Out of about 820,000 overall population in Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka Prefecture, about 13,000 Japanese Brazilians live in the city, and there are Brazilians with disability.
Out of 933 children with disabilities who attend a special support school in the city, 23 children are Japanese Brazilians.
Two Japanese Brazilian students attend the Prefecture Hamamatsu School for the Deaf. One of them is Leonard born in Brazil and aged 13. He has lived in Japan for 6 years, attending the school since five years ago.
Leonard was not able to understand Japanese at the beginning when he came to Japan. He had the individual lesson with the teacher at the school, so he can communicate with a Japanese friend without difficulty in Japanese sign language.
Although he uses Japanese sign language in school, he uses Portuguese sign language at home. It is because he had attended the school for the Deaf in Brazil before the visit to Japan, and his mother also understands Portuguese sign language.
Since there is no high school in the Hamamatsu School, after graduation Leonard has to go on to the Numazu School for the Deaf in the prefecture where he would have to live a dormitory life there.
However, Leonard is enjoying daily school life, such as lessons of fine arts and mathematics, playing soccer with friends during the noon recess.
Japanese original article: