Recording audiotape of Helen Keller during her first visit to Japan discovered

Helen Keller (left) and her secretary in Japanese kimono during their visit to Japan in 1937.

August 18, 2011

The recording tape, by which Helen Keller (1880-1968), an advocate for the social welfare activity, talked about the impression, etc. of Japan during her first visit to Japan in 1937, was found.

She said in Japanese,"Sayonara, arigato" (Good-bye, thank you) at at the end of the eight-minute-long tape.

The Tokyo Cultural Asset Institute and the Waseda University Theatre Museum discovered that there was an audiotape titled "Talking-book, Helen Keller" that Osaka University of Arts has preserved. She came to Japan in April, 1937, and lectured around in the country until she left Japan in August.

The tape was recorded in the studio which Keller replied in the muffled voice after the secretary told her through the tactile finger spelling when Takeo Iwahashi questioned. He was visually impaired himself and a social welfare activist,

Keller had visited Japan twice after the postwar of 1945, and her videos and audio tapes had been recorded then. However, it is thought that Keller's voice at prewar days is valuable.

The researchers said, "It should have had a hard time to teach Keller with a triple disability how to move her vocal chords when speaking in Japanese".

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