Multifunctional cellular phone supports the Deaf on bus

Deaf passengers check a multifunctional cellular phone in the hand on bus around in the city.


The research team of the Hiroshima University graduate school is developing the system to convey public traffic information to the Deaf with the use of a multifunctional cellular phone (smart phone) .

They aim to reduce the uneasiness of the Deaf, who do not hear announcements in the bus, with the help of the display of textual message on the portable screen.

Traffic Engineering Professor FUJIWARA Akimasa has been working on soft wear developments, etc. by the consignment of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

A Deaf passenger selects the nearest bus stop of the destination before he gets on. The present location and the time required are automatically transmitted. The bus stop approaches while getting on, the phone will be vibrated along with textual message saying "Please get prepared for getting off".

The research team conducted the survey on the system in Kure City, Hiroshima Prefecture on January 16. Eleven Deaf persons who volunteered were divided into six groups and got on tour bus that visits the sightseeing spots in the city, operating the mobile phone.

In the questionnaire after the survey, there were opinions such as "It was easy to use", "It will be easier to notice if strongly vibrating a little more", etc.

The research team says that they will complete the system by March, 2011 based on the result of the survey and the requests for the improvement.

Sign and spoken languages on disaster information through net in Osaka Prefecture

Disaster information by sign language was projected on the computer.

The signed disaster information was shown on the display of the mobile phone, too.

January 15, 2011

There was a training in Osaka Prefecture on January 11 that sign and spoken languages were carried live in the streaming service "U-Stream" for the Deaf and persons with visual impairment, who are unable to obtain necessary information easily on the radio and the television, etc. at the disaster.

Parties concerned said that this disaster information through the net was the first kind of an unusual attempt in the country. "We hope it will be a means to prevent the persons with disabilities being out of information".

"The river is rising because of the downpour, and there is danger of flooded".

At the Life Support Center for Persons with Disabilities in Osaka, Director NISHITAKI Norihiko, who is Deaf, started the dissemination by sign language in front of the small video camera connected with the computer. The Same information went out through the audio output, e-mail, and twitter. Four Deaf persons watched the signed information reflected on the screen.

Deaf owner of surf shop in Gunma Prefecture

SATO Koichi (34) has been managing the surf shop "BARREL SURF" for 15 years in Maebashi City, Gumma Prefecture.

Sato leaves the hometown at 1:00 am with the surfing board on the car. He arrives in the beach in Hitachinaka City, Ibaraki Prefecture after a five-hour-long drive. The local surfers are surprised to see his number plate. "Did you come from Gunma Prefecture that far away?" The prefecture is surrounded by hills and mountains.

He was encouraged by one of his acquaintances, starting surfing and going abroad to study in Australia for one year at the age of 22.

After returning home, he lived for two years near the sea of Hitachinaka City with his aim at becoming a professional. However, the hard reality crushed his dream, so he gave up at the age of 26.

There was a story around in the city that the North Kanto Road would be connected from Gunma to Ibaraki in the near future, when Sato was about to give up surfing. He thought, "If the sea becomes nearer, the surfing culture will be spread in Gunma". Then the shop was opened in April, 2003 when he was 27 years old.

At that time, there were few surfers and also an instructor for surfers was absent from Gunma Prefecture where the sea did not exist. Manners were occasionally put in question as the beginner from Gunma entered the convenience store along the beach with gritty foots.

Sato established a school that he would enter the sea with the customers, and made an effort to keep a good relationship with the local community, such as cleaned the beach.

After 8 years of the opening Sato's shop, a company employee, ISHIGURO Nobuo (45) and his hard of hearing son Jin (18) who is a vocational school student worked on surfing. Nobuo had wanted to put some confidence in Jin. They kept progressing with Sato's instruction.

Jin won a grand champion in the contest (open class) sponsored by the "Ibaraki Surf Union" in 2009, and is aiming at becoming a professional.

There is a good wave only once in several months even if Nobuo and Jin go to the sea for a long time every weekend. However, they keep going to the beach even on snowy days with their goal; they have a good fellow whom they share with when they come across a good wave that has been dreamed for.

About 50 surfers around the Gunma prefecture gathered in the year-end party at the Barrel Surf shop on December 11, 2010. "The North Kanto Road will open on March 19. We will surely get to the sea in two hours. Why not enjoy surfing more next year?" A loud shout of joy occurred with applause at Sato's greeting.

Deaf snowboarder to debut at Deaflympics in February


January 13, 2011

TEZUKA Hisano (33), a company employee in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, will debut to the alpine snowboard match at the Deaflympic Games in Slovakia in February.

She started skiing at the age of four, and snowboarding at the age of 24. She is enthusiastic, "I want to tell Deaf people about the charm of the Deaflympic Games and sports", in addition to aiming at the good record.

Tezuka is Deaf because of illness when she was born. She was enrolled in the mainstream programs in Utsunomiya City in the prefecture.

She was employed at a pharmaceutical company Glaxo SmithKline based in Tokyo after she graduated from the high school. She is currently involved in an inventory control practice at the Imaichi factory.

She was invited by a friend to play snowboard in 2002, beginning a workout to get over dark feelings from deafness".

After she changed the free-style into alpine in 2006, she accomplished the victory and the second place by giant slalom and the rotation item in the national winter game and the international game respectively. She practices in the ski area in foreign countries as well as Japan.

Tezuka will leave on February 8, and adjust herself in the locale immediately before the game on February 20.

The employer has supported Tezuka's game activity since last year and plans to cover the expedition expense by donations from the company and the employees this time, too.

Disability pension to be applied without medical certificate, Dstrict court says

There was a lawsuit by a Deaf housewife (63, name withheld) in Kobe City against the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to withdraw its rejection of her application for the disability basic pension. It is one of the national pensions that a person with disability applies to receive when he/she reaches the age of 20.

The ministry had admitted only a part of provision of the pension because her past medical certificate did not exist. The Kobe district court ordered the ministry to cancel its decision on January 12.

Presiding Judge TSUGAMURA Akiyoshi stated, "The disability will be possibly recognized as long as there is reasonable material", grounded on the doctor's opinion in writing. etc.

The judicial decision that admits pension rights is exceptional without the medical certificate according to the attorney for the plaintiff.

The housewife has decreased hearing since three years old. In 2007, she applied for the pension from the year 1967 when she was 20 years old, which the ministry did not accept, saying that there was no medical certificate at that time.

Ministry officials spoke, "It is thought to be a stern legal decision that our claim had not been accepted".

Hard of hearing woman works as speech pathologist in Fukoka Prefecture

NAKAMURA Saori explains her work as a speech pathologist.

January 11, 2011

The speech pathologist is a profession in the field of rehabilitation to train a deaf person to regain hearing, and to teach a person with autism, etc. to utter the word.

NAKAMURA Saori (22), who uses the hearing aid due to being born Deaf, has been working as a speech pathologist for ten months at the facility for the persons with disabilities in Fukuoka Prefecture, a part of the southern island of Japan.

Mother Noriko (52) noticed that Saori apparently has fewer words than other children when she was 3 years old ready to go to the preschool. So Saori's training in the special support school started.

She was trained to memorize the word that she heard from the conversation of surroundings with the use of the hearing aid. She went to school from the kindergarten to the high school where the hearing children attended. She liked playing the musical instruments such as piano.

When Saori was a high school student, she checked the course that would help find a future job and knew a national qualification of speech pathologist. She went to the special school in Fukuoka City that would help her take the qualification. Later she began working at the facility last April.

There are about 120 people living in the facility. The rehabilitation program is different depending on the person, so neither her knowledge nor the technique are not enough to meet their needs. Saori says, "I came to understand that only my feelings to make the best use of my experience was useless".

There is an electric piano in the dormitory in the facility where Saori lives alone. She says she would like to challenge to get qualified as a music therapist sooner or later.

Deaf youth from Osaka blessed at Coming of Age ceremony

Two persons representing the Deaf youth take an oath at Coming of Age ceremony in Osaka City.

January 10, 2011

The coming of age ceremony for young Deaf people from Osaka Prefecture who have turned 20 took place in Osaka City on January 9. Invited were 32 young persons, who attended it in the best clothes and renewed their consciousness of being an adult.

The event is sponsored by the Osaka Prefecture Association of the Deaf and the Osaka City Society of the Deaf in the beginning of January every year as a place where the Deaf seniors encourage and bless the youth.

Two Deaf youth went up on the platform on behalf of their fellows, and declared as a new adult, "We sworn to walk toward light of hope, meet people, connect with them, respect myself, and advance forward" in sign language.

OTAKE Koji, chairman of the Osaka Prefecture Association made a encouraging remark, "The problem of communications may be brought up in the social life. Don't keep being worried. Don't endure yourselves without any reason, either. Make Deaf persons a companion for help to unburden your troubles".

Hard of hearing members learn sign language and finger spelling in Nagano Prefecture

The participants enjoy playing the Japanese card in finger spelling after the practice.

January 9, 2011

The Nagano Prefecture Society of the Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened opened the "communications study meeting" in Saku City, Nagano Prefecture on January 8. There were 15 participants, who practiced finger spelling and learned about interpreting and note-taking.

TAKAHASHI Toshie (54), a certified interpreter, introduced sign language and the finger spelling, and showed how to do them. After everyone showed the Japanese syllabary by the finger spelling, and enjoyed playing the card with a Japanese letter.

One of the participants (57) spoke, "There is a hard of hearing person near my home, so I have wanted to learn sign language, etc.".

HAMA Fumiko (71), the leader of the society, said, "The hearing-impaired person is usually isolated from the circle if he or she doesn't understand the conversation. I want people to write or sign to them so that they feel belonged".

The study meeting will be held on January 15th and 22nd, and the symposium on the hearing aid is also scheduled for January 30th.

Beauty seminar for parents of CODA to be held in Tokyo in February

A group related with Deaf parents having CODA will hold the beauty seminar for parents of the coda on February 6, 2011, 13:00-16:30 in Tokyo as its new project.

Deaf parents busy with bringing up a child usually do not have the chance to go to the make-up specialty store to know haw to do the make-up. Moreover, even if it is possible to go to the cosmetics counter, communications might not be easy.

A beauty specialist from Shiseido, a prestigious cosmetic store in Ginza, Tokyo, will explain skin care, the make-up method, the face massage, etc. Interpreting will be provided.

There is no cosmetics sales.
The care service for only the preschool children will be arranged, too.

Registration fee: 1000 yen
Capacity: 20 people

Deaf student from Hokkaido wins highest prize for shcool composition contest

Noda is pleased with the certificate of merit of the National School for the Deaf Composition Contest in his hands.


NODA Koudai (14), a second grader of the Hakodate School for the Deaf junior high school in Hokkaido, won the highest prize in the junior high school section of the 6th National School for the Deaf Composition Contest.

His composition was written based on the experience of the study presentation held in the autumn of 2009, with which parties concerned are very pleased as the first accomplishment for the school.

The Society on Welfare and Education for the Deaf and the Association of the Heads of the National Schools for the Deaf sponsor the contest every year.

There was an application of 167 pieces of the composition from the schools for the deaf across the country. Out of them, 64 pieces were submitted for the junior high school section at the contest.

Noda started writing a story in June, 2010 with his teacher's guidance. He wrote about his own enhancing experience at the study presentation, while repeating the writing practice.

He speaks, "I am not good at thinking of an idea though I like writing". He was puzzled to learn that he won the gold prize, saying that he was surprised because he had thought that his composition was not sure to be chosen. He finally told that he would like to write a book on his experience in the future.

Principal SHIMAZU Akira was pleased to say, "Our school has been emphasizing the composition exercise, so we are proud of this award. It would certainly encourage the Deaf students who are not good at writing".

Circle for Deaf children to gather regularly held at the school in Saga Prefecture


A circle called "JOY Circle" was formed by Deaf children, the parents and teachers of the Deaf in May, 2010. It has been held regularly in Saga City, Saga Prefecture, a part of the southern island of Japan. The members join various activities such as a friendship exchange, a outdoors cooking class once every two months.

Because the chance that the Deaf children play with other children of the same age group is few, the circle was formed to secure the place for socialization. The members are calling those parents, who may be worried about where their child play, or who feel anxious about bringing up a child, to participate in the group.

About 20 people including Deaf children with hearing aids, their parents came to the classroom at the prefecture school for the deaf in the city on November 27, 2010. The children introduced themselves by using sign language and the finger spelling. They enjoyed making the boomerang made of the paper or the paper dragon and flying it.

The number of children enrolled in the prefecture school decreases every year. It has decreased from 63 children in 1985 to 32 in 2010. It is common for a class with only one student.

MORI Shota (12), a sixth grader, and his mother Sayoko (42) participated in the circle activity. They were happy, and mother said, "We were glad to have a place that we can be relaxed on on holiday". She says that her son hardly feel comfortable with the neighborhood kids, and used to stay home alone all day". Many parents comment that it is good for their Deaf children to come to the circle and play one another, which they really love to.

TSURUTA Atsushi (34), a teacher of the school for the deaf who acts as a circle leader, spoke, "We would like to make the circle a place where the children can build the interpersonal relationship while meeting other children and playing with them".

Deaf mother makes long-sleeved dress for daughter's Coming of Age ceremony in Okinawa

Tamaki Masami (left) finishes up long-sleeved dress hand-sewn for daughter Hazuki.

January 4, 2011

TAMAKI Masami (45), a Deaf-born mother living in Okinawa Prefecture, hand-sewed the traditionally long-sleeved dress (kimono) for her first hearing daughter Hazuki (20). She will celebrate the Coming of Age ceremony on January 10, putting on the only one long-sleeved dress in the world that mother made.

Masami made it with thanks to Hazuki who has helped mother communicate with hearing people since her early childhood, and a wish for her to become a wonderful adult whatever difficulties ahead.

Masami had worked in Japanese dressmaking for about nine years while bringing up her children. As she was away from the work for years, she attended the kimono school by about three months between part-time work and housework. The advanced technique is necessary to finish up the long-sleeved dress hand-sewn.

The director of the school praised her, "She is great at using her hands and also quick to know how to do with the needles". To rent costumes for the Coming of Age ceremony is common nowadays, and she speaks, "There is little hand-sewn long-sleeved dress at the Coming of Age ceremony".

Hazuki first put on the special hand-made kimono at Christmas on December 25 last year. It was a moment when she had felt mother's love. She said, "I learned Mother's wish the first time. I will treasure it for my life", and the large tears dropped out of the eyes. Masami's dream of making daughter's long-sleeved dress was fulfilled. Proudly she watched daughter in kimono.

Deaf woman teaches Deaf children after school in Okinawa Prefecture

Kuwae Ayako is teaching the Deaf students by using sign language and writing.

A Deaf-born woman KUWAE Ayako (29) has been teaching Deaf children in Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture since June, 2010.

She has provided a study space for the children, saying, "A place that Deaf children can learn and meet other peers at ease was necessary". Though it was not easy to operate it for half a year, she came to feel encouraged with a smile of the student who says, "I am happy to attend this friendly study space".

Kuwae attended a hearing school in her hometown, and oral communications were taken with surroundings all time. It was difficult for her to completely understand the spoken conversation with the friend, too.

After entering the college, Kuwae met other Deaf student, who advised her to get a support service such as note-taking. With the support, she was glad to understand the class, but at the same time she got angry about herself how much she had missed during her school days.

There are currently five junior and high school students at the space. One of the students happily said, "After I came here, I not only understand study, but also take communications positively with other friends".

Kuwae spoke, "I will work harder when seeing a smile of every student, though it is always difficult to teach".

Hearing students invent machine that translates from the fingerspelling into voice

Finger spelling translation machine that the hearing university students developed.

The team of five seniors majoring engine at Kyoto University invented a translation machine called "TEMS" that converts the finger spelling into the voice. This machine will help communications between the signer and non-signer.

The members say that they hope to improve the machine to detect the entire movement of not only the finger spelling but also the hand with the sensor, and to convert the sign language into the spoken one.

This translation machine won the first place in the the university section of the domestic preliminary contest of the 2nd International Nano Micro Application Contest which the developments of related devices are competed, held in Sendai City early December, 2010.

The team will participate in the World Contest in Beijing in June, 2011.

Research workshop on foreign language learning for Deaf children to be held in Ibaraki Pregecture

Foreign language activity for the young Deaf children will be obligated in 2012, and English course starts from the fifth grader in full scale.

Teachers of a general elementary school as well as the school for the deaf are worrying about how to teach foreign language while some schools for the deaf have put out the result. On the other hand the existence of the Deaf child attending a general elementary school has been pointed out.

Tsukuba University of Technology located in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture will hold the research workshop on foreign language learning for Deaf children at the university on January 24, 2011, 13:30-16:00.

Interpreting will be provided.

Free admission.

DeafBlind Student passes college entrance examination in Tokyo

Mori Atsushi (second from the right) and his mother Sadako visit his teacher RAISAKA Hiroyuki (left) and HIKIDA Akio, principal at the School for the Blind in Tokyo.

MORI Atsushi (19), a born-DeafBlind student, passed the entrance exam for the social welfare course of Japan Lutheran College (Mitaka City, Tokyo ) on December 24, 2010. He is the first born-DeafBlind person to be enrolled in a college/university in Japan.

He would step forward with the help from the surroundings by one step, saying that "I want to serve DeafBlind fellows like myself in the future" though the difficult problem in the future such as securing of the interpreter remains.

Mori said to the teachers, "I was confident in myself in passing the exam" when he visited the Tsukuba University Special Support School for the Blind in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo.

He had kept wishing strongly to learn welfare at a university, delaying graduating for one year. He prepared himself such as he attended the class for the examinees with disability in summer. Also Raisaka taught him how to do well in interviewing at the school.

His mother had his son perceive the "surrounding world" by repeatedly touching all. He was transferred from Gifu Prefecture to Tokyo when he was a fifth grader. He studied and was trained repeatedly while living in the dormitory since the junior high school years.

Mori took the recommendation entrance exam of a university in November, but did not pass due the tension. Neither he passed the public recommendation entrance exam at the Japan Lutheran College on December 3. Still, he challenged the self-recommendation entrance exam of the college again. This time he felt he could finally pass.

However, Mori would always need the interpreter and the helper for the daily living and the lectures. Securing the helper fluent in sign language and its cost, etc. are difficult problems.

KANEKO Kazuo, the president of the university, said, "It is true in fact that we haven't experienced with such a student and that our knowledge is also limited to help this student. We expect a continuing process of trial and error together".

Deaf high school student selected to national team for "Deaflympic Games" in Slovakia

Kitashiro Taichi says, "I want to win a prize. If possible, I want to take the medal".

KITASHIRO Taichi (17), a Deaf student attending a hearing school, Seiai High School, located in Hirossaki City, Aomori Prefecture, will compete in alpine skiing at the 17th Deaflympic Games" (winter) in Slovakia in February, 2011.

Kitashiro, who started skiing at the age of three, speaks of his aspiration, "I want to work hard for the medal as a national team member". He had participated in the national training camp held in Otaru City, Hokkaido until January 2, 2011, working on the technical improvement.

Five sports items, such as cross-country skiing, snowboard, curling (new), and the ice hockey besides alpine skiing, will be held. Over 700 athletes and officers from 25 countries and regions will be participate. Japan will send a team of 21 athletes and, 31 officers and staff members.

Kitashiro participated in the alpine skiing item under 34 years old or younger at the 41st National Winter Sports Meet for the Deaf" in Otaru City in February, 2010, and won the two items, the slalom and giant slalom.

A request from the Japanese athletes selection committee of the Japanese Federation of the Deaf on the Deaflympics reached the school in December, 2010. Kitashiro was officially allowed to join in the Deaflympic Games for the first time.

His father Takahiro (46) spoke, "I want him to do to his best as he has practiced. I also want him to get to win a prize for the Japanese team".

Deaf woman pro wrestler shows fighting spirits at Tokyo

YAKAMI Aoi (left) used dynamic technique in the air.

The JWP Women's Professional Wrestling Match was held in the Kourakuen Hall at Tokyo on December 23, 2010. YAKAMI Aoi (29), was the first Deaf woman wrestler to fight on the mat.

She teamed with Command Bolshoi (age unknown) whom she adores as hearing mentor, and they fought against the hearing rivals.

Yakami demonstrated highly fighting spirits using a few techniques on the opponent, but she was held down to her for three counts at the end.

After the fight, Yakami was interviewed, saying, "I felt mortified and will do my best next time".

Her teammate Bolshoi also said, "Yakami had a wonderful game for the Korakuen debut. Her fight skills are close to the Junior belt level". Also she promised the backup to Yakami in the future, saying "I will learn more sign language so that we may contact in sign language during the match".

Related link:
Deaf woman wrestler to debut in Tokyo

Cooking class for Deaf held in Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture

The "Cooking Class for the Deaf" was opened in Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture on December 23, sponsored by the Iwate Prefecture Information Center for the Deaf. It was the second event following last year which was popular.

Fifteen participants from the school children to the senior citizen enjoyed making the dish such as the sushi, the vegetable soups, and the banana cakes while taking communications through note-taking and sign language. After it had completed, all the members enjoyed eating what they made.

The next cooking class is scheduled for January 23, 2011.