Courses on International Signs to be held in Tokyo

The course concerning International Signs will be held in Tokyo in February and March, 2010, sponsoring by Japanese ASL Signers Society (JASS). All the lecturers are Deaf. No spoken interpretation.


●Date: February 6, Saturday, 14:00-16:00
Theme: "How did I come to know International Signs?"

Lecturer: Mihoko Ueda
a Deaf family member in Nara. She began to learn ASL in 1988, and International Signs in 1995. Active as an International Signs interpreter with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Osaka, etc. for 15 years as well as an ASL interpreter. A member of the JSL research group.

●Date: March 20, Saturday, 14:00-16:00
Theme "My encounters with Deaf people in Europe"

Lecturer: Yumiko Nagai
She has made a solo journey in Africa and Europe for a few years until last year, acquiring International Signs through meeting Deaf people during her trip.

●Date: March 27, Saturday
(for details to be announced)

The lecturer will be Ichiro Miyamoto, President of the Tokyo Federation of the Deaf and the Director of the WFD Asia/Pacific Regional Secretariat as well as a JASS' International Signs curriculum development committee member.

Japanese source:
DEAF-NEWS (subscription)

Hearing students learn Deaf experiences at school in Nagano Prefecture

The Deaf lecturer (right) teaches the hearing
students as a part of the welfare course.

The Takato High School in Ina City, Nagano Prefecture, has offered the welfare course to expand the knowledge and experience on welfare, including sign language besides study concerning nursing care for elderly people.

The first-year students in the welfare course met with two Deaf persons, who gave a speech respectively on January 18.

Takashi Sato, who is hard of hearing, said, "When you use sign language, the facial expression is as important as the hand movements. The use of facial expression helps your feelings be easily understood".

Sadayuki Shirotori, a born Deaf man, told the students about his experience. "In old times the Deaf people had been looked down with cold eyes in the whole town when to communicate in sign language. So we used to sign as long as people were not around us". The Deaf had experienced hardships because of the discrimination at that time.

In the class, the hearing students introduced themselves with sign language, and the lecturers gave them the quiz concerning sign language.

Sadayuki called to students at the end of the class, "Please learn a lot of sign language even though it might be difficult for you".

Japanese source:

Deaf nightclub hostess found pregnant

Rie Saito, Deaf nightclub hostess
with her books (photo:

It was found out on January 28 that Rie Saito (25) has been pregnant for 6 months. She hit the peak to be the No.1 hostess in Ginza, Tokyo despite of deafness.

Rie, who is a single, told her close friends about the man who would be father, "We have already parted. I don't even plan to marry him". It reveals her resolution to raise the baby by herself.

The book on Rie's upbringing "The Hostess in Writing" which was published last spring, became one of the best-selling books with over 130,000 copies last year, and it was just made to the drama with the TBS broadcasting station on January 10.

Japanese source:

Hearing professional to teach Deaf how to make paper in Egypt

Paper making professional,
Sadako Ueda (left), at work.

Sadako Ueda, a Japanese paper making worker in Tokushima Prefecture, will visit Egypt and teach the paper making at a paper atelier for nine days from February 1.

The purpose of her visit is to support the local industry of the paper making. She will convey the technique of the Japanese style for the paper making.

Sadako has kept working on paper making for about 30 years, as a traditional craft expert recognized by the former Ministry of International Trade and Industry in 1994. She says, "I am glad if the Japanese traditional industry is useful in the country far from here".

She will work at the paper atelier managed by a social welfare agency for the Deaf in Cairo, a vocational school that trains about ten Deaf students.

If the paper making technique that uses a local agricultural waste such as the mulukhiya (molokheiya), the okra, and cotton were established, the agency hopefully gropes for employment in the manufacturing of the paper product such as souvenirs for sales in Egypt.

Japanese source:

No interpreting provided in lay judge election:Deaf association demands for cause investigation

Mutsuko Yamanaka, President of Kochi Prefecture
Association of the Deaf (right) and members of
the interpreting group enter the district court
for submitting the request .

Mutsuko Yamanaka, President of Kochi Prefecture Association of the Deaf and representatives of the local group of the interpreters submitted a letter of demand to the Kochi District Court on January 27.

The Deaf woman who attended the Kochi district court for the election procedure of the lay judge trial was not provided interpreting.

The group requested the district court to answer on seven items such like the cause investigation, etc. related to the problem of its neglecting arrangements of the interpreter.

They also asked for more understanding on the court staff of persons with disabilities, too. The written response is requested.

Mutsuko says, "We want the court staff to learn sign language. There are different types in hearing loss. We want they advance understanding of the disability community as a whole and work in a good direction. We hope the court respects and secures the right of all persons with disabilities to participate in the trial".

The district court administration section officials who met with Mutsuko and the others deeply apologized for the trouble and promised to examine it. They didn't refer to the date for the written reply .

Mutsuko gave an interview to reporters that she felt satisfied. As for the problem that the district court did not clarify the reason for removing the Deaf person, she said it would be a serious human-right violation if they did so because of deafness".

The Association is scheduled to invite the district court staff to its meetings on the night, January 29. "We want them to hear the true opinion of the Deaf".

Japanese resource:

District court refusing to make clear why not to select Deaf as lay judge

In the first lay judge trial at the Kochi District Court in the Kochi Prefecture, the court neglected arrangements of the interpreter for the Deaf woman who attended the lay judge's election procedure.

The district court did not clarify the reason for not electing her on January 26 when each media company requested the answer, as stating, "It is necessary to consider the candidate's privacy as a statutory board".

The regulations of the lay judge system states: the person disqualified as as lay judge has a remarkable obstacle in the accomplishment of the duty as the lay judge because of the mental or physical impairment.

The district court refuses the explanation whether this regulations were applied for the Deaf candidate, or the public prosecutor and the lawyer claimed to remove her, or she was leaked by lot. Also the district court said it was not possible to explain the ground for their answer.

It has been said that the interpreter was not arranged then though the district court noticed their mistake in the arrangement on that day of the election procedure. It might have been expected that the public trial would be delayed, too, if the Deaf woman were elected the lay judge.

The Kochi Prefecture Association of the Deaf said that they would have at once secured the interpreter at the request even if it were on that day. "The district court should clarify the reason why they deprived the Deaf of the legal right to participate in the trial".

Japanese resource:

Local Lions Club donates electronic boards to Deaf school children

At the presentation ceremony
from the left: Wakayama Lions Club Chairman Kasamatsu, principal Kanagawa, Horiguchi, Nishioka, and Nishitani (photo:

The Wakayama Lions Club donated five electronic boards to the Wakayama Prefectural School for the Deaf on January 20.

Ryota Horiguchi (18), president of the Student Assembly, Yuichi Nishioka (17), vice president, and Youko Nishitani (17), secretary, attended the presentation ceremony with Kanagawa, principal.

After the letter of presentation was handed to Kanagawa, Ryota stated appreciation for the gift from the Lions Club in sign language on behalf of the students.

The club has continued the commemoration project on the 50th anniversary, donating six million yen in total to seven places including schools, welfare institutions, and sports groups, etc.

There has been an electric board in the elementary section. The new electric boards will be set up in the elementary school, the junior high school, and the high school each.

Principal Kanagawa said, "With the use of an electric board, it is easy for the Deaf children to understand because not only the textbook but also the image is used. The teachers can have composure as the time of the teaching material-making will be shortened".

After the presentation ceremony, a dogwood was planted commemorating the Club's effort in the schoolyard.

Japanese source:

Statistics of Deaf teachers across Japan

There are 315 Deaf teachers and staff members across Japan as of October 1, 2009.

Schools for the Deaf:
263 teachers, etc.

Schools for the children with disabilities:
22 teachers, etc.

Japanese source:
Document from the National Conference of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Teachers

Signed DVD to be produced on Deaf experience during the earthquake and evacuation

A Deaf man tells his disaster experience
in front of the camera.

The year, 2010, is the turning point of 15 years since the last earthquake in Kobe City and Awajishima, Hyogo prefecture. It is also a time to speak up the problems the Deaf people had faced.

The Hyogo Prefectural Information Center for the Deaf is producing DVD in caption and JSL, titled "Deaf experiences in the Earthquake as record", to introduce the testimony of the Deaf persons struck by the Great Hanshin Earthquake .

DVD, which is planned to be completed in March, tells that the spoken or audio information does not help the Deaf victims who mainly depend on visual information in the critical situation.

Ten members have started telling their story since December at the center. Each signed for about 15 minutes in front of the camera.

Tadahisa Kagotani (61), a company employee, spoke the trouble in the evacuation life. "I did not understand the announcement for the time of the meal distribution, so I stood in a row in the tail and often missed my meal".

Taeko Yamamura (75) did not noticed the evacuation order when there was a possibility of the explosion in the gasholder nearby immediately after the earthquake.

"When my husband and I were in the car, we noticed a lot of people moved past quickly the outside. I finally understood only after one of my neighbors wrote a word, "Tank" on ground by the stone and made a gesture meaning something explosive.

Taeko says, "After all, there was no explosion and we were relieved. I did not quite understand the spoken evacuation order".

Sueko Iwao (76) talked about the difficulties in the temporary shelter where she lived after the earthquake. The neighbors stormed in when she was watching TV late at night. "The volume of TV was the maximum before I knew". Also they warned about the noisy sound of the washing machine, and so the stress built up in her.

Masanori Kada, the director of the center, points out, "Textual information is indispensable for the Deaf".

Hyogo Prefecture Office and the Center have been providing the Deaf community with the emergency information on availability of the interpreting service, etc through the free "Hyogo Disaster Prevention Net" e-mail since April, 2005, which 477 Deaf persons have registered so far.

Japanese source:

Story telling performed by Deaf man and woman with visual impairment

Akie Kawashima (left) and Toru Enomoto (right)

A collaborated show, titled "Old woman's fireworks", by Toru Enomoto, a Deaf performer of the Deaf Puppet Theater "Hitomi", and Akie Kawashima, a story narrator with visual impairment, will take place on Saturday, January 30, 2010, 14:15-15:00 in Tokyo.

Akie reads the story aloud, and Toru expresses it in JSL at the same time. Enjoy the unusual world of the story by their performance.

Sponsoring is the Common Goods Net, a volunteer group which aims to make the society disability-friendly with the use of universal goods and the barrier-free service.

Japanese source:
DEAF-NEWS (subscription)

Lecture meeting: Hints of "Bringing up a child"

The Information and Culture Center for the Deaf, Inc. will hold a lecture meeting concerning the child care in Tokyo on February 28. The theme of this lecture meeting is twofold; "Bringing up a Deaf child" and "Bring up a Coda".

Morning session: 10:00-12:00
"Bringing up a Deaf child"
It is fun to bringing up a Deaf child in Japanese Sign Language (JSL).

Hearing members of the National Association of the Parents having the Deaf Children

A private school for the Deaf was established in Tokyo to educate the Deaf children in JSL. The JSL class started in a public school for the Deaf in Hokkaido. Such values have been diversified, and the environment that surrounds the deaf child has changed much now.

The lecturers, who enjoy bringing up their Deaf children, will talk about a new value of bringing up their child in JSL who is visually oriented.

Afternoon session: 13:30-15:30
"The Adolescent Coda: I want to talk more deeply with my parents"

Tomoko Shibuya, a docent of Saitama Prefectural University whose work focuses on Coda

When Deaf parents bring up their hearing child (coda), they are often worried how they communicate with the child, will the child is bullied for the reason that the parents are Deaf, etc.

Let us lighten the burden for a moment and discuss the environment where the coda grows up without any inhibitions together.

This session serves not only the Deaf parents who are currently bringing up their hearing child, but also the youth who will be parents some day, family members and interpreters, etc.

Japanese source:
DEAF-NEWS (subscription)

Deaf climber succeeds in reaching highest peak in South America

Yasuyuki Okubo at Cerro Aconcagua,
the highest peak in Argentina,
one of the Seven Summits
(photo: DEAF-NEWS)

Yasuyuki Okubo, a Deaf man from Kanazawa City in Ishikawa Prefecture, has succeeded in reaching the top of the highest mountain peak called Cerro Aconcagua (6960m) in Argentina, South America at 15:43 on January 3, 2010 (3:43 on January 4 in Japan standard time).

He was the first Deaf person in the world to climb the fourth mountain summit among seven continent highest peaks.

The following is a comment from Yasuyuki.

"When reaching the top of the mountain, I was very full with the heart. I made it finally though the climbing mountain period was pretty long. I feel energetic now without any trouble like the altitude sickness, etc. I wish to express my gratitude to everybody who is rooting for me.

I am taking a break now, and meet with the local Deaf people in Argentina and Chile, and then return home on January 17 after the adventure travel is completed".

Related link:

About Cerro Aconcagua:

Japanese source:
DEAF-NEWS (subscription)

Deaf professional pitcher trains himself off season

Pitcher Yuya Ishii
whose activity is expected as relay
for coming season

Yuya Ishii (28), a Yokohama Bay Stars' pitcher, trained himself alone in the Yokohama Bay Stars Ground in Yokosuka City on January 19, sweating for about four hours by catching and the defense practice, etc.

He was appointed to the first stage of the last season and was not able to make the result, saying, "I want to contribute to victory as a relay next season".

The pressure that he has not ever been felt when he was to suppress the opposite team. And, he felt strongly this time. "If communications are not taken with the fielder, it is useless".

He did not understood how to deal with his own feeling against the heat though he took the plate of the final game.

The fielder runs up in the scene of the pinch and encourages the pitcher, which might save him from the predicament. "I really did not understand what they said to me, and also my message didn't get them, too".

Yuya has gone up to the professional world overcoming his own deafness. However, he had not requested the fielder's voice like this in a current mound.

It was not easy for him to get over with his uneasiness amplified to make it out of the falling vicious circle whenever the batter hit the ball. Yuya reflects, saying that it would be necessary for him to speak more.

However, the left leg was hurt at the camp last spring and a true slump was that the lower half of his body had not been so strengthened", which was a paramount cause, as he says.

Yuya has vowed to lift up the winning ball in front of the grave of the late father who recommended him to play baseball. Since father died last June, Yuya had made neither the win nor save.

"I want to report on a good result as soon as possible". Such a desire has supported him on the mound.

Japanese source:

More writing skill classes offered for Deaf in Tokyo

Six company employees after the work attended the "Writing skill improvement seminar" for the Deaf, which started at 19:00, in a room in the building in Tokyo since early January.

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.

Japanese source:

Interpreting not provided to Deaf lay judge candidate in district court

The Kochi District Court
that had failed the Deaf woman's request
for interpreting at court.

The Kochi District Court in Kochi Prefecture started the lay judge trial on January 19. It was found out that the court had not arranged interpreting for a Deaf woman. She was called to attend it as one of the lay judge candidates.

The district court had overlooked her request for the interpreter needed beforehand with the document.

The woman communicated with the court staff in writing, and as a result she was not elected to nine lay judges including replenishment.

When the woman went home, she handed a note to the staff. It was stated; "I did demand for interpreting beforehand, and you totally overlooked it. I am sorry I came to hate the court".

The court office found that they made a mistake and sent a letter of apology to her by fax.

According to the Office of Public Affairs of the Supreme Court, if Deaf lay judge candidates ask for the interpreting service, any district court must arrange it to meet their needs.

The Kochi Prefecture Association of the Deaf will shortly send a letter to the Kochi District Court to demand for accommodations so that the Deaf may participate in the system".

Japanese source:

Invitation to the Deaf to visit major confectionery shop

How is the cake that we always eat made? Let's go to visit together to see the process of making cake, pastry, candies, etc.

A social welfare agency, named the Information and Culture Center for the Deaf, offers a free tour of the visit at the factory.

Date: Thursday, February 25, 2010, 14:00-16:00

Place: Tsurumi factory under Morinaga & Co., Ltd. (Tsurumi Ward, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture)

Capacity: 30 Deaf or hard of hearing persons

Japanese source:
DEAF-NEWS (subscription)

Deaf professional to lecture on social welfare at Tokyo

Social work is a technique to support a person who has some problem. Any Deaf person also occasionally needs support in the field of mental health and social welfare. However, there are currently very few Deaf professionals certified as a social welfare counselor or a psychiatric social worker, etc.

The Lecture Series, titled "What is social welfare for the Deaf?: The United States and Japan" will introduce overseas circumstances centering on 8 topics such as the basis of the social welfare system, the interpreting system, abuse, senior citizens, gender, immigrants, poverty, mental diseases, and so on.

- Date: every Tuesday starting on January 26 , 2010, 19:00-20:30 (for 8 weeks)

- Sponsoring: Japanese ASL Signers Society (JASS)

Official site in English:

- No spoken interpreting.

Kota Takayama, who will be a lecturer for the Series, was one of the recipients of the scholarship from The Nippon Foundation to study abroad. He earned an MA in social work at Gallaudet University in May, 2009. He works at a residential facility for Deaf children as a counselor in Tokyo. A board member of the Japanese Deaf Social Counselors Society.

Japanese source:
DEAF-NEWS (subscription)

12th All Deaf Japan Theater Conference & Acting Seminar to be held in February in Tokyo

The event is held in a few years with the aim to upgrade the Deaf performance standard through the workshop on basic acting and to deepen fellowship among Deaf participants from across Japan.

February 6 (Saturday) - February 7 (Sunday), 2010
Theme: Film : acting and production
All Deaf Japan Theatre Conference and
the Japanese Theater of the Deaf
Place: Totto Cultural Center* in Tokyo

*Official website in English:

- To learn the basic knowledge of film-making, and learn how to direct with the use of scenario in one scene. Also discuss how to act based on one scene of the film.
- To take a shot with the camera to be reviewed by the participants and learn the relationship of stage performance and the film image.
- For the director class, to learn the base of the production and the composition, and give acting guidance to the actor.

- Lecturers (all Deaf)
Kentaro Hayase (movie director)
Tetsuya Izaki (acting leader of the Japan Theater of the Deaf company), and
Takashi Shouzaki (leader of a pantomime group, "Office Kaze")

Saturday, February 6
11:00 - 12:00
Meeting for performers and actors
Film workshop
15:00 - 18:00
Actor class: "Acting"
Director class: "Production"
19:00 Fellowship party

Sunday, February 7
Actor class: "Acting practice"
Director class: "Production practice"
11:00 - 13:00
Class presentations/closing ceremony

Japanese source:
DEAF-NEWS (subscription)

9th Sign Language Studies Seminar to take place in Kyoto

In Japan, Ainu Language, one of the languages used mostly in Hokkaido, a northern island in Japan, is on the way to disappearance because fewer and fewer people speak it nowadays.

In the morning session, Dr. Yutaka Nakagawa, an Ainu language expert who has worked on the research, succession, and the preservation of Ainu language, will speak.

In the afternoon session, the members of the Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies will present a report on each topic of study.

Date: 10:00-16:00, Sunday, January 24, 2010

Place: National Sign Language Training Center, Inc., "Community Sagano" in Kyoto

Sponsoring: National Sign Language Training Center, Inc., Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies

Special Lecture: "Ainu Language: Present and Future"
Lecturer: Dr. Yutaka Nakagawa
(Humanities Social Science Research Professor, National Universities Corporation, Chiba University)

Report by the Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies members
- Making of video teaching material for trial purposes for the Deaf infant
(Deaf Education Group)

- About the visual check level of sign language
(Standardized Sign Language Spread Group)

- The collection of the proper nouns in sign languages in countries around the world: To edit the "world sign language vocabulary guide book
(Foreign Sign Language Research Group)

Japanese source:
DEAF-NEWS (subscription)

Deaf marathon runner travels to Africa and meets counterparts

Hisashi Nagai (center) trains
with the Deaf African runners.

Hisashi Nagai (53), a Deaf marathon runner, has conquered the marathon meets in each of the all 47 prefectures of Japan. He recently visited 5 countries in Africa by himself that was his long-cherished dream, and met local Deaf runners.

Hisashi participated in domestic and foreign meets including the long-distance race since he was in the third grade of junior high-school. He established the Deaf Japan record of 2:31:30 for the full marathon in 1983. He has traveled around the world, and, up to now, 55 countries.

Hisashi made up his mind to visit 5 countries to know how faster Deaf Africa runners were, but the travel agency expressed disapproval of his tour plan because of a poor public safety there. He met a Kenyan group who won most of the gold medals at the Deaflympic Games in September, 2009, and determined his solo trip in Africa.

After he had arrived in Ethiopia, he moved on by bus using gestures all the way. He visited facilities for the Deaf and the universities, etc. in Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania, presenting shoes and wear for the marathon, etc. which he brought in from Japan.

In Kenya, the final location, Hisashi stayed in lodgings of local Deaf runners with whom he had deepened the friendship through e-mail. He was overwhelmed with their physical strength and the willpower. They trained hard even at midnight while they did not have a job and were poor.

Hisashi concentrates on the practice further because, he says, "I want to tell the Deaf community in Japan about my experience so that they become more interested in the marathon".

Japanese source:

Deaf school children learn how to use emergency text message via cellular phone

The officer (right) explains to the Deaf students
about how to use the emergency text messages
through interpreting. (photo:

The crime prevention workshop was held at Yamanashi Prefectural School for the Deaf on January 14. About 20 junior high school and high school students participated.

Kusakabe, a police officer, explained that if they encounter a criminal scene or accident, they report what kind of trouble, the time when it happened and the place where you stand.

The students received a mock training of which they informed with the text message by using the cellular phone on the assumption of having encountered the damage of the hit and run on the way home.

The workshop was held to give the Deaf children a chance to know more about the emergency report system using the cellular phone. A traffic rule, etc. were taught to the kindergarten children and the elementary school children, too.

Japanese source:

Persons with disabilities participate in meeting to reform legal system related to disability

Deaf representatives sit (left) in front of
the interpreters in the meeting room.

The Government held the first meeting of a disability group, called the Persons with Disabilities System Reform and Promotion Council, on January 12, to review the overall laws and policies related to disability, and each representative of disability groups, including the Japanese Federation of the Deaf, and families participated.

At the beginning, Mizuho Fukushima, the Minister responsible for the task remarked, "It is a historical day today. We want to definitely achieve what the persons concerned and their families say, 'No way without us'".

Mr. Eiichi Ogawa, a representative from Japan DPI, was elected a chairperson.

Those who attended made requests for the management of the council, such as "Install the microphone to pick up the voice clearly", "The material used for the meeting must be converted into braille prior to the meeting", etc.

Lack of observation by concerned persons and groups at the meeting was
pointed out, too. The summary of the meeting will be possibly viewed on the Internet, as they say.

The council will meet monthly and develop the interim report about the basic disability policy by summer.

Japanese source:

Deaf owner to close his noodle shop that patrons order by sign language

Koichi Sato (left), the Deaf owner and chef
of a noodle shop, makes a bowl of
"buckwheat noodle", the best menu he is proud of.

A noodle shop, called "Izumosoba", which is owned by a Deaf man for 40 years near JR Niigata Station, will be closed at the end of January.

Koichi Sato (66), the born-deaf shop owner is also a chef. He went to Tokyo after he left the school for the deaf and became a disciple at a noodle shop. He learned the trade hard for nine years.

When he came to make buckwheat vermicelli very well for himself, he got prepared to start his own shop in his hometown in Niigata Prefecture.

In spite of being opposed by his father because of his deafness, he finally opened the shop in 1970, and he has kept doing business with the family and the part-timers since then.

For a early period since the opening of the shop, Koichi was not aware of guests coming in at first, who left the shop with anger. He earned very little, but he politely explained to people about his deafness and more patrons visited the shop.

Soon some of patrons came to answer the telephone, to help with taking order for Koichi. It has been natural that these guests thoughtful of the shop owner point at the menu, or use sign language to order.

A plan to rebuild the building, of which Koichi is a tenant, was final last year. Considering the high cost to renew his shop and a successor whom he lacks, he decided to close it.

One of the patrons says, "In this shop, people, Deaf or hearing, can get together, too. It is a happy time when we drink all night even if time of closing the store is passed. I regret that the shop will not be any more".

The shop will be closed as soon as buckwheat flour is totally gone though closing the store is scheduled for January 25.

Koichi said with a grin, "I was lucky enough to come though with the kind support of my patrons though I have had often a hard time because of my deafness".

Japanese source:

Lay judge system explained in signed DVD, developed by Deaf center in Hyogo Prefecture

Masanori Kada shows the signed DVDs
that explains the outline of the lay judge system

Hyogo Prefectural Center for the Deaf located in Kobe City, next to Osaka, developed DVD to explain the outline of the lay judge system in sign language in order to promote greater understanding in the Deaf community. Masanori Kada (44), the director who is Deaf, says, "We will be glad if Deaf persons see the DVD, willing to becoming the lay judge some day".

If the trial term, too difficult for the Deaf to understand, were signed, it will be much easier for the majority of Deaf people than texts, according to the center staff. So, the center requested cooperation from the Kobe district court when they developed the singed DVD, and completed 2 DVDs last summer.

The first DVD features that the judge in the Kobe district court answers the question by the Deaf lay judge in the sign language about the system through the interpreter. The images of court and meeting room used for the lay judge trial are also shown.

The second DVD focuses on the assumption that the Deaf were selected on the lay judge slate. They advance the procedure while consulting with the Center staff.

When the Deaf participate in the lay judge trial, it is pointed out that it may be difficult for them in the public trial for which proof with the recording tape is necessary, and that few interpreters are well equipped with the trial term , etc.

Kada says, "It is important that the Deaf understand clearly how the system works first of all though there are a lot of issues. Any Deaf person chosen as one of the lay judges is hopefully function well".

Japanese source:

Deaf school boy aspiring to become professional baseball player

Soma Hironaka (right) practices on batting
with the advice of his coach (left).

The All Yamato Boys in Nara Prefecture has a Deaf boy, named Soma Hironaka. He is a junior high school freshman at the Nara Prefecture School for the Deaf.

Soma, who became deaf when he was 7 months old, is 148 cm tall and weighs 40 kg, a rather small physique for a player. However, Coach Agi says, "Soma's speed to react by sight and the self-judgment are much the same as any hearing player, aside the physical look".

Soma who had seen his father, Akihiro, playing amateur baseball is a right throw left-hander. His defense position is an infielder chiefly and a pitcher.

The captain, Oyagi, says, "If we make O (okay) or X (no way) with the fingers, we can communicate with Soma. When he does not understand, we write".

When Soma was a fourth grader, he used to throw and catch the ball with Hiromasa Okashita, a hearing boy five year senior. He is a high school senior, and one of the old boys in the league. He played at the National High School Baseball Championships last summer.

Hiromasa says, "Playing baseball with Soma was our communication. I am glad that he keeps playing baseball. He is like my little brother".

Ever since Soma followed Hiromasa as his role model, who inspired him to continue the sport after he became a junior high school student.

The Boys League requires each player to report the date of birth for screening before the baseball game starts. They limits the bench only with the supervisor, the coach, and the person in charge. However, they would permit the parents to accompany if a letter explaining the reason is submitted to the league.

When he was a fourth grader, Soma once wrote: "I want to become a professional baseball player". This may not a dream to him at all as a few Deaf or hard of hearing professional baseball players are active nowadays in Japan.

Japanese source:

Deaf woman drafted by professional baseball team is the eldest player

Tomomi Yamamoto, a Deaf southpaw
for the Kyoto Astodreams team

A Deaf southpaw has had the strong zeal for baseball.

Tomomi Yamamoto (33), deaf since birth has lived baseball life more positively than anyone. She has played with the hearing aid. She started playing baseball when she was a fourth grader by the influence of her father, Shunji (59), a pro-baseball fan.

Tomomi participated in the woman professional baseball league (LPB) in Florida in 1998 after she graduated from the junior college. However, the league was dissolved in one month, and she came home in despair. She visited the U.S. again when she learned that the citizens league was founded in Boston, and she played for the league for two seasons in 1999 and 2001.

She joined the baseball club in Fukuoka, her hometown, in 2002, and played with the men in the preliminary game of the city championships. When Tomomi was hired by the delivery truck company in 2003, soft baseball became one of her hobbies.

However, the story of the new women professional baseball league (GPBL) to be established made her so restless that she quit the company and was drafted by the Kyoto Astodreams team.

Tomomi, the eldest player of the women baseball league, comments, "I want to show how wonderful the women baseball is". She will play for the fist time in 12 years this upcoming spring.

Japanese source:

Policemen learn sign language for emergency together with Deaf

The policeman (left) use sign language
to communicate with deaf persons.

The Kotsu Police Station located in Shimane Prefecture, a part of western Japan, held the sign language workshop intended for the officers in the police station on January 9.

About 50 Deaf residents in Kotsu City participated. Both the groups learned how to communicate in sign language in case of emergency such as criminal affairs and accidents.

When Susumu Iwatake (66), the lecturer and leader of the Kotsu sign language circle, "Ribbon", and other members expressed the terms concerning the police activity, such as a policeman, a criminal, and a thief, in sign language, the officers immediately copied the lecturer's hand movements.

One of the officers asked the Deaf persons in sign language about the feature of the car and the situation of damage in assumptions of having encountered hit and run on the car, destroying inside the car, etc.

Moreover, the officers explained the emergency system using the number, 110, along with the use of fax, and e-mail to the Deaf participants.

Takayoshi Ougihata, the head of the Police Station, who joined the workshop, said, "It is necessary to understand other party's feelings when to hear the story. We want to communicate well with all persons with disabilities".

Japanese source:

Deaf hostess speaks at coming of age ceremony in her hometown in Aomori Prefecture

Rie Saito puts down her message
which is projected on the large-scale screen
on the stage (photo:

Rie Saito (25), who lost hearing due to sickness, wrote a book on her half life, titled "The hostess who talks in writing". About 128,000 copies have been sold out as one of the best selling books.

The Mainichi Broadcasting produced a drama based on the book to be aired at 21:00 on January 10th.

As the book tells, Rie was a rebellious girl against her parents who gave her a severe discipline since the childhood, and chose the road to become a hostess until she gripped a lot of minds of the people in Ginza, Tokyo.

The Coming of Age ceremony took place in Aomori City, a part of northern Japan, on January 10, which about 2000 young people aged 20 participated.

Rie, a native from Aomori City, gave her message, which was projected onto the large-scale screen, "The life without hardness is an easy life. The life with hardness is fortunate".

When asked, "How would you recover yourself when you are in a painful situation?" she answered, "When you feel painful, it means you are on the way to happiness. I accept it in a positive way".

In closing, Rie reminded the young audience, "Please never forget the feeling of thankfulness".

Junki Tanaka (19), a hearing university student, said, "Her message sounded impressive. I will appreciated my parents' love and want to become independent in society in the future".

Japanese sources:

Report meeting on sign language trial to be held in Nagoya City this January

The judge recognized sign language as a true language of the Deaf at the final trial on the traffic accident on November 25, 2009.

The Deaf plaintiff, Kimiko Oya, has lost the control to use the little finger while signing after the traffic accident since a few years ago.

The Aichi Prefecture Association of the Deaf had called for support in the Deaf community since the first trial hearing in 2008.

The association will hold a meeting on the case in Nagoya City on Sunday, January 31, 2010, to which Oya, a Deaf woman, will be invited to talk on her experience with the legal issue. Also reports on the progress of a case and the focus will be made, as well as how this legal decision will affect the future of the Deaf community will be discussed.

- Program
1. Reviews on the trial through the photographs and the Association's newsletters.

2.Talk with Oya as a Deaf plaintiff

3.Talk on law and lawsuit by lawyer Hiroyuki Tahara who led the trial to winning the case as proxy for the plaintiff

Related link:

Japanese source:
DEAF-NEWS (subscription)

Deaf Japan professional wrestlers to hold event in Tokyo in February

Flyer on the event scheduled for February

Not only Deaf professional wrestling games, but also the event to entertain the audience with a variety of programs, such as sign songs, sign dances, etc., will be held in Tokyo on February 20, Saturday evening, 2010. Sponsored by "Hero", the Deaf Japan professional wrestling group.

It aims to promote the exchange between hearing persons and Deaf counterparts, as well as to give the Deaf courage and excitement.

official website:(Japanese)

Japanese source:
DEAF-NEWS (subscription)

Deaf gold medalist joins coming-of-age celebration at her hometown in Oita Prefecture

Saya Kurimoto (left) in kimono,
representing the new adult group,
receives adult bond
from Mayor Hirobumi Nagamatsu

The Coming of Age ceremony took place in the central public hall in Bungotakada City on January 5, 2010, first ever this year in Oita Prefecture in the southern island of Japan.

About 250 young people entered the manhood/womanhood. In best clothes, the hakama (traditional wear for boys), and kimono (traditional Japanese clothes), they, shouted with joy to reunion with their old classmates, and took pictures of themselves for commemoration.

The Coming of Age ceremony is held in the city on January 5 every year so that new adults may participate when they come home during the New Year holidays.

Saya Kurimoto (20), a gold medallist on the Karate at the last Deaflympic Games, received an adult bond on behalf of the new adults.

Mayor Hirobumi Nagamatsu appealed for the importance of the challenge and meeting someone when the job insecurity still continues. "The right way comes into view surely".

Japanese source:

Large sum of inheritance donated to help Deaf and seniors in Kamakura City

Junko Kato, a hearing woman aged 80, had died in the fire of her home in Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture next to Tokyo, in December, 2007.

Her inheritance of about 128 million yen was donated to the city on December 22, 2009.

Junko had lived with her elder sister, Miwako. She died in March, 2007, and Junko inherited her legacy.

Junko made the will of the properties including the land, the checks, etc. in October, 2007, saying that all the properties would be used to help the Deaf and the seniors living alone." She died two months later.

Mayor Takashi Matsuo commented, "We will consider the use of donation that meets Ms. Kato's dying wishes".

Japanese source:

Video phone system in city office only available for Deaf starts

The counselor (left) responds to an inquiry
from a Deaf consumer through video phone.

The system that responds to inquiries or requests from the Deaf in sign language through the Internet and the use of video phone has started in the Hiroshima City Office in Hiroshima Prefecture, a western part of Japan.

The computer with the video phone and the web camera was set up in the Welfare for Persons with Disabilities Division on the third floor.

The Deaf applicant uses the net service called "Skype" which offers the free call to connect with the computer in the city office.

Or, if either the NTT telecommunications device or a cellular phone called FOMA, all in which the video phone is installed, is used, it connects with the video phone in the city office, too.

The counselor in the office responds in sign language during the office hours, 9:30-12:00 and 13:00-16:00, Monday through Friday, giving advice on the support system and various forms of applications.

The fund is provided to help the Deaf purchase the web camera and the video phone.

Japanese source: