First DVD produced by Aomori Prefecture Police for pretest to renew driving license in sign language and caption in Japan


Aomori Prefectural Police Department produced DVD with sign language and caption for the first time in the country to allow 75-year-old or more drivers to take a pretest for the senile dementia check which is obligated when the driving license is to be renewed. Twenty-five driving schools in the prefecture have started using DVD.

The pretest, introduced to decrease the number of car accidents by the elder across the country last year, examines the memory and the judgment of the elder driver. The Aomori Prefecture Information Center for the Deaf cooperated with the police department in producing DVD as there are elder drivers with a hearing trouble.

At the driving school that uses DVD, the interpreter on a monitor TV shows four pictures and asks, "There is a wardrobe in the box. Which picture is the same one in it?", etc. in sign language and caption at the same time.

DeafBlind group sponsors tenth anniversary forum in Tokushima City

Fashion show by DeafBlind members

The Tokushima Society of the DeafBlind, composed of the DeafBlind, their families and friends, was established in Tokushima City, Tokushima Prefecture in May, 2000. It works on the fellowship exchange program, public relations, etc. for the members' social participation.

A forum took place to celebrate the tenth anniversary of establishment in Tokushima City on November 20, and about 270 people including members and their supporters participated.

Chairwoman Kakuta Hatsue greeted the audience, saying "The DeafBlind tend to be alienated from information and communications, but we will try to make people understand our needs and use the welfare system as well in order to participate in the society".

Osugi Katsunori, chairman of the Hiroshima DeafBlind Society and a guest speaker, spoke, "Even though you may be able to use neither sign language nor braille, you can take communication positively by writing letters on the palm".

There were a slide pictures of the past decade activities and a fashion show by the members.

Deaf boy's work chosen best at national schools for the Deaf art exhibition

Nakamura Yu, a fifth grader, receives the award from the chairwoman, Santo Akiko at the school.

The 15th National Schools for the Deaf Art Exhibition" was held, sponsored by the Education and Welfare Society for the Deaf.

From the kindergarten and elementary category of the event, the work of a fifth grader Nakamura Yu (11) of Shizuoka City was chosen to be the best one, awarded by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. He is attending the Shizuoka Special Support School for the Deaf in the city.

Yu's work titled "The Shizuoka Dome" was chosen from the 552 works submitted from across the country. He painted and crayoned the scene which the soccer and baseball players are seen in the ground in the dome with the twinkled stars.

The award ceremony took place at the school on November 16. The society chairwoman Santo Akiko handed the certificate to Yu.

He said, "I am really glad. I drew a picture of my dream to have the Shizuoka Dome set up. I will work hard to draw a better picture ".

Deaf circle members win highest award in contest on support project for Deaf students at university

Deaf students representing their circle at Gumma University show the highest award.

At the national symposium held by PEPNet Japan (the Postsecondary Education Programs Network in Japan), etc. at Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture on November 14, there was the third practice case contest concerning the support project for the Deaf students. Fourteen groups made a presentation.

Half the number of about 300 students and school personnel in total from across the country voted on the best presentation.

As a result, three Deaf students from Gumma University won the highest award for the first time. They appealed their own disability positively, and their positive attitude toward the circle activity and the classes, etc. impressed the participants who voted.

At the university, the CART service to support the Deaf students in the classroom has been introduced by the circle of about 25 students.

Hearing students in Saga Prefecture learn the role of hearing dog

The note-taking circle "Mimi no Kai" held a meeting to introduce the work of the hearing dog at a municipal junior high school in Tosu City, Saga Prefecture in the southern island of Japan on November 15.

Invited was a 12-year-old hearing dog named "Chiro", trained by a guide dogs training society located in Omura City, Nagasaki Prefecture in the same island. She worked with her trainer to show how to achieve for the Deaf user: hearing the bell of the fax and telling the trainer, waking up the sleeping trainer after the sound of the clock alarm.

The trainer spoke there were about 10,000 Deaf persons who need the hearing dog while there were only 21 hearing dogs were available in the whole country. She also spoke about the important role of the hearing dog for the Deaf. "It becomes mental support for the Deaf in daily life not only helping but also staying nearby".

DeafBlind man from Osaka products movie based on his experience

Kadokawa Shinichiro (left) answers through sign language in tentacle. The screen is a clip from the movie he made.

The production of a movie with a DeafBlind man as the main character was completed. It was screened in Kadoma City, Osaka Prefecture on November 13.

The movie was made by Kadokawa Shinichiro (45), a DeafBlind resident of Osaka City. He wrote the scenario based on the experience in his younger days.

At the beginning of the movie, a Deafblind man named Kenta recollects about himself 20 years ago. He is a student isolated at the university, and meets a hearing girl by chance.

She learns Braille and accompanies Kenta whenever he moves around. He is said by a friend of hers that he is a burden for her.

Shocked, Kenta actually feels difficult spending time at the university, and is anxious whether to go to the United States to study as there is the advanced support system for the DeafBlind in the country.

Shinchiro went to study to the U.S. after graduation from the university and learned how to support the DeafBlind. He set up an incorporated nonprofit organization, the Welfare Center for the DeafBlind "Smile" at Tennoji Ward, Osaka City in 1999 after he had returned home, and has been assumed the position of the chief director.

Shinichiro has started sign language classes and computer workshops for the DeafBlind. His movie was produced in commemoration of the tenth anniversary of establishment.

He says, "I would be glad if the movie gives people a chance to know more and support the DeafBlind better".

Special visit of Diet for 120th anniversary of establishment, sign language interpreting provided

Since the first Diet was opened in 1890 in Japan, 120 years have passed on November 29 this year.

As a memorial event, the "Diet Special Visit" will be arranged at 9:00-17:00 during the first weekend, December 4-5.

The central door, used only when the emperor is invited to announce the opening of the Diet, and when the newly elected members first to attend the Diet will be shown, as well as the minister rooms, etc. These spots are not included in the regular visit.

No appointment requested.
Meet at the Diet Building main entrance.

For those who are Deaf/HoH, the staff will interpret.

Deaf film making group to hold party to celebrate tenth anniversary of establishment

A Deaf film making group called The Deaf Movie Entertainment Prodia was formed in November ten year ago.

It will hold a celebration party in the fancy hotel in Tokyo, December 11, 2010, 13:30-16:30.

Tentative program:
- Commemorative gift presentation
- Raffle
- Screening of a short movie produced by two Deaf young directors

Capacity: 200 people

Admission fee: 10,000 yen (with dinner)

Deaf film festival to be held in Niigata Prefecture in March, 2011

The 2nd Niigata Shuwaru (Sign Language) Film Festival will take place in the Niigata Shimin-Eigakan CINE WIND located in Niigata Prefecture, a northwestern part of Japan, on March 11-13, 2011.

The executive committee calls for films to be screened. They may be submitted not only on a DVD, but also on a Blue-ray Disk (BD).

The deadline for the submission is no later than November 30, 2010.

English link:

Hearing children attracted to dancing in sign language

Group members practice dancing in sign language.

A group called "Chupachapusu" in Osaka City, of which a singer Yoshino Etsuyo (32) is the representative, has attracted 15 hearing children aged from 5-15 children to dance in sign language. They are working hard at the practice in the town hall nearly every day.

Etsuyo had learned about dancing in sign language when performing with other groups five years ago, and has taught several hearing children how to dance in sign language while her own performance on stage.

She called the local community last September and started up the group. "Dancing in sign language was originally produced for and by the Deaf", she says, "I believe it should be a good chance for hearing people to know sign language, too".

One of the members (11) says, "it is difficult to dance while corresponding the word to sign language". Other also shows the more interest in sign language, saying, "I want to learn conventional sign language though there are so many signs that I must remember".

Hearing man suspected for false report with use of emergency text message service for the Deaf

The false text message had been sent to "the 110 emergency mobile text message service", set up for the emergency call from the Deaf/HoH that the Hyogo Prefecture Police Department has been operating since 2004.

The Osada police station arrested a hearing company employee (45) on November 15 in Kobe City on the suspicion of the violating the Minor Offenses Act (false declaration). It is the first time that the prefecture police arrested the false report by "the 110 emergency text message service".

The employee e-mailed the emergency mobile service at around 3:00 am on September 14, saying that a time bomb was set up. The officers ran to the company after getting the report and searched thoroughly for the bomb.

According to the police, the man has admitted the suspicion, saying that he wanted to dispel the job stress and put the bomb".

Deaf painter exhibits Deaf art works in Kumamoto Prefecture

The Deaf world are produced in Hideto Noritomi's atelier.

Hideto Noritomi (41), a Deaf resident of Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture, has been exhibiting his Deaf art works in the gallery for the first time in the city from November 16 to December 4. Free admission.

Hidehito says that he wants to send the message through the works; "I want you to be proud of being Deaf and the sign language".

The exhibit included 63 oil paintings drawn from 2008 to this year. They are painted blue and navy blue in the black background. It is also composed to clearly show the concept of oppression against the Deaf; the sign language is banned and the oral training with the use of the hearing aid for the deaf education is stressed.

While attending the school of for the deaf in Tokyo, Hidehito was taught how to lip read and speak with the use of a hearing aid so hard that he didn't dare to tell the teacher he could not bear it. Even if he secretly learned sign language from upper class students, the teacher scolded him, "If you sign and don't speak, your voice will be like the one of animal".

Wife Kazuko (37) went to the United States in 1993, learned ASL at the school for the deaf and taught Japanese culture. Hidehito began thinking about how he would tell the Deaf children, who might have a bitter experience like himself, about Deaf pride, starting the painting school. He went to France to learn the oil painting in 1996, and started producing as a painter in 1999. He came to concentrate on "Deaf Art" in 2004.

Related link:

Deaf volleyball coach awarded for his leadership in Okinawa Prefecture

Hirotoshi Shimajiri (right) and his former teacher Kozo Miyazato are glad to win the grand prize.

The last audition of "The 15th Okinawa Colony Grand Prize" was held by the executive committee in Naha City on November 10.

The prize is given to a person with disability whose effort for independence and the activities for social, cultural and art, etc. are remarkable.

Hirotoshi Shimajiri (57), a Deaf dormitory supervisor of Okinawa School for the Deaf was selected as a recipient of the grand prize. He is also a coach for the women volleyball club of the prefecture association of the deaf.

The presentation ceremony is scheduled to take place on December 9 in the event of the Day of the Persons with Disabilities.

The committee chair Yutaka Takamine explained the reason for the selection, "He contributed to the disability sports activities in the prefecture as he led the team to win the third place in the National Athletic Meeting held in Chiba Prefecture in October".

Hirotoshi started volleyball under the guidance of Coach Kozo Miyazato when he was 15 years old at the Okinawa School for the Deaf. Hirotoshi has been a coach for the women volleyball club since 2004.

He said, "I want to share the pleasure to get the award with my former teacher Kozo, my family and the teammates. My next goal will be to lead the team to the top in the country".

Sign language interpretation to be provided for gubernatorial election next spring

The Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications explained the policy on November 12 to introduce the sign language interpretation to the TV program on the political speech by candidates who run for the gubernatorial election after the nationwide local elections in April next year.

The interpreting is currently offered by a political party which has the proportion representative election list of Upper and Lower Houses.

Moreover, the candidate speech for the House of Councilors electoral district and the gubernatorial election was banned. For the House of Representatives small electoral district, the candidates are allowed to include the image of their political party.

The introduction policy explained earlier was approved on the day at the panel of experts concerning the enhancement of the accessible environment for the persons with disabilities.

This ministry plans to examine the sign language interpretation in the direction into the House of Councilors electoral district in the future.

Deaf senior achieves to climb mountain 20,000 times in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture

Kenji Yamamura, who achieved 20,000th time of daily climbing a mountain, was award by the city education board.

Kenji Yamamura (78), a Deaf resident in Higashi-Nada Ward, Kobe City, who has kept climbing Mt. Futatabi-san (altitude about 470 meters) in Chuo Ward in the city every day, finally achieved 20,000 times of a climbing mountain on September 26 last year. He was honored by the city education board on November 10.

About 60 years had passed since Kenji had started climbing a mountain. He went to climb the mountain from the shelter the next day even though his home was completely destroyed in Hanshin-Awaji (Kobe) Earthquake.

He lost hearing at the high temperature of the measles at the age of four. He enthusiastically said, "I am glad that I finally made it despite of my deafness. My next goal will be the 25,000th of climbing".

Kenji takes the first train which departs at 5:05 in the morning, gets off at Motomachi Station, and starts toward to the mountain top with light footsteps.

Deaf community requests enactment of the sign language law

The Deaf community in Japan has steadily moved toward to the enactment of the "Sign Language Law" aiming at the development of a social environment in which the sign language as a communication means for the Deaf is easy-to-use.

The domestic legal systems procedure for the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is underway by next spring. The organizations of the Deaf have appealed that they want a friendly society so that they might use the sign language anywhere in a dignified manner when it be approved as a 'Language' in the law.

The enactment of the Sign Language Law has been an earnest goal since the Japanese Federation of the Deaf was established in 1947.
Deaf lawyer to lecture about his experience in Yokohama City

The lecture meeting, titled "My experience as a lawyer", will be held in
Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture on November 20 (Saturday), 10:00-11:30. Sponsored by a group, called the Yokohama City Group to Protect the Children with Speech and Hearing Impairment.

Hiroshi Tamon, a Deaf lawyer, will speak about the chance to become a lawyer and his legal activities, etc.

Spoken interpreting and CART services will be provided.

Fee: free for the members, and 300 yen for non-members

Hard of hearing student enjoys life at hearing school in Miyazaki Prefecture

China Kuroki chats with her classmates, showing smile.

China Kuroki (14), who has been hard of hearing since she was prematurely born, is a second grader in the hearing school, called the Togo Junior High School, in Nichinan City, Miyazaki Prefecture. She has been supported by a note taker and her hearing friends and kept well in the class.

Her mother, Kozue (49), said, "We would like to tell people who are worried about their disability not to give up hope".

China says, "I am happy in the school. My dream is to become a sign language interpreter. I want to help the Deaf children".

Hearing actress challenges cast as Deaf mother

Yasuko Matsuyuki (left) with Ryunosuke Kamiki

The actress Yasuko Matsuyuki attended a finished interview in Tokyo on her starring the TV drama, titled "A String Of The Mind". It was produced by NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai: National Broadcasting Station) and will be aired on November 27, 21:00. She for the first time acted a Deaf mother in the drama.

Yasuko had gone in the dog race of sign language for about one month, saying "acting in the drama was worth challenge. I am happy now after I performed hard and accomplished it because my casting was demanding".

The drama depicts the bond of the CODA son who aims at becoming a pianist played by Ryunosuke Kamiki and Deaf mother played by Yasuko.

Tenth anniversary wedding ceremony for Deaf couple held in marine park in Kanagawa Prefecture

The 10th anniversary wedding ceremony was held for the married Deaf couple aged forties in the Keikyu Aburatsubo Marine Park in Miura City, Kanagawa Prefecture on October 30. A company employee Takayuki Minato and his wife Toshiko, Yokohama City residents, were escorted by the dolphin and the sea dog. The couple said pleasantly that the event which would be best remembered as a new start again for their life.

Takayuki attended Tsukuba University School for the Deaf in Chiba Prefecture and graduated from Tokai University. Toshiko studied welfare through the communication system university while working after she graduated from the Prefecture Oihama High School, and acquired BA.

They first met in the sign language circle at the IT company where they worked, and got known more each other. They were married in 2000 and lived in Miura City. The next year their first child was born. She is hard of hearing, now a fourth grader.

The family loved dolphin and the fish, visiting the Marine Park in the city as often as twice a month with the annual membership passport. However, as they had wanted to spend more time together they moved to other city near the company, and so they visited the park less. The marine park officials offered the Deaf couple with their gratitude to hold a ceremony commemoration.

The second wedding was held in the dolphin show hall, and the bride and bridegroom both in a scuba diving suit were riding on the dolphin. They exchanged the oath in sign language in front of their family members, friends, and the public guests, which was applauded by the attending people and sea dog, too. The dolphin put out the tail from the surface of the water to show agreement.

After the exchange of wedding rings that the sea dog had carried, the Deaf couple signed the wedding certificate. They said to the people attending in sign language, "Thank you for joining us today. We are glad to spend happy time with your blessing. We certainly will protect ourselves with our daughter to remain happy".

Deaf-related groups hold meeting on dissolve information divide in Fukuoka Prefecture

The pep rally took place in Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture on October 30, aiming at the legal system change so that the persons who are Dead and hard of hearing could have access to information without any barriers and share it with each other.

It was sponsored by the prefecture promotion headquarters, consisted of nine organizations including the prefecture association of the Deaf, and about 140 people participated.

In the meeting, it was pointed out that the services of interpreting and caption, etc. were not enough in daily lives, such as the education, justice, the election, etc. , and that there was a information divide in society.

The participants confirmed that the development of a new legal system to provide the persons who are Deaf and hard hearing with security for information and communications as a right was necessary along with the enforcement of a new welfare law of the persons with disabilities to replace the current welfare law.

Person in boyish costume doing PR in sign language for Tokyo Sky Tree district

Oshinari-kun, a person dressed up in a boyish costume, does PR for the shopping district in sign language.

The local commercial society around the new tower called "Tokyo Sky Tree" in Sumida Ward, Tokyo designed a person dressed up in a boyish costume to represent the shopping district.

He was named "Oshinari-kun" and does PR for the district, by joining the local events and strolling in the surrounding on Saturday every week.

Recently, he challenges sign language. The opportunity came to him when the society staff has participated in the training in sign language in order to meet the needs of persons with disabilities.

Oshinari-kun participated in the staff training in sign language on October 19, and visited the volunteer center to learn sign language on October 22.

He has learned to sign such as "My best regards", "Oh, yes", "I want to go up to the observatory", "Please visit us again", etc. However, there is a restriction in the signed expression because he has the round hands without the fingers.

The staff says, "Oshinari-kun wants you to overlook the limit as he signs in his own way".

English official site on Tokyo Sky Tree:

Related link:
New sign language for new tower in Tokyo

Deaf group produces pickles for sales in Kagoshima Prefecture

The organization, formed by a Deaf person, the family and a former teacher in Kagoshima City in the prefecture, celebrated its first anniversary in October.

Members of the organization are about 100 people aged 20s-80s including 60 Deaf persons. They have produced the vegetable in the field, and recently started a new project; production and sales of the pickles.

The farm is an area of about 30 ares with six greenhouses, where 14 kinds of vegetables such as spring onions are produced. Members who have a spare time come to help farming for a few days during the week. Moreover, they are breeding about ten chickens in the farm, too.

The vegetable is delivered to home at two places in the city besides being sold to mainly the members for the set price of 100 yen.

The organization was approved as a food manufacturing industry which they had submitted in September, and worked on the pickles production by the guidance of a certified cook.

About 30 bags of the greens pickles were first shipped and sold at the "welfare festival" on October 31.