were disabled for the fiscal year 2008 ending in March; 8 Deaf students, 5 students who were physically impaired, and one student with visual impairment, etc.

In the disability office, the coordinator and the clerk will respond to the student's needs. The task force corresponding to the disability type is set up to examine a necessary help plan for the student.

Miyagi University of Education has started a "project to support the academic activities for the students with disabilities" in fiscal year 2004, working on the appropriately educational environment in cooperation with a volunteer group.

For the Deaf students who were dominant in the group of the students with disabilities, note-taking, interpreting and the voice recognition interpreting that converts the voice of a lecturer into text were provided.

Vice President Kosuke Takahashi of Miyagi University of Education said, "The university has an obligation to secure the right of the students with disabilities to receive the education as a teacher training university that covers all disability area. We want to accumulate the know-how of the student support, and to spread it".


Source in English:
http://www.kahoku.co.jp/news/2009/03/20090322t15021.htm

Leadership workshop of interpreters and note-takers for national sports meets of persons with disabilities

The 11th national sports event for persons with disabilities will be held in Yamaguchi Prefecture, a western part of Japan, in 2011.

The workshop took up in Yamaguchi City on March 22, 2009 and about 110 parties concerned participated. The workshop was intended for the leaders of "communication support volunteers" who would provide with interpreting and note-taking, and persons who wish to become the leader.

The organizer will start recruitment of about 600 volunteers necessary in the next sports event in Yamaguchi around this June. "We need a manpower to support the event for the success".

The participants were divided into two groups of interpreters and note-takers respectively. There were lectures by those who summarized the volunteer activities at the sports event that had been held in Oita Prefecture last October.

Keiko Ikebe, the head of the Oita Prefecture branch of the National Note Taking Issues Study Group said, "Our activities last year led to the enlightenment of note-takers. I want you to work hard. Also don't forget to enjoy it with a smile".


Source in Japanese:
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/yamaguchi/news/20090323-OYT8T00051.htm

Deaf undergraduate student graduates and will be a teacher at local Deaf school in April

There was a graduation ceremony at Aichi University of Education in Aichi Prefecture in the middle of Japan on March 23, 2009. The total of 1,045 undergraduate and graduate students were awarded the degree.

During the ceremony, Masahisa Matsuda, the president, handed the diploma to the student representing each course. He praised signing "Congratulations on graduation. You did work hard" when Kosuke Ando (22), a Deaf undergraduate student representing the teacher training course for children with disabilities, was handed the diploma.

Ando will be a teacher at the Aichi Prefectural Ichinomiya School for the Deaf in April.



Source in Japanese:
http://mainichi.jp/area/aichi/news/20090324ddlk23100273000c.html

Deaf actress to present signing musical in hometown in April

Hiroe Ohashi, Deaf actress
(photo: http://www.saga-s.co.jp/)


Hiroe Ohashi (37), a Deaf actress, will present a signing musical, titled "Call Me A Hero", in Saga Prefecture on April 12, 2009.

She found the pleasure in self-expression through sign language and dancing, and made a play that depicted her own life leading to the stage activities. She appeals for the importance of the belief in the dream and living what you are.

In her childhood, Ohashi was trained by her mother to speak like a hearing person. She attended a hearing high school and aimed to become a beautician, which she gave up because of deafness.

When she worried about the barrier in communications, John Lennon's song "Imagine" was come across. She said later that the song entered her heart despite she did not understand the melody.

She left the company and entered "the world of self-expression" such like the productions of a signing musical and an independent movie, etc.

Ohashi was chosen to play a Sara in "Children of a Lesser God", a Japanese production of the Haiyu-za Theater in 1999. The next year she visited the U.S. to study acting and dancing, and expanded her theatrical activities such as the formation of the Signing Singing Unit after returning to Japan.

She also published the autobiography, titled 'I Thought That the Voice Was Already Unnecessary', in 2004, from which a signing play was adapted two years later.

In the play there were four Deaf dancers among 15 dancing members. The beauty of the sign language was demonstrated by facial expressions to show the feelings, the rhythmical movements of the upper-body with the throb feeling overflowed. The subtitle was put up for the persons who did not know the sign language.

Ohashi says, "I am very happy to present the musical in the hometown at the turning point of ten years of my activities. I strongly believe that communications are carried out by not only the words but also the hearts that meet each other. I want to tell the people to remove all the barriers".


Source in Japanese:
http://www.saga-s.co.jp/view.php?pageId=1036&mode=0&classId=0&blockId=1207953&newsMode=article

Deaf woman earns Ph.D from hearing university

Yoshida graduates with Ph.D


Hitomi Yoshida (31), a Deaf graduate student majoring in life mechanism research course at Showa Women's University, earned the Ph.D. She was conferred the degree on March 8, and will start to work as a full-time instructor at the University in April.

After Yoshida got a BA from Hosei University and an MA from Showa Women's University, she worked for a commercial establishment called "Parco" taking the charge of public relations for three years. Later she started study in the Ph.D course at Showa Women's University in 2006.

For her dissertation, she took a survey from 15 Deaf university students to find how the support is available to the Deaf students at higher education institutions. She got the findings: lectures in the classroom mainly spoken were not understood easily by the Deaf students. The majority of them replied that they preferred interpreting for small-size classroom discussions, and note-taking for lectures in the large classroom.

Yoshida spoke of her aspiration, "I want to learn more about the needs of persons with disabilities including the Deaf individuals, and to make the education necessary for their social participation more available".


Source in Japanese:
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/tokyo23/news/20090318-OYT8T00181.htm

Deaf children enjoy concert offered by hearing students

(above) Hearing bras band club members sign lyrics during performance
(below) Deaf children experience drumming
(photo: http://www.chunichi.co.jp/)


Hearing bras band club members of the Fukuoka High School, located in Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture visited the Takaoka School for the Deaf on March 16, and offered to hold the concert.

Members of the Bras Band Club visit the School for the Deaf every year since nine years ago so that the Deaf children could enjoy music. This day 50 hearing members sang in sign language and danced with five popular songs such as theme songs of Disney movies and animated movie titled "Ponyo on the cliff".

About 20 Deaf students from the kindergarten through high school levels sang in sign language while the club members played. After the concert, they experienced playing the drum and the glockenspiel in music with the help from the members.

Chiyoko Nara (17), a club leader and sophomore, said, "I was glad that the Deaf students were responsive to our play by clapping and by singing in sign language. The concert went well in warm atmosphere".

Akitada Arayama(16), a student representative from the Deaf School, expressed gratitude saying that he indeed enjoyed a lot of well known tunes the hearing students played".


Source in Japanese:
http://www.chunichi.co.jp/article/toyama/20090317/CK2009031702000175.html

Hearing teacher who formed Deaf photo club retires this April

Takada (middle) with his Deaf students who are photo club members
(photo: http://osaka.yomiuri.co.jp/)


Keiichi Takada (60), a hearing mathematics teacher who has led the photograph club in the Tottori Prefecture School for the Deaf for 28 years, will retire in April, 2009. The club has boasted for winning at a national high school photograph contest, etc. many times.

Takada said, "It is important for a person with disability to tell the society or give information to get them understand his issues. I have been able to help my Deaf students to do so".

He edited a members' works collection, titled "Thank You", as a compilation. After his retirement he will visit about 80 former students and take pictures of themselves to show how they are grown up.

The photograph club was formed in 1981 by Takada who liked taking photos as one of his hobbies. He believed, "The club activities help the Deaf students who are withdrawing come out to be able to express their feelings through the photograph".

For more than a decade years mostly the students took pictures of themselves one another as a model. In 1999 when Takada decided to join the national photograph contest for the high school students, he told the Deaf students, "Taking a picture means communication. Let's go out to the town with the camera".

The club members who choose the local performing art as a subject asked for the permission to take pictures by gestures during the local festival. Even the members were friendly enough to teach hearing children sign language then. Ever since a tradition of the club was established that the members ask persons at the first sight for permission before taking pictures in the public.

Many members concentrated on coverage and were awarded with 2nd place in the nationwide high school photograph contest in 2002. The number that won various contests reached 1000 times or more in total.

Shio Nishimura (17), a club leader and a sophomore, who won the grand prize in the high school student session of the Yomiuri Shimbun Photo Contest in 2008, said, "Mr. Takada encouraged me to approach closely to a subject in order to take a good picture. That way gave me confidence. I never thought I would have changed the way. I will tell the younger members like how he encouraged me".
 

Source in Japanese:
http://osaka.yomiuri.co.jp/news/20090316-OYO1T00726.htm?from=main2

Emergency rescue arriving 1 hour later after Deaf man's request for help

According to Yokohama City officials, a Deaf man faxed to the fire fighting command center saying that his wife fell down at home with unconsciousness, but his urgent request was unnoticed for 40 minutes and the rescue service was delayed for about one hour.

The reason for delay was that the buzzer that informed the staff of the fax arrival was out of order. Fortunately when the rescue team arrived, the wife has recovered.

The Deaf man requested the ambulance by using the fax line only for the Deaf as soon as he found his wife who prepared supper falling in the kitchen at home in Yokohama City around 5:00 pm on March 14. The buzzer did not ring, and no one was noticed it at the fire fighting command center.

After he waited for 40 minutes for the response, the Deaf man used another fax line. When the fax was sent, the staff noticed because the buzzer rang. It is said that the staff checked the ring on that day, and the buzzer rang.

The City Safety Director said "We will make sure that all the staff certainly check the receptions via fax so that this should never happen again".
 

Source in Japanese:
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/news/20090315-OYT1T00705.htm?from=navr

Deaf cross-country skiing athlete working hard for Deaflympics



A Deaf cross-country skiing athlete, Hiroshi Yoshii (27), who started cross-country skiing six years ago, won two times in domestic meetings in February; the sprint free 1 km at the the 11th Japanese Cross-Country Skiing Athletic Meet for the Persons with Disabilities, and the Japan Paralympic Games 2009 Free 9 km cross-country skiing athletic meet.

Yoshii analyzes both causes of the first victories, saying, "I emphasized on the weight-lift training, and also researched the slide form in cross-country skiing".

"The two victories in one season gave me confidence. I will work harder in the future". He aims at the gold medal at the Deaflympic Winter Games in Slovakia in 2011.
 

Source in Japanese:
http://www.shimotsuke.co.jp/news/tochigi/sports/news/20090305/120152

Spoken Japanese terms developed in sign language for medical and political issues

The lay judges system will start in May, 2009. In preparation for it, the Japanese Sign Language Laboratory at the national sign language training center in Kyoto City developed the sign language for the terms to transmit the content of the trial correctly. This effort will help a Deaf person when selected a lay judge.

The 50 terms, such as "lay judge", "prosecution", and "opening statement" often used at the court, are developed in sign language. These signed terms can be viewed on the Japanese website (www.newsigns.jp/).

The Japanese Sign Language Laboratory is developing new sign language vocabularies corresponding to new spoken Japanese terms in the field of the medical issues and politics.


Source in Japanese:
http://www.asahi.com/kids/news/TKY200903050099.html

Deaf woman working for hearing kids at nursery center

In connection to the "Day of the Ear" on March 3, the Kitakyushu City Association of the Late Deafened and Hard of Hearing held a meeting on March 8 . About 100 people gathered.

At the meeting, Sachiko Uchida (54), a board member of the Association, gave a speech on her own experience as a deaf nursery teacher. Note taking through the overhead projector was provided.

When she was 27 years old, her hearing decreased. She said she was unable to hear even with the hearing aid since three years ago.

Uchida felt lost and that she hardly might play the role of a nursery teacher who is responsible for the life of young children. Also it was hard for her to follow the discussions or chatting with her colleagues, and to communicate with the parents or guardians. Uchida felt left out that made her feel unstable.

However, with her doctor's encouragement, she has been willingly tried to tell the people around her what she can do and her wish to work. She keeps asking them to put down what they say. "I have a pen and memo with me all time".

"It is impossible for me to hear the children crying or having a fit of coughing. So I am always in the place where I can see every child. Though I feel nervous, their growth is something for me to live".


Source in Japanese:
http://mainichi.jp/area/fukuoka/news/20090309ddlk40100177000c.html

Deaf student successfully admitted to hearing university and awarded by local board of education

The graduation ceremony was held at Osaka Prefectural Daisen Special Support High School for the Deaf, located in Sakai City, on March 6, 2009.

Kazuki Fujii (18), a senior in the general education course, who passed the admission examination of Wakayama University, received the commendation from the Osaka Prefecture Board of Education. He was evaluated that he has gotten over deafness and continued studying for exam.

Fujii says that he often explained to the classmates about what was taught in the class because he was able to hear the nearby sound with the hearing aid after he entered the high school. Therefore, he became interested in teaching things to a person, and came to aim at being a teacher at a support school for the Deaf.

As soon as he was a senior, to enter a university and to realize the dream, he began studying for exam.

He had a hard time to remember the accent of English words. He studied and memorized for one hour in one way from his home in Kishiwada City by the train while going to school.

He was recommended by the school to get the entrance exam of Wakayama University Department of Education in February this year. And he passed. They say, "It may be the first time that a Deaf student to be admitted at the university".

After the graduation ceremony, Fujii talked about his ambition. "I feel totally grateful for my parents and the teacher who supported me through in the hardship. I want to make a sign language circle at the university, and to learn about deafness for obtaining the license to teach at support schools for the Deaf".


Source in Japanese:
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/region/kinki/osaka/090307/osk0903070306001-n1.htm

Japanese Deaf History: Ancient time until 1800's

- People have fear toward the unusual appearance of persons with disabilities overlapped with the divine nature.

- Some ancient documents, such like "Nihonshoki" and "Kojiki" which include "Ebisu myth", tell that child born with disability is taken to the boat and sent far away.

- Ancient princes born mute to the ancient royalty.

- God with disability appears in folk beliefs. Belief that he is enshrined remains.

- People have hateful feeling and disgust against persons with strange appearances as well as reverence feeling for the uncommonness.

- Karma spreads by transmitting the Buddhism through Korea from India. ("Karma" is the idea that the happiness or unhappiness in this world are the fate not made easily even if not going by the sin in the previous life; one can escape the sin by piling up the good deeds and pious acts in this world, and keep oneself happy in the next world.)

- Persons with disabilities and/or the fatal disease unable to do nothing but thought they have a sin, and deserted by the family: they chased away from temples, and continue roaming on the riverside and the road.

- Family who has the mind hide the member with disability in the house so as not to attract public attention.

- Because of deformed figure and unusual behavior, person seen strange. Lack of production capacity makes him treated as burden for the family and the society.

- "A mute beggar hits a rice bowl in the rain"
It is a famous haiku produced by Issa Kobayashi, which satirizes social position of the deaf at that time. The deaf-mute beggar stands in the front door, asking for a meal by pitifully hitting the rice bowl instead of speaking for a request.

Deaf students strive to keep the name of their beloved school

Deaf students ask for sign-up to suppor their effort
(photo: http://www.oita-press.co.jp/)

The Oita Prefecture goverment is considering the change of the name of the special support school, affected by the revision of the national educational system.

The student government, consisted of the students enrolled in the high school division and the advanced course at the prefecture school for the deaf in Oita City, did the signature activity opposed the school name change on February 11, 2009.

The reorganization of the special support school, the school for the blind, and the school for the deaf is expected in around fiscal year 2012.

As for the school for the deaf, the new establishment of the vocational training department intended for the students with intellectual disability is scheduled in fiscal year 2011, and the school name change will be due accordingly.

Four representatives of the student government visited the Prefecture Social Welfare Hall where a New Year's Day party for the Deaf took place, and asked the participants for cooperation in their efforts.

The representatives also plan to visit other schools for their understanding and cooperation to collect signature in the future. They say, "We love our school. We want to keep the name of the school for the Deaf that has existed since 100 years ago, forever."


Source in Japanese:
http://www.oita-press.co.jp/localNews/2009_123173941415.html

Establishment of junior high school for the Deaf in need for more funding; lugger men support fund raising

Deaf children distribute flyer for monetary donation
at the Rugby Football Ground in Tokyo
(photo: http://mainichi.jp/)


A private school for the Deaf in Tokyo, called Meiharu Gakuen, is the only school in Japan that offers the Deaf children the education in Japanese Sign Language (JSL).

Meiharu Gakuen started as a free school in 1999 and was admitted as a school in the designated structural reform district in April, 1908. It currently offers the kindergarten program and the elementary education to 37 Deaf children.

Seven fifth graders as the eldest group are attending. To enroll them further, the school has planned to establish a junior high school division.

As a condition to form the junior high school division, the Tokyo government has told the school to collect the sum of 30 million yen as a formal school management organization by June, 2009. However, the collected sum from fund-raising is 3.89 million yen so far, and the school officials are worried about the lack of funding.

The 11 rugby clubs that belong to "The East Japan Top Club League" learned the financial problem and offered the support. They have helped the Deaf Rugby League. They said they wanted the wish realized. "We want the Deaf children to be educated in their own language."

On February 7, the first Japanese championship round game was held in Tokyo. In the rugby field, fifteen backup players and the 5th graders distributed a handmade flyer calling for donation.

The fund-raising was continued in the rugby field every week until the Japanese championship final day on February 28.

The education through JSL is highly valued among the Deaf children, They say, "The class in JSL is quite easily understood". The 5th graders have eagerly hoped for the junior high school division to be established by all means.



Source in Japanese:
http://mainichi.jp/select/wadai/news/20090221k0000e040044000c.html

Hearing aid center calls for old hearing aids to be contributed to developing countries

The Chugoku Hearing Aid Center in Yonago City, Tottori Prefecture has continued its campaign to send the hearing aids to the deaf children in the developing countries since 1995. Commemorating the Day of the Ear on March 3 this year, it is calling for the donation of hearing aids that already became useless at home.

In the developing countries, the hearing aid is very expensive and very difficult for the family having the deaf children to obtain.

The Chugoku Hearing Aid Center has collected old hearing aids by the donation, and then repaired it before sending to the developing countries such as Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Bolivia, and Bangladesh through the NGO group.

The Center sent 86 hearing aids last year, and the total number of hearing aids that had been sent to the developing countries reached 309 since its campaign started.

The Center spokesperson said any hearing aid that did not function no longer would be accepted. Even a box type of hearing aids that are rare in Japan and ear-behind hearing aids are welcome.

The deadline for contribution is the end of March, by a means of sending through postal mail or bringing directly to the Center.


Source in Japanese:
http://mainichi.jp/area/shimane/news/20090302ddlk32040321000c.html

Deaf festival to promote deaf awareness held in Kyoto Prefecture

(photo: http://www.kyoto-np.co.jp/)


The date of March 3rd sounds like "mimi" in a way which means the ears in Japanese. Also the date was the birthday of Alexander G. Bell, whom the Japanese Deaf Community regards a great American for his contribution to the development of deaf education. And a festival to celebrate the Ear Day" are annually held by many deaf organizations across the Japan.

To promote deaf awareness in society, the 35th annual Deaf festival took place in the Kyoto Industrial Hall in Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture on March 1, 2009 when matched to "the Day of the Ear". It was sponsored by a group called "The Network To Build A Rich Living For The Deaf".

At the ceremony that 1000 people or more attended, it was confirmed that the organizational efforts to improve the life of the Deaf would be continued further. There was a regional report on the annual activity by each group from five areas in Kyoto Prefecture.

Moreover, 28 groups set up booths to sell materials such as handmade craft goods and old clothes.

Prior to the the ceremony, 200 persons and parties concerned paraded from Oike Ohashi Bridge to the venue, requesting the prefecture officials to budget back to support the purchase of hearing aids, and the others.



Source in Japanese:
http://www.kyoto-np.co.jp/article.php?mid=P2009030200057&genre=K1&area=K1F

Workshop on court system: communication is a big issue

(photo: http://www.shimotsuke.co.jp/)


The workshop that focused on the case that the hard of hearing participate the lay judges system was held in the city welfare center at Utsunomiya City, Tochigi Prefecture on March 1.

Sumiko Ikemoto, judge from the Utsunomiya District Court Criminal Investigation Division, explained that arrangements of note takers, etc. necessary for the hard of hearing would be done by the District Court.

This workshop was a part of "The Annual 26th Ears Festival" organized by the Tochigi Prefecture Association of the Later Deafened and Hard of Hearing. About 50 people, including the members, participated.

How much can the content of the trial and the meeting be understood when the hard of hearing were selected a lay judge? The participants' concern concentrated on interpreting and its problems.

Judge Ikemoto described about interpreting and note taking, saying "The Court will contract". Also she requested any hard of hearing persons who were chosen as a candidate and receive the court notice on the final selection procedure should tell the Court about the necessary communication method.

Moreover, to the question that the discussions in court and the meeting are too fast to follow even through interpreting, the judge answered, "We will consider the speed of discussions can be slow downed".

Shunzo Aoyagi (54), president of the Association, said, "The communication method at the trial has not been established. We want the Court to continue thinking seriously about this".


Source in Japanese:
http://www.shimotsuke.co.jp/news/tochigi/local/news/20090302/119108

Deaf individuals in Gaza receive food provided by Japanese NGO

Awaiting the food service by Japanese NGO
(photo: http://mainichi.jp/select/world/news/)


In Gaza Strip, a Palestinian self-ruled town, goods have been insufficient because of the attack and the boundary blockage by Israel.

A non-governmental organization (NGO), called "The Campaign for The Palestine Children" which is located in Toshima Ward, Tokyo in Japan, distributed food in Gaza on February 28, 2009. The citizens who suffered from the food sudden rise formed a long queue.

The Campaign bought vegetable and eggs from the farmers who were not able to sell these outside of the Gaza Strip because of the boundary blockage. The Campaign distributed these to families having deaf dependants besides homes who lost the father as a breadwinner.

One of the deaf persons, aged 33, said in sign language while queuing up in the row of the distribution. "Especially, the egg is awfully so costly that I was not able to let my children eat it for a long time. I want to return to the house and to make delicious meal for them." He expressed happiness about this food service.


Source in Japanese:
http://mainichi.jp/select/world/news/20090302k0000m030032000c.html

Local circle for DeafBlind formed for independence and social participation

"The Yamato Circle", a new group for the DeafBlind living in Nara Prefecture, held a commemorative rally for its establishment in Kashihara City on February 22. About 250 people participated.

Kiyoshi Tatsugashira, President, gave a speech. He signed, "We are glad to set up the 39th circle in the whole country at last. Let us unite in hands forward to independence and the social participation of the DeafBlind."

Dr. Satoru Fukushima, a Tokyo University professor, gave a keynote speech, titled "Live a life as a DeafBlind person". He lost the sight at the age of nine, and later lost hearing at the age of 18. He explained about difficulties in living, and the necessary support from the surroundings.

Dr. Fukushima gave an example, saying when his back was suddenly patted by a person he would get surprised because of his disabilities. He introduced a way that a concerned person sends the DeafBlind the wind by paper, informing him that someone is near.

Moreover, he advised, "When you want to help the DeafBlind about interpreting, aids, etc., it is better to discuss with the Deafblind than learn and remember all the things written in the textbook or manual."

The Circle members, including the DeafBlind and supporters, are about 30 people in total. It aims the fellowships among the members, the information gathering, and the cooperation with the circles across the nation, and training of the interpreters and those who help, etc.


Source in Japanese:
http://mainichi.jp/area/nara/news/20090223ddlk29040239000c.html

Deaf climber reaches the top of the highest mountain in Australia


Yasuyuki Okubo (left), Mount Kosciuszko (right)


Yasuyuki Okubo, a deaf climber from Kanazawa City in Ishikawa Prefecture, succeeded in reaching the top of Mount Kosciuszko, the highest mountain in Australia at 11:17am, February 25th, 2009 (local time).

Okubo said, "I was happy to make it this time because of the good weather. It was fortunate for me to overcome the third challenge. I greatly appreciate rooting."


Source: The Deaf and Hard of Hearing NEWS (subscription)

For his last adventure, see the link below:
http://deafjapan.blogspot.com/2009/01/first-deaf-climber-reaching-highest.html