Deaf man awarded for his efforts as certified umpire

Nakai Ryoukichi with a commemorative shield

March 7, 2012

Nakai Ryokichi (69) won the gratitude prize from the Wakayama Prefecture Softball Association on March 4. He was praised for his contribution in promotion of softball activities for many years.

Ryokichi, born Deaf, has been a certified referee for 33 years and supported the players with an exact judgment in a softball game.

One of his hobbies had been to watch a sport game, and he became interested in a softball game after he was recommended by his friend. Ryokichi passed the official examination for a certified referee who works in a formal conference within the prefecture, in the end of 1978.

When the Kinki conference was held in the prefecture, he has acted as the chief umpire. He participates also in a woman softball game every year. He used to go to the ground every week when there were many softball games about 20 years ago. He has been a referee for ten games every year since several years ago.

As a referee, Ryokichi uses gestures fully, striving to make the game smooth without a trouble. One time when he was the chief umpire, he was unable to catch the sound of a foul tip; he was supported by the base umpire, by which he won reliance in fairness and an exact judgment.

Ryokichi will retire at the end of March, saying, "I would like to continue doing all possible cooperation."

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