Deaf students practice comic story in sign language

Ayagaki Aoi-san practices a comic story telling at the Kumamoto School for the Deaf.
(photo :

September 3, 2012

The sign language comic storytelling club of the Kumamoto School for the Deaf, located in Kumamoto-shi, Kumamoto Prefecture in the southern island of Japan, is a unique group in the whole country continuing activity.

A sign language comic story telling was invented by the 4th generation Katsura Fukudanji (71), the director of a Kansai Rakugo Association who was temporarily unable speak because of the illness of a throat in the 1970s. It has the feature to express classical rakugo (comic story) using every part of the whole body, which was reportedly spread nationally with more awareness of sign language.

The sign language comic storytelling club was formed at Kumamato School in 2006. Eight club members from junior high school to advance course level strive for practice once per week with DVD at reference, in which the professional comic storyteller tackled the sign language comic story.

Ayagaki Aoi-san, a high school junior, has begun the sign language comic story when she was a junior high school student. She said, "it is difficult for me to express joy, anger, humor and pathos only with facial expression, without using the language. The members and my teacher check my performance repeatedly so that the audience understands it perfectly."

Since Iido Keiko-sensei, an advisory teacher, interprets using a microphone while a member performs a comic story in the hall, those who do not know sign language can also understand it.

These days, public requests from some of the people who saw performances by the storytelling club at the school cultural festival, etc., are increasing.

Japanese original aritcle:

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