Deaf high school student to join the World Deaf Table Ball Championships

Reio practices hard towards the World Championships.

April 24, 2012

Nishimoto Reio (17), a high school student of the Hiroshima School for the Deaf in Hiroshima Prefecture, will participate as a national team member in the World Deaf Table Ball Championships, which will be held in Tokyo on April 29 - May 6.

It is the first time in 43 years that a high school student was selected to the national team, which is composed of eight members, four men and women each.

Reio is devoted to the last adjustment, saying "I want to see how far my skill will be accepted on the world."

Reio played table tennis at the national Deaf sports meet in Aichi Prefecture in September, 2011. He won the 3rd place at the men singles which about 110 players competed, with the smash from backhand. He was selected to the national team.

When he was a fifth grader, he became interested in table tennis after his teacher invited him to play. Since his junior high school days, he has belonged to the table tennis club. He has also practiced at the local club.

Reio has entered for singles, doubles, mixed doubles, and possibly as a team at the world competition in Tokyo.

"Although I am excited about the international game which is the first time for me, I am also nervous. I will do my best to win all the games. I would continue challenging the world from now on."

Japanese original article:

Sign language materials distributed to driving schools

April 23, 2012

The Deaf persons, who are unable to hear the sound of a horn even if a hearing-aid were used, have acquired the driver's license of the subcompact only. They will be allowed to drive a track, a motorcycle, etc. from April, 2012.

Expecting that more Deaf persons will enter a driving school to get the new driver's license, the headquarters of Saitama Prefecture Police recently made the sign language materials for the instructors at a driving school.

The materials in a form of DVD cover the signed simple greeting, the sign vocabulary related to acquisition of the license, the possible conversation exchanged in the training of the motorcycle, etc.

The sign language DVD was distributed to the driving schools, etc. within the prefecture. According to the headquarters of Saitama Prefecture Police, such a move is the first in the whole country.

They said, "We will do our best to meet the need of the Deaf candidate appropriately in getting their license."

Japanese original article:
Survey: only half of the DeafBlind go out less than once a week

April 22, 2012

The Hyogo Prefecture Information Center for the Deaf in Kobe City conducted a survey in 2010 to find out the actual situation of 639 DeafBlind residents, to which 113 men and 145 women answered. The percent of those aged 65 and over was 78% of the respondents.

A result of the survey showed that only a half of the DeafBlind residents go out once or less once a week in the prefecture.

Also, only a half of them communicate with their family or friends less than one hour a day. It became clear that almost all of them hardly meet with others, and tend to shut themselves in the house, etc.

Such a survey at a prefecture level is the first kind, and the center appeals more support for the daily activities of the DeafBlind residents.

Japanese original article:

DVD developed for company to support Deaf/hard of hearing workers


April 20, 2012

The Postsecondary Education Programs Network-Japan (PEPNet-Japan) developed DVD which introduces the tips on how the company supports Deaf/hard of hearing employees.

Although the Deaf/hard of hearing persons who found a job at a company after graduation are increasing in number, it has been said that they have a hard time to communicate with their hearing coworkers, which is one of the reasons for their high unemployment rate.

The network is appealing to the companies by saying, "We hope they make more accessible environment for the Deaf/hard of hearing persons to work efficiently."

In DVD, one of the examples is introduced;  a new Deaf employee misses or misunderstands the deadline of the data development which the boss directs.

Since the Deaf/hard of hearing person lipreads in many cases to see what is said, the company is advised that the hearing workers speak clearly and slowly, and/or that they give the Deaf/hard of hearing coworker the important main point by writing.

The network staff explained, "the company people, not knowing that the Deaf/hard of hearing workers may fail some important point, believe that they make many mistakes, or that they do not accomplish anything. Meanwhile, the Deaf/hard of hearing workers should clearly tell that they need support because of deafness."

About 2000 copies of DVD will be distributed to the universities/colleges or companies free of charge.

Japanese original article:

A Story of deaf woman's childbirth published

April 19, 2012

As a series of the magazine "I LOVE Mother" June issue titled "Thank you for choosing me as your mother. I am happy to meet you,"  the childcare document of the deaf single mother was published.

A single mother Kitada Kozue (25) was found to be deaf at the age of one year and five months. She lipreads with a hearing aid.

It was after Kozue parted her boyfriend when she learned about her own pregnancy. Although she was afraid of deaf heredity and child-rearing, she decided to have a baby even though he would be a fatherless child.

During childbirth, Kozue had to remove her hearing-aid and checked the timing to push the infant out by written communication with the medical staff.

When she heard the crying voice of the baby for the first time just after he was born her eyes were with tears of gratitude. There was also no deaf heredity in her child.

Only Kozue lives in fear of her own hearing that gradually loses every year. However, she is living positively, teaching her son sign language.

Japanese original article:

Deaf basket player pays a courtesy visit to governor in Akita Prefecture

April 17, 2012

Ishikawa Tomomasa (29) will participate in the Asia primary for the Deaflympics as a national Deaf basketball player. He paid a courtesy visit to Governor Satake Yoshihisa in Akita Prefecture, a part of northeastern Japan.

He, born Deaf, began the basketball when he was a fourth grader in elementary school. Working in the subsidiary of Toshiba, Co. in Tokyo now, he belongs to the Deaf basketball club for the national team, having continued practice.

Tomomasa said, "Representing Japan at the regional conference, I want to take the lead to make a way to give Deaf children a big dream." He promised to work hard to win the Asia primary.

The primary will be held from May 26 to June 2 in South Korea, with five nations competing. Top 3 teams from the Asian region are eligible for the Summer Deaflympics which will be held in Hungary in 2013.

Japanese original article:

"Silent Cafe" re-opens in Tokyo


April 12, 2012

The "Silent Cafe" opened in the public hall annex in Mitaka-shi, Tokyo in July, 2011 to promote the barrier-free communication between a Deaf person and a hearing person.

It became the center of attention as a unique social venture from the beginning with many visitors from the whole country. However, it had to be closed temporarily in December of the same year because of the public hall annex reconstruction work.

The cafe moved to Kichijoji in Tokyo on February 5, 2012, and two months passed now. There are 15 seats in all in the cafe. Nine people currently work in turn; Watanabe, a manager, three Deaf part-timers, four Deaf volunteers, and a hearing volunteer.

For the communication with the customer, a magnet card with an illustration, writing and sign language are used. When to order, the visual order sheet and the magnet card are used. Menus are banana milk, crepe, and a lunch plate for now.

Watanabe explains: "Since the staff is inexperienced in catering business, the cafe is only open in the afternoon during the weekend.

I hope through our cafe, an understanding of the Deaf community and the sign language is spread in the whole town of Kichijoji, more companies and stores consider to employ a Deaf person, so Kichijoji will be the town where sign language is always available."

Japanese original article:

U.S. Deaf pro basketball player active in Japan

April, 2012

Lance Allred, an American deaf pro basketball player, has been active in Japan.

In the summer of 2011, he agreed to contractual terms to play for the Kyoto Hannar (Japanese professional basketball league) and has been playing well as a center player, contributing to the team’s victories.

Read more for his interview (English):

Lance's statistics with Kyoto Hannar (2011-2012)

Deaf researcher awarded for his work on the Kyoto Institute for the Deaf-Mute and Blind

April, 2012

Kinoshita Tomotake who is a regular member of the Japanese Architecture Society won the 2012 Encouragement Prize. He is Deaf and a part-time teacher at Japan College of Social Work.

This prize is given to the researcher who published the outstanding paper, etc. during recent years with the originality, a new perspective, and possibilities about construction.

Fumitake wrote the paper on the space composition and the educational program of the Kyoto Institute for the Deaf-Mute and Blind in January, 2010 from related data, such as an architectural design drawing of the Institute in 1870's.

The Society describes about his work as follows.

His effort to explore the early construction plan of the Institute which has been hardly studied is highly valued as a historic research.

Although there is little doubt now about separated education programs for the Deaf and Blind, this research proves that it is not necessarily an obvious and natural premise.

Furthermore, the Society expects that the recipient will research more on the present "reorganization/composite" issue of the education of persons with disabilities.

Japanese website:

First school for the Deaf in Kyoto and Furukawa

Furukawa Tashiro, a hearing teacher, was released from prison in 1872 and returned to the Taiken School (19th Elementary School) the next year.

With help of Kumagaya Denbe, the ward head who administered the school, Furukawa started teaching the Deaf-mute girl and her younger brother who was also Deaf-mute. The  two children lived in the neighboring house to Denbe in 1874.

Furukawa taught them with sign language that he invented including home-made signs the students used. He later allowed a blind child to join the class for the Deaf-mute students, achieving a remarkable result in 1877.

The Training Institution for the Blind and Mute (“Mou-a-in” 盲唖院) was temporarily established in Kyoto as a private school by Furukawa and Norimi Tohyama in 1878, and Furukawa became the director.  It was the first school for the Deaf and Blind that was officially opened on May 24, accepting 31 Deaf-mute children and 17 blind children.

Their fundamental educational philosophy was based on humanitarianism and equestrianism. Tohyama stated that all human beings are equal, regardless of disabilities such as deafness, blindness, or other disabilities in a statement for the establishment of the school.

In addition, Furukawa thought that the inability to perform like others without disabilities contributed to discrimination, but argued that those with disabilities are able to perform if appropriate education is provided. In other words, absence of education for those with disabilities accounted to the societies’ and educators’ neglect of duty.

Furukawa did various works about instruction to the blind and deaf students, respectively. His attitude towards to the students was warm, full of love; he accepted them as what they were from the bottom of heart without self-interest.

The subjects taught for the deaf students were "pronunciation (speech)", "dictation", the "discourse method", the "composition method", "composition with theme", and  "geography", "arithmetic".

Furukawa's instruction was combined with the following methods. To teach how to pronounce a syllabary, he made the "pronunciation chart" (1878 発音起源図) along with the word list for the "speech". Also he used the question-answer method for the semantic grasp of the word, carrying out compatibility of the Japanese syllabary, a Chinese character, and the manual spelling. The "discourse method" was used to develop the skills in written communication and reading, and the "composition method" aimed at written expression of things.

Especially the speech training used the mouth form, arranged with the fingertips of the both hands which showed the form of the mouth, compared an up-and-down row of teeth and the right thumb as the tongue (発音起源図). All the elements of positions and movements showed how to pronounce a vowel and a consonant.

Therefore, the language education of Furukawa was based on the combination of sign language, fingerspelling, gestures, speech, writing combined with pronunciation (spoken language), reading comprehension, writing a composition, etc. The method was combined oralism and sign language.

Furukawa invented the manual communication system to be used in teaching, such as the "Japanese fingerspelling chart" (1878 五十音手勢図), "Japanese kana syllabary printing-form sign language" (1879 五十音字形手勢), the sketch of "the numeral signs" (1878 手算法略図), and the "chart of the palm method for writing" (1879 画掌法図), etc., which are much different from the present days. The old, but precious documents are preserved currently in the Kyoto Prefectural School for the Deaf.

The Training Institution for the Blind and Mute moved to a place where the new schoolhouse was completed in front of the Kyoto Prefecture Office as a public school under the Prefecture administration in 1879 (京都府立盲唖院).

Effort to start education for Deaf children in Kyoto

On the occasion of the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the national capital changed from Kyoto to Edo, later renamed to Tokyo when the emperor moved to the city.

In order to activate the town of Kyoto, where a feeling of stagnation drifted due to the change of the capital, by personnel training, 64 elementary schools were founded in Kyoto City in 1869, first in the whole country.

KUMAGAI Denbe (1834-1914), a sugar wholesale store owner, was elected the head of the 19th ward in Kyoto City in 1873, and was involved in the community activities including the 19th elementary school (later Taiken Elementary School). Established in 1869, the school not only had about 300 children with four teachers, but also played an important role for the community such like a city office, a meeting room, banking, etc.

There was a store that sold umbrellas and paper lanterns near Denbe's home. The store owner Yamaguchi Zensaburo and his wife Mitsu had two mute children, a daughter Ito (1859-?) and a son Zenshiro (1865-1907).

Denbe had known the children since their childhood and that they were very intelligent. He often saw them bullied by the hearing children in the neighborhood. He also knew other mute boy named Yamagawa Tamejiro (Tamekichi), about the same age as Zenshiro, in the neighborhood.

Denbe must have thought of these children staying home while the hearing children attended the school with their peers, wishing for the mute children to go to school every time he came to the school for work.

When Denbe became the ward head, Zenshiro has reached the age to start school. Denbe approached two Taiken Elementary School teachers, Furukawa Tashiro and Sakuma Ushi, about teaching the mute children.


Beginning to teach mute children in the 1870's

In Kyoto, a hearing man Furukawa Tashiro started instruction of three mute children, two boys and a girl, at the strong request from Kumagai Denbe, a ward leader, in 1874. They were admitted to the 19th elementary school (Taiken Elementary School), a nearby hearing school, at the same time.

There is other story that the girl, Yamaguchi Ito, who was 14 years old started first, and then the two boys, Yamaguchi Zenshiro and Yamagawa Tamejiro, both aged 8 started schooling after her.

Ito is thought to be the first student in Japan. A few years later when the classroom for the mute and blind was set up for a formal instruction, Ito left the school.

The school had 400 students with four teachers. Supported by many neighbors, a space for the mute children was provided in the school, so they might sit just in front of the teacher.

Tashiro never knew any education methods such like in the advanced countries. He devised many teaching tools by himself, some of which would be the origin of the present oral method, invented sign language and finger spelling. He worked hard trying to find the best instruction method for the mute students.


New service for visitors starts at airport in Miyazaki Prefecture

The taxi concierges are enthusiastic to offer service.


April 7, 2012

The Miyazaki Airport Building, Co. in Miyazaki Prefecture located in the southern island of Japan launched the "taxi concierge" service that the female staff treat the passengers at the front entrance of the Building on April 6.

This aims at promoting the use of a taxi as well as the sightseeing. The person in charge of the service is intent on giving the warm welcome that makes the visitors come to the prefecture again.
Six female staff aged 18-41 are taking charge of a taxi concierge such as arrangements of a taxi, giving the visitors advice on sightseeing, helping elderly people, introducing the airport facility, etc.
They are also learning English, Korean, and Taiwanese in order to respond to foreign tourists. Moreover, they are studying sign language for the Deaf visitors.

Japanese original article:

South Korean movie on sexual abuse of deaf students to open in August in Tokyo

April 5, 2012

The movie, titled "Dogani" (Silenced), is based on the fact that eight people, including teachers, sexually abused the Deaf students repeatedly between 2000 and 2005.

It has been watched by more than 4 million people since it was released on Sept. 22, 2011 in South Korea.

For details, read the English article:

The movie is scheduled to show on August 4, 2012 in the Tokyo area, Japan.

Japanese original article:

New Deaf teacher hired to teach Deaf students English

 April 7, 2012

A deaf student at Nagoya Gakuin University who obtained a license to teach English to students with impaired hearing graduated on March 15.

Misato Fujiwara, 23, will start teaching at Aichi Prefectural Nagoya School for the Aurally Disabled in Chikusa Ward, Nagoya, on Wednesday. 

Read more:

City planning ordinance for accessibility in Hyogo Prefecture revised

March 29, 2012

In order to deal with rapid aging and to advance a barrier-free environment, Hyogo Prefecture revised the "City Planning Ordinance of Welfare" in December, 2010, which will be applied for a public facility, a large-scaled store, a hotel, etc.

The prefecture also began a system to recognize the institution checked from a point of view by persons with disabilities in the maintenance stage based on the revised ordinance.

The prefecture recognized the bank in Kawanishi City recently which carries out business in an accessible way to the person with disabilities for the first time. It will plan to increase institutions to be recognized and to promote the accessible environment to everyone from now on.

The bank is the Mizuho Bank Kawanishi Branch newly opened in August, 2011. It studied a barrier-free environment from the start, installed the automatic teller machine (ATM) for the person with wheelchair, and prepared the board for the Deaf/hard of hearing customers to communicate with the clerk.

Japanese original article:

JSL news videos with English caption

March 25, 2012

Deaf News Network (DNN) started to provide news in Japanese Sign Language (JSL) related to the Deaf community on March 14, 2011 almost immediately after a great earthquake hit the Tohoku region.

The video was originally taken on March 14 2011.

Its Deaf leader EZOE Satoshi introduces his plan to caption some of the past videos in English according to his English twitter (@World-DNN).

World DNN JAPAN official site (English):


March 28, 2012

The video originally taken on March 26 2011 is captioned in English.

ODA, a board member of the Ibaraki Prefecture Association of the Deaf, explained his experience with the Great East Japan Earthquake.


Aprl 1, 2012

A Deaf man named NISHINO from Hitachi, Ibaraki Prefecture, talked about his experience at workplace and how he spent the day when the earthquake occurred.

The video was taken originally on March 26, 2011, which is captioned in English.

Deaf skiers compete in Alpine skiing game in Nagano

March 27, 2012

The 2012 Japan-Paralympics Alpine Skiing Game was held for four days from March 22 in Hakuba Village, Nagano Prefecture, a part of central Japan.

The game was canceled due to the influence of the Great East Japan Earthquake last year, and it was the first time in two years.

This game was the only chance at home for the skiers who have to gain the point of IPC (International Paralympic Committee) for the eligibility to the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Russia.

Deaf skiers also participated in the game under the category of "D" (deaf). They were on the national team for the Deaflympics in Slovakia which was suddenly canceled. Being deaf is not recognized as a disability in sports, so the Deaf/hard of hearing athletes are not part of the Paralympics.

Japanese original article:


Ashoka: Innovators for the Public supports sign language dictionary project

March 27, 2012

U.S. Asoka which supports the social entrepreneur who solves a social problem announced the first Japanese candidate in Japan.

OKI Junto, 24, of the ShuR Group who was selected is beginning to tackle the enterprise which puts the animation of sign language in a database. He declared that he would aim at developing a "Wikipedia on sign language."

U.S. Asoka highly evaluated his project; he established the first online sign language dictionary called "Slinto" in the world. This dictionary is due to dealing with 126 languages around the world.

If the person who do not understand sign language looks at and inputs a motion of those who use sign language, he will understood what it is spoken.

With Slinto, a word and sign language can be searched easily or the Japanese Sign Language can be directly translated into  a foreign sign language.

Japanese original article:

ShuR Group official site (English):

Slinto dictionary: