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.


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