The course was launched by a personnel development and publication company, called "UD Japan", at the proposal by Takako Suzuki (46), an interpreter, who teaches the course.
Takako points out, "There are a lot of Deaf persons who make a mistake in a basic grammar and the the use of words when they write though they are excellent at talking in the sign language.
Their task is often evaluated low at the office because their Japanese language is not accurate, and this sometimes forces them to quit the job".
Junko Shiratori (56), who is a clerk at the oil company, signs through the interpreter.
"I become uneasy, telling myself 'Did I make a mistake this time?' every time I see the superior read my report with a suspicious expression". Saying that she wanted to improve her writing skill because the chance to use e-mails besides the document preparation for the business increased, too, she recently took up the course.
Why do many Deaf persons write poorly? Takeshi Matsuzaki, a Deaf associate professor of Miyagi University of Education Department of Hearing Impairment Pedagogy, explains, "It is very difficult for the child who doesn't hear the spoken language at all to acquire it himself".
"It is after the 1990's when the schools for the Deaf started teaching the children Japanese language with the use of sign language. Until then sign language was assumed to prevent the acquisition of Japanese, and the schools for the Deaf had taught by the aural-oral method that used auditory -oral training and letters".
The aural-oral method would not be effective in the result if the Deaf children do not have enough hearing and their Japanese language development would be insufficient. Communication with hearing persons through poor writing often causes various obstacles in the Deaf life.
The Tokyo Federation of the Deaf has been operating the free writing course for 30 years or more for the Deaf. The class runs for two and a half hours once a week for five months. The students can choose any class of an interesting theme.