Government to review disaster prevention guideline for persons with disabilities

January 30, 2012

On the issues of the persons with disabilities and elderly people who are unable to evacuate by themselves immediately at the time of disaster, the government, considering the impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake, decided to investigate of the actual situations of the disaster victims and to update the victim support guideline.

In the recent great earthquake, the mortality rate of persons with disabilities was high, and the disability organizations, etc. have pointed out that the conventional support guideline has not function effectively, asking for review of the guideline as well the public investigation on the victims.

The government aims at completing the project in March, 2013.

Cabinet Office appropriated the working expenses (45 million yen) on the evacuation measure promotion as the draft budget for fiscal 2012.

According to office disaster prevention officials, a part of the budget will be used to investigate how the victims lost their life, how the persons with disabilities evacuated, why they didn't evacuate if any, what they did during the evacuation, etc.

Japanese source:

Education order and attmepts to start education in late 1800 (Meiji period)

It was the tempestuous period immediately after the Meiji Restoration in 1868.

The Meiji Restoration is, narrowly defined, the coup d'etat of January 1868 in which antishogunate forces, led by the southern domains of Satsuma (now Kagoshima Prefecture) and Choshu (now Yamaguchi Prefecture), seized the Imperial Palace in Kyoto and announced the reversion of political power from the Togukawa shogunate to the emperor.

More broadly, the series of political, social ad economic changes in the latter part of the 19 century that resulted in dismemberment of the Bakuhan (samurai-controlled) system of shogunate and domains and Japan's rapid development into a unified modern state. The name of Meiji was chosen to indicate that the young emperor Mutsuhito would institute "enlightened rule." Edo, renamed Tokyo, became the national capital.

In order to catch up with Western advanced nations, the Meiji government considered that it was necessary to found a school first and to give education to people equally. So the Education Order of 1872 established the foundation for modern public education system. This law, referring the idea of the French educational system, intended an equally educational opportunity and establishment of the compulsory education system.

Also referring to existence of the education for the blind and mute in Europe and the U.S., the Education Order specified an asylum for the disabled for the first time as a kind of elementary school. However, its enforcement never took place.

After the Education Order was issued, there were a few persons who tried to start the education to persons with disabilities at the time when the education for persons with disability was hardly tried out.

For example, as the Fukuoka Prefecture History of Education describes,  "In 1875 Kameyama Juhei, a primary school teacher, made efforts to educate the mute student to improve his academic ability equivalent to the hearing child." 

Kumagaya Saneya, a blind man from Nagano Prefecture, obtained permission from the Tokyo prefecture on March 5, 1876 to run school business for the blind in Kojimachi, Tokyo. He collected 20 blind students and taught reading, calligraphy, and the arithmetic. However, he gave up the business a little more than one year according to the record of Ministry of Education. 
 Unfortunately, both examples remained only as an personal temporary efforts, and their educational efforts to persons with disabilities disappeared without any result.

Osaka intended to establish the school for the blind and mute as part of its educational administration. In 1877, it explained that there were many deaf-mute persons who were eager to learn although it was still difficult to establish a school for the blind, and expressed that "the prefecture was willing to gather those deaf-mute and blind persons and open a school. (The 5th annual report of the Ministry of Education, and Osaka annual report) .

There was everything but Osaka partly, although the prefectures which expressed the intention to establish a school for the blind and mute were few. However, it was Osaka that realized the measure to start the education for the blind and mute. Almost in párallel, a new school for the Blind and Mute was founded in Kyoto in 1878.

The Osaka Prefecture launched its school for the blind and mute in November, 1879, as a project plan immediately after the "educational system" was abolished and the "Education Law" was proclaimed. 

As the school name "The Model School for the Blind and Dumb" implies, it would be the model school not only in Osaka, but also the whole country. Osaka developed the regulations on the education of the Blind and Dumb, and opened the school with two teachers and 15 students. However, this school was closed by the prefectural assembly's decision in several months.

The law was revised in 1879, because the national burden for the educational system was heavy, or because it didn't meet the actual condition, etc. The Education Ministry put two statements in the revision draft at this time: "the institute for the Blind is a place to educate people with visually impaired, and the institute for the Mute is a place to guide Mute people," and "the asylum is to instruct the children with a bad behavior."  However, these statements were deleted when issued. 

Revised again in 1880, the law never defined the education for the Blind and Mute. Even Elementary School Order issued in 1886 never regarded it as further again.

Support center for the Deaf to be established in Fukui Prefecture

January 22, 2012

In order to provide more support services to the Deaf community, such as the accessibility to the disaster information, the meeting to prepare establishment of the information dissemination center for the Deaf was held in Fukui City, Fukui Prefecture on January 21.

About 30 persons concerned participated and discussed the contents of activities of the center when incorporated.

The center was founded in the prefecture in 1997. In 2002, it was to promote establishment of the facilities nationwide as designed in the "Master Plan for the Persons with Disabilities" of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

The facility has been built in 40 out of 47 prefectures across the country now, and Fukui Prefecture has not found the one yet, so it has been "a wish for a period of 15 years" to the persons concerned.

When the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred in March, last year, the disaster information did not get across to the Deaf community well. The prefecture aims at setting up the base of information dissemination with immediate facility maintenance, and developing a nationwide network.

Japanese source:

Cafe Space for self-enlightenment gaining popularity


 January 27, 2012

The cafe-styled space "The Morning Extra Activities," which the design company located in Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa Prefecture started last summer, is gaining popularity.

This space has attracted those who want to utilize a morning hour effectively for self-education before working.

The participants are most the office workers in their 30-40's, and students, professors, even chef, etc. are among them.

A theme is decided based on the opinions from the participants. Sometimes a participant becomes a lecturer on the theme related to his experience in many cases. The theme on "sign language" was especially popular because of the Deaf participant.

The company staff said, "It is a time when communication can be simply done on the Internet now. So we would like to offer a new place where people meet one another learning something from others."

The cafe space is held Fridays at 7:00-8:00 in the morning.
Fees are 500 yen; a capacity is about 20 persons.
It is requested to check a theme with Facebook before applying.

Japanese source:

Deaf married couple arrested for fraud in Kagawa Prefecture

January 24, 2012

By January 23, the Takamatsu East Police Station arrested a Deaf couple, Sato Kiyoto (65) and his wife Sato Geraldine Mendoza (41) of the Philippines nationality who reside in Kimitsu-shi, Chiba Prefecture, as suspected for fraud.

They conspired plot with the part employee woman (59) from Takamatsu-shi, whom they have become acquainted with through chat on the Internet. Kiyoto said to her on video chat that he needed money to pay for medical treatment, and let her 800,000 yen transfer to his bank account.

According to the police station, the couple denied suspicion, saying that he planned to pay money and that it was only prolonging."

Japanese source:

Interpreting to offer at briefing session for compensation of nuclear power plant disaster

January 21, 2012

The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA), the Fukushima Bar Association, and the Japan Disability Forum will hold the briefing session for the persons with disabilities and their families in Koriyama-shi, Fukushima Prefecture on January 29.

The organizing groups have noted that the procedure to  demand for compensation, etc. may not have got across to the persons with disabilities who are the victims of the First Nuclear Power Plant disaster of Tokyo Electric Power (TEP) in Fukushima.

According to JFBA officials, TEP has sent a set of the compensation forms to the disaster victims, which were not printed in braille for the person with sight impairment. Many of the victims also complained: "I do not understand the difficult terms or vocabulary", "I don't know how to fill in the form," etc.

At the briefing session, two lawyers will explain problems peculiar to the person with disability such as aggravation of the disability due to the evacuation, the increase in needed support, etc.

On the day, sign language interpreting and note taking will be provided. Also the material to be distributed will be translated into braille.

Japanese source:;at=DGXZZO0195583008122009000000

Film on DeafBlind woman made by sign language group in Kyoto

Konishi Kimiko (center) directs Haida Chiyoko (right) at Chiyoko's home during the shooting.

January 20, 2012

A sign language theater group in Kyoto is making the movie on the life of a DeafBlind woman, HAIDA Chiyoko (69), who played the leading role.

It is about her life-long struggle to regain the human relationship with people through the tactile sign language.

Saying "I want people to know how I have experienced pain and happiness," Chiyoko stood in front of the camera at her home where the shooting was taken. She was born Deaf and lost sight later about at the age of 50. Group members worked as a crew as well as a supporting actor.

Certified sign language interpreter KONISHI Kimiko (58) who wrote the scenario is the leader of the sign language theater group in Kyoto. She met Chiyoko 16 years ago, taking her out outside. She has learned the tactile sign language with Chiyoko, supporting her life, too.

Kimiko says, "since the support to Deafblind people lacks, many of them are isolated. They can regain hope by direct contact with people if there are understanding and a support."

Chiyoko and the group members embraced each other after the shooting was over. "Though I am unable to see the completed movie, I will remember our work, because we all shared every wonderful moment." Her eyes were wet with tears in the back of the sunglasses.

The film is being edited in order to run for 20 minutes to enter for "The Saga Deaf Film Festival," which the national sign language training center will host in Kyoto on February 25.

Japanese source:

Deaf owner opens new soup cafe in Tokyo

Yanagi Masahiro

Muroga Yasushi (right)

January 19, 2012

A cafe called "SingwithMe" that the staff are all Deaf opened in Tokyo at the end of December, 2011.

YANAGI Masahiro (39), the owner and manager who is born-Deaf, had advanced opening preparation since two years ago. He said, "I have wanted to have a cafe where Deaf people can feel comfortable."

His own experience was the chance to start this kind of business. "There are many cafes/restaurants where sign language is not understood even when to order food. which made me frustrated many times."

Masahiro, who had worked to support persons with disabilities to find a job, had felt the necessity for a place to work which a disabled person can be satisfied.

What he thought of was something like a cafe which the Deaf manages. However, when a few major franchise companies were consulted on opening a cafe. their reaction was negative.

They simply said, "Spoken conversation always comes in business. Since the Deaf cannot speak, it won't be business."  So Masahiro was totally refused.

Fortunately MUROGA Yasushi, who owns a soup specialty store in Nagano Prefecture, offered help to Masahiro as he believed there would be a big chance in Masahiro's idea. "There is no store for Deaf persons to get relaxed while there are a number of people  interested in sign language. So why not the things get together for business opportunities."

About 70 percent of visitors are office girls and college students from the neighborhood. Communication with a visitor is performed by using sign language or writing on the board. The information terminal portable in the register is set so that those who don't know sign language can make an order smoothly. There are some visitors who get interested in learning sign language taking advantage of coming to the restaurant.

Although a secured place for people with disabilities to work shows a spread every year, a store where all the staff are Deaf called is unusual like the cafe "SingwithMe".

Masahiro says, "I want to develop the system which supports a disabled person who starts business based on my own experience."

Japanese source:

Social Cafe Sign With Me official site (Japanese):
Video (JSL):

Fine arts vocational school offering overseas arts program to Deaf students in Tokyo

January 19, 2012

The "Oriental Art School", located in Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, has continued the philanthropy project since the summer vacation of 2002.

The school invites ten Deaf junior high school students in the city of Tokyo to experience fine arts overseas, for example, Britain, France, and China for about one week every year.

For the trip, the school staff also accompanies the group of Deaf students, visits the art museums and the historical buildings with the students, teach them how to sketch, and helps them sketch scenery.

The school held the arts work exhibition, such as landscapes which the former participants drew overseas, in September, last year.

A letter of thanks will be presented to the school from Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education on January 30 as it evaluated that their program shows a new possibility with future for the Deaf students.

The Art School had a Deaf student enrolled once in the past, which was the cause for their activity. The principal had thought, "In spite of being Deaf, the student had the sharp sensitivity through the eyes. As a fine arts vocational school, we wanted to start something for those Deaf students with few chances to go abroad."

The Art School will continue carrying out the program. 

Japanese source:

Deaf barbershop owner in Gunma Prefecture

January 19, 2012

It has been 15 years since KIMURA Tomoyuki (39), who is born-Deaf, inherited the barbershop of trade in Shibukawa-shi, Gunma Prefecture. The shop is managed by three persons, his Deaf wife and an aesthetician Tomoko (39), and his mother Miyoko (67).

Tomoyuki barbered the man in his 50's for the first time as a haircutter after graduating from Gunma Prefecture School for the Deaf where he studied the barber course.

The customer who visits the barbershop first may be surprised at the gestural communication. Tomoyuki communicates with the customer in writing and gesture about the haircut style for about 5 minutes. After he finishes the cut, the customer checks in the mirror and shows the sign of "OK."

Many of his visitors are Deaf. Tomoyuki gives them a haircut and adjusts a hairstyle until he gets them to be convinced, and leaves record to his chart.

Tomoyuki has two hearing children, a fourth and a second graders in the elementary school. Their classmates with the backpack on the back visits the barbershop. Tomoyuki gets a text message on the haircut from their parents through cell-phone.

He has felt blessed with the job in the local community. "Even if these children grow up, they will continue wanting to have a haircut. For that purpose, I have to continue polishing state-of-the-art technique." With the sign-language interpreter, Tomoyuki eagerly goes out for attending a haircut workshop.

Japanese source:

Coda, a signing singer and song writer

Watanabe Rieko sings a song with sign language.
January 15, 2012

WATANABE Rieko, a Yokohama resident, is a singer-songwriter who expresses music and songs in sign language.

She lived with her Deaf parents and a younger sister in Ashiya-shi, Hyogo Prefecture. In 1995 when she was 12 years old, immediately after the Great Hanshin Earthquake hit Hyogo Prefecture, her apartment house was burned down. Her family evacuated to the nearby elementary school as a shelter.

Rieko run around to get food and water, vital information, etc. for her family everyday. She listened attentively to the announcement on  distribution of lunch or drinking water in the shelter, and explained to her Deaf parents in sign language that she had used since she was a little girl.

While she was busy away and taking care of her younger sister, the surrounding people taught her parents by writing. Rieko was impressed by these people's kindness, and she came to dream of becoming a singer, saying "I would like to make people into a smiling face by favorite music."

Then, Rieko worked hard not only to play the piano and guitar, but to compose lyrics. When she was a high school student, she sung a song at the school cultural festival, later started the live on the street at Umeda, Osaka city, etc.

During singing on the street when she was 19 years old, she spotted a Deaf group, and signed while singing for them. One member of the group told Rieko, "I enjoyed  a good song. The phrases were the best I had ever."

The event made Rieko decide to become a singer and song writer who composes a song and sing it in sign language so that the Deaf people could enjoy it.

Now, Rieko appears on the sign language program of Internet broadcasting, and gives a lecture in the whole country on her own experience with earthquake disaster as well as the song signed.

After Rieko gave a lecture in July, last year, the boy, who has taken refuge from the area where the Tokyo Electric Power Fukushima nuclear power plant is located, said, "I am impressed with your courage over the terrible experience with the earthquake.
I will do my best to overcome my own." Rieko was inspired with his comment, too.

She says, "it is my starting point that I survived the earthquake disaster by support from other people. I would like to continue the production of music which reaches out to a person's heart, and to carry out in requital for the kindness 17 years ago."

Japanese source:

Deaf students' works exhibited at Kuraray Tokyo office

January 16, 2012

The Kuraray Tokyo head office, as a part of philanthropy activities, is exhibiting the art works of students of the School for the Deaf, University of Tsukuba (Ichikawa-shi, Chiba) in the Kuraray Tokyo head office from January 16 till January 27.

Modeling works, such as pictures, posters, textiles, etc. which the students made, are exhibited in the visitor space.

The school is the only national school for the deaf in Japan that attracts Deaf students across the country who completed the high school program in order to study more technical knowledge.

The school had an idea to provide the chance with the students to contact with society ready to work as well as present themselves in the public, while the company had groped for the philanthropy activities in the metropolitan area efficiently.

Since 1999 the students' work exhibit and the company tour has been carried out in the company's Tokyo head office. The latter is scheduled for January 20, 2012.

Japanese source:

Kuraray official site (English):

School for the Deaf, University of Tsukuba official site (English):

Advanced courses in English:

Local hotel in Tokushima Prefecture opens a free gallery

The "Public Gallery Senshukaku" with the works exhibited before the opening on January 16.

The "Public Gallery Senshukaku" with the works exhibited before the opening on January 16.

January 14, 2012

The Hotel Senshukaku in Tokushima-shi, Tokushima prefecture will open the "public gallery Senshukaku" on the first floor of the hotel which will be used for free on January 16.

The Gallery is intended to provide the local residents who enjoy hobbies to exhibit their works in the public space.

From January 16, the work exhibition jointly by the students of the Tokushima prefecture school for the blind and the prefecture school for the deaf will open.

Such an event is new because it is rare for a hotel to establish a free gallery for the local community in the prefecture.

The first works, including about 100 items of pictures and handcrafts made by these students, will be shown til February 29 in commemoration of the school building groundbreaking of these two schools.

Japanese source:

Viscount Yamao Yozo and his involvement in education of the deaf (2)

Yamao Yozo was hired to work on the engineering development by the Meiji Government. As he would be called the "father of mechanical/civil engineering" later, Yozo not only has established an institution of higher education (currently Tokyo University Engineering Faculty) to train experts in the field of engineering in the Ministry of Public Works in August, 1871, but also submitted the petition to found a school for the blind and mute to the Cabinet in September in the same year.

In the petition, Yozo stated that even in a country in Western Europe the spread of the relief measure for the poor and persons with disabilities including work and education was observed. Blaming the situation of the neglect in Japan on the other hand, Yozo also discussed that Japan should learn the West European system, educate the blind and mute and build a school to change the "unnecessary," that is, the persons with disabilities to "a useful member" to contribute to the national economic development.

Yozo's experience in Glasgow helped him write and submit the petition to found a school for the blind and mute. He explained; "There were mute workers when I observed the Nepier Shipyard in Glasgow. They actually worked very hard. They skillfully communicated in sign language and finger spelling, which I was able to understand. Because of the education, they were more capable than the hearing counterpart at the workplace."

Yozo's petition was ignored due to the newly born government in chaos. However, it had an impact on the move to establish the first school for the mute in Kyoto in 1878. Yozo himself later would be involved in founding the school for the blind and mute in Tokyo in 1880.

English information on Yamao Yozo:

Yellow vests to be used for the Deaf at time of disaster

Chairman Kanao (right) explains how to use the vest to the participants. [photo:]

January 12, 2012

The Eastern Hiroshima Disaster Prevention Joint Council began to lend out a total of the 410 vests to 24 organizations concerned and others on January 11. The vests will be used by the Deaf residents and supporters in the four cities in eastern Hiroshima at the time of a disaster.

About 80 persons attended the loan ceremony held at Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture. Four organizations in the city received the vests.

The yellow vest is attached with reflective material. There are a word "Deaf" on the front and back of the vest to help the Deaf victim when asking for vital information or support.

Moreover, there is also another vest with the words "Supporter for the Deaf" to tell that sign language interpreting and note taking will be available.

A total of 580 copies of the two kinds of vests have been manufactured. The rest of the vests after the loan will be lent out to those who want. The council chairperson Kanao said, "there are some persons with disability who hesitate to ask for support. We hope the use of the vest will be helpful at the time of a disaster."

Japanese source:

Viscount Yamao Yozo and his involvement in education of the deaf (1)

Yamao Yozo

"Choshu Five" Yamao Yozo 
(right front)
In the history of education of persons with disabilities in early stages of Meiji  (1868-1912), the petition of foundation of the school for the blind and mute to the Cabinet in 1871, and the establishment of the Kyoto prefecture institute for the Blind and Mute (1878) are important achievements.

YAMAO Yozo is well known as he submitted the petition to found a school for the blind and mute in Japan. He also played an important role in the establishment of the school for the Blind and Mute in Tokyo in 1880.

Yozo was born to a rich farmer as the third son in Choshu Domain (present Yamaguchi Prefecture) in 1837. The Yamao family was originally from the samurai class.

Reverence for the Emperor and expulsion of the barbarians were up hung as a slogan in Choshu Domain. However, Yozo and other four samurai, including ITO Hirofumi and INOUE Kaoru, decided to go to Britain in response to the order of the domain lord, believing that getting to know an enemy better is important in winning the enemy.

The group of the Choshu samurai, with support of the British consul in Japan, the U.K. companies established in Yokohama, etc., went to Britain in 1863. They arrived in London safely and studied at the University College London.  

As soon as Hirofumi and Kaoru learned that Choshu Domain was under the attack by the Allied Forces of the U.K., U.S., Dutch and France in the next year (1864), they returned home to persuade the domain lord about the Western European militaristic superiority.

Hirofumi would be selected as a prime minister four times, and Kaoru would be appointed to be the first Foreign Minister after the Meiji Restoration in1868. Both Hirofumi and Kaoru were a former student of YOSHIDA Shoin, a philosopher who had a Deaf brother.

However, Yozo continued to stay studying the British industry system for five years. After graduating from the university, he worked in the Napier's shipyard in Glasgow for two years, and at the time attended the Anderson's College (now the University of Strathclyde) night class, and returned home in 1868.

A Japanese monument was built by the University of London in 1993 to praise the "Chosyu Five." In May, 2003, the celebration monument of the five men' distinguished services was built in front of the Yamao Yozo's parental home in Yamaguchi-shi by the persons concerned who heard the monument in London from others.

English information on YAMAO Yozo:

Political campaign for national election to broadcast with caption starting in 2013

January 10, 2012

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications made the policy which will broadcast of political views with caption for the Upper House election in 2013, to promote the political right of the Deaf.

The ministry believed that there are some Deaf persons who don't understand, even though sign-language interpreting has been already provided in a part of broadcasts of political views.

Since time is required for the preparation, the ministry will introduce the policy in the proportional representation election, and expand to other national election.

Broadcast of political views is carried out for the Diet (Parliament) election and the prefecture gubernatorial election required by the Public Offices Election Law.

Each political candidate of the national election and the gubernatorial election states the political view on television.

Currently the video with caption is accepted only if a political party uses their own for the Lower House election single-seat constituency.

Japanese source:

English article: Deaf director records the deaf's stories

January 14, 2012

Deaf director IMAMURA Ayako's filmography boasts movies about the lives of deaf people. She recently shot a documentary titled "Coffee and Pencil," whose main character is a deaf man who runs a surf shop.

He offers customers coffee with a smile, and starts communicating with them using gestures and writing. "Did you surf today?" he writes. The customers, puzzled at first, are soon drawn into a conversation with him.

The movie became the talk of Aichi Prefecture, her filming home base, and other areas. In March, the movie will be screened at a theater in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo.

Read more (English source):

Hearing actress appears as a Deaf girl in TV drama

January 5, 2012

The Mainichi Broadcasting Network 60th anniversary drama titled "A Bride's Father" about the deep bonds of a father and his daughter will be aired at 21:00 on January 8.

A young hearing actress KIJITANI Shihori acts the Deaf daughter Mine. She naturally performs in sign language which she has learned hard. "The scenario is impressive and all the scenes are meaningful. This work absolutely makes you feel sincere."

A man Satoshi who breeds the cow for bullfighting in a village in Niigata Prefecture has lost the wife early, and lives with his father and his only daughter Mine.

A marriage proposal to Mine turns into cancellation and she travels to Tokyo heart-brokenly. She meets a hearing boatman Maru, at Asakusa in the city. Maru learns sign language and tell her how he likes her.

A Deaf university student attended at all shootings as an adviser for Shihori about a Deaf perspectives in daily living.

Japanese source:

Cosmetics producer to air TV commercials with caption on its merchandise

January 6, 2012

Kao Company which deals with business involving cosmetics, beauty soaps, etc. will air a TV commercial (CM) with caption from the middle of January, 2012.

This company's CM will be shown in the variety shows of the TBS TV station first, and be expanded to more target products and other TV stations to air their CM one by one.

The company has judged that it would needed to devise how to appeal its merchandise in an advertisement to not only persons with hearing loss but also the aged.

Kao is the first to develop fully captioned CM in Japan. It produces its own CM and has already prepared 150 captioned CMs for popular products.

Kao official site (English):

Group of Deaf Mothers formed in Yokohama

January 5, 2012

It is often difficult for the Deaf mother to talk with other mothers who are in the same generation about the child rearing. A group called the "Deaf Mothers' Group" was formed as a place of learning and socializing in November, 2011.

Four pairs of Deaf mother and child gathered in the "Baby Bar," a cafe designed for the Deaf mother and children, in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture in December, 2011. They discussed daily problems, exchanged information, etc.

Many of the participants worried about communication. It turned out that they hardly associated with the neighborhood or the area and wanted a place where the Deaf mothers gather to sharing the experiences in the child raising, etc.

The members will meet regularly, and the next meeting is scheduled for January 15, Sunday in the cafe.

MATSUMOTO Mari (30), a leader of the group, is bringing up two hearing boys (4 years old and 1 years old), and works full time as a clerk in a securities firm.

She says, "Work and child-rearing give me a good change though it is not easy to control my naughty boys."

Mari also believed a physical contact between a baby and its mother as one of the communications, and so obtained the qualification as a masságer for the baby and kid. She offers the technique for mother-child contact to the members.

Japanese source:

English blog: online games focusing students with disabilities

January 4, 2012

Press release:

Katawa* Shoujo is a visual novel set in the fictional Yamaku High School for disabled children, located in modern Japan. Hisao Nakai, a normal boy living a normal life, has his life turned upside down when a congenital heart defect forces him to move to a new school after ... (see the following link)

Official site:

*Katawa means a disability in Japanese.

Deaf body boarder keeps challenge on

January 4, 2012

In December, 2010, HORI Yumie (38) was on the "body board" in Kujuukurihama in Ichinomiya-cho, Chiba Prefecture where the rough sea of midwinter rolls in.

She became deaf when she was two years old, overcoming the handicap: she was once ranked the 9th, the highest for a Japanese body boarder during the world tour in 2006.

Yumie, who has retired from the competition in 2009, currently practices again aiming at the International competition which will be held in Hawaii in February, 2012. She says, "I would not forget to challenge, staying as strong as possible."

While attending a vocational school without any future aim, Yumie was invited by a friend to enjoy the body board. "The sea is equal and brushes nobody off.  I will do my best in this world." She made a decision to become a professional.

She passed the second protest at the age of 29 in 2003, and made shining records with a series of world tours. She sent a letter to a hearing-aid maker "Rion", the product of which she has used, for the sponsor contract in 2006.

Yumie joined the game for persons with disabilities, but she had a strong will to compete at the regular game to "prove that I can do despite of deafness."

She lectures on the body board at a school for the Deaf and encourages the Deaf youth to challenge themselves. Because she wanted to also teach the danger in marine life, she acquired the qualification of "Life Savers" in 2011.

Yumie held an event in September, 2011 and plans to use the proceeds from the event for a "Happy Surf School" program at the beach in Chiba Prefecture that the children from Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, a part of the stricken area, will be invited to experience marine sports this July.

Japanese source: