Deaf-Mute and Principle of Retribution in Heian Period

 Murasaki Shikibu

Many influences of the thought of the three religions in ancient Japan, Shintoism, Confucianism and Buddhism, were found in the high society of the Heian period (794-1185/1192).

It was believed that one of the influences was the principle of retribution. For instance, a person who was born deaf or mute is a result of the inappropriate behavior in the past.

The Hokkekyo Shu (法華経: School of the Lotus Sutra), one of the Buddhist teachings, has the following phrases related to the persons with disabilities.

Even if one can become man, the person can't hear, neither he sees nor speaks as a punishment, because he has had criticized the sutra.

The Tale of Genji (源氏物語) is a classic work of Japanese literature written by a court lady Murasaki Shikibu (紫式部) in the early 11th century, around the peak of the Heian period. It has been said the first great novel in world literature.

It can be read as sort of Buddhism parable. The principle of karma, or retribution, is also a notion to which the Japanese were strongly attracted.

In the chapter of the Tale called "the everlasting summer", the woman named Omi conversed with the lieutenant general about about the principle of retribution.


School for the Deaf flooded due to "abnormal high tide level" in Tokushima Prefecture

The area in front of the door of the prefecture school for the Deaf is submersed at 18:00 on September 28.


Parts of the school ground of the Tokushima prefecture School for the Deaf in Tokushima City has been flooded at the peak of  the abnormal high tide since the September 27.

It seems that the water of Suketo River on the north side of the school is flowing back in the drainage canal overflowing under the influence of the "unexpected high tide level". The school officials are demanding the measure.

Water has overflowed several places, including the drainage canal in front of the west side door of the school building, after 17:30 since September 28.

At 18:30 near high tide level, about 250 square meters in total, such as the parking lot for bicycles and the courtyard, were flooded, and the depth of water reached 10 cm or more. There was almost no flood in the school till last year.

An abnormal high tide level will continue every day till October 1 according to the meteorological observatory. It also warns  that there is fear of flood at the time of high tide level in an area along the shore and near a mouth of the river in the prefecture.

Principal SUMISE Nahomi anxiously said, "I am worried whether the water pours into the front door of the school building when the tide level goes up more. There are also many students who commute by a bicycle, and their safety is concerned ."

Meeting for policemen on human rights of the person with disability

Hirota Kazuko gives a lecture in the Headquarters of the Kanagawa Prefecture Police Nakahara station.

September 27, 2011

HIROTA Kazuko (65), a Yokohama City resident, gave a lecture entitled "the human rights of a disabled person and the policeman" in the Nakahara station of Nakahara-ku, Kawasaki City on September 27. She is an expert on mental health and has also once received medical treatment herself.

The police station had the serious case that the policeman did not respond the request from the deaf woman for sign-language interpreting at the spot of the traffic in July.

Kazuko mentioned this case, "If a policeman knows at least how to greet in sign language, a Deaf person would feel easy". She also advised that it would be helpful if the policeman knows how to say in sign language 'I am a policeman'".

Kazuko has worked as a mental health counselor for the prefecture policemen for years. She says, "the present condition is that a Japanese policeman has to act quickly at any request. Since there is no room for him to think carefully, he becomes depressed at any time, which has been a big issue."

Kazuko encouraged the 80 policemen who participated, "I want you to have pride as a policeman and take care of yourself mentally and physically to fulfill your service".

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

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

Five kinds of deafness described in medical book in Heian period

 Tamba no Yasuyori 
(The Knowledge on Medical Methods)
The oldest existing medical treatise in Japan.

Tamba no Yasuyori (丹波康頼: 912-995), a native of Tamba Amata (now Kyoto Prefecture) served as a high-ranking court physician in the middle of the Heian period (794-1185/1192). It is said that his ancestor was a naturalized Chinese in the end of the 4th century. 

Yasuyori was excellent in medicine, given the Japanese family name Tamba Sukune (丹波宿禰), and became the founder of a family that professed in the field of medicine.

He compiled Chinese medical books of Sui (589-618) and Tang (T'ang: 618-907) dynasties into a 30-volume book titled "Ishimpo"( 『医心方』: The Knowledge on Medical Methods"), which was completed in 982. This is the oldest existing medical treatise in Japan.

There is description on the types of deaf-muteness in the book, that is, Yasuyori stated symptoms on deafness in five different types.

For example:
- Deafness from the cold (風聾) : if cold goes into an ear, certainly he has the itchy inside of an ear, or it carries out headache, and heat by the cold.
- Tinnitus (虚聾) : an ear sounds with the cold after long diarrhea or serious illness.
- Deafness from stress (労聾) : if an organ is tired from labor, and the vigor of a pulsation runs short, the person will be deaf.

Deaf students' uneasiness at time of disaster expressed in the play at school festival

September 24, 2011

The school festival was opened on September 23 at the Shimane Prefecture Matsue School for the Deaf (35 students) at Matsue City in the prefecture in western Japan.

The high school students performed for a play titled "March 11, 2011: What can we do now?" as a study presentation, proposing about support required at the time of evacuation for the communication needs and information accessibility for the Deaf.

The students have visited the Chugoku Electric Power nuclear power plant located in the city in June, this year where they got the knowledge, etc. as a part of academic activities. Based also on the result investigated using the information obtained from the report of a newspaper, TV, etc. and the Internet, they gave the play.

They told the audience that their school is located about 4-5 km from the nuclear power plant, and that it is the closest to a nuclear power plant among the schools for the Deaf in the country.

They expressed the uneasy feeling in the play. "If the same accident as Fukushima happens, we will be no longer able to attend school, and also we may be unable to go home for a long time after the evacuation."

Moreover, the students also said how they should take refuge at the time of disasters, such as an earthquake, in the play. Suggestions were made such as "if it were dark around, I will be unable to read the lip movement and to understand anyone what is spoken", "the flashlight always is put on my bedside." Also other students appealed that radio disaster broadcast by the local government is not helpful to the Deaf.

SAKATA Tomoyoshi, a teacher who instructed the students to perform, explained that the play showed the students' frank feeling." The signed performances eagerly played at the school festival won big applause from spectators.

Japanese edition:

Dragon symbolizes Deaf

An image of Dragon

A dragon is an imaginary and mysterious animal which ancient people used to fear and worship in Japan.

Ashikawa Keishu (life history unknown) wrote a book titled "Byoumeiikai" (Collected Explanations of Disease Names) in 1686 during the Edo period (1603-1868).

He arranged the name list of 1822 diseases in all in iroha order (similar to the alphabetical order) and explained each.

In the book, he states about deafness:
"Dragon hears sound on the horns instead of the ears which it doesn't have".

In addition, the sea horse resembles the form of the dragon and the Japanese Federation of the Deaf makes it its official logo.

 A sea horse

The official logo of the Japanese Federation of the Deaf
The word "Rou" which means "Deaf" is often written in kanji (a Chinese character), [聾]. Interestingly, you will see, it is composed of two Chinese characters [龍], which means a dragon, and [耳] meaning an ear.

Event: Social participation of the Deaf to expand through interpreting service in Kansai region

September 24, 2011

The three-day meeting to discuss social participation of the Deaf started in Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo Prefecture on September 23.

About 35 Deaf persons and interpreting volunteers in total participated on that day. The Deaf participants discussed the frustrating experience and the opinion, such as  "We don't understand what the guide explains and hardly enjoy visiting at a tourist spot", etc.

The event was organized by the Deaf Independent Living Center (LIC), which was formed in June, 2010. They have requested the towns and cities to expand the system to support independence of the Deaf, and offers programs such as training the computer-aided real-time captioner.

Social participation of the Deaf has been possible only by sign language or writing. According to LIC, whether the interpreter dispatch service is available to a medical institution, ceremonial occasions, a fellowship party and social activities varies with cities, towns and villages.

NISHIMURA Yushi (22), a Deaf LIC member, said, "I want the municipals to expand the range of the interpreter dispatch service to qualification acquisition, the leisure activities, etc. in addition to medical institutions and ceremonial occasions, etc.

On September 24, the second day of the event, the Deaf participants will visit the theme park "Universal Studios Japan" (USJ) in Osaka with interpreters and experience
how much they can enjoy the trip with more information input through interpreting.

On the last day, September 25, the Deaf participants will make a street speech about their new experience with social interpreting in front of Sannomiya Station in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture.

Persons with disability in the years between 794 and 1185

Kyoto turned into a capital in the Heian period (794-1185/1192), an aristocracy era, following the Nara period (710〜784/794).

It seems that the person with disability was not liked for their strange appearance differed in an aristocrat's life that gracefulness and standard were respected.

Even if the person with disability was born to the aristocrat's family, it was hard for him to come out to the salon of the court.

Some persons with disability lived in the cottage with the curtain of silk down even in daytime in the suburbs of the capital.

Moreover, an expert of the biwa (Japanese musical instrument) lived at the side of the clear stream in other suburb. It is told that this lady cried too much out of sadness and became blind. This example shows distinct connection of a blind person and music.

The children with mental disability born to an aristocrat family were  also kept away in the neighboring farmhouse for lengthened stay. They often were adopted by the owner of the farmhouse.

Empress Komyo and the poor in 8th century

 Empress Komyo (701–760)

"Hidenin", the charity facility for the poor in Nara period

The Japanese Imperial government in 8th Century decided Buddhism to be its national religion.

Empress Komyo (光明皇后) (701–760), the wife of Emperor Shomu  (701–756), was a pious Buddhist. She was the one who planned and implemented building of all the Nara Period Buddhism monuments, including Todaiji, Yakushiji, and Daibutsu.

She built the first Japanese national hospital, Seyakuin (施薬院) as well as the charity home for the poor, Hidenin (悲田院) in Nara. Japanese mythology tells Empress Komyo involved herself in treatments of patients. She did not limit the function of this national hospital just to Emperor family or aristocrats. Anybody sick despite their social class could use this hospital. Before roadside trees were built in the capital main street, she chose peach and pear trees so that a poor person may not be hungry.

There is a tale: one day, Empress Komyo was engaging in patient's treatment in the national hospital. An old man with Hansen's disease came to her. Empress Komyo tried to clean his body, but she could not clean all pus from his wounds. Empress Komyo started to suck his pus with her mouth for cleaning. Suddenly the old leper changed his appearance. He was one of Buddha's messengers, Nyo-Rai. He told her Buddhism would protect her country and people so that her people would enjoy prosperity.

Buddhism became the national religion with Empress Komyo's success.

Source (English):

Deaf drum performance show held in Hyogo Prefecture

The Itami Deaf Drum Club "Rakko" (楽鼓)" in performance.

September 19, 2011

The 10th Japan Deaf Dram Club Performance Show was held in Itami City, Hyogo Prefecture on September 18. Nine drum clubs from six prefectures in total joined the event and demonstrated a result of their daily practice.

Representing Hyogo prefecture, the Itami Deaf drum club "Rakko" (楽鼓)" participated and delighted the audience with their performance.

This group was established in 1999 to enjoy beating the drum. Five men and women aged 10-68 who live in Itami are working now. As a part of lifelong learning, they have performed at the home for the aged, an event for persons with disability, etc. several times a year.

Although they usually practice 3 times a month, several months before the public performance they did 3 times per week. Three of the members are Deaf and they say that it was most difficult to play drum with music. KIYOHARA Takako (68), one of the Deaf members, says, "We feel how to beat a drum through the body, and also use the eye contact, etc. to beat the drum."

About this public performance, Takako said, "We indeed enjoyed our performance, although there was some mistakes. We would like to return kindness through our drum performance since we have always been indebted to society."

Medical book on how to cure deafness edited in 808

A book on popular remedy titled "Daitouruijuho" (『大同類聚方』) , edited in 808 in early stages of the Heian period, is the oldest book on the popular medical treatment in Japan (100 volumes in all). It is also the oldest government-designated pharmacopeia.

The 51st Emperor Heizei (774-824) apprehended that the Japanese popular remedy method was on the verge of collapse, caused by the inflows of Chinese medicine.

He ordered the leading powerful clans and old families, shrines to submit material on the ancient medical method.

Abeno Manao (安倍真直), Izumo Hirosada (出雲広貞) and others carried out the task to edit the collected materials.

The method of cure deafness with remedy is recorded in detail in the book.

For example, what is necessary is just to give her the  medicine, when a woman after the delivery faints, her complexion becomes red and impossible to say a thing.

Moreover, when a person becomes deaf after serious illness, medicine is prepared for him to take.

A 6-year-old child faints and hardly speaks. Several days afterward, he becomes mute, which can recover if the medicine is given to him.


National Deaf sports meet held in Aichi Prefecture

Representatives of the players from Aichi Prefecture take an oath for best performance at the opening ceremony.

September 17, 2011

The opening ceremony of the 45th National Deaf Sports Meet, sponsored by the Japanese Federation of the Deaf, was held in Kariya City, Aichi Prefecture on September 16. It was the first time in 31 years since the last one held in the prefecture.

About 1,600 players, 1,500 officials and sign language interpreters participated in the event, which will last through September 18 with ten games, such as baseball, volleyball, truck and field, at 4 cities and 11 venues.

At the opening ceremony, about 800 players and officers attended following the leader with the placard in order of the prefectures.

ITO Teruo, vice president of the Aichi Association of the Deaf and the head of the organising committee, greeted saying "We are glad especially to welcome participation of a total of 40 players from three prefectures (Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima), stricken by the Great East Japan Earthquake last March."

Governor OMURA Hideaki and, Kariya City Mayor TAKENAKA Yoshinori Takenaka and others gave a welcome remark in sign language, respectively.

Man whose hearing recovered after embracing Buddhism in 6th century

In the period of the 33rd Empeor Suiko (554-628: reign 592-628), there was a man called Kinuuino tomono miyakko Yoshimitu (衣縫伴造義通).

He became sick suddenly, and not only he became deaf, but also he had swelling skin disease on the whole body. He did not get better.

Yoshimichi thought himself, "My sickness is a result of karma from the past before I was born in this world: it is not only a worldly reward. It will be better for me to do the good deed and die promptly rather than living long and being disliked by people."

Then, Yoshimichi purified land, decorated the temple, invited and greeted the Zen monk, washed the body with the perfume first, relying on Buddhism, and prayed with the monk together.

Lo and behold, something wonderful happened. Yoshimichi asked the Zen priest, "I just heard the name of the Bodhisattva at one ear of mine. Therefore, the honorable monk, please bear for a while and continue a prayer".

When the monk worshiped again, Yoshimichi's ear was able to regain hearing. He was overjoyed and asked the monk again to worship more. At last he was able to hear with his both ears.

People here and there heard this story and were surprised, not showing any doubt.

The point of this story seems to indicate: If you embrace Buddhism and pray from the bottom of your heart, your wish certainly will come true. 


*In ancient Japan and currently, too, there are chiefly two religious beliefs; Shintoism first, and then Buddhism. This story above has the mixture of the two religions. For example, purification of the land or the body is part of Shintoism.

 A symbol of Shintoism

 An image of Buddism

Deaf student to compete at International Abilympics in Korea

Ueda Daiki practices on making a small desk which is  a theme of the International Abilympics furniture section.

September 15, 2011

UEDA Daiki (20), a student of the Nagasaki Prefecture School for the Deaf, will represent Japan at the upcoming "8th International Abilympics" furniture section. The event will be open in Soul, South Korea on September 25.

It is the first time in 11 years that a representative is elected from the prefecture, and it is also first for a student. Daiki visited the Prefecture Office on September 14 to report his representation. He talked about ambition, "My goal is to win a prize higher than the 6th place."

The International Abilympics is held every four years in order to improve the vocational skills of persons with disabilities and to promote an understanding of disability. There are 40 items, such as furniture, artificial limb manufacture, cooking, dressmaking, etc. Since there is no age limit, most contestants are professional craftmen.

Daiki, a Tsushima native, left his home at  the age of 3 to live in the dormitory. He says that he saw the wardrobes and cupboards made by the high school seniors exhibited at the school cultural festival when he was an elementary pupil. Ever since he had yearned for making woodwork furniture. So, he chose the industrial craft course including making cabinetry at once when he was a high school junior.

He won the second prize for furniture at the National Abilympics last autumn, and was chosen as a representative for the Soul Abilympics in January, this year.

After the subject item at the contest was announced as a "small desk" in May, Daiki has devoted to making a small desk on many days for 4 hours per day using the training time. Seven small desks were made until now and as a result he feels his skills are much improved.

At the Abilympics, the contestant has only 5 hours and a half to complete the furniture manufacture before the audience, and it is a hard time even for a professional craftsman. Daiki is enthusiastic, saying "I would like to do my best so that my stepped-up efforts can be demonstrated."

8th International Abilympics Official site (English):

Takeru no Miko: Mute Imperial Prince in Asuka period

Takeru no Miko (建皇子:651-658) was a member of the Imperial Family in the Asuka period. He was Emperor Tenchi's second prince, who as the "Nihon Shoki" (日本書紀) says, was mute, unable to speak.

There is a political struggle that might have influenced the prince for being mute. His mother was shocked to know that her father, a powerful politician, was executed by Nakano-oeno-oji (later Emperor Tenchi).  She at once became frantic out of the sadness, giving birth the imperial prince.

Takeru no Miko's grandmother and Emperor Saimei sympathized with him and loved him very much, as indicated by the "Nihon Shoki".

The mute prince lived a short life: he died at the age of 7. The Emperor ordered in sorrow, "When I pass away, bury together with my little prince." They are buried in the Emperor Saimei Mausoleum now as the will. The prince's aunt and his elder sister are also buried in the neighborhood.

No sign language allowed in the meeting with Deaf defendant in Osaka Prefecture

September 17, 2011

It turned out that the Osaka Regional Correction Headquarters gave improvement instruction noting that it was inappropriate that the Osaka prison did not accept sign language in the meeting between the Deaf male defendant (59) and the Deaf visitor.

Although there is no regulation which forbids the use of sign language in the visit at the prison, the visitor claims that she was forced to communicate in writing with the Deaf defendant about 40 times, which Osaka prison officials apologized later.

The defendant was prosecuted for homicide, etc. in May and the woman is his acquaintance. When she visited the prison in the end of May to meet the defendant, the personnel who attended told them not to use sign language, but writing. She visited about 40 times after that, all communicated in writing.

Sign language was accepted for the first time when the woman visited the prison with a sign-language interpreter late in August. However, the prison officials told them that the use of sign language was not accepted further, and that this was the same as the whole country. The interpreter protested saying other prisons allow sign language in the visit with the defendant.

It is provided in the meeting with the defendants under detention by the criminal accommodating facility regulations that the prison personnel must attend. According to the Ministry of Justice, if there is request for the use of sign language, the personnel who understands it will attend, or the interpreter is to be called from the outside, and the minister's notification clearly states that the Ministry of Justice will pay interpreter's dispatch expenses.

The Regional Correction Headquarters has found the trouble and investigated: there has been no personnel who understands sign language in the Osaka prison, and it has not arranged an interpreter except this case, but asking for communication in writing. This condition has been continued for a long time.

The Regional Correction Headquarters instructed on improvement on September 15. It is said that the prison will aim at training the personnel in sign language from now on.

Japanese edition:

Gyogi, a monk who undertook social welfare projects in Nara period

(near Kintetsu Line Nara Station in Nara City)

 Gyogi (668-749), known as Gyoki, was a monk of the Hosso sect of Buddhism. He was  born in Kawatchi Province (now part of Osaka Prefecture); he studied Hosso teachings at the temple Yakushiji in Kyoto.

He devoted himself to the building of the temples, particularly the temple Todaiji in Kyoto. He also undertook numerous social welfare projects, such as dam and bridge building.

"Konyou Ji", a prayer place for the poor established in 731

The "Konyou Ji" or "Koyadera" (昆陽寺) on Mt Konron san (崑崙山) is a temple of Koyasan Shingon Mission in Teramoto, Itami City, Hyogo Prefecture. It is one of the 49 temples in the Kinki area which Gyoki established in 731 as a prayer place for those who were Deaf, blind, disabled, etc.

During his later years, the emperor Shomu bestowed on him the name Daibosatu ("Great Bodhisattva") and raised him to the rank of Daisojo (great bishop or primate). Because of his outstanding virtue, he was often known as Gyogi Bosatsu (Bohisattva Gyogi) and was popularly taken to be a manifestation of Manjusri Bodhisattva. He was long remembered as an ascetic with great charisma, and many temples are attributed to him. (JAPAN n Illustrated Encyclopedia by Kodansha)

"Funding for a hearing-aid": Parents with hard of hearing children submit petition to Shiga Prefecture

September 15, 2011

An organization was formed in January, 2011 by parents with children who are hard of hearing or moderate hearing loss. The group submitted the signature of 10,202 persons to the Shiga Prefecture government on September 14. They requested the Prefecture to fund the purchase of a hearing aid for the hard of hearing children who are not recognized as an owner of the disability card.

The disability card defines that hearing loss as a disability means the hearing level of 70 dB or more of both ears, etc. as the standard. So there are many cases that the child with slight or moderate hearing loss is unable to use services provided by the disability card.

A hearing-aid costs between some hundreds and several thousands yen. The period of durability also is about five years before purchasing another new one.

Organization members insisted, "It is important for our children to gain language. Considering a child's growth we would like to replace with a newer hearing-aid, but a burden is heavy for us."

According to the organization, funding systems have spread all over the country including Osaka or Kyoto. The person in charge of the prefecture independence support division said, "We would like to respond to the request".

The organization has submitted the signature of 5,766 persons in March this year.

Japanese edition:

Mute prince in an ancient imperial family

Homutsuwake no Mikoto (years of birth and death unknown) was the first Imperial prince of Emperor Suinin, the 11th Emperor.

Although the wife of Emperor Suinin was told to kill him by her elder brother, she committed suicide in the castle which burned down when the elder brother led the rebellion. It is said that the prince was then born in fire.

He was loved very much by the father Emperor, he was 30 years old and his mustache reached the chest. Yet he hardly spoke any language.  Especially the history book the "Nihon Shoki" materialized at the Nara period states that the prince only cried like a baby.

According to the book, he finally spoke language for the first time, seeing the way a swan flies in the sky one day, and asking "What is that?"

The Emperor was pleased with it and ordered catching the bird. One of the retainers caught it in Izumo and presented it to the Imperial court. The prince came to emit language more when the bird was made into his pet.

*Emperor Suinin (BC69-71; reign BC29- 70) who acceded to the throne as the dawn of the Yamato period passed away at the age of 140.

Mute Son in the Age of God (Myth)

Izumo is known as an ancient city in Shimane Prefecture in western Japan. A provincial gazetteer titled the "Izumo Fudoki" (『出雲風土記』, 733) is the most important one and the only one that is complete, in which a mute son in the age of the gods is stated. 

His name was Adisikitakahikone no Mikoto (阿遅須伎高日子命), the son of a god Ohokamiohoanamoti no Mikoto (大神太穴持命) who is said to be one of 50 gods enshrined in Izumo.

According to the "Izumo Fudoki", the son had grown up with the full mustache. However, he was not able to speak, only crying through all day and night like a baby.

Father tried to comfort him by taking him aboard a boat, which sailed around Yasoshima Island, but the boy never stop crying. Father even constructed a tall house, which Son climbed up and down many times with the ladder. Yet no words spoken from his mouth.

Worried Father god prayed to the dream. Soon a child appeared in the dream and emitted a word "Mitsu". Father inquired, "What is it?"

He was told to visit Mitsu in Izumo where a spring flowed. He purified himself with the water, and the mute boy was able to speak finally. A folk tale in Izumo says that a pregnant woman must not eat rice because of the fear that a mute baby boy would be born.

Son,  Adisikitakahikone no Mikoto later played an important role in the ancient history and he is currently worshiped as a god of agriculture, god of thunder, and god of real estate business, too.

International Conference on Historical Linguistics discusses sign language first in Osaka

September 5, 2011

The 20th International Conference on Historical Linguistics (ICHL20), which argues about the history of a language in the world and its change, was held in the National Museum of Ethnology at Osaka, Japan on July 25-30.

At the conference, the first kind in Asia, "sign language" and "the origin of Japanese Language" were the theme of workshops and the symposium for the first time.

Historical linguistics is a study on how a language has changed historically, and the factor that has influenced the change. The program was organized  so that the participants might argue especially across the boundaries of a language family this time. One of them was "historical linguistics of sign language" for an international workshop as general public presentation.

Associate Professor Ted Supalla of Rochester University explained that sign language has been materialized uniquely, affected by the culture of each area, and/or the influence of a spoken language.

In JSL, the thumb is upraised to mean a "man", and a little finger upraised for a "woman" are borrowed from the gestures often used in Japan. Sign language consists of three elements called a hand form, a position, and a motion. Although sex is expressed in JSL by the difference in the form of a hand, which is not common in ASL.

There is not only the difference by the area but change of a time. One of the presenters said that although the publication of the Japanese sign language dictionary in 1963 has been considered to be the oldest until now, it turned out recently that the sign language dictionary, "The Teaching Sign Language Method for the Deaf-mute", was published from a private school for the Blind and Deaf-mute in Kagoshima in 1902, the oldest one.

For example, the number "1000" is signed as if the Chinese character "1000" is written in the air. The elderly Deaf in Kagoshima Prefecture are still signing like this, but a young generation sign differently: they make a ring with three fingers.

The changes in JSL during a little more than 100 years can be classified into three.
1) signs changed over the generation as stated above, 2) signs disappeared from the scene of the life, and 3) newly developed signs such as "personal computer", etc.

Director James C. Woodward of the Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies in the Chinese University of Hong Kong reported that several sign languages are used in a Southeast Asian country, and that many are in the crisis of extinction. A certain government attempts to unify into standard sign language and discourages to teach the other sign language in school.

Dr. Woodward says that this is destruction of Deaf culture and history. The plan to compile a sign language dictionary for the Asia-Pacific region as a project of the center has started, and Deaf people are helping in recording sign language.

Other presenter reported that the JSL users understand the sign language used in Taiwan or South Korea to some extent, because JSL was introduced by Japanese educators in colonial days. JSL of which forms were changed in Japan, such as simplifying, remains as the same in Taiwan or South Korea. Each sign language is changing uniquely, being subject to the influence of other sign language or a spoken language, respectively.

In this conference, all were interpreted in four languages: ASL, JSL, English, and Japanese.

ICHL20 official site (English):

First tsunami drill by Wakayama School for the Deaf

 The students participate in the tsunami drill.

September 13, 2011

In preparation for the future earthquakes which are supposed to happen, the Prefecture Wakayama School for the Deaf practiced the first tsunami drill on September 11 that the participants would evacuate to the joint lodging (7 stories and about 21 meters in height) of the nearby Wakayama Local Finance Office.

About 130 people in total including the Deaf children from the kindergarten to high school, the school staffs and the office workers participated.

The school, located about 2km from the sea, has asked the office  in June this year for cooperation to use its joint lodging as a place of the drill, which was granted.

In the drill, when the emergency red lamp in each classroom lit up and the evacuation was directed by broadcast, the teachers told the students to protect themselves under the desk by sign language. Then, the school staff led the students with the red flag, and took refuge from the school ground to the roof of the lodging.

MAEDA Yuya (16), a high school student, said, "I have been anxious even if the evacuation area was near the school. Although it was the first drill, I was able act promptly."

Nippon Foundation offers free remote interpreting service to the Deaf disaster victims

September 13, 2011

The Nippon Foundation, located in Minato-ku, Tokyo, opened the "remote information and communication support center" in its building on September 11. The service will be offered to the Deaf disaster victims through the video relay free of charge so that they can communicate to get necessary information quickly.

As for the number of the Deaf persons who carry the disability card in three prefectures: 5,391 in Iwate, 6,130 in Miyagi, and 7,761 in Fukushima as of the 2010 fiscal year.

The Deaf person cannot get information through audio announcements easily and also cannot use the telephone. So it is hard for them to get relief goods or they may be delayed in the application of a makeshift house. From now on, there may be more problem in getting a disaster certificate and job-hunting activities.

Although there are about 80 qualified sign language interpreters in these disaster-stricken prefectures, they are the victims as well, unable to give sufficient support to the Deaf victims beside the stricken area being wide and large. So The Nippon Foundation decided to establish the support center.

The remote interpreting service is available for the Deaf victim who carries the disability card for free. Open 8:00-20:00 everyday for a year. Registration is required.

The Nippon Foundation official site (English):

Ancient legal system and Disability (late 6th century-794)

Ritsuryō (律令) is the historical law system based on the philosophies of Confucianism and Chinese Legalism in Japan.

During the late Asuka period (late 6th century – 710) and Nara period (710 – 794), the imperial court, trying to replicate China's political system from the Tang Dynasty (618-907), created and enforced some collections of Ritsuryō.

The Ritsuryō system also established a central administrative government, with the Emperor at its head.

In accordance with the legal codes, land as well as citizens were to be "public property" (公地公民). One of the major pillars of the Ritsuryō was the introduction of the Handen-Shūju (班田収受制) system which regulated land ownership. Based on the registration, each citizen over 6 was entitled to a "distributed field", subject to taxation (approx. 3% of crops).

Also a measure for the person with disability was specified by the law. If there was a person with disability in the household, the quantity of crops for tax was reduced depending on his disability degree.

Although collection of the tax was very severe, the state treated a person with disability as a public citizen. However, tax exemption was not complete. Only the burden on the family or the whole village increased. Apparently people unable to make tax payment had to escape from their residence. Even people without disability run away to avoid the tax system.

Advance notice to commit a crime thorough emergency texting message system

September 11, 2011

The Yamaguchi Prefecture Police arrested a jobless man named HIROTA Hidekuni (36) on September 10. He was ready for getting into a convenience store for the purpose of the burglar, which he admitted.

According to the police, the Kyoto Prefecture Police received a text message around 0:25 a.m. on September 10 through the emergency texting message system that the Deaf notify to the police. The sender notified in advance about committing burglary in Yamaguchi Prefectre. 

The Kyoto Prefecture Police checked the sender's location specification by the GPS function of a mobile phone, finding he was in Yamaguchi Prefecture far west from Kyoto.

After the Yamaguchi Police was contacted by the Kyoto Police, the investigators ran to the suspect Hirota's house about 50 minutes afterward and arrested him who just got in the car to do a burglar. The fruit knife of 9.5 cm of length of a blade was found in the basket on the seat in the car.

The police is investigating in detail, such as why the suspect mailed Kyoto from Yamaguchi, etc.

Japanese edition:

Prefecture education board postpones to change school name

Oita Prefecture School for the Deaf

September 10, 2011

The group of students and parents of the Oita Prefecture School for the Deaf has called for keeping the school name unchanged. The school is located in Oita City, the capital of the prefecture in Kyushu, the southern island of Japan.

The prefecture education board decided at its regular meeting on September 9 to postpone the change of the school name, etc. for the time being, after several talks with the parent group.

Although the board does not change the original plan, as they say, they will decide what to do while looking at the move of the Government from now on.

The board had formulated the reorganization plan in March, 2008 aiming at one special support school accepting the children with two or more disabilities including the Deaf.

The parents have opposed against the plan: "We are proud of the school name", "We are afraid if our Deaf students can take communication with other students with intellectual disability".

Related link:
Deaf students strive to keep the name of their beloved school

Article: Eriko Hiratsuka

Tuesday, Sep. 13, 2011

Eriko Hiratsuka

Eriko Hiratsuka, 26, received her master's degree from Waseda University's Graduate School of Law in 2010. That's no small achievement for anyone, but for Eriko, who has severe hearing loss in both ears, reaching her goals has always required extra effort. Although she can only hear sounds above 80 decibels — which is about the level of noise at a busy street corner — she never attended a special school for the hard of hearing. Instead, she studied at regular schools by copying what her teachers wrote on whiteboards and what her classmates did in their notebooks. Her perseverance has paid off and she is now preparing for the National Bar Examination.

While continuing her legal studies, Eriko waitresses at Silent Café, a unique space where the staff and guests communicate with gestures, sounds, sign language and silence. Although Eriko loves serving the banana shakes that the Silent Café is famous for, she's preparing to serve in court soon. Her goal is to protect the rights of the deaf and other minorities whose voices are often not heard.

Not all hard-of-hearing people know sign language.
I can read lips and I hear some sounds, but I am not so good at sign language. I speak well too, so sometimes people don't notice that I am hard of hearing until they see my hearing aid.

Sometimes not getting a job can be the best thing in your life.
When I was at university, many of my friends had part-time jobs working in restaurants. I so wanted to be a waitress. Better yet, a cashier in a bakery. I applied to many places but no one would hire me. "You can't hear well so you can't work with people," I was told. I often cried in the station toilets after interviews. Then one day I read an article about a deaf lawyer. Oh, here is a job I can do, I thought. I could help those who are suffering. That's how I came to choose law.

Enjoy music while you can.
My favorite sound is that of the piano. Most classical music has a lot of low pitch sounds, which are hard for me to hear., so I can't enjoy those pieces of music. But I can hear "Spring" from Vivaldi's masterpiece "The Four Seasons." I feel so lucky. That's something truly beautiful.

For good communication, the most important thing is your interest in the other person.
We must have a desire to listen as well as express ourselves. Some people talk, others use sign language or read lips. We might gesture or write down what we want to say. All these forms of communication work.

We must adapt our behavior for every individual.
There are so many types of handicaps in the world, and the challenges we face are different for everyone. We must adjust our behavior to individual needs. This is true to all people, not only for those hard of hearing.

Most Japanese people are kind to others, and they go out of their way to help those who are physically challenged.  
Once people see my hearing aid, they make an effort to help me.

In a good system, people with different abilities can work together on equal terms.
In our cafe customers use stickers to tell us what they want to order. It's fun and looks nice. But the main form of communication is though silence and gestures. It's all about caring.

If you think positively, you become strong.
I am from Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture. My family lost one relative in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Some friends lost their homes. It's tragic but we must think about the future, build new houses and work.

Protect your ears: They are sensitive. 
Sometimes I can hear sounds coming from people wearing earphones on the subway. Exposure to loud sounds over a long period of time can lead to hearing loss. Turn the volume down. That's my advice.

When something is scary and there is nothing we can do about it, just forget about it.
Sure, the possibility that I might lose my hearing is scary, but there is equal chance that I will hear as well as I do now right through to old age. Doctors can't predict the future. I hear now and I enjoy every sound.

When you lose something valuable, you gain something else.
I have hearing loss but my eyes are very good. I almost feel like my vision is improving.

Japanese laws are so abstract that even lawyers have trouble deciphering them.
For example, according to the second paragraph of the Civil Code 772, a child born within a 300-day period after a divorce is still considered to be from that marriage. Also, if a pregnancy is conceived a month before a divorce, the law sees this as a pregnancy from that marriage. So, in order to register the baby as belonging to a new union after a divorce, the couple must go to court and prove who the father is with DNA tests. Such a lawsuit takes time and money. In such cases, everyone loses — even the taxpayers, who bear a large burden of these legal proceedings.

When you see injustice, make some noise!
And keep making it, until you are heard and understood. I don't have a complex about my situation; I feel lucky. But I know how some handicapped people are at a disadvantage in society, and I want to help them with legal advice. That's my mission; to help the weak — children, single moms, the elderly and the challenged.

Judit Kawaguchi loves to listen. She is a volunteer counselor and a reporter on NHK's "journeys in japan." Learn more at: Twitter: @judittokyo
English source:

Lecture meeting on sign-language interpreting activities in the stricken area



It will be six months on September 11 since the Great East Japan Earthquake hit Northeastern Japan on March 11.

The lecture meeting by the sign language interpreter who worked in the stricken area of the Great East Japan earthquake was held in Nagano Prefecture on September 10.

It was sponsored by five organizations including the local Deaf society, and about 50 persons attended it.

The lecturer was YAMADA Yoshiko, a full-time sign language interpreter for the Matsumoto Health Welfare Office in the prefecture. She was dispatched to Natori-shi, Miyagi Prefecture for five days from April 23-27, and interviewed the Deaf victims about a health condition, the situation of the house, etc.

She told a story about a Deaf victim who had usually associated with the neighbors, but no one informed him/her of tsunami coming. Yoshiko pointed out, "The big problem is that information was not accessible to the Deaf victims. They got a greater mental damage caused by the earthquake disaster than any hearing victims. They mentally need to be cared".

Also she said, "Since information has failed to reach the Deaf, and because of privacy issues,  some of the Deaf victims were unable to live in the shelter and had moved to their house or to stay with an acquaintance somewhere else".

Yoshiko concluded, "I want you to seriously consider this situation. Such facilities must make all the disabled persons feel satisfied although we often hear the word "welfare shelter".

Prospective employees with disability appeal their thought about working

 The presenter shows a practical skill while appealing the willingness to work.


The presentation meeting which a disabled person tells the thought about working was held in Tokushima City on September 9.

This event, the 3rd time this year, was sponsored by the Eastern Prefecture Committee to support employment network for persons with disabilities, consisted of prefecture administration, welfare facilities, companies, etc.

Seventeen presenters aged 16-36 who attend special support schools and disability facilities within the prefecture demonstrated the willingness and their own  strong point on working. Presentation time was for 3 minutes per person.

One of the presenters, TAKECHI Anna (17), a high school senior of the Tokushima Prefecture School for the Deaf, declared by sign language, "After graduation I want to become a barber and work hard to help my family." She also used a dummy to show skills of rolling a permanent wave.

Twenty companies and organizations such as a food-processing company also participated in the event. They advised such like, "The points to get employed are a motivation and positiveness", "It is important to manage the assigned work properly and to get trusted by the company", etc.

New book on JSL and signed Japanese

                   Kimura Harumi and her new book

In her new book titled "The Huge Chasm between JSL and Signed Japanese" (『日本手話と日本語対応手話(手指日本語)―間にある「深い谷」』), KIMURA Harumi reveals how strange when it comes to think that JSL and the signed Japanese are the same.

The 162-page book consists of two parts, description section, and example section which clarifies that difference by the example through the use of the author's own photograph.

The book is a required reading for a sign language user, those who study sign language, and all the people who get interested in language.

About the author KIMURA Harumi:
Born to the Deaf family in Yamaguchi Prefecture. M.A. in language community from the Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo. Professor of sign language interpreter training department at the institute of the National Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Persons since 1991. Newscaster of NHK's "Sign Language News 845" since 1995.

-Published by a publishing company, Seikatsushoin on September, 2011.
-Price (Amazon 1,575 yen

New mystery story book related to sign language interpreter

MARUYAMA Masaki wrote a 304-page mystery story book titled "Deaf Voice" (『デフ・ヴォイス』), which was selected one of the final candidate novels in the best book contest early in 2011. The book was published by a publishing company Bungeishunju on July 25, 2011.  

The author Masaki, who was born at Tokyo in 1961, acquired a B.A. in the theater of the literature department of Waseda University. As a free-lance writer, he deals with the scenario of the public-relations video for government and municipal offices, etc.

Outline of the story:
Arai who failed in marriage and was frustrated also in the office obtained the sign language interpreter's qualification. He instantly became a popular interpreter.

Arai was requested to interpret for a Deaf woman who was a defendant of the criminal case, which he accepted unwillingly. It was because he was once involved in the homicide which a Deaf person caused 16 years ago. It was the bitter experience for him.

However, a new murder case occurred, and Arai would stand face to face against the Deaf community and his own past, too.

Price: 1600 yen (including tax)

New book on the structure of JSL as a primer

A new book, titled "The Structure of Japanese Sign Language based on the basic grammar to easily understand " (『〈文法が基礎からわかる〉日本手話のしくみ』)(authors: OKA Norie, AKAHORI Hitomi, etc.) was published by Taishukan Publishing on April 6, 2011 (111 pages/1,260 yen on Amazon

This book is a "grammar primer" which explains systematically "pronunciation",  vocabularies, grammar, and expressions of Japanese Sign Language in an easy and clear way.

This book, which may be the first kind of JSL grammar book,  is recommended to those who aim at sign-language interpreting, a student who wishes to study JSL more firmly, and anyone who likes to be a close friend of the Deaf community.

New book on establishment of the first school for the Deaf to teach in JSL

A 199-page softcover book, titled "The Mother of a Little Finger" (『小指のおかあさん』) is about a school for the Deaf full of "applause of sign language" like stars glittering.

Authored by TAMATA Hitomi, it explains episodes about the first school for the Deaf that offers the subjects in Japanese Sign Language and a private school called the "Meisei Gakuen School for the Deaf" until its establishment in Tokyo.

Hitomi is a former TBS TV information newscaster and presently a broadcast writer.

She got to know the actual condition of the Japanese school for the Deaf after she was told that her second son has been diagnosed as deaf in 1999.

She and parents having Deaf children formed "The National Society of Parents with Deaf Children." She also supported a Deaf free school, the "Dragon Children School" to get incorporated in 2003.

Overcoming the obstacles laid in the world of Deaf education that has forbidden the use of JSL since more than 70 years ago, Hitomi and a group of concerned people worked hard and succeeded in establishing the first school to educate Deaf children in JSL, "Meisei Gakuen School for the Deaf" incorporated as a special educational district in Tokyo in April, 2008.

The book was published by the Poplar Publishing Co. on February 15, 2011.
Price on 1,365 yen

Myth and Folk Legend: Ebisu (3)

 Seven Deities of Good Fortune
Ebisu (left) holding a fishing stick

Ebisu is also one of the Seven Deities of Good Fortune (Shchifukujin in Japanese), widely worshiped from the 15th to 16 century (late Muromachi Era).

The name Ebisu means "foreigner" or "barbarian" and reflects the belief in deities who have come from afar. The Seven Deities includes gods and sagas of Indian, Chinese and Japanese origin.

Still popular was the custom in the Edo period of placing a picture of the seven gods, aboard treasure ship (like the picture atop), under one's pillow on the night of 1 January to guarantee that first dream of the year would be a lucky one.

Currently people continue to observe the custom including the visit to the shrine to which each god is offered for worship on the new-year days.

The six gods, except the only female god named "Benten", are male and have a strong tendency as being disabled. The people in the Edo period have already pointed out that they apparently have some disability such as a mental deficiency; Ebisu being deaf.

It implies that a person with foreign or unusual appearance because of the disability was believed to be powerful over the ordinary people at that time.

By the way, "Yebisu", a branded Japanese beer, is named after Ebisu.

Myth and Folk Legend : Ebisu (2)

Ebisu is said to have been deaf, worshiped as a god who offers the family fortunate and prosperity in business beside a god of fishing. Some shrines for him are located mainly in Osaka, etc.

There is a custom from ancient times: Those who worship at Ebisu Shrine turn to the back of the shrine pavilion first, strike a hind wainscot, call several times "I am here!" and then bow politely.

An old man and persons with disability including a blind man had achieved the important role which handed down such a myth and a folk legend from generation to generation.

They stayed at home and watched the fire of a fireplace rather than going out for hunting or farming. The center of information at a place where people gathered was what the old man has kept telling.

Myth and Folk Legend: Hiruko, the first infant wit disability


In the three century Japan, a person with disability appears with the beginning of history. Seemingly, according to the oldest  document on Japanese history, the "Kojiki" (Records of Ancient Matters), male and female deities, Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto were entrusted by the Heavenly Deities to creating the land of Japan. 

They bore many livings of animism. Among them the first infant  was so premature that he was unable to stand due lack of the legs even reaching the age of 3. He was named the "Leech Child" (Hiruko), originated in the form of a worm that lives in a paddy field, etc. and sucks the blood of people or an animal.

The parents sent the baby Hiruko away in a reed boat. It flowed over the sea and reached the shore safely. Later a folk legend tells about Hiruko who became a god of fishing named "Ebisu". Currently he is worshiped as a god of fortune.

Moreover, in a Japanese myth, there are gods disabled such as a dwarf or unable to walk, and they were regarded for their special brilliance at that time.

Japanese mythology is composed of native themes and continental imports mainly under the aegis of Buddhism and Toaism from China, Korea and India.

The chief literature sources of Japanese myths are the "Kojiki" (712, Records of Ancient Matters) and the "Nihon Shoki" (720, Chronicle of Japan; also known as "Nihongi").

These works were assembled at imperial command from a wide assortment of no longer extant and other powerful family lines, over whom the Yamoato kings had only in the 7th century fully established their ascendancy. ("JAPAN: An Illustrated Encyclopedia", Kodansha)

Railway crossing without a crossing gate and an alarm in Sizuoka Prefecture

A railway crossing without a crossing gate and an alarm.

September 3, 2011

It turned out by the coverage to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism that a crossing without a crossing gate and an alarm went up to ten percent or more of the whole crossing in Shizuoka Prefecture.

There are 842 crossings in the prefecture, and 86 of them are a crossing without a crossing gate and an alarm as of the end of March, 2011. These crossings are set up most on a local line that carries few passengers.

There were 48 crossing accidents across in the country in 2009 and 6 of them occurred in Shizuoka. It is dangerous for the elderly people who have difficulty in walking and persons who are deaf/hard of hearing to pass through such a crossing.

Although the railroad company recognizes danger, it does not improve the crossing system easily for reasons of financial difficulties, etc.

Sign language interpreting provided in the town assembly in Fukuoka Preference

Sign language interpreter (standing) interprets the general question for the Deaf observers in gallery of the town assembly.(photo:

September 4, 2011

There was a monthly town assembly meeting at Tachiarai Town in the Fukuoka Prefecture on September 3. The sign language interpreter was introduced for the first time so that the Deaf might understand the discussions. About 30 people including six Deaf persons attended as an observer.

A general question is open at the assembly on holiday. A general question including sign language interpreting was scheduled at this time; "Isn't there idea of making the town office allocate the sign language interpreter?" So the Deaf local residents demanded to observe the assembly meeting.

The assembly secretariat arranged a sign language interpreter in the gallery through the town social welfare organization.

The town official answered the question regarding the interpreting, "Hiring a full-time interpreter is difficult. As we have a staff who is able to sign, we encourage you to consult her".

MIZOKAMI Hideko (59), one of the Deaf observers, signed, "It was good to understand the communication clearly. I want to observe the assembly by using the interpreter in the future".

Abandoned dog as a hearing dog for the Deaf in China

A hearing dog  named "Pan" visits the mayor in the Kamakura City Office on September 1 before going to China. The yellow belt shows "Hearing Dog for the Deaf".

September 2, 2011

Pan, a one-year-old crossbreed dog, was taken care of by ONUMA Yukiko (30) while she was a two-month-old abandoned dog in Chiba Prefecture in April, 2010. Yukiko is a dog trainer for the Kamakura Hearing Dog Training Society, Inc. in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Pan, who reacts quickly to the sound and is curious, has progressed fast. She informs the Deaf by touching without barking when there is a visitor in the door or boiling of the hot water of the kettle, etc.

There was a request from Beijing, China for a dog trainer. Yukiko and Pan were selected to meet the request and they will leave for Beijing in October.

Yukiko will train Chinese prospective dog trainers, and Pan will play a role model. After Yukiko goes back to Japan, she will continue to stay with a Chinese Deaf couple to help them.

Haiku poem on mute beggar in Edo period

Issa Kobayashi (1763- 1828) is one of the haiku poets who represent Edo period.

He did not have a happy family life since the childhood, and led the life of a wanderer.

Among his haiku, there is one that Issa wrote with a pity after observing a Deaf-mute beggar tapping a stick on the bowl for a penny.

"In a shower in late fall a mute beggar taps his bowl"

This haiku implicitly tells us how the Deaf-mute were treated by the society at that time.

Hearing children learn sign language in Wakayama Prefecture

Furukawa Mana (center) makes sure how to finger spell with her grandmother.

September 2, 2011

The sign language class for the beginners was opened for two days from August 29 by the town social welfare council at the Mihama-cho regional welfare center in Wakayama Prefecture.

Seventy-five young children in total participated, and learned the finger spelling, and the greeting, etc. such as "Good morning" and "Hello" in sign language.

NAKASHIMA Miyuki, leader of the Mihama sign language circle, and Deaf circle members were an instructor.

FURUKAWA Mana (5) who participated with her elder sister and grandmother, learned how to finger spell 50 Japanese sounds one by one. She was pleased, saying that "I can finger spell the 50 Japanese sounds now".

The grandma explained, "One of my acquaintances encouraged me to take the beginning class with my grandchildren because it is fun. So I joined for the first time. I would enjoy sign language when remembering. It is very difficult for me".

Hard o hearing alumni group publishes a commemorative booklet on 50-year history

A commemorative booklet on the 50th anniversary establishment of a hard of hearing class was published.

The classroom for the hard of hearing children around in 1980.

August 27, 2011

The first class for hard of hearing children was established in the Uchiyama Elementary School (currently Okayama Central Elementary School) in Kita Ward, Okayama City so that the children might enjoy the school life with hearing children together. In commemorating the 50th anniversary last year, the alumni group including teachers made the commemorative booklet.

The late TAKAHARA Shigeo, otolaryngology professor of Okayama Medical University (currently Okayama University Department of Medicine), who had worked to enhance the education of the hard of hearing, negotiated tenaciously with the prefecture, etc. to establish a class for hard of hearing children. It was set up for the first time in the country in April, 1960.

In order to make those children hear the voice and the sound easily, the double window that intercepted the sound outside the classroom was put, and the carpet was paved so that the footstep should not affect. The hearing aid system was also introduced.

Later the class was changed to the name, the "Hearing Classroom", and moved to the Okayama Central elementary school. Ten hard of hearing children are presently enrolled. They learn three subjects (Japanese language, English, and arithmetic) in the Hearing Classroom, and take other subjects with hearing children together. Over 140 children have completed the program so far.

Deaf basketball player meets with Sasebo mayor in Saga Prefecture before World Deaf Basketball Championship

Enami (left) tells the mayor about the World Deaf Basketball Championship


The 3rd World Deaf Basketball Championship will take place in Italy on September 16-24. ENAMI Yasutoku (31), self-employed, is on the national team and the only player from the Saga Prefecture in the southern island of Japan. He visited the mayor in the Sasebo City Office on August 30 and told about his participation in the upcoming world championship.

Yasutoku lost hearing due to the high fever of an uncertain cause when he was about one year old. He started basketball at a municipal junior high school by elder sister's recommendation. While attending Saga Prefecture School for the Deaf, he went to Fukuoka Prefecture to practice with Deaf players.

Yasutoku belonged to a Deaf veteran team in Saga prefecture for years until last year winning a national athletic meeting many times. He has kept practicing with a hearing team "KBC" in Sasebo City.

The mayor encouraged him, saying "Please work hard aiming at winning a prize". Yasutoku, who will be a team caption for the first time, signed, "I want to pass the preliminaries with our good team work as the weapon". In addition, he said that he hoped to make a lot of people aware of Deaf basketball through the activity in the championship. "My dream is to make a Deaf basketball team in the prefecture".

New vocational courses to be set up at Kyoto prefecture school for the deaf in 2012


The Kyoto prefecture board of education announced on August 25 that they will establish two vocational courses, "Kyoto art" and "Information", in the high school program of the prefecture school for the deaf located in Kyoto City, and that they will accept eight prospective students for each course in March, 2012.

Up to now, there are four special courses (general education, industrial craft, design, dying, and sewing) in the high school program. However, they will be canceled in March next year, because the number of students has decreased due to the change in students' needs, etc. Instead two new courses will be established.

The "Kyoto art" course is to study the local traditional culture and the computer graphics design. The "Information" course is about a study of a special program related to information. Each aims at wide course achievement such as the entering college as well as finding employment.