Smart phone introduces local culture in sign language

The screen of a smart phone shows a famous place in Kamakura with a sign language animation (up) and a photograph of the place (bottom).

February 15, 2012

Kamakura City in Kanagawa Prefecture aims at getting recognized as an "ancient city of samurai" by the World Cultural Heritage.

An application program was developed for Deaf visitors who use a multifunctional mobile phone (smart phone). In the program the animation explaining the cultural heritage of Kamakura in sign language and sightseeing information are loaded.

The free distribution of the application program started on February 14. It is said that the program which introduces world heritage by a sign language animation is the first kind in the world.

A local IT company and the corporation which offers sign language service developed the program together in one year. Kamakura City cooperated in providing sightseeing information, etc.

An iPhone-oriented application program is also under development and will be scheduled for the distribution around May.

About the information dissemination with the use of a sign language animation, the staff involved in the development section said, "We developed the program for the Deaf who prefer sign language to written Japanese as a means of information communication. We hope more awareness of such a need will be enhanced."

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