National conference on future of hard of hearing children held in Shikoku

March 25, 2012

The National Society of the Parents with Hard of Hearing Children held the 37th case study session and a general meeting on March 24-25 in the hotel at Takamatsu-shi, Kagawa Prefecture in western Japan.

Parents and guardians all over the country attended the case study session, and discussed the educational environment for their children to promote their better future.

About 160 persons participated in the national general meeting which was held for the first time in the Shikoku region. 

Omori Chiyomi, a vice principal of a day care center for hard of hearing infants in the city, and her colleagues introduced their concrete case.
She pointed out the importance of support to the parents, etc.


Japanese original article:
http://www.shikoku-np.co.jp/kagawa_news/locality/20120325000104

Airline flight attendant with a "sign language badge"

Okada explains a "sign language badge" in sign language by a door before leaving.
(photo: http://mainichi.jp/)

 March 25, 2012

Japan Airlines (JAL) began the system on March 25 which the flight attendant (CA) who uses sign language wears a "sign language badge".

Although there are about 100 CA(s) who use sign language in JAL, it was unable to know whether they can sign from the appearance. Moreover, unless a certain report could be made, CA has no means to judge whether a passenger requires signed communication.

When she was a high school student of the School for the Deaf/the University of Tsukuba, INOUE Ayaka (19) communicated with OKADA Atsuko who is CA in sign language aboard early May, 2010. She filled in the questionnaire, requesting that CA who signs should be visible, which was submitted to JAL.

The "sign language badge" has two kinds depending on skill levels; a "Sign Language" badge for those who passed the examination with level of less than the 4th), and the badge "Learning Sign Language" for those with the 5th level of sign language official examination.

Ayaka, currently a freshman at Tokyo Seitoku University, got in the flight again with Okada putting on a "sign language badge."  Ayaka said, "Since I  did not think that my request would come true, I am really glad."






Japanese original article:
http://mainichi.jp/select/wadai/news/20120325mog00m040001000c.html


Education board to publish the instruction material on teaching in "Japanese Sign Language"

March 17, 2012

The Hokkaido Education Board will produce the material for the teaching method in "Japanese Sign Language (JSL)" which is the first language of the born-Deaf students, and distribute it to the schools for the Deaf in Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan in the 2013 fiscal year.

The oral method has been used mostly for the education of the Deaf in Japan, and the board has attempted to use JSL for the first time in the whole country since 2008. This result was summarized, which the board decided to make the first instruction data in the country to spread the instruction in JSL.

The demand to learn in JSL as the first language for the Deaf was so high that the prefecture Sapporo School for the Deaf in Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido has taught in JSL following the curriculum for the first time as a public school in the whole country since April, 2008. The students has an opportunity to choose either oralism or JSL to learn.

The board gave about 20 sixth graders the achievement test to investigate the comprehension depending on the instruction methods. As a result, the average percentage of correct answers of the group of students who studied in JSL was higher, which validity was able to be shown.


Japanese original article:
http://mainichi.jp/hokkaido/archive/news/2012/03/17/20120317hog00m040004000c.html

City council member questions in sign language at the municipal assembly

March 22, 2012

Yokoi Yuichi, 46, a member of the city council asked using sign language at a meeting of the budget special committee of the Nara municipal assembly on March 21.

The municipal assembly secretariat personnel are saying, "We do not know any lawmaker using sign language at the meeting, although the sign language interpreter has been placed for the Deaf in the gallery."

As Yokoi wanted to support the Deaf/hard of hearing and to spread sign language, he took the basic sign language course from June, 2011 through January, this year.

When he asked a question related to the Deaf community, he talked a little slowly using the sign language.

Yokoi said that the number of cases that requested for a sign language interpreter in the city before the Deaf client went to a hospital increased to 399 in 2010 fiscal year from 204 in 2005.

He mentioned that a sign language interpreter has not been assigned to 4 public hospitals in the city, including the municipal Nara hospital, and requested the city to try hard to provide more sign language interpreters.


Japanese original article:
http://mainichi.jp/area/nara/news/20120322ddlk29100589000c.html

Airline to start "video relay service" for the Deaf in April

March 21, 2012

The All Nippon Airways (ANA) Sales will start a video relay service on April 2 for those who can't use a telephone because of deafness.

ANA will provide the service in cooperation with the Plus Voice, which has proposed the dissolution of a communication barrier through the use of information and communication technology in the welfare field.

ANA, which has taken communication by FAX or e-mail until now, will be able to respond to a request of a travel in real time by introducing the new service.


Japanese original article:
http://www.travelvision.jp/news/detail.php?id=52707

Penal servitude of eight years to doctor for fraud of the pension by hearing loss camouflage

March 19, 2012

Maeda Yoshiaki (77), an ENT doctor,  was sued for a disability pension fraud case under pretense of hearing loss. He forged the diagnosis for 42 patients and stole about 168 million yen from the Social Insurance Agency (present Japan Pension Service).

The Sapporo District Court in Sapporo, Hokkaido ordered the defendant Maeda to get imprisonment with hard labor for eight years (against penalty demand for 15 years) for his crimes, such as fraud and drafting of a false medical certificate, on March 19.

According to the court, the defendant Maeda conspired with other defendant Koda Kiyoshi (70), a public consultant on social and labor insurance. Koda was ordered penal servitude for eight years at the first trial and appealed.

Maeda drew up the false diagnosis for 42 persons in December, 2002 until August, 2007, and Koda applied for pension benefits.

It was the point at the case whether the defendant Maeda recognized that a patient could hear. The prosecutors claimed from the fact that during medical examination Maeda talked with the patients as usual, and that he climbed a mountain together with them, "Maeda recognized that they were hearing."

The defense counsel argued, "Maeda was deceived by these patients who behaved as if they were deaf."

A total of 22 patients prosecuted for the case were set as guilty.


Japanese original article:
http://mainichi.jp/select/jiken/news/20120319k0000e040160000c.html

Deaf community asks for more sign language interpreters

March 12, 2012

A meeting to discuss the Deaf's life was held in Toyooka-shi, Hyogo Prefecture near Osaka on March 11.

It was held by the Tajima Center for the Deaf in the city which offers services related to counseling and employment assistance, etc. to call for support to the Deaf community. About 40 persons participated.

At the meeting, a male office worker who is Deaf, 41, said "Because of insufficiency of  sign language interpreters, our life has been inconvenient. Moreover even if I need a sign language interpreter, there are so many restrictions."

An unemployed Deaf woman, 62, said, "I cannot get support immediately in the cases, such as a sudden illness. Especially I am worried whether I can get help in my area at the time of a disaster."

The head of the center said, "When the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred one year ago, many Deaf persons fell victim. A Deaf person who is unable to get information on a disaster, etc. instantly needs to be supported. It is a step of support that I let you understand what disability means first."


Japanese original article:
http://mainichi.jp/area/hyogo/news/20120312ddlk28100150000c.html

Real-time captioning on news program through speech recognition

A news program instantly captioned through the speech recognition system
(photo: http://www.nhk.or.jp/

March 14, 2012

Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK: Japanese Broadcasting Association) started its news program with caption which broadcasts from 4:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday has started on March 14.

The real-time caption system using the speech recognition system was developed based on the work of the NHK technical research center in 2010 (see the related link).

The speech of a persons untrained as an announcer talking is difficult to be captioned instantly. In case of the interview to a person, etc., the trained announcer rephrases what he says, which is captioned at the same time.

NHK will continue to broadcast more programs to be captioned one by one.


Japanese original article:
http://www.phileweb.com/news/hobby/201203/14/953.html

Related link:
NHK Laboratories Note No. 464
SPEECH RECOGNITION ENGINE FOR REALIME BROADCAST NEWS CAPTIONING

http://www.nhk.or.jp/strl/publica/labnote/lab464.html

Furukawa Tashiro: first teacher of Deaf children


Furukawa Tashiro (1845-1907) is well remembered as the first teacher of Deaf children in Japan.

Tashiro was born to the family who owned the largest school for commoners (白景堂) in Japan, located in the temple (上京智恵光院) in Kyoto City. The school taught nearly 700 students.

When Tashiro was young, he pursued Confucianism, mathematics developed in Japan, military strategy and astronomy as well. He also instructed reading and writing at the family-owned school after the Meiji Restoration in 1868.

He was hired as a calligraphy teacher at the 19th elementary school (later Taiken Elementary School), one of the newly founded schools in Kyoto City in October, 1869.

In the year, Tashiro was arrested, because he forged the permit document at the request of illiterate farmers. They tried to develop the pond as the rice field, and were worried about a water shortage. Tashiro had to serve for two years in the jail.

He witnessed the miserable situation of the blind in the prison, and also he often saw mute boys (Yamaguchi Zenshiro and Yamagawa Tamijiro) being teased repeatedly by other hearing children around out of the window of the prison.

Tashiro wrote that blind and mute persons were the human being like himself and that there was no reason why they should be despised or discriminated. He thought that it was a fault that the blind and mute didn't have the educational opportunity.

He was finally freed from prison in July, 1872 and was hired again as an arithmetic teacher at the 19th Elementary School in January, 1872.

Tashiro might have thought of teaching mute children while he was in the prison, and accepted the strong request of Kumagai Denbe, a store owner and local leader, to start instruction of three mute children around in the same year.

English article: Deaf in Tohoku get free video help

 March 16, 2012

A Sendai-based company is offering a free remote video relay service for people with hearing problems in areas hit by last year's massive earthquake and tsunami, employing the expertise it has developed in a business venture largely unknown in Japan.

PLUSVoice Co. started the free service, in which sign language interpreters help people in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima gain access to information via videophones, shortly after the disasters struck.

Read more: 
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120316f1.html

Deaf man who designs formal logo "TAPPY" for World Deaf Table Tennis Championships

Kashiwagi Yuzo (right) and Kato Masakiyo, president of the Japanese Table Tennis Association of the Deaf
(photo: http://2012wdttc.org/) 

March 07, 2012

The design, which the sea horse that symbolizes the Japanese Federation of the Deaf holds a racket, is an official logo. It is called "Tappy," filled with the wish that the friends in the world of peace and friendship should be promoted through table tennis.

It was designed by Kashiwagi Yuzo, a commercial designer from Morioka-shi, Iwate Prefecture. He graduated from the Iwate Prefecture Morioka School for the Deaf where he was a table tennis club member.

The emblems and image characters which he designed, such as a municipal emblem and a convention logo, are adopted almost all over the country.

The character logo used in the East Japan Deaf Open Table Tennis Convention held in Morioka-shi in 2007 is a prototype for the logo of the 2012 World Deaf Table Tennis Championships in Tokyo in April.


Japanese original article:
http://2012wdttc.org/jp/?p=575

Related link:
Call for voting on logo name of the 2012 World Deaf Table Tennis Championships
http://deafjapan.blogspot.com/2011/10/call-for-voting-on-logo-name-of-2012.html

Support called for late-deafened persons in earthquake-hit area

March 10, 2012

The Yamaguchi Prefecture Association of the Hard of Hearing and Late-Deafened in western Japan is appealing for fund-raising to donate the battery for hearing-aids, etc. in order to support hard of hearing/late-deafened persons in the stricken area of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

The hard of hearing/late-deafened victims have faced a problem that they were unable to listen to disaster-warning radio at the time of a disaster, etc., and have insisted that "their current situation needs continued support."

Cochlea-implanted persons exchange a new battery every three days at the shortest, but it is hard for them to get one because the store was broken by the earthquake disaster. Even there are persons whose hearing-aid was lost due to tsunami. It has been almost a year since the great earthquake hit northeastern Japan, and yet many hard of hearing/late-deafened persons still need support even now.

It is said that there was an opinion from the hard of hearing/late-deafened community that they feel uncertain whether their local government and Tokyo Electric Power Company would negotiate successfully on the compensation of its first nuclear power plant disaster in Fukushima because of lack of accessibility to vital information.


Japanese original article:
http://mainichi.jp/area/yamaguchi/news/20120310ddlk35040451000c.html

Education research institute for students with disabilities established

March 8, 2012

Hiroshima Jogakuin University (Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima Prefecture) established the Higher Education for Students with Disabilities Support Research Institute, which studies the educational method for a student with disability such as visual impairment, deaf/hard of hearing, or a developmental disease.

The research institute starts full-fledged research in April with about ten teachers, and advances environmental improvement in order to meets the educational needs of a student with disability.

The teachers will take the lead, conducting basic research and clinical testing. For example, the class which a Deaf student attends will be provided with a device displayed in written form to check how much he understands it.

The University has supported individually the student with disability until now, and will enrich an academic environment as a whole to meet diversification of the support needs.

In the 2012 fiscal year, at least one student with visual impairment and a physical disability respectively will be accepted at a time.

Professor Yamashita Kyoko, a clinical psychologist, of the department of literature who will serve as an institute director is saying, "We would like fully to support the student who is eager and capable irrespective of the kind of disability."


Japanese original article:
http://www.chugoku-np.co.jp/News/Tn201203080020.html

Deaf schools to be closed due to low enrollment in Hokkaido

March 07, 2012

It turned out on March 6 that the Hokkaido Education Board is considering reorganization with a school for the deaf in Otaru and Kushiro respectively due to the fact that ten or less students are enrolled, in response to the general question at the Hokkaido assembly.

The board considers reorganization of Otaru School the Deaf with the Sapporo School for the Deaf, and Kushiro with the Obihiro, etc.

According to another news source, the board is saying that because Kushiro School for the Deaf is not in the distance from Obihiro, it may be reorganized with the Kushiro Special Support School for the Children with Disabilities, etc.

Both the schools for the deaf offer the program from kindergarten through junior high school levels. While the Otaru School enrolls ten students, the Kushiro School seven students. Since several years ago, less and less students have been enrolled every year at both the schools.

A Board official is saying, "the current condition that a grade with one student on an average is not proper as educational environment."


Japanese original articles:
http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/news/donai/355677.html
http://www.news-kushiro.jp/news/20120308/201203083.html

Deaf man awarded for his efforts as certified umpire

Nakai Ryoukichi with a commemorative shield
(photo: http://www.hidakashimpo.co.jp/)

March 7, 2012

Nakai Ryokichi (69) won the gratitude prize from the Wakayama Prefecture Softball Association on March 4. He was praised for his contribution in promotion of softball activities for many years.

Ryokichi, born Deaf, has been a certified referee for 33 years and supported the players with an exact judgment in a softball game.

One of his hobbies had been to watch a sport game, and he became interested in a softball game after he was recommended by his friend. Ryokichi passed the official examination for a certified referee who works in a formal conference within the prefecture, in the end of 1978.

When the Kinki conference was held in the prefecture, he has acted as the chief umpire. He participates also in a woman softball game every year. He used to go to the ground every week when there were many softball games about 20 years ago. He has been a referee for ten games every year since several years ago.

As a referee, Ryokichi uses gestures fully, striving to make the game smooth without a trouble. One time when he was the chief umpire, he was unable to catch the sound of a foul tip; he was supported by the base umpire, by which he won reliance in fairness and an exact judgment.

Ryokichi will retire at the end of March, saying, "I would like to continue doing all possible cooperation."


Japanese original article:
http://www.hidakashimpo.co.jp/news/2012/03/post-1323.html

Teacher of Deaf children in Tokyo loses ticket and cash

February 29, 2012

According to the Tokyo Education Board's report, the female teacher who works at the Katsushika School for the Deaf in Tokyo lost the "aid expense provision ticket" in which a name, an address, etc. of the student were written and 5,260 yen in cash for the hearing-aid repair from his guardian.  

Although she kept for the guardian the cash, etc. which was supposed to pay to a contractor in November, 2011, it became clear on February 21, 2012 when the contractor said he has never been paid.


Japanese original article:
http://mainichi.jp/area/tokyo/news/20120229ddlk13040228000c.html

Deaf documentary film director's essay #3

Movies for an all-inclusive society.

Today, did you ride the waves?   
by Ayako Imamura*

For my new documentary film project, I am filming in Kosai city in Shizuoka prefecture, at a surfing and Hawaiian goods store owned by a deaf man named Tatsuro Ota, who has been surfing since he was a university student thirty-one years ago.

Three years ago he quit his job at a company where he had worked for twenty years, and opened this shop, something he had dreamed of doing for many years.  What impressed me most when I was filming Mr. Ota was how he was able to communicate with his customers.

Mr. Ota, while admitting that he was not very good at speaking, was able to speak, also using gestures, with the surfers who were also gesturing to communicate with him.  And rather than this being a case of hearing people trying to use simple language to communicate with a deaf person, what was obvious was that this was instead a case of people with different languages, who had a mutual interest in surfing, and they just wanted to talk about surfing through any means possible.

Among deaf people, there are those who don’t have confidence in their speaking ability, and think that because they won’t be able to communicate 100% of what they want to say by speaking, they don’t speak.  I myself understand that feeling very well.

It’s because deaf people know that there are some hearing people who, when they hear the voice of a deaf person, a kind of voice that they may not be accustomed to hearing, they seem to unconsciously feel pity for the plight that deaf person.

But Mr. Ota, even though he says his pronunciation is not very good, thinks that if he can communicate even just a little of what he wants to say, he will speak. That’s because he has a strong desire to ‘communicate’.  So even surfers who look like they have had little or no contact with or interest in sign language (if it wasn’t for my filming,

I would be afraid to have anything to do with some of these scary looking darkly tanned tough guys) seem to enjoy themselves as they use gestures and body language to talk with Mr. Ota. To me this situation looks almost like when a Japanese person who can’t speak English well is trying to communicate with an American who can’t speak Japanese.

After interviewing one of Mr. Ota’s regular customers, I and the customer had the following conversation by writing back-and-forth on a note pad.

Customer:  Why are you filming Mr. Ota?

Ayako:  Because Mr. Ota is the only deaf person in Japan that has a surfing shop.

Customer:  Really? Is that so?

I was surprised by this person’s reaction.

 Ayako:   Did you think there were other deaf people who had surfing shops?

Customer:  Yeah, since there are a lot of deaf surfers, I just thought there would be a lot who had their own shops.

 I see…  That’s an interesting way to look at it. Most people would think that since it’s difficult even for a hearing person to have a shop, it would be even more difficult for a deaf person, but this man was surprised by the fact that there was only one deaf person in Japan with his own surfing shop.

I realized that this was because this person didn’t think of deaf people as handicapped people who had a hard time with their lives, and this realization made me feel happy.

The surfers affectionately call Mr. Ota by the nickname ‘Tatsu-rin’.  They can’t sign, and more than wanting to learn how to sign, they are just more interested in communicating, by whatever means possible, gestures or writing, with their friend Tatsu-rin. This feeling had become obvious to me.

And again today, Mr. Ota is asking the surfers, “Today, did you ride the waves?”

*Ayako wrote an originally Japanese essay for a pamphlet titled "Hataraku Hiroba," published in July, 2010, which was translated by William John Herlofsky, a professor of the Foreign Languages Department of Nagoya Gakuin University.

English original essay in Ayako's Japanese blog:
http://blog.livedoor.jp/rouinc/#

Taxi driver arrested for holding Deaf woman on street

March 5, 2012

The Metropolitan Police Department arrested Kamisaka Hitoshi (47), a taxi driver from Adachi-ku, Tokyo for a violation of the Tokyo public nuisance prevention ordinance. He was suspected that he flung his arms around a woman's body.

According to the police, Hitoshi refuses to admit, saying that he only hugged the woman in order to encourage her. He also denies that his body did not stuck hers," etc.

The Deaf unemployed woman (24) was hugged on the street around 23:30 in Adachi-ku after the suspect showed her a note that he wrote, "You are sweet. Where are you going?"  on January 1, this year.

According to the police, she took the taxi which the suspect drives and communicated with him by writing. After she got off, the driver also came down, which caused a criminal act.

Immediately after the incident, the woman returned home and consulted with her father, who did the emergency call.




Japanese original article:
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/affairs/news/120305/crm12030517230019-n1.htm


Deaf high school student wins at World Deaf Ski Cup in Switzerland

March 4, 2012

World Deaf Ski Cup & European Deaf Alpine Skiing Championships was held in Davos, Switzerland from February 25 through March 2, 2012.

Kitajo Daichi (18), a deaf student attending the mainstream program in Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture, was on the Japanese national team, competed in the junior section of the alpine skiing slalom and won.

Deaflympics in Slovakia which he had planned to join in February, 2011 was canceled on account of the organizing committee just before opening, and he went back home regretfully.

Daichi was finally at the top in the big stage which he challenged.


Japanese original article:
http://www.toonippo.co.jp/news_too/nto2012/20120304110100.asp

Deaf documentary film director's essay #2

Movies for an all-inclusive society

DENSO’s Nakagawa’s Three Proposals
by Ayako Imamura*

Last month I wrote about deaf and hard-of-hearing university students and guaranteeing that these students get all the necessary information from university lectures. This guarantee of information, however, is not just a problem at universities, but a problem for deaf people throughout their lives, especially since ‘working’ is what takes up most of a person’s life.

Compared to not too long ago, the number of deaf people working at various companies has increased. But even though deaf people may be employed at various companies, it is still rare for them to have interpreters at company meetings, and in addition, deaf employees aren’t really able to sufficiently enjoy even talking with the hearing employees during break times. Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees seem to be just working silently everyday in an environment where it is difficult for them to get information and communicate.

As a result, deaf and hard-of-hearing people often feel isolated, estranged, and/or depressed at work, and it is saddening to hear that the number of cases where deaf people are forced to unwillingly quit their jobs is increasing. And now, when companies value profit more than anything else, it seems that the working conditions are becoming more difficult not only deaf employees, but for hearing employees as well.

That is what made me think that I would like to make a documentary about companies where both deaf and hearing employees are working together positively to create a good working environment, so that people who see the documentary would feel the courage and energy to keep trying.  And so I decided to make “Salaryman”, and when making this documentary I met people and saw things that also gave me the courage to carry on.

There are about 260 deaf people working at DENSO Corporation in Aichi Prefecture. I talked with Ms. Nakagawa Hiroko who works in the personnel department at DENSO’s Takatana Plant. Because Ms. Nakagawa took care of deaf employees in the company dormitory, she studied sign language, and while living and working with her deaf colleagues, she became skillful at sign language, and eventually came to consult with the deaf employees about their problems at the plant. She felt that the reason why there were problems between deaf and hearing employees was mainly because of communication problems, and she made three proposals for the company to undertake at the Takatana Plant.

One thing she suggested was special study sessions. Most hearing employees had never come in contact with deaf people before, so they didn’t know how to communicate with deaf people. First, then, she thought that hearing employees needed to understand more about deaf people, so she started special study sessions where deaf employees, along with interpreters, would be able to talk with hearing employees.

Next she set up special educational courses for deaf and hard-of-hearing employees. She developed classes where deaf and hard-of-hearing employees could learn new skills using
cameras and screens and other visual aids that would make the learning easier for them. The deaf and hard-of-hearing employees, who before had sat passively when they didn’t understand something, were very happy and became very positive in their approach to their work.

The next thing she did was to develop a video sign language dictionary. Ms. Nakagawa and some deaf employees made a video dictionary of the technical terms used at DENSO, and employees were able to access the dictionary and the moving sign language images on the company computers. It was so popular that within a month of its availability, it was accessed more than four thousand times.

Ms. Nakagawa thought for these kinds of measures to really have any influence they would have to become part of the system, so she submitted a research proposal to the company, and her proposal was accepted. Her three proposals became part of the company system, and sign language interpreters were supplied at all company events and individual conferences.

When there are more and more companies where each and every individual is able to work to the best of his/her ability, it will result in a society where each and every individual is able to live a happy and fruitful life. That is what I felt through making the documentary "Salaryman”.

*Ayako wrote an originally Japanese essay for a pamphlet titled "Hataraku Hiroba," published in June, 2010, which was translated by William John Herlofsky, a professor of the Foreign Languages Department of Nagoya Gakuin University.

English original essay in Ayako's Japanese blog:
http://blog.livedoor.jp/rouinc/#

Deaf documentary film director's essay #1

Movies for an all-inclusive society

I Want to Make Movies!           
by Ayako Imamura*

I was born deaf. Unlike now, when I was in elementary school there were hardly any captions for TV programs, and so I couldn’t really enjoy watching TV with my family. So sometimes my father would rent foreign movie videos, like “Rocky” or “ET”, that had subtitles, and then I was able to see the images on the screen and the words at the same time, and that really made me happy, because for the first time, I was really able to enjoy watching the TV with my family.

From these movies, I felt various emotions, and they also gave me courage, and the feeling and the idea that someday I wanted to make my own movies! I wanted to make movies that would help make many people feel energy and courage! That’s how those movies had made me feel.

But at that time, because at Japanese universities there was no lecture-information- guarantee (the guarantee that deaf students could have note-takers and/or interpreters or other means of getting the information of university lectures). I couldn’t study what I wanted to study – how to make movies. I entered Aichi University of Education, but because I couldn’t study movie-making there, I took a year off to go to California State University at Northridge (CSUN) to study movie-making.

Of all the universities in the United States, CSUN has the second largest number of deaf students, and there is a student support center for supplying deaf and hard-of-hearing students with interpreters, note-takers, or computer-interpreters to guarantee that they can get all the information from their classes.

When I first saw and experienced those services, I was overwhelmed by the excellence of the system. I was at first surprised, and then encouraged by the idea that, since deaf students were paying the same tuition as hearing students, they were entitled to receive that same information from the lectures, and that the lecture-information-guarantee was only natural and to be expected.

I realized that it was alright for deaf people, as human beings, to expect to live and enjoy life just like hearing people could. I realized that deaf people didn’t have to expect less, or to give up on their dreams.

When I returned to Aichi University of Education, I demanded an interpreter for my classes, and through the cooperation of many people, it became a reality. Even now, I can’t forget the feeling I had the first time I had an interpreter for a class.

For the first time, what had been a dull black-and-white, became filled with color, what had been one-dimensional became three-dimensional, and everything became full of life and entered not only my eyes, but my mind and body and heart as well. I discovered many things that might seem minor to others, like, “oh the teacher uses a lot of Osaka dialect,” or “that student looks quiet, but he has a lot interesting ideas,” but to me, things like these were very interesting discoveries. Before that, I just sat in classes and read what the note-taker wrote on the paper, but didn’t really feel like I was
participating in the class.

Some of my friends have demanded interpreters or note-takers at their universities, but have been told that they should just try to overcome their problems with their own extra effort. I was shocked when some of them told me that all they could do was sit and wait during the lectures, and after they were over they would just copy the notes that their friends had taken.

And I learned that this kind of thing was not an exception, but common at Japanese universities. So I thought that this will never do, that universities seem to have no idea about the lecture-information-guarantee that deaf and hard-of-hearing students are entitled to, and I decided to make a documentary movie that would show the problems that deaf students have, and also show universities that have set up lecture-information-guarantee systems for their deaf students. This is how the DVD documentary “University Life” was born.

*Ayako wrote an originally Japanese essay for a pamphlet titled "Hataraku Hiroba," published in May, 2010, and it was translated by William John Herlofsky, a professor of the Foreign Languages Department of Nagoya Gakuin University.



English original essay in Ayako's Japanese blog:
http://blog.livedoor.jp/rouinc/#


Deaf student's design chosen for logo mark

Fujisawa shows the logo mark adopted as an umbrella brand.
(photo: http://www.sakigake.jp/)


March 01, 2012

The umbrella brand name and logo mark of the product, which a student of the special support school in Akita Prefecture made as a part of work study, were decided.

Fujisawa Tenshin, a high school student of the Akita prefecture school for the Deaf,  was honored for his design by the prefecture education board on February 29.

The umbrella brand is called the "Akita special support school work study products."
The logo mark combined the ear of rice which imagines Akita in the character showing vigor of the red triangle, which is arranged with the logo of "AKITA" and "work study products."

 The logo mark is used for packing of a product, and also utilized as a poster. etc.

In promoting of the manufacture activities for sale by the students of the prefecture schools, such as sewing articles and woodwork, and enhancing understanding of these schools, the education board has called for application.   

There were 56 works submitted from the outside and inside of the prefecture.

Fujisawa said, "I imagined and designed Akita. I would be happy if my design is used broadly for PR from now on."

Japanese original article:
http://www.sakigake.jp/p/akita/topics.jsp?kc=20120301h