Dream of Deaf high school baseball player not fulfilled

July 26, 2011

The high school baseball teams from across the country that have won the prefecture preliminary game will join the National High School Baseball Tournament in Koshien, Kobe City scheduled for August.

"I want to go to Koshien." A Deaf student KAWATA Yukinori, a senior of Konan Gakuen High School, kept praying on the bench. His teammates made a hit, but didn't get any point, leading to be defeated. Kawata had a mixed feeling that he tried his best for three years and yet bitterness from being defeated. Tears overflowed on his face.

At the age of three, he had seen his father Junshi (40), who is also Deaf, playing baseball. Kawata had wanted to play at Koshien, having attended Konan Gakuen High School reputed as one of the best baseball teams in Kobe City.

He was stirred up though he was puzzled at the high skill level of the team. "I will work harder to outstrip a good player if there is one".

The teammates also helped him understand what the director and coach say through gestures. Kawata was given the uniform number 7 as one of the regular players this summer.

At the local preliminary game, he was kept sitting on the bench, except running in place, etc., and the game on this day ended without the turn.

Kawata, whose dream was not fulfilled, said to the reporter in writing, "I am satisfied with myself because I have worked hard for three years aiming at Koshien." He finally left the stadium showing the smile.

Performance by Deaf students to entertain everyone through sign language and gestures

July 27, 2011

The play by eight Deaf university students and actors will be presented in Yokohama City on August 6-7, 2011.

In this play composed only of sign language, gestures and dancing, neither the spoken interpreting nor the caption will not be provided. It aims at the stage that everyone can enjoy regardless of the disability through the movement of the actor.

The play is a romantic story about Miyamoto Musashi, a famous samurai who slips into the present age and a college female student who practices the kendo. Actor SHOSAKI Takashi (49) is the scriptwriter and director. He is the leader of a theatrical group that produces a performance independent of the Japanese language.

In the performance, the spectator who doesn't know sign language understands the content by following the movement of the person on the stage. Even without spoken lines, one can understand what the actor feels, what he/she is doing.

Shosaki signs, "Even if sign language is not understood, I believe 60 percent or more can get what the actor says, and everyone will enjoy the performance through gestures, the sound of musical instruments, etc."


Coda baseball player grows up because of the dormitory life


July 21, 2011

KUSAMOTO Yuta, a high school senior from Onomichi City in Hiroshima Prefecture and the fourth batter, stood on the batter plate and hit the ball without hesitantly. He had decided that he would strike the junk ball. The ball was a safe hit, the first in the seventh at bat at the regional high school baseball game on July 20.

Kusamoto was 180 centimeters in height and 88 kilos in weight. He is a jovial character who begins to sing suddenly while practicing, as a leading player who puts enthusiasm into the team.

When entering the school, he was 77 kilos in weight. He grows bigger because of a dormitory life provided by Coach KITASUGA Toshiaki. His wife Aki (36) and her parents prepare the dish and the cleaning for the teammates.

It was a start that Kitasuka had four boys from outside the prefecture live in his home in 2006. It got so crowded that he borrowed money and built the dormitory in 2008. The current seniors are the first who have lived since admission and plan to continue until graduation. Forty-three teammates in total are living in the dormitory. Aki said a smile, "When they say they hit the ball perfectly this day, I would get cheerful."

Kusamoto is the only child of his Deaf parents. He said that his first dormitory life is so lively and happy that he cuts loose, being occasionally scolded, though he talks in sign language at home. "In the dormitory life, I have learned how to behave properly."

Father Hirofumi (57) finished the night shift, ran with mother Midori (53) from Kure City and watched the high school baseball game.

The big fly of the ball that Kusamoto hit was completely caught in the glove of the outfielder who run after it. Then his team lost. After the game Kusamoto made a regrettable remark. "I should have hit the ball by ascertaining the ball more."

About two and a half years passed since his hearing son lives in the dormitory, father signed with a smile, "I want to tell him he did a good job today." He seemed satisfied to see his son growing up in stoutness.

Deaf girl practices kendo (Japanese swordsmanship) every day

July 22, 2011

The 46th National Youth Kendo (Japanese swordsmanship) Tournament and the 36th National Individual Youth Kendo Tournament" will be held at Nippon Budoukan in Tokyo on July 26-27, sponsored by the Japanese Federation of the Kendo Schools, etc.

The event is the largest one for a Kendo competition by boys and girls. The teams and the individuals who have won in the preliminary contest of both rallies. Participants are expected about 6,000 in total.

In the opening ceremony, MIYASAKA Namani (13), a eighth grader of the Meisei Gakuen School for the Deaf in Tokyo, will demonstrate the kendo (Japanese swordsmanship) performance.

She was a fifth grader when encouraged by father Osamu (38) to start kendo. He has had an experience with the kendo from the elementary school through the junior high school, and wanted her to know the charm of this sport that she would concentrate on one thing.

Nanami said, "I was scared first, because I was unable to sense where a rival would strike me with a wooden sword." The kendo is a kind of martial arts stressing "Basis." The difficulty to learn how to stand properly, how to make the posture when swinging the wooden sword, etc. It was a severe drill and she worked hard, because she was not fully prepared.

When Nanami kept practicing, she came to see many things last year. When she doesn't feel the strength in the opponent's movement, she came to strike him/her positively. She has put the nerve on how to strike the opponent no matter how he/she is strong or weak.

After the school ends, she practices for about one and a half hours every day in the kendo gym. After returning home, she again practices swinging with a wooden sword.

She told about her dream in the future. "One can continue doing the kendo even if aging unlike other sports. I will do it until dying. Also, I want to teach the kendo. Even I am Deaf, I can do this, so I want to make the Deaf learn it more."

Japanese source:

Deaf women soccer team aiming at world No.1

July 19, 2011

The Deaf women soccer team was pleased with the heroic deed of the Japanese team that had won the championship in the Women Soccer World Cup final in Germany.

They were practicing at the intensive training camp with the men soccer team members in Shizuoka Prefecture on July 16-18, 2011.

The lodge where they were staying got full of excitement with the news of the Women Soccer World Cup victory when they got up at 6:30am.

The Deaf women soccer team will participate in the friendship game with South Korea in August, both the Asian regional championships and the world title next year.

Captain Oshima, DF from Hyogo Prefecture said with a renewed feelings, "I got inspired. We want to work hard as another Japanese women soccer team."

Hearing high school student supports hard of hearing ace in baseball game

July 18, 2011

OMI Sho, who was once an infielder at a junior high school, is a catcher of the baseball club at the Anjo East High School in Anjo City, Aichi Prefecture.

He who had a strong shoulder was a pitcher, competing with the ace KAGIYA Takuya who is hard of hearing.

Omi failed in relief at the Aichi Prefecture High School Baseball Tournament last autumn. He was said by the coach, "You will be a catcher," which he did.

Omi swore that he would be the best catcher in the prefecture. He worked with a machine as a catcher, reading books to study mixing pitches. He also attended the class with the protector under the school uniform so that he might become accustomed to it as soon as possible.

In the game against the Anjo High School, the Anjo East HS lost a point in the first stage. Even they caught up in the last stage, it was too late.

Kagiya never shook the neck to the sign that Omi sent even facing the pinch. Omi said, "I was happy to work as a battery with Kagiya who trusted me."

Japanese source:

Whereabouts of Deaf elder victim in stricken area


It is a story about what has happened to a deaf man NAKAGAWA Shinichi (80) who was rescued from the apartment by his nephew in Kamaishi City, Iwate Prefecture on March 17 after the Great Earthquake hit the East Japan area .

News that he was rescued relieved those who were worried about his safety. Nakagawa's only daughter, KAGAMI Makiko (46) who lives in Chigasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture next to the Tokyo area was informed the nephew through the cellular phone on the same day.

Electricity and the gas were not available at the home of Nakagawa's younger sister Shimako (67) who was taking shelter. Traffic and transportation remained being cut in pieces. So, some idea was brought up that Nakagawa should stay with his daughter Makiko, but he did not nod for approval.

Shimako explained, "He should have known how the actual condition looked like from watching the TV news and captioned broadcasting, but the feeling must not catch up with him. He thought he would be able to return home some day soon."

When the electricity was restored at Shimako's home about a week after the tsunami, Nakagawa misunderstood that the light also lit up in the apartment, and he appealed to her by writing, "I am going home because there would be a fax from my friends."

Shimako told him, "Electricity has not been connected yet, and the situation hasn't improved at all, definitely impossible to live. Even members of the sign language circle are also so struck that they cannot help you." But, Nakagawa did not accept her persuasion.

His worried daughter Makiko arrived at Kamaishi with her husband almost at noon on March 26. The couple had Nakagawa get into their car and took him to the apartment. Nakagawa witnessed the completely disappeared town, only fully covered with a lot of debris, agreeing to stay with Makiko's family in Chigasaki.

The snow began to flutter in the afternoon on the day. Without taking a rest, they headed for Chigasaki, and returned home at 3:00am the next day.

Nakagawa felt uneasy about a new life ahead and lonely from leaving Kamaishi. But his sinking expression changed completely when he saw his great-grandchild who was born six months ago. The baby's innocent face melted his stiffened feeling.

Rubber-ball baseball game held in Osaka

July 18, 2011

The 46th All Osaka Deaf Rubber-Ball Baseball Autumn Game, sponsored by the All Osaka Deaf Adult Rubber-Ball Baseball Federation, Mainichi Shimbun Osaka Community Services Group, etc) started in Yao City, Osaka Prefecture on July 17.

Eight teams from Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, and Kagawa Prefectures participated, having a heated game.

In the opening ceremony, Tajima Junpei, the captain of a Hyogo team, powerfully swore in sign language, "Fight for Japan! Cheer Up Tohoku!"

The final game will be held on July 31, and four high-ranking teams will compete in the National Athletic Meeting in Kanagawa Prefecture in September.

Japanese source:

Regular university to set up research center to support students who are Deaf/blind

July 15, 2011

Hiroshima Jogakuin University in Hiroshima City, Hiroshima Prefecture, will set up a center to support the students with disabilities this year. The center will be used for research on educational materials and instruction methods to help students who are Deaf/hard of hearing and visually impaired.

The university has carefully prepared the support system during the period from the day when the students are admitted until they find a job. The admission of these students is expected in 2012.

In the plan, the center will be located in a room in the renovated four-story facility on campus. Eight teachers in total will study the teaching material and development of the instructional method in the field of literature and pedagogy that meets the needs of those students.

For instance, there is a method that a mobile equipment is loaned to the Deaf student for the lecture through caption.

National Police Agency to revise Road Traffic Law next April

July 14, 2011

The National Police Agency brought the amendment bill of the Road Traffic Law enforcement rule and regulations together on July 14.

According to the bill, a person with profound deafness will be allowed to get a driving license for a 4-ton freight car and a motorcycle. The Deaf persons have been eligible only for the automobile.

The feedback will be welcome on the Agency homepage from July 15 to August 20. The enforcement is scheduled on April 1, 2012.

When a Deaf person drives the freight car, the wide mirrors must be installed, and also the display of the mark with a yellow butterfly in a green background must be displayed. For the motorcycle there is nothing to require to show.

The Deaf/hard of hearing organizations, etc. had requested the improvement of driving conditions, which the Agency had been investigating safety for two years.

Persons with profound deafness are those who don't hear horn of distance away by ten meters even if hearing aid is put up, as defined in the Road Traffic Law. By the end of last year, 409 Deaf/hard of hearing people have acquired the license for driving the automobile.


Singer publishes first picture book for Deaf son

Imai Eriko shows her first picture book that she wrote for her Deaf son.

Imai reads her picture book in sign language at the story telling event.
(photo: http://www.sanspo.com/geino/news/110711/gnj1107110508008-n1.htm)

July 11, 2011

IMAI Eriko (27) of the four-female singer group named "SPEED" held a story telling event at the Tama-plaza Terrace in Yokohama City on July 10.

She gave a story telling time with her first picture book titled "ころがってごらん"(Let's Do Rolling).

The picture book, with a DVD in sign language, is about the adventure story that the author tells her hope for the eldest son Raimu (6) who is born Deaf.

Imai says, "At last my dream was fulfilled, because I had wanted to write the picture book."

Related links about Imai Eriko:
- Popular singer holds her book sale event in Tokyo for fund raising

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

- Deaf movie preview in Tokyo late March

Deaf softball team working hard for national game in autumn

Teammates gather and check the signs used in the game.
(photo: http://www2.asahi.com/koshien/93/localnews/SEB201107080018.html)

July 8, 2011

The Deaf softball teammates aged from 27 to 72 were practicing in the ground in Karatsu City, Saga Prefecture on the first Sunday of July.

They do not hear the cheer at all. They are use eye contact and sign language in the ground.

The team with 15 teammates including the manager participated in the 48th Kyushu Region Deaf Sports Meet" held in May, representing the prefecture, and winning the first victory.

They will compete at the National Deaf Sports Meet in Aichi Prefecture in autumn, aiming at getting into one of the best four teams for the victory.

YOSHIDA Takashi (27), a team captain and a center player, is from a Deaf family. He attended the School for the Deaf in the Saga City accompanied by mother since he was three years old.

At the age of five he saw the hearing children talking happily one another in the park, and noticed that something was different from himself whose first language is sign language.

Yoshida worked hard at the practice in the track and field team. The pistol was used for the starting signal in the track meet, and he was late by all means. He felt mortified many times; "I would be faster if I were hearing."

There was no baseball club in the school for the deaf even though Yoshida had actually wanted to play baseball for a long time. Father encouraged him to join the softball team five years ago. Yoshida is very happy that there are friends who chase the same white ball together though it is a little different from baseball.

Yoshida is serving as the Kyushu Block Director of the Japanese Deaf Softball Association. His dream is that softball will be added to the "Deaflympic Games" and participate in it.

Deaf man's work won highest prize in national Deaf photograph contest

Jinnou won the highest prize for his work in the National Deaf Photograph Contest.
His work, "Hunters"

July 1, 2011

A Deaf company employee JINNOU Toshiyuki (49), a resident of Chitose City, Hokkaido, won the highest prize in the free section of the 26th National Deaf Photograph Contest. He signed pleasantly, "It is the first time for me to get such a big prize. I never thought of it, but am happy!."

The contest took place as part of the 59th National Conference of the Deaf, sponsored by the Japanese Federation of the Deaf, June 8-12, in Saga City.

Forty-nine Deaf photographers applied with 101 photos in the free section, and the works that won a prize were exhibited in the Cultural Event Hall in Saga City for the period.

Jinnou's work titled "Hunters" caught the moment of an owl, an eagle, and a fox holding food in its mouth in three-piece set photograph.

His work was reviewed as; "It is excellent that powerfully expressed the dramas of the law of the jungles of living things unfolded in the field of the severe winter."

Jinnou took with the telephoto lens of 500mm in the Shiretoko Peninsula and the Kushiro Marshland last year and this year, respectively in Hokkaido.

He started his hobby when he was in the junior high school, and has taken a picture of the animal, scenery, and the person, etc. He belongs to a nature conservation group as a certified nature observer.

Activities of Nagasaki Chapter of national organization of sign language interpreters

July 2, 2011

Aiming at welfare for the Deaf and the improvement of a social status of the sign language interpreter, the National Study Society on Interpreting Issues is a national organization working and doing a research on the Deaf issues and interpreting problems. The Nagasaki Chapter joined the organization as its 27th member in the whole country in 1983. Currently about 270 Chapter members are active.

The Chapter started with the recording of the Deaf radiation victims telling their story as the first project. It has published "Talk in Hands" which they related their experience in the atomic bomb, its English translation titled "The Silent Thunders," and the photograph collection titled "Deaf people did hear the sound of the atomic bomb," which were reproduced in the DVD version.

The Chapter has had offered the interpreting service near the seats of the bereaved at the annual peace memorial ceremony since 1984. It was covered by the Nagasaki City fund in 1988 and since then the interpreter has stood on the front stage.


New Deaf movie produced for tenth anniversary of establishment

Flyer of the new Deaf movie, "The Inclining Person" for show
(photo: http://moon.ap.teacup.com/loud036/1180.html

The first Deaf movie in 2011, titled "The Inclining Person," will be shown in Tokyo at 14:00 on July 10, 2011.

The 30-min movie in the digital cinema work with subtitles (no sounds) was produced by ODATE Nobuhiro, a Deaf director.

Fee: 1,000 yen for adult, 500 yen for student and free for elementary school children.
A part of the proceeds will be contributed to the Japanese Federation of the Deaf's Deaf Victim Relief HQ.

The first movie production by a Deaf movie group called "Purodeia" was "The Small Downtown" that was about the Deaf youth striving to set up a Deaf organization during postwar days in Tokyo.

Ever since and for the first time in ten years, two Deaf actors, YOSHIOKA Osamu and NAOI Takashi, who have enchanted a lot of spectators, will act together again in the movie "The Inclining Person".

When KAWAKAMI Masaru (Yoshioka) awakes in the park in Sumidagawa, a stranger (Naoi) is sitting nearby, about whom Kawakami feels uneasy.

The stranger introduces himself by sign language as Nakayama, tells that he was killed by the phantom killer and says that he is the dead.

He asks Kawakami to do something for him, which Kawakami accepts with a strong will. Where does he head?

Sign language interpreter chapter established in Shiga Prefecture

The 11th chapter celebrates the establishment.

July 4, 2011

The Shiga Prefecture Chapter of the Japanese Association of Sign Language Interpreters as its 11th chapter was established on July 3, and the commemorative ceremony was held at Kusatsu City.

About 80 people including chapter members and parties concerned from the Deaf organizations attended.

In the prefecture 34 interpreters have been recognized by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, and out of them 33 interpreters became a Chapter member.

Many of them had said they needed an opportunity to study more professionally in the field such as an election campaign, to discuss interpreting issues, etc. To meet their needs, the preparation for establishment had been advanced since September, 2010.

Sightseeing attendants on train for summer selected

Morino (left) and Murakami renew their determination with a smile.

July 1, 2011

Six sightseeing attendants for the Nishikikawa-Seiryu Line that runs through in Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi Prefecture were selected.

The sightseeing attendant is a project that the Nishikikawa Railload started in 2009.

The attendants, putting on the uniform of a light blue that reflects the images of the Nishiki River, help a person in wheelchair get on and off besides introducing nature and the culture of place along railway-tracks by broadcasting in the car.

They will work in pair for 30 days from June 30 to August 28 on eight up and down lines in total.

Eight people applied including the last three experienced people this year. There was an announcement in the city office on July 1.

MORINO Chihiro (25), a house wife from the Iwakuni City and a part-timer MURAKAMI Kunie (61) as a pair attended it. Murakami, president of the Iwakuni Sign Language Circle, is looking forward to the debut, saying that she would be glad if she could contribute to society through sign language.