Hearing singer to MC for national TV program on sign language starting in April

Eriko Imai (26), a hearing singer of a music girl group "SPEED", attended the press conference for the new series on the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation: NHK) Educational TV Program titled "Every one's Sign Language" (Sunday, 19:00) in Tokyo on March 29.

She will be an MC for the weekly program which will start on April 4.

She has a Deaf son Raimu (5) and they daily communicate in sign language.

She said, "I have watched the TV program since my son was born. I am very excited to appear on the weekly program".

Group of Deaf students performs at spring theater workshop in Nara Prefecture

Deaf students perform up on a stage
during the theater workshop.

The spring theater workshop was held in a cultural hall on March 22, sponsored by the Nara Prefecture High School League.

The drama clubs including the Nara Prefecture School for the Deaf participated to show their work. Ten Deaf junior high school and high school students gave performance for the first time.

The theme focused on the life and the death at the nursing facility for homeless children. While including comical scenes, the message was clear; "Let's live positively".

The story moved centering on the boy who had been abused by his parents and the girl whose parents died in an accident because of her refusal to go to school.

The drama was featured by sign language, facial expressions and the bodily movement to convey feelings more deeply. The caption was projected by the screen on the stage side so that all spectators might understand.

JSL research symposium to take place in Tokyo in April

It has been 40 years since the sign language method committee was formed by the Japanese Federation of the Deaf. It was later reorganized to the Japanese Institute of Sign Language Studies (JISLS). Since then the sign language vocabulary books titled "Our sign language" were published.

JISLS under the National Sign Language Training Center will hold the symposium at Showa University located in Tokyo on April 29, 2010, 10:00-16:30. It aims to look back on a current trend of the research to spread the standard sign language at national level and to discuss the future development of the entire sign language research.


10:00 Lecture
Dr. Samuel Supalla
Deaf faculty member of University of Arizona
Theme: "Sign language linguistics and Deaf education"

13:00 Special lecture
Eiichi Takada
Former JFD President
First JISLS Director

13:30 Keynote speech
Dr. Yutaka Osugi
Deaf associate professor of Tsukuba University of Technology
Theme: Report on the result of "the research on development of mapping the Japanese sign language across Japan" that was conducted with the cooperation of the Japanese Federation of the Deaf and its 47 member chapters.

13:50 Panel discussions
Theme: Diversity in sign language: generation and regional differences

Bibi school in Tokyo congrats on first Deaf graduates in March

First seven Deaf graduates at the Meisei School
(photo: http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/tokyo/20100320/CK2010032002000086.html)

The Meisei School located in Tokyo held the first elementary graduation ceremony on March 19, 2010. It was founded two years ago as the first school in Japan to offer the Bilingual-bicultural program; the Deaf children are educated in JSL and Deaf culture.

The graduation ceremony was conducted in JSL and captioning. Each student received the diploma from principal Michio Saito.

Seven graduates will enter the junior high school newly established at the same school in April. Akihiro Yonaiyama, executive director who is Deaf, encouraged the leaving students, saying, "keep studying even during the spring recess for the new term".

Miwa Katagiri was energetic saying she would work hard too in the junior high school. Chu Tamada said, "Because of our parents, we could study at the school" and each student presented a letter of the gratitude to their parents respectively who had made efforts to the establishment of the school.

Principal Saito recalled in the deep emotion, "We were at first worried because of the disability that the students have, but they did so well that we believed the direction of our educational was not wrong".

Princess Kiko visits Deaf school after national conference in Tottori Prefecture

Her Highness Akishinonomiya speaks to kindergartners who performed as a part of attraction before the opening ceremony at the Conference.
(photo: http://www.nnn.co.jp/news/100320/20100320034.html)

Her Highness Akishinonomiya visited the Tottori School for the Deaf, etc. after the National Tuberculosis Prevention Conference in Tottori Prefecture before returning to her royal residence on March 19, 2010.

She visited the parting ceremony at the kindergarten Department in the Tottori School for the Deaf. She watched the leaving Deaf children given flowers and words. When she spoke signing to them, who soon surrounded and touched her, which was an unexpected event.

Princess Kiko also observed the activities by the students from elementary to high school level, singing with them together with sign language, appreciating works of the photograph and the print, etc.

When one of the students explained the black-and-white photo to her, she said, "The expression of the light and shadow is difficult. Please work hard".

Workshop on the lay judge trial with Deaf held in Tokushima prefecture

The Social Welfare Association of the Deaf, the National Study Society on Interpreting Issues Tokushima Chapter and the staff of the Tokushima District Court held the workshop on March 4 to examine how they should do when Deaf persons were selected as a lay judge or candidate.

At the workshop, the lay judge election procedure, court proceeding, and the discussion on a penalty were conducted. The staff also explained to 38 Deaf persons and 8 interpreters the case when the person with disability became a candidate or lay judge .

There was a moot court where the Deaf participants sat as a lay judge with three judges. They experienced the arraignment, the opening statement, and examination of witness and then discussed the standing location of an interpreter in court.

One of the Deaf participants (39) said, "It was possible to see caption on the screen and sign language at the same time. Yet it was not possible to check the expression of the defendant. It would be easier to check it if the interpreter stands near behind the defendant".

The association and the interpreters requested the following points that the district court should consider.

-The interpreters are always placed so that the Deaf lay judge or candidate should share the communication with other hearing counterparts,
-The document distributed in court should be also handed to the interpreters before the court starts,
- The monitor should be set up in front of the interpreters, etc.

Symposium on accessibility to information for Deaf/HoH to take place in Kyoto

The symposium related to the information accessibility for those who are Deaf/hard of hearing will be held on the campus of Ritsumeikan University located in Kyoto on March 22.

Tentative program:

Opening remark by the organizer from Ritsumeikan University

First part: Research report (about 30 minutes each topic)

- Support by captioning through voice recognition
- Current situations and issues of interpreting business
- The influence of the disability discrimination act on the employment of the persons with disabilities

Second part: Panel discussion
"Problems of communications support under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities"

Four groups, the Japanese Federation of the Deaf, the Japanese League of Organizations of Hard of Hearing and Deafened Persons, the National Study Society on Interpreting Issues, and the National Study Society on Note-taking Issues, will come together to discuss for the first time on the theme, "What we should do to reform the current systems on information accessibility toward the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Free admission.

Meeting to study on disqualification clauses for persons with disabilities to take place in Tokyo

The study group will hold a meeting in Tokyo on March 26, 2010, 18:00-20:30. The theme of the meeting will be "What is the disqualification clauses for persons with disabilities? We see the source that have made us live in a hard way".

The disqualification clauses for persons with disabilities means those regulations assumed not to allow the qualification because of the disability. Recently, many of the disqualification clauses have been revised.

Yet many of us feel that we have been unfairly treated and tend to give up. Let us regain our power and challenge the legal inequality through studying the disqualification clauses, that is, the source of our hard life.

Kumiko Usui who is Deaf will lecture on the topic. She is the secretariat-general of the Study Society on the Disqualification Clauses for Persons with Disabilities.

Deaf stamp club's exhibition to take place in Tokyo

The Deaf Stamp Club will hold the second mini stamp exhibition in the Stamp Museum located in Tokyo on March 19-21.

The first stamp exhibition was held in 2009 celebrating the Club's 20th anniversary in December, 2008.

Free admission.

The following stamps are scheduled for exhibition:
"Light of the Silent World",
"A hard of hearing marshal in the 1890's",
"the Deaf",
"the visual impaired",
"Mails in Braille",
"Red Cross",
"Penguins", and more.

Performance related to the life of Deaf pioneer scheduled for May in Aichi Prefecture

The Aichi Deaf History Club will hold the performance titled "The Biography of Kinzo Yoshikawa" as its 10th commemoration event in Kariya City, Aichi Prefecture on Sunday, May 30.

A Deaf man, Kinzo Yoshikawa, became the first Deaf teacher in 1893, followed by many Deaf teachers. He was one of the first Deaf married couple.

He had a successful training by Shuji Isawa, who introduced the "Visible Speech". Isawa had gone to the U.S. and studied under Alexander G. Bell, the inventor of the "Visible Speech".

Kinzo also contributed to the formation of the alumni association in his alma mater, which is said to be first in Japan. His distinguished services are yet remembered.

Two prominent Deaf actors, Tetsuya Izaki and Hideaki Nasu, will perform the play.

Japanese Poster:

Skiing course by Deaf instructor scheduled for late March

The Kanagawa Prefecture Skiing League has offered a skiing event to persons with disabilities with support by volunteers since 16 years ago.

The league will hold a course in sign language by the Deaf skiing instructor at the Kuruma Kogen Ski area in Nagano Prefecture on March 27-28.

Spring event on film and singed songs to be held in Aichi Prefecture in April

A spring event is scheduled for April 10, 2010, Saturday, 18:30-20:30 in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture.


- Four songs in sign language by "WING", a vocal group who are also members of a sign language band, "ANGELS".

- Film titled "Aloha! A story of the surf shop owner", directed Ayako Imamura, a Deaf director and producer. Spoken Japanese and caption.

The main character of the movie is a man named Tatsuro Ota, who owns a surfing shop in Sizuoka Prefectre. He is well liked by surfers and residents. The movie is filled with a modest happiness.

The admission fee includes drinks and meal.

Get-together party to be held for persons with disabilities including Deaf in Hyogo Prefecture

The Mainstream Society, an independent living center for persons with disabilities, will hold a get-together party on March 13-14 in Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture to offer young persons with disabilities including the Deaf youth and able-bodied persons the opportunity to meet one another.

This kind will be the first in the country that the participants talk about love and meeting with the able-bodied person. Sign language interpreting will be provided.

One of the society staff members whose girlfriend is Deaf came up with the unusual event plan.

Deaf movie "Ant and Katydid" to be shown in Tokyo

A 40-min Deaf film, "Ant and Katydid" based on the Aesop fairy tale, will be shown in Tokyo on March 20, Saturday.

(Click the black display)

A Deaf businessman meets various people, and faces his bitter past. When he meets his old classmate Katydid first after a long time, he finds how he has felt about himself. Will his mind be opened through remembering his school days?

The film was directed by Nobuhiro Odate and acted by Hideaki Nasu as the main character, both Deaf.

- CM screening with caption for 15 minutes

- The Deaf movie, "Ant and Katydid", with caption

- Talk Show by Director Odate and the actors

Hearing college to offer Deaf students with first support service in April

The national average rate of Deaf students who advance to the university and the junior college is estimated about 20%, which is said to be extremely low.

The main factor is considered that these institutes of higher education are not prepared to support the Deaf students.

According to the press release, the Japan College of Social Work, with the support of The Nippon Foundation, will provide the Deaf students with its first support systems including note-taking, CART, interpreting for all the classes. And also the Deaf instructors will lecture in JSL.

The service will start in April, 2010, when a new term begins for the fiscal year.

Sign language volunteers wanted for national athletic meet in Yamaguchi Prefecture

Yamaguchi Prefecture is recruiting "information support volunteers" in sign language and note taking at the Yamaguchi National Athletic Meet, which is scheduled for October, 2011.

Volunteers needed are:
300 sign language volunteers
200 note takers
100 CART (computer-assisted real-time caption)

These volunteers will support Deaf athletes and visitors in each competition place. Persons with the basic sign language skills for conversation, and those who are interested in note taking can apply before March 31.

Volunteers are expected to attend a training course for a few months from July. Working days and places will be decided based on request. There will be neither pay nor transportation fares.

Group of Deaf psychologists to hold regular meeting in Tokyo

The Japanese Psychology Society for the Deaf will hold the 8th regular meeting on March 27, 2010, Saturday, 13:30-16:40 in Tokyo.

Theme of Lecture:
On the depressants administered for a treatment of depression

Kumi Hayase
Deaf certified pharmacist at the Showa University Hospital

Deaf Senior Citizens Conference selected for best hospitality by Sizuoka Prefecture

Recently, Shizuoka Prefecture officials announced the prize winner of the "Prefecture Convention Entertainment Grand Prize 2009", to be presented to one of the national/local conventions held in the prefecture.

The Grand Prize went to the National Conference of Deaf Senior Citizens, sponsored by the Senior Session of the Japanese Federation of the Deaf. It had taken place in Izu City in the prefecture last October.

At the conference, the hospitality to the Deaf participants, such as guide and greetings in sign language, etc. done by the volunteers, was highly evaluated.

The award presentation ceremony will be held at the "Shizuoka Convention Seminar" in Shizuoka City on March 17.

Free American Sign Language course to be held in Tokyo in March

A spring term for the American Sign Language (ASL) course, provided by the Japanese ASL Signers Society located in Tokyo, is scheduled for April.

Prior to this course, a free ASL course will be offered to a new comer only.

Date: Saturday, March 13, 2010, 10:30- 12:00

Lecturer: Merrit Holloway
A Deaf American who works for the society as its instructor.

Deaf students performing Japanese drum win gold medal

The 21st National Concert Contest for the Schools for the Deaf was held, and the junior high school students at Kagawa Prefectural School for the Deaf who performed Japanese drum won the gold medal. It was the fourth for eight years.

The Society for Education and Welfare for the Deaf has held the contest every year. There was an application from 20 schools this year. The society examined all the application with videotape on the concert.

There was a ceremony in Kagawa Prefectural School on March 2. Ms. Akiko Santo, chairman of the society and a member of the House of Councilors, gave the diploma and the escutcheon. And then the students performed the repertoire with the powerful drumbeat that overflowed in the gym.

On behalf of the students, Rio Yamada, a 8th grader, said "We are very glad to win the gold medal because of the result of working all sounds and minds into one".

First lecture meeting on history of Deaf women to take place at Tokyo in April

A group called the "Lifestyles of Deaf Women" launched a project regarding history of Deaf women in January. It is a part of the group activities to empower Deaf women and promote to study about themselves.

The first meeting will take place on April 3, 2010 at Tokyo with the theme on signed history of Deaf women.

Keiko Iwata, a leader of the group, presents a lecture on the lives that the Deaf women had spent since the 1920's including her own experience as a Deaf woman.

Spoken interpreting and OHP note taking will be provided.

Atomic Bomb Museum in Hiroshima to be repaired

An advisory committee met on February 24 and discussed what should be of exhibition in the Atomic Bomb Museum located in Hiroshima City, where the radiation victims' items, photographs of the Zero ground, etc. had been exhibited.

The Hiroshima City will settle on a formal plan based on the proposed idea by the committee, and make it public by May. Repair work will start in 2013 and open in 2017. Meanwhile the museum will be closed.

The opinions of the citizens on the repair plan included not only material explanation etc. on the environmental impact by the nuclear weapon use but also accessibility for persons with visual impairment and the Deaf.

Hearing students to hold art exhibit on sign language in Tokyo

Two hearing university students who major in arts will hold an art exhibit on sign language for 4 days from March 19th in a small cafe in Tokyo.

The theme is to show the beauty, exciting elements and magic that sign language has.

The works by the students are expressed in the medium such as photographs, lay figures, and words.

Manual on cellular phones to support children with disabilities

The University of Tokyo and Mobile Softbank located in Tokyo made a manual of the cellular phone that supports the children with disabilities, including Deaf children, to learn.

The 17-page manual introduces 99 cases on how to use functions contained in the cellular phone, such as a camera, a dictionary, an audio recorder, etc.

Informal social gathering concerning bringing up children

An informal social gathering that offers the parents, who are bringing up their children in the sign language, to freely talk about the child care is scheduled for March 13, Saturday, 2010 13:30-16:30 in Tokyo. Sponsoring is "The Group to bring up children in JSL".

The gathering will be divided into sub groups based on the children's age. Deaf parents having experienced in child care and codas who are matured will discuss how to bring up the children with the participants.

Free admission: tea and the cake will be served.

Film on Deaf school girl to be shown first at the Niigata Deaf Film Festival in March

One of the films in sign language and captions selected for the festival is a new film, titled "A footpath between rice fields jumping!". It is a heartfelt story that illustrates adolescent girls' delicate feelings.

Outline of the film:
A Deaf junior high school girl, living in a certain suburban city, joins a hearing dance group, "Jumping Girls". She and Reina, a group leader, become good rivals though both do not exchange a few words. They practice hard for the dance contest scheduled for summer. However, prior to the contest, Reina gets a wound in her foot. Yuki is selected in her place and the teammates start bullying her. Can Yuki compete with the group in the contest? Can the team regain unity?

Director Fumie Nishikawa will greet along with the starring young actors in the stage during the Niigata Deaf Film Festival on Sunday, March 14, 2010.