Deaf alumni group exhibits their photo works in Tottori Prefecture

Photograph show by former club members.

August 27, 2011

The photograph exhibition which displayed 45 pieces of photograph work started in Tottori City on August 26. An alumni group who were the photograph club members at the prefecture Tottori school for the deaf in the city.

Their works were unique which followed what a former teacher TAKADA Keiichi (63) when he had served as the advisor until retiring in the spring of 2009: "Let's take a picture of people around us".

ODA Shoshi (30), one of the former club members, is presently a teacher of the school succeeding Takada as an advisor. He signed, " The photograph is one of the communications to us. I want to get in touch with a lot of people through the photograph work".

The photograph club was formed by Takada (left) in 1981, and guiding it for 28 years. The club produced about 80 members who finished school so far.

The alumni photograph exhibition was started in 2004. Takada knew the former members' hardship such as they were refused guidance in writing in the workplace, etc. He started a project to enhance understanding about Deaf people who work harder for their life. The alumni photograph exhibition has continued to be held every year.

Oda (right) joined the club when he was a 7th grader and was driven to the photograph activities for six years until graduating from high school. The club participated in the "National High School Photograph Contest" for the first time, and Oda won an excellent prize in 1997. He signed, "I had never liked something about myself being Deaf until then. When my photograph work taken through meeting with people was evaluated, I became confident in me".

Afterwards, Oda attended the university, teaching as a lecturer first at the alma mater, passed the teacher's certificate examination, and has been hired as a social studies teacher since April, 2005.

His works have been displayed annually for 8 years since the first exhibit. This time seven pieces of his photograph work in monochrome showed humorous scenes, such as his students covering their face with the swimming cap in the pool.

Oda signed, "I will follow what my former teacher Takada had taught me, and make a place that my students can be more active. My goal is to win the first place at the National Contest that he has not achieved yet".

Related link:
Former teacher of Deaf children holding photograph exhibition in Tottori Prefecture

Deaf woman appeals due to application for sign language service rejected


A company employee HANEJI Yoko (40) who resides in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture applied for the sign language service* outside the city, which city officials rejected. Complaining on August 26, she is requesting the City to cancel the application rejection and also to compensate for the expenditure 5,140 yen that she spent.

Haneji said, she applied for the sign language service on June 17 before she participated in the guardian briefing of a professional training school in Tokyo where her hearing daughter (18) hoped to enter. However, the city rejected it as "the place to offer the service was not inside the city, and the objective importance of her application was scarce" on July 12.

Haneji arranged the sign language interpreter at her own expense, and participated in the briefing. She insists, "If not in the city, am I not allowed to obtain information? Necessary of information being judged by the mayor violates fundamental human rights".

The outline of the city states that the sign language service is available only inside the city, and may be available out of the city when the mayor assumes it is necessary.

*The sign language service is provided by the volunteer who helps the Deaf person in sign language. It is a level that the volunteer happily chats with the Deaf client by sign language, and not a sign language interpreter. There is a municipality that registers as a volunteer.

Japanese source:

Sign language salon to be set up in Ishikawa Prefecture in October

Nakamachi Shopping Office (right) will locate a "Sign Language Salon" .

The Hakusan City Office in Ishikawa Prefecture decided to establish a "Sign Language Salon" in the Nakamachi Shopping Office building as an exchange base for the Deaf residents and volunteers on October 1.

Such a permanent sign language salon will be the first facility in the prefecture. The city administration is expected to sum up the related project expense about 3.5 million yen to the supplemental spending bill in September.

The City Deaf Society will manage the sign language salon and set up a visual device to help communications function including writing. The Deaf residents and volunteers will teach sign language in order to promote sign language in the city. Making a map will be advanced to get information on the residences where the Deaf live in case of a future disaster.

According city officials, the Deaf society has demanded the establishment of the salon. There are a lot of the members who feel more uneasiness about getting information at the time of disaster. The city decided to answer their desire for more support in the region by establishing the exchange base.

In the Great East Japan Earthquake, it is said that help from the able-bodied persons has played an important role in the evacuation of the persons with disabilities and their sheltered life.

In the city, there are about 260 Deaf people, 60 out of them sign as their main communication in daily living.

Deaf society protests against the police for rejecting Deaf woman's request for interpreter

August 27, 2011

The request for a sign language interpreter by the Deaf woman (48) over and over on the accident site was ignored by the policeman on the prefecture highway in Nakahara Ward, Kawasaki City on August 14. The Kawasaki City Deaf Society submitted the letter of protest to the Nakahara police station, asking for the explanation of details, etc.

The head of the police station ARAI Masayuki answered on August 26, though they did not allow the Deaf woman to attend a meeting as they wanted to talk calmly.

The police officials answered as stated in the document, "We apologized deeply for having given the woman uneasiness and distrust because the policeman did not know the sign language interpreter dispatch system and believed the communication was possible by writing". In addition, they promised to consider the communication accessibility in the future as much as possible.

After having been reported from the members, the Deaf woman signed, "I might not be able to consent because I was not there at the meeting with the police. However, I want them to respect the Deaf needs more whenever there is a similar case as mine".

A Deaf lawyer TAMON Hiroshi, who is also a member of the Deaf Society and attended the meeting, signed, "There are other similar cases, but it may be the first time that the police station head apologized himself".

Related link:
Prefecture police center overlooks request for sign language interpreter at traffic accident site

National conference of sign language interpreters opens in Oita Prefecture


The National conference of sign language interpreters to aim at the better welfare for the Deaf and the sign language interpreter's position improvement started on August 26 in Beppu City, Oita Prefecture.

About 1,100 participants from across the country will discuss the issues in six fields through August 28. Sponsoring are the Japanese Federation of the Deaf, National Society of Sign Language Interpreters, and Mainichi Newspaper. etc.

On the opening day, KANSAN Jun, professor of The University of Tokyo graduate school, made a keynote speech titled "Limits and possibilities of communications".

He introduced his own experience when he was young that it was hard for him to take communications with his illiterate mother. She was not able to read or write in Korean and Japanese languages easily.

Mother invited people from the Hansen's disease medical center, who were not accepted easily by the society at that time, to her house very naturally and they ate together.

The professor spoke reflecting on what he had despised. "Mother was good at communications with using the every part of the body. I learned knowledge at the school, but my communications skills were not good enough".

He concluded by saying, "Sign language might be important when we think we tell the next generation about the practical wisdom".

Japanese source:

Hard of hearing student wins three medals at World Deaf Swimming Championships

August 24, 2011

The 3rd World Deaf Swimming Championships" was held on August 7-13 in Portugal. KANAJI Yoshikazu (17), a Karatsu Trade High School senior in Saga Prefecture, won a gold medal each for 100- and 200-meter backstroke and a bronze medal for 50 meters.

His efforts that he developed his strength through practicing hard with hearing swimmers, bore three medals. "I am indeed glad. I want to make the record time shorter", he said, gaining a new fighting spirit.

Surrounded by the foreign swimmers who were over 180 centimeters in height, Yoshikazu, 166 centimeters tall, competed for the 100-meter backstroke, passing the preliminary contest at the record of 59'96". In the final, he beat a Japanese swimmer IBARA Ryutaro, a high school senior from Tokyo, winning a gold medal. In 200 meters, he topped out of the start and got away with all his power, winning another one.

This World Championships was one of the passing points for him. He hopes he enters a college/university and continues swimming at the intercollegiate conference.

Related link:
Deaf swimmer aiming at World Deaf Swimming Championships

South Korean movie on Deaf baseball team to be screened in Japan

Movie flyer in South Korea

August 24, 2011

The South Korea movie, titled "Glove" (directed by Kang Woo-Suk) will be screened on August 27 in Japan. It is about a Deaf high school baseball team.

A pray for a big box office of the movie took place at the batting center in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo on August 24.

Former professional baseball player SATO Kazuhiro (46) challenged batting a 100 kilo-speed ball. He said, "I was not a home-run hitter. I was able to become a professional player because I was strong in the chance". He finally hit the 62nd ball for home run. "I realized that I became smaller aiming at the target. The movie really taught me".

About the movie in English:

Japanese edition:

"Talking Equipment from Manual Sign" developed by hearing students

August 223, 2011

Kyoto University Press Release:

Kyoto University Team Wins First Prize in 2011 International Contest of Applications in Nano/Micro Technologies (June 6, 2011)

A Kyoto University team named "TBT" won first prize in the 2011 International Contest of Applications in Nano/Micro Technologies (iCAN'11).

The contest is an international competition regarding application ideas and prototypes using MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems). The contest's key evaluation points include the uniqueness of the idea and its potential contribution to society. The application developed by the KU team was "TEMS" (Talking Equipment from Manual Sign), which recognizes manual signs with a combination of acceleration and magnetic sensors and converts them into sounds. It was developed to assist people unable to speak due to hearing impairment when communicating with those unable to use sign language.

This year, about 5,000 students from fifteen countries and regions participated in the regional rounds of the contest, out of which twenty-seven winning teams were invited to the final contest in Beijing. The TBT Team, consisting primarily of first-year students in the Nano/Micro System Laboratory, Graduate School of Engineering, had won the Japanese round held in Sendai last December with the highest points among all participants.

The winner of the final contest was selected through the evaluation of presentations on June 5 and public voting for booth presentations on June 5 and 6. The TBT Team won first prize through this selection process. At the award ceremony, the team members announced that they were donating the prize of US$3,000 to relief activities for the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake, which drew a big applause from the floor.

Manual alphabet translator "TEMS" (palm side)

Manual alphabet translator "TEMS" (back side)

Explaining to a large audience

At the award ceremony

Group photo of participants

Japanese News edition:

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".

Training service dogs and hearing dogs in Nara Prefecture

August 20, 2011

HIRAI Keiko (32), a hearing resident in Nara City, was surprised to know about the service dog through the television program when she was a company employee ten years ago. "The dog was very good at doing these kind of things".

She determined to become a trainer, partly influenced by her father who hardly walked because of a disability.

She has been training the service dogs including the hearing dog at an incorporated nonprofit organization called the "Japan Support Dogs Society" located in Ikoma City, Nara Prefecture since 2005 so that these dogs might become a partner for a person with disability.

Keiko explained, "The service dog works with pleasure while it is not easy for a person with disability to ask even the family member to do something for him/her. The user, with a service dog, enjoys going out and not only feels happy, but also the chance of social participation increases".

It takes 1 or 2 years to train by the aim of passing the service dogs qualifying examination. When training continues repeatedly, Keiko said, "The dog learns what the user needs by thinking and do something that is not taught". She feels pleasure in the relationship: "the dog and the user can communicate by heart, event though without a word".

She has trained two service dogs, and is currently training a Toy Poodle (one years old and male) as a hearing dog. She is working hard at training it to wake up the Deaf user asleep immediately after it hears the sound of the alarm clock, etc.

On the other hand, service dogs and hearing dogs are often refused to enter the public space such as the restaurant and the supermarket, etc. as not many people acknowledge compared to the guide dog for the person who is visually impaired. Keiko hopes the society will naturally accept all these dogs serving the persons with disabilities some day.

Project to promote understanding of persons with disabilities in Sapporo City

Children introduce themselves by sign language as Takashima (left), a Deaf lecturer, watched them.

August 18, 2011

To promote the children to understand about disability, the project that the Sapporo City social welfare council in Hokkaido Prefecture has a program that they send the person with disability to the school as a lecturer, which has attracted attention.

Since this program started in autumn, 2010, the reputation extended through publications and by word of mouth, and accordingly more requests have been made to the council. Many people have also applied for the lecturer.

"Let's show something around us here by the gesture," TAKASHIMA Masahiro (55), secretary-general of the Sapporo Deaf Association, called 33 third graders in sign language at the South Swamp Elementary School in the city in June, which was interpreted by HISAMATSU Ayako, a staff member of the association. The children looked at each other and laughed after they made the gesture.

"Our disability is so invisible that it is hard to believe we are Deaf. Even if the earthquake happens, we don't hear the tsunami warning," signed Masahiro. The children listened attentively quietly.

In the end of the lecture, a child seemed to be reluctant to part. One of the girls spoke the impression, saying "I want to talk more with the teacher in sign language". The principal said expecting the result of the lecture, "The children were sure not to forget the experience through life though it was short today".

The social council used to send its staff member with disability to schools. They started the program that the lecturer who was recruited last September because there were a lot of requests and consultations had gone up to now. There were 28 lecturers last year. It is scheduled 28 times by the end of August at current year. They expect that the request increases when school events are less after autumn.

The council officials said, "The project is valuable that not only school children understand disability but also the opportunity for the person with disability will be more active. We are interested in offering the program to the enterprise, etc for the training".

Deaf students gather at Utsunomiya City from across Japan

August 17, 2011

The "National Deaf Students Gathering" began at Utsunomiya City in Tochigi Prefecture on August 15. The lecture meeting, discussions, etc. will take place and deepen the fellowship exchange through August 18.

The purpose of this gathering is to offer the opportunity for the Deaf students from across the country discuss a problem of communications and interesting topics. Parties concerned mention, "We want to make this event for the participants to come back to the starting point".

The national gathering is annually held in various places by the National Deaf Students Fellowship Group which has been active with a motto "No more lonely Deaf students". The event this year is the 31st and for Utsunomiya City the second.

The event attracted 136 participants. There were workshops, etc. on the world tour and the sign language on August 16 and the symposium with a theme on the "Great East Japan Earthquake and the Deaf" the next day.

OGAWA Yushi (26), the student group leader and a Hyogo University of Education graduate school student, and INAKAWA Naoki (21), an organizing committee chairman and a Tokyo City University junior, have worked together to prepare the event for about a year.

The opportunity for the Deaf student to get higher education has increased compared with the time when the first national gathering was held. However, it has been pointed as a fact that the support including the sign language interpreter and note taking yet varies by the colleges/universities.

Naoki signed, "We want not to forget thanks to the older generation who have fought against discrimination and the prejudice, and to make the gathering as a chance to go back to the starting point". Yushi also signs, "I would be glad if the circle of support extends at more colleges/universities taking the opportunity of the gathering".

Deaf children mingle with Deaf adults by support network in Kyoto

August 13, 2011

The program that Deaf children exchange with Deaf adults during summer vacation and touch the animal is offered at the Maizuru City Deaf Center in Kyoto Prefecture.

It has been sponsored since last year by the Maizuru Deaf Children Support Network so that the Deaf children meet Deaf adults and mingle with the hearing residents through interpreting and note taking during summer vacation to enhance them to live with self confidence.

Twelve 7th graders from a northern part of Kyoto Prefecture participated in the program on August 11. They enjoyed the story by the Deaf adult about his experience, and touched or held the dogs and the cats, helped by the volunteer group.

Documentary film closely draws daily life of Deaf surf shop owner

Ota Tatsuro (left) and director Imamura Ayako meet with former Mikami (front in white shirt)


A documentary movie, titled "A Cup of Coffee and a Pencil" is coming to complete after shooting for two years. It is about OTA Tatsuro (49), the Deaf owner of a surf shop in Kosai City, Shizuoka Prefecture.

Tatsuro, IMAMURA Ayako (32) who directed the film, and the staff visited the Kosai City Office and reported to former mayor Mikami on August 11.

The movie will be screened in the civic hall in the city at 14:00 on October 1, in advance in the country.

Tatsuro was enchanted to the surfing he learned from his older friend in the school days, and has experienced in this sport for 30 years or more.

He retired from the office and opened the store in Kosai City where from his parents came, to sell the surf articles and the Hawaiian goods in 2007.

A Deaf director Ayako knew of Tatsuro through her friends and decided to take a film about him.

She drew daily life of Tatsuro who entertains with the Hawaiian coffee, chatting with the visitor in writing, getting over inconvenient circumstances.

Ayako told to mayor Mikami through the interpreter, "I was very impressed with Tatsuro who easily chatted in writing and the gesture. I am Deaf myself, too and felt something like barrier in my own heart was removed".

Tatsuro also signed, "I hope the movie will be helpful in removing the fence between the person with disability and the counterpart without disability". He donated T-shirts and the posters, etc. made for advertisement.

Related links:
Documentary film on the Deaf people earthquake victims to be shown in Nagoya City in May

Documentary movie on three international Deaf families to be shown in Osaka in October

Prefecture police center overlooks request for sign language interpreter at traffic accident site

Site where the Deaf woman was involved in the traffic accident in Nakahara Ward, Kawasaki City.

August 14, 2011

It was found on August 12 that the request for the sign language interpreter has been ignored on the afternoon of July 11 though the Deaf woman (48), who was involved in the traffic accident in Nakahara Ward, Kawasaki City in Kanagawa Prefecture, e-mailed for the emergency and also requested to the policeman of the Nakahara station for the sign language interpreter many times.

The place where the accident occurred was on one side lane of the prefecture highway. The oncoming car driven by a hearing man (71) that crossed the center Line collided with the car that the woman drove. The Nakahara police station sent the papers pertaining to the case to the Public Prosecutor's Office for the man as the suspicion of the car driving fault injury.

The woman e-mailed via the cellular phone to the prefecture police station three times immediately after the accident, "There was an accident now. I am Deaf. Please send the sign language interpreter", and she got only a reply "How did you do?". Even she asked the policeman who came to the site for the the interpreter many times who would never come.

The Nakahara station explained to the reporter, "Communications were taken well through writing and gestures though the policeman on the site did not know the interpreter dispatch system".

On the other hand, the woman signed, "The policeman gestured such like waving his hand in front of my face, putting the index finger on his mouth to tell me to shut up while I tried to explain how the accident occurred. It made me sure feel pressured, disgraced, discriminated".

The Kawasaki City Society of the Deaf to which the woman belongs submitted the letter of protest to the Nakahara police station on August 12, as the Deaf right to know and make remarks being was deprived, also assuming that human rights was violated. They requested every police men to be more aware of the sign language interpreter dispatch system, etc.

The Nakahara police station officials apologized. The response of the prefecture's police interpreter center seems to become a problem.

DeafBlind working at massage shop supported by university in Kyoto

Massage shop was established in Doshisha University for support of the DeafBlind work

August 9, 2011

The incorporated nonprofit organization in Kyoto established the massage shop where the DeafBlind work in Doshisha University's public sports facilities in Kyoto City on July 18.

The DeafBlind person is not able often not to take communications with the patient easily and to move around, so starting business is difficult, even if he or she has acquired the license of the massage and the acupuncture and moxibustion

The shop established in facilities that many citizens use offers the DeafBlind a place for the business support with more customers coming,.

All the thing has started with a twenties DeafBlind woman from Shiga Prefecture who complained about the job opportunity.

The shop opens on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10:00-18:00. Currently two are hired. More staff will be increased and the business hour will be extended if it gets on the right track.


Deaf biker goes around the world

July 22, 2010

HAKAMADA Kohei from Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, retired and immediately went on biking in July, 2010.

Showing the map he has visited 31 countries in the area such as Siberia, Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

He reached the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa at last and stayed there for a week attending the 16th World Congress of the Deaf.

He left his motorcycle for the repair in the motorcycle shop in South Africa, and returned home to Japan temporarily.

When he returned to Africa again, he resumed the bike trip for "three another years" around the earth.

"Even if one is not possible to hear or to speak, he is possible to travel."

Video in International Signs:
The Silent Rider, Kohei Hakamada

Deaf futsal event to take place at Ikebukuro, Tokyo

Augst 9, 2011

The Deaf and hearing persons will play futsal together.

The Charity Futsal Event will take place at the Park Ikebukuro in Tokyo on August 21, 10:00-15:30, sponsored by the East Japan Deaf Futsal Association located in Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo and the Tokyu Sports System located in Shibuya Ward. Free admission.

The winning team will compete against the special team in which the Japanese national futsal team coach Mr. Miguel Rodrigo also participates, as a special futsal match. The hearing player will have to put on the earplug and refrain from uttering voices as a special rule.

In the opening ceremony, the Signing Performance Yellow Group, which sometimes instructs an artist or actor in sign language for his/her performance, will show their songs in sign language.

Deaf children challenge kayaking

Deaf children challenge sea-kayaking with the help from instructors.

August 9, 2011

The experience workshop to offer Deaf children to enjoy the sea kayak and snorkeling took place at the Town Beach Center in Kochi Prefecture on August 8.

Twenty-four people in total such as Deaf children and their parents from the Kochi Prefecture Association of Parents with Deaf Children participated.

Fifteen instructors and college students who volunteered in total went out and watched the Deaf children in kayak in the offing together. Ten children in the sea kayak available for two persons (about two meters in length) enjoyed the sea of summer at ease.

A third grader (8) of the Prefectural Kochi School for the Deaf signed, "Because they taught me carefully, I was able to row well. I felt comfortable in being on the sea".

One of the parents was pleased, saying that the event would give the Deaf children to challenge positively.

Deaf women volleyball captain challenging

Yanagawa Namiko collected the relief and condolence money in the fund-raising box that she had made with her mother.

August 9, 2011

"Should I do sports at such time?" YANAGAWA Namiko (25) was hesitating.

The earthquake hit Miyagi Prefecture where she is living, when she was preparing for the United States visit as a captain of the Japanese women volleyball team. She was not able to contact her elder sister who lived in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture for ten days.

When learning there were a lot of dead victims in the stricken area on the TV that came to be aired at last, she was going to cancel participating. At that time, she got e-mail from the coach via the cellular phone. "You are the captain. Can you tell anything to the persons struck because you do not participate in the international game in the U.S.?"

The Deaf women volleyball team won the bronze medal in the Deaflympic Games in 2009. Namiko thought of the message of the coach that he meant to tell her: it is important that she would play for even the person who was not able to do sports. She signed, "I had a chance to think over again about the responsibility as a captain".

The Japanese team visited the U.S. at the end of July, and fought against three countries including Ukraine, one of the top teams in the world. Namiko called the teammates, and collected the relief and condolence money in a handmade fund-raising box.


Deaf pitcher wins a victory mark with only one pitch first time in three seasons

August 9, 2011

On August 8, the left-hand pitcher ISHII Yuya (Silent K) of the Nippon Meat Packers comes in as a relief with a full of bases and one out of three.

He made the pinch-hit and got the batter with a grounder double play, winning the victory mark since 2008.

Yuya turned out after his teammate Saito, the pitcher, was in the bad pinch. Yuya who is Deaf said, "I did not feel nervous. I thought that I would concentrate on pitching".

Yuya who was transferred from the Yokohama team last season, has made his pre-eminent record with ERA 0.61. He said with a big smile, " Because I won at last after a long time this season, I am glad. I will decorate this winning ball at my home".

He was the 31st winning pitcher with one only pitch for the both the Pacific League and Central League, 15th for the Pacific League since August, 2008.


Deaf university student selected to the national team for the World Deaf Basketball Championships

Ugaya Takashi, one of the national team members, is enthusiastic for the upcoming world game.

August 08, 2011

UGAYA Takashi (22), a senior majoring in social informatics at Gunma University in Gunma Prefecture, was chosen to be on the Japanese team for the World Deaf Basketball Championships, which will be held in Palermo, Italy in September.

Takashi, a native of Tochigi Prefecture, was good at running when he was a little boy, and became interested in basketball that running controls the game. He started playing basketball when he was a fifth grader of elementary school.

He completely absorbed in basketball from the junior high school through the high school. He met a Japanese Deaf basketball team player when he was a junior at the high school, and came to think, "I want to play for the world game some day".

Takashi joined the adult team whose coach was fluent in sign language after entering the Gunma University, and has practiced hard four days a week. He participated in the Japanese team trial in July last year, and was chosen as one of nine boys, realizing his dream since high school days.

The Japanese team has competed for the first time at the last championships in 2007. It is hoped that the new national team will accomplish the goal as one of the eight best teams. This year Japan is scheduled to compete against Slovenia which is said to be stronger in preliminaries. Takashi signed, "I am looking forward to playing against these good players".

"I want to continue basketball even if graduating," he signed about his dream, "I also want to teach mini basketball in the future, making the best of using my experience in the world championships".

Deaf support facility and high school students in collaboration for doughnut project

The students and the facility staff work together to produce baked doughnuts for trial.

August 6, 2011

The Deaf work support facility called the "Atelier Owl" and the Mito High School for the Girls are advancing the development of new "baked doughnuts" by the collaboration with steady steps in Mito City, Ibaraki Prefecture.

The "Atelier Owl", located in the city, is the only vocational support center for the Deaf in the prefecture, has produced more than 30 kinds of bread and cookies for sales.

Four girls visited the facility on August 1, and tried to make what they had invented by themselves. The high school offered a project to make various commodities for trial purposes to the food design class since September, 2010. The collaboration of the two organizations was achieved partly because the "Atelier Owl" sells bread twice a month at the school.

The facility had a plan to produce new doughnuts, and prepared for making two kinds of taste (a plain, coffee or the cocoa) for the facility, and the gift.

The students were given a basic recipe by the facility, and started a project on developing baked doughnuts. The idea was pooled mainly by juniors and seniors, and six kinds of prototypes like the sugared beans taste, etc. were proposed. The students repeated to make for trial purposes and sampling through July, and decided two kinds of the banana and the raisin taste for commercialization.

The four girls visited the Atelier Owl, and baked two kinds of doughnut with the help from the facility staff and the consumers on this day.

The banana taste and the raisin taste were popular as a result of tasting by the concerned. One of the girls said with a smile, "It is well-done. The idea did not go well first, and we devised when it was not successful. We are excited to see the outcome of this project because we had worked hard".

Australian Coda leading workshop in Osaka for her project

Participants gesture tea party under full-bloomed cherry blossoms to show Jodee Mundy (third from right).

August 5, 2011

Mt. Fuji, Shinkansen (bullet train), Doraemon (a popular animated comic cat) ...

The play workshop that the Deaf children pantomimed "Japan" was opened for two days from August 3 in Osaka City.

It was led by Jodee Mundy (33), a Coda from Australia and stage manager. She plans to produce a video from the collection of the images that children from different countries introduce nature and the culture of their home country.

When Jodee asked, "What image do you have about Japan?" the idea was came out one after another of seven children aged 6-17 such like "hot spring", "a revolving sushi bar", "maiko (a young Japanese dancing girl in Kyoto)", etc.

They began to actually move, comically performing such like putting up powdered green tea, climbing Mt. Fuji, with facial expressions.

For the image of "Tokyo", they satirically performed the young man absorbed in the cellular phone on the street bumps against other passenger and passes without looking back.

One participant aged 17 signed, "It was fun to express with a lot of gestures. I am excited to see the video myself some day".

Jodee has started this project in 2009, and Japan is the 3rd country. She will take a video of ten countries, aiming at showing the work to the public. "I think it would be wonderful if Deaf children learn other country each other".

Related links:
Everyone in Jodee Mundy's family is deaf - except for her

Jodee Mundy's Blog:

Sign language presentation held in Fukuoka Prefecture

August 4, 2011

The 18th sign language presentation was held recently in Katsuragawa-cho, Fukuoka Prefecture, a part of the southern island of Japan. Eight groups, ten learners per group, demonstrated their signing skills that they have practiced so far.

The event was arranged by the committee consisted of the Deaf and sign language circles in the area. Not only the Deaf, but also the persons with disabilities including intellectual disability, physical disability, and hearing learners participated.

A Deaf woman MIURA Hikari told about her experience with the Japanese drum at high school days. "I felt the vibration in the body when the drum was beaten. It was comfortable though I was unable to hear the sound". About her job, she signed, "I think if there are persons who interpret for me in the company I would have more friends".

One of the hearing learners looked back on the relationship with the Deaf. He signed with some gestures, "They have power to read others' minds by seeing instead of hearing. They treated me appropriately without a remark when I was depressed".

A lot of the participants were drawn in to the signed presentation with rich power of expression and their all heart.

WASLI: Presentation by Japan on IS interpreting in AP region

Saturday, 16 July 2011

"IS Interpreter in Asia and Pacific region: From experience as IS Interpreter for JICA-JFD Deaf leadership training programme" - Soya Mori

People are often not familiar what it means if we say what is international sign. There is a difference between international sign in the Asian region than in the rest of the world.

Previous to 1991, Japan did not have a lot of contact to the international community. In 1991 we hosted the WFD Congress: the world came to us. Japanese deaf people saw the variety of sign languages.

In 1994 the Japanase Deaf Association (JDA) established a deaf leadership programme for Asian Deaf people. In 1995 the Japanese government gave funding to establish JICA. More people could not come in to provide this training to more people. People from other regions would come and stay for one month to Japan.

Deaf people in Japan were not so good in international sign. So we trained them first in international sign before teaching them the leadership course.

Web and Supalla (1994) published a study which looked at international sign and discussed if IS was a real language and compared IS used by Europeans and North Americans.

Deaf people from the Asian region came to Japan and did not know IS. They learned it by socializing and also through training. There was also little or no knowledge of English, and the IS was therefore not influenced by English.

In Europe there are many sign languages and many different cultures. So it was quite challenging when all came together in 1991 for the WFD congress, and to accommodate all of these language needs in one IS. For example, non manual markers are very different in Asia Sign Languages than in the European or North American Sign languages.The presenter then showed an international sign interpretation by a Japanese deaf person, which showed increased indexing than occurs in other versions of IS. There is also less fingerspelling in Asian IS.

In the analysis I found in the comparisson between the Asia Pacific IS and the Euro IS version. In the Asia Pacific IS:
  • More pointing or indexing used
  • the sign order follows the structure of JSL
  • Facial expression and non manual markers are different
  • More classifiers are used

In Asian Pacific region have a number of different sign languages, which poses a challenging situation for the region. So we need to develop a form of IS for our region that is intelligible.


WASLI: Presentation by Japan on interpreting training

Saturday, 16 July 2011

"Training for more liberal translation; from the lessons of interpreting course in Japan" - Harumi Kimura & Noriko Miyazawa

We are teaching at the NRCD College. There is unfortunately no university training programme. Ours is government funded, there is one more that is privately funded.

Japanese spoken language and sign language are very different in structure. The aim is to teach the students to break away from their source language and so they can learn how to interpret into their target language. They are first taught how to converse in Japanese Sign Language, before they are taught how to interpret in the second year.

For the students to understand the different structure of the language we have taken a comic from the English training programme. This comic will assist in learning how to construct language. We show this story told by a native speaker of Japanese and by a Japanese signer.

There are several differences. Differences at the discourse level:
  1. such as the incorporation of the time aspect
  2. action chain + referential shift
The students are strongly influenced by the source language and it is very difficult to break away from this and to actually interpret correctly into Japanese Sign Language. So the first thing we teach is interpreting from Japanese Sign Language to spoken Japanese. We show a 1 to 2 minute video clip, easy to understand daily experiences.

I ask them first to write down sign by sign and then they see that this is a very different structure from Japanese Sign Language. We then continue to really see the text as a whole and try to put the structure into correct spoken Japanese. Only when they see this structure and realise the difference, they then know how to interpret better.

There are six main characteristics that are different between the two languages, I will discuss four of them here:
  1. Presenting two opposites
  2. Explaining the situation
  3. Action chain
  4. Explaining the state
So when the students understand the different structures they can break away from the Japanese.

Now when teaching interpreting from Japanese to JSL, we first start at the sentence level and not at the discourse level. The presenters give several examples of the sentence structures. After the sentence level training, we train the discourse level. For example, we give the students a newspaper article. They must read this, put the article away and then sign the article in JSL.

In Japan discourse level training is not yet fully in place. But from the students we learn what their problems are in understanding the structure of JSL.


WFD:A report from Japan on work environment

July 24, 2011

Creating a Stress free Environment for the Deaf - Michinori Nakahashi

The presenter works with the Japanese Deaf Association and is the director of labor and vocation within the association.

Research has been conducted on the work situation of deaf persons in Japan. The history of occupation of Deaf people in Japan looks as follows:
Previously Deaf people used to work in manual labour fields, such as carpentry, hair dressing, etc. From 1963 - 1965 a law was passed that employers should hire persons with disabilities. As a consequence since 1970 more Deaf people have obtained jobs in other fields, due to the provision of interpreting services.

Deaf people currently in employment still face barriers in employment. They do receive interpreting services and subsidies for persons with disabilities and also job coaches at the new work place. We try to ensure that communication and information sharing is actually taking place at the work place.

There is a high employment rate of deaf people in Japan, there is a low retention rate. Nearly 40% of the Deaf workers at large scale companies quite within five years. The number reason for this being the atmosphere in the work place and the frequent communication breakdown. The second rason is that the wages are lower than their hearing colleagues and they work long hours. The work environments are mostly oral, which they then become isolated, which then causes stress.

The social factor at the work place is also difficult. The hearing people chat with each other, but the Deaf person can then not join in, and therefore being again isolated.

The Japanese Federation of the Deaf conducted research for three years from 2003 to 2005. We surveyed over 3000 members of the association. We hoped that with these results we can improve the situation for deaf people in the work place in Japan. We also conducted interviews with the hearing persons in the work place where the deaf persons work. Three reports were published with recommendations.

The most important recommendation is to have sign language in the work place and to have a communication friendly work place. One of the other findings is that Deaf people do complain about their situation in the work place, to make this known will actually help in better understanding and a step towards possible changes.

Next to the reports, manuals were developed for hearing people on how they can work together with deaf people. There are three important recommendations that evolved:

  1. It should be a work place where deaf workers can feel comfortable to consult
  2. Develop manuals to inform Deaf and hearing people on how to create a communication friendly work place
  3. UNCRPD: Japan has not ratified the UNCRPD yet, but we can use elements from the convention to implement
With having a stress free work environment for deaf workers, we will also be able to achieve equality in the work place.


Rescuing deaf group isolated due to the downpour in Niigata Prefecture

August 1, 2011

The national road traffic toward the urban area was closed because of a landslide on the vicinity of Okutadami-ko Lake in Uonuma City on July 31 after the downpour disaster in the Niigata prefecture.

About 170 people who were isolated from July 29 were rescued with the helicopters of the Self Defense Forces. The water of dams continues to be dirty has caused the suspension of the water supply in three cities as the clean water processing did not catch up though the weather recovered.

The Disaster Prevention Minister HIRANO Tatsuo inspected the site such as Igarashi River, etc. which the embankment collapsed, on July 31.

Those rescued were "Saitama Group of Parents with Hard of Hearing Children" members who stayed at Okutadami, the nature experience study group members from Uonuma City, and high school students in training camping.

The four Self Defense Forces helicopters shuttled them between the site and the junior high school bout 30 kilos away in the city on the afternoon of July 31.

The leader MATSUMOTO Masayuki of the parent group looked relieved saying that all members were able to return safely which was good.

Deaf photographer's works on the stricken area exhibited

Gotoda Saburo stands in front of some of his works on the situation of stricken area

August 2, 2011

The photograph show of a Deaf photographer GODOTA Saburo (55) from Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture has opened since August 2 in the gallery in the city. He had taken a great number of pictures in the stricken area of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Saburo left Kurashiki City by the private car on June 17 to record the situation of the stricken area. He slept in the car, visiting 12 cities and towns in both prefectures Miyagi and Iwate for nine days. He finally took a picture of 7,112 scenes in total under a severe situation for the camera to the degree to be broken. He signed, "I had a hard time to get information on the regulation of traffic, etc., because the highways and roads in East Japan were destroyed on the way".

The 50 photographs were taken to show the nail mark of the great tsunami from various angles: a huge ship washed ashore as in the picture above, a broken torii (a gateway to a Shinto shrine) and posts, etc. There are some works to cut out with the desire to the revival such as the beckoning figure of a cat displayed in shops laid in the debris, too.

Saburo signed, "I felt the breath of the revival in sadness of the stricken area. I want to produce the photograph book and donate all the proceeds to help the survivors".

Director on the film of Deaf girl who loves dancing

Director Nishikawa Fumie

July 29, 2011

The film, titled "Jump High on the Way!" directed by Nishikawa Fumie, is now shown to the public. The movie is about a Deaf junior high girl who gets over the handicap with the dance club members.

Fumie is asking the spectators, "When one tells his/her mind, isn't it only through a verbal word?".

She decided to shoot the movie of the girl who loves dancing, and thought that she would make the story about the girl who overcomes her difficulties. She chose a Deaf girl for the role (acted by a hearing girl), because Fumie has closely seen her mother dancing with sign language. Also she had experienced with staying in Britain to study how to direct movies.

"When one cannot explain in English when the culture is different no matter how s/he becomes good at English. At the same time I learned that even if one doesn't rely on the word that we are usually using, there is a way of taking communications. I thought that choreography and the sign language look similar from a point of my view."

In the theater, Japanese caption is screened putting on the film. Fumie said with a smile, "The place where people, regardless of being Deaf or not, see the same movie is perfect for the movie as its theme is communications".

Related link:
Hearing girl plays the role of a Deaf girl in the movie

Music event for the Deaf to be held in Kyoto

Aoyama (center) discusses with the staff on holding the dance party.

July 28, 2011

The staff at the National Center of Sign Language Training located in Kyoto City will hold the event to deepen the connection of the participants at the center on July 31. The Deaf will even also enjoy music and the dance there.

One of the the staff AOYAMA Koichi (40) has organized the event. He had gone to the restaurant with his Deaf friend, and started chatting with the unfamiliar guest in the next seat. The Deaf friend signed to Aoyama later, "Because I can't talk, it is mysterious to me that you can have such an interpersonal relationship with the stranger".

Then, Aoyama came to think, "I want to make the place to expand the interpersonal connections without relying on verbal communications".

He had noticed that the Deaf can feel the "vibration" because they hit the hand on the table or the chair when they enjoy karaoke. He thought that the Deaf could enjoy the rhythm of the music through the vibration.

In the event the tune will be put by using machine parts that emphasizes "deep bass" so that one may experience the sound vibration easily while the Deaf enjoy dancing. The famous pieces of music of the 1970's will be played. Moreover, a visual performance by street performers, etc. will be held. Aoyama says, "I want everyone to participate freely regardless of disability".

Bill to revise fundamental law of persons with disabilities approved: "Barriers in the society" to be excluded

July 29, 2011

The definition of a person with disability was reviewed, and the bill to revise the fundamental law of the persons with disabilities to request the administration, etc. for the consideration to remove a social barrier was passed, and approved unanimously in the House of Councilors plenary session on July 29. The enforcement is scheduled on August 5.

It is a part of the development of legal systems necessary for the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities adopted in the United Nations General Assembly in 2006.

In the amendment bill, the definition of a person with disability was reviewed. The phrase was added that the person with disability is in the state to confront a considerable limitation in daily life and the social life because of the social barriers such as systems and habitual practices. Any barrier is on the side of the society as the reason why the person with disability is not able to realize social participation.

In the basic measure, the consideration, etc. is obligated to secure the means of communication to meet the needs of the person with disability such like preparing the voting station accessible for the voter with disability, sign language requested at a judicial procedure including the trials.

The education policy for children with disabilities differs in the municipality educational board across the country. The revised law says that the board needs offer enough information to the parents and guardian, and respect their intention as much as possible".

The "Persons with Disabilities Policy Board" will be set up in the Cabinet Office within one year after the act enforcement. Representatives from the persons with disabilities and the experts with academic backgrounds will observe how effective the basic plan for the persons with disabilities is, and also the mechanism that they can recommend to the Prime Minister will be made.

Japanese edition: