Corporations develops their products that support the Deaf at at the time of the disaster

August 23, 2012

Seiko Epson and NS Solutions (NSSOL) announced on August 22 that they would conduct the experiment on August 26 to see whether their products support the Deaf evacuee at the time of disaster.

The head-mounted display of Seiko Epson and NSSOL's augmented reality (AR) technology will be utilized to verify if the Deaf can take evacuate smoothly following the information displayed on the head-mounted display.

Japanese original article:

Open campus is held in Osaka University in summer

August 22, 2012

The open campus of Osaka University in Osaka Prefecture was held on August 6-22. Over 18,000 prospective students participated in all the faculties.

The campus tour and the consultation meeting were held, too in each faculty, and the campus under summer closure became full of life.

Since many prospective students with disability needed assistance last year, the disability unit offered sign language interpreting, note taking, a computer, and electronic text data, etc. widely in all the faculties this time.

Japanese original article:

Princess Kiko attends National Sign Language Speech Contest for hearing students in Tokyo

Princess Kiko makes a speech at the opening ceremony.

August 25, 2012

The 29th annual National Sign Language Speech Contest for hearing high school students, cosponsored by the Japanese Federation of the Deaf, the Asahi Shimbun Welfare Culture Corporation, the Asahi Shimbun Publishing, etc, was held in Tokyo on August 25.

Ikeda Natsuko-san, a hearing student from Kagawa Prefecture, was chosen to be the first-prized winner. She said on the theme of "Living Together", "I would like to become a sign language interpreter who connects a Deaf person and a hearing person like a bridge."

At the opening ceremony, Princess Kiko, the wife of Prince Akishino, spoke at the same time signing (photo). She said about difficulties of the Deaf persons who encountered disasters, such as the Great East Japan Earthquake, "I wish by understanding sign language more, the society where everybody can live in comfort can be built."

Kiko visited the exhibition of the support service to the Deaf community in the Great East Japan Earthquake, and listened to the lecture of Hasegawa Akiko-san, who is a Deaf development member at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Japanese original article:

Service Dogs Act for a decade: public spaces still refuse the dogs

August 19, 2012

Since the Law Concerning Assistance Dogs for the Disabled to promote the use of the service dog which helps a person with disability was enforced, it has been ten years this year.

The assistance dog law has imposed a duty of acceptance of an assistance dog upon a public facility, a public transportation facility and commercial establishment, a restaurant, etc. The training system of a high quality assistance dog is also mentioned in the law.

After it was issued, more persons, accompanied by the dog, came to enjoy going out or dining out in a restaurant or a hotel.

However, one thing is worrisome, that is, some cases are seen that the person with the service dog is still declined to enter the public space.

The Japanese Partner Dog Users Group asked ten members about such an experience. They answered that they encountered refusal 25 times in one year and a half since 2009. The reasons why they were declined were: "Your dog disturbs our customers," "There is a health top problem," etc.

Especially, a hearing dog is mostly a small dog and mixed breeds, and is not easily distinguish from a general pet. Even if it becomes troublesome to other visitors, the Deaf users may be unable to explain well about why they need a hearing dog.

The assistance dog is well trained so that it may not hurt people or disturb them. The government should direct a public space or a store again in order to prevent them from refusing the person and the service dog.

While there are 1,143 assistance dogs, the number of a seeing eye dog dominates 90 percent (1,043), there are 62 partner dogs and only 38 hearing dogs.

It is because either a partner dog or a hearing dog is not fully known by other person with disability compared with a seeing eye dog.

Japanese original article:

Deaf student wins the second prize at the Music Contest in Nara Prefecture

Ayagaki Aoi-san signs her own song "Something to Protect" (the third person from the right).

August 14, 2012

The work titled "Something to Protect" by Ayagaki Aoi-san, a high school senior of the Kumamoto School for the Deaf in Kumamoto Prefecture, accepted in the poem category of the "Music Festival," held in the end of July in Nara Prefecture this year. The festival is held annually to present works by persons with disabilities.

Ayagaki-san's work progressed to the contest, and won with the second Grand Prix prize from the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

On August 17, the contest winners including Ayagaki-san will perform with their music work.

Aoi-san's winning a contest continued for two years. She wanted to sing the song "Something to Protect" in sign language at the contest, so she memorized the rhythm, checking repeatedly the video of Machiya Rie-san who would sing the song, and repeated practice by the motion of a mouth, etc.

Machiya-san encouraged Ayagaki-san, saying "I will sing as your voice, so for you, you express the song by sign language thoroughly" before they appeared in front of the audience. Ayagaki-san was able to sign the song calmly.

She said, "Even though you are Deaf, you can enjoy the music. One of the most things I want is to show this song to Deaf people or those who feel conflict in using sign language."

Related link:
Deaf student winning a poem contest for two years

Friendly cafe to promote exchange in sign language in Hyogo Prefecture

August 20, 2012

The "Sign Language Cafe," located in Nada-ku, Kobe-shi in Hyogo Prefecture, has promoted exchange by sign language while Deaf and hearing visitors have a cup of tea, etc. on the third Wednesday since August, 2006. This year saw the sixth anniversary after opening.

The cafe offers a place where people get not only an understanding to deafness, but also learn sign language from one another.

The cafe is owned and managed by a group called the "Hyogo Deaf Network." They hope to continue to manage the cafe as a place that  people can gather happily.

The members of the network volunteer as a waiter, and all orders are made in sign language.

These days, a total of 50-60 persons, mainly in the 30's-70's, visit the cafe each time. Some persons visit from Osaka.

A Deaf 70-years-old man came to the cafe for the first time in April. Although he was puzzled with hearing persons sitting around him at first, he talked with them by sign language and got used. "This cafe is a comfortable place for strangers to become friendly at once. We need more places like this cafe."

A hearing housewife (62), who started learning sign language three years ago, said: "When you are in a sign language circle, you would get nervous or tense, but here in this cafe you don't have to be. You can repeat to ask anyone a question about sign language. I would love to come here as often as possible."

Business hours: 11:30 a.m. -- 8:00 p.m.
Menus: coffee or tea (300 yen), curry (500 yen), etc. (Profits will go to the institutions for the Deaf within the prefecture)
Tel: 81-78-362-5250 (only in spoken Japanese)

Japanese original article:

Deaf residents demand more sign language interpreters in Okinawa Prefecture

August 18, 2012

There is only one communication support member (sign language volunteer) who is in charge of services for the Deaf residents in the Ishigaki-shi, Okinawa Prefecture in the southern island of Japan.

Abut ten members from the Ishigaki Society of the Deaf met with the mayor and asked more persons to meet the needs of the local Deaf community on August 17.

They explained, "It is impossible that the Deaf client asks for advice if there is only one staff presently in the office and when she is absent."

As some of the Deaf old people also live alone, three more workers responsible for interpreting, visiting and counseling, respectively, needed.

The mayor answered that the city financial adjustment would be also necessary and that he would try to meet their request.

At the request, it became clear that the emergency information service at the time of a disaster, etc. was not well known to the local Deaf community, either.

The city also conveyed the intention to hold a briefing session on the service for the Society members immediately.

Japanese original article:

"Ear mark" arm band produced to support the communication need of hard of hearing people

The arm band with an ear mark which the Yamaguchi city made.

August 17, 2012

The Yamaguchi city office in Yamaguchi Prefecture made about 60 arm bands with an "ear mark" which hard of hearing persons put on asking for communication by writing.

The city office lends the arm band out to a hard of hearing person to be used at a time of disaster, evacuation, etc.

The yellow-colored arm band, 10cm long and 40cm wide, has the design of an ear mark and a printed phrase saying "Please write down."

It was a result to the request made by the Yamaguchi Prefecture Association of the Deafened and Hard of Hearing in June; "Many people tend to see a person with hearing loss is not disabled from the appearance.  An arm band will help us in an emergency, etc."

Japanese original article:

Deaf student wins a two-year straight top prize with vocational skills contest

August 15, 2012

Sakamoto Madoka-san, a high school senior of the Aichi Prefecture Toyohashi School for the Deaf, won the top prize in the word processor session at the 34th prefecture vocational skills contest for persons with disabilities held in Ichinomiya-cho in the prefecture.

She will participate in the national contest scheduled to be held in Nagano Prefecture in October.

The prefecture contest had 16 categories, such as dressmaking, an electronic device assembly, construction and engineering, and tea drinking service, etc. Sakamoto-san competed in the word processor session through the use of computer with other 18 contestants, the largest participants ever recorded.

She, who stated going to the personal computer school when she was a third grader, won the top prize for two consecutive years.

Since a national contest was not held in last year, she decided to participate in the contest this year, saying "I want to compete with friends from across the country."

Japanese original article:

Deaf boy from Brazil goes to Deaf school in Shizuoka Prefecture

August 14, 2012

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:

Nippon Foundation supports the deaf scholarship student in Kenya with a follow-up enterprise

August 11, 2012

Nippon Foundation has started support to Deaf students from developing countries who study at Gallaudet University since 2003 through its leadership scholarship, the "World Deaf Leadership Scholarship."

Although the students are expected to contribute to development of the deaf community of their own country after graduation taking advantage of the knowledge and experience which they obtained, what awaits them after a homecoming is a thick wall which obstructs social participation, and they are even unable to making their living, either.

So, in order to make it possible for the Deaf scholarship fellow to return the knowledge which he/she would acquired and experience to the deaf community in his/her own country, Nippon Foundation undertakes a follow-up enterprise with the fellow.

Nixon Kakiri who was the first student to receive the scholarship was chosen for the beginning of this enterprise. The foundation will support the activity of the Kenya National Association of the Deaf to which Nixon belongs as follows.

- The spread of Kenya Sign Language and awareness of Deaf culture

- The pamphlet/poster about KSL and Deaf culture to be made for distribution

- Implementation of training for educational professionals concerning the spread of KSL and bilingual education

Japanese original source:

Nippon Foundation official website:

Kenya National Association of the Deaf official website:

University students cosponsors "Dreamnight at the Zoo" in Chiba

August 11, 2012

"Dreamnight at the Zoo" is an international event which invites the children with disabilities and the families to a zoo, where they all share a pleasant time.

It started in the Netherlands in 1996 and about 37 countries/250 zoos are carrying the event out. The Chiba Zoo Park in Chiba-shi, Chiba Prefecture, which will sponsor an event this summer, was the 217th zoo in 2010.

About 50 students majoring in special support education at Shukutoku University in the city, well known as a university of social welfare, will collaborate as a supporter to connect the animal and the visitors with help from the animal handlers in the Chiba Zoo Park on August 20.

Students from a sign language circle "Dandelion" at the university will also volunteer to interpret at the event.

Japanese original article:

"Dreamnight at the Zoo" official website (English):

Prince Akishino attends national high school culture festival

August 8, 2012

Prince Akishino, the younger brother of the Crown Prince, greeted at the opening ceremony of the national high school festival held in Toyama-shi, Toyama Prefecture on August 8th.

He encouraged the students to demonstrate the creativity cultivated by daily activity and form friendship in and outside the country.

His second daughter Yoshiko (17) was present together with Prince and Princess Akishino.

Prince and his wife observed the presentation by students from the special support school. They told one of them who was Deaf by sign language, "Thank you, I was glad to have met you." Also they grasped the hand to the blind student and said a word of gratitude.

Japanese original article:

School for the Deaf to tie-up with Thai school as a sister school

August 2, 2012

The Onomichi Special Support School with 79 students enrolled in Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima Prefecture and the Chonburi School for the Deaf in Chonburi Province, Thailand will become a sister school.

It is a part of an exchange promotion program with the overseas school which the Hiroshima Prefecture Education Board has advanced, and the tie-up with an overseas school for the Deaf is the first in within the prefecture.

A signing ceremony will be held in Thailand on August 6. About 250 students attend the Chonburi School for the Deaf from preschool through high school.

Nakabayashi Juri (37), who teaches the Deaf students at the Onomichi Special Support School, had taught the Thai Deaf students for his assignment from 2006 until 2008 as a Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers member of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which was a cause to the sister school tie-up.

Both the schools will send videos of a cultural festival and a sports event, etc. each other, as well as the Deaf students will exchange a letter, a photograph, etc. to promote friendship.

Japanese original article:

Vocational school students perform beauty-treatment on the Deaf

 The deaf persons (left) enjoy beauty-treatment.

August 7, 2012

Thirteen deaf persons were invited to the beauticians' school in Takamatsu-shi, Kagawa Prefecture on August 6, where 14 students performed makeup and beauty-treatment as a volunteer.

The invited people enjoyed the exchange with these students who study cosmetics, and felt refreshed through the massage of an arm besides the makeup of eyes or the month, and even nail art.

The local group that supports the Deaf's independence by offering an exchange place requested the school, which was realized.

Japanese original article:

50th anniversary meeting after the death of Miura Hiroshi, a past great Deaf leader

Although Miura Hiroshi was one of the great leaders of the Deaf community, fewer people know him; Miura is forgotten away completely nowadays.

He was born in 1886 in the poor village in Akita Prefecture came up to Tokyo in September, 1900, and achieved entrance to the Tokyo School for the Blind and Deaf-Mute at last when he was about 14 years old.

The manual communication was at best days in the education of the Deaf then. He enjoyed the education fully, graduated from the teacher training department of the school with honors in 1906, and became a teacher that he had desired for.

Miura used a real "sign language," which means he signed without using spoken Japanese, even without Japanese mouthing, etc. He was excellent also in writing and used written Japanese positively.

Moreover, Miura made efforts for the improvement in a status of a Deaf-Mute person, enlightenment about the Deaf community, welfare of the Deaf, etc.; he established the Tokyo Deaf-Mute Club and the Japanese Association of the Deaf-Mute (currently the Japanese Federation of the Deaf), helped in founding an association in every place in the country, gave many lectures, good advices, etc.

In celebrating the 50th anniversary from Miura Hiroshi's death this year, the Kanto Deaf History Study Group based in Tokyo proudly presents its special meeting in Tokyo to offer the opportunity to learn what a "Deaf person" and "sign language" means on September 22, 2012, sponsored by Japanese Deaf History Association, Japanese Association of Sign Linguistics, and University of Tsukuba School for the Deaf Alumni Association.

Japanese Original Article:

National meeting on deaf education emphasizes the importance of sign language again

August 5, 2012

On August 4, the 24th National Discussion Meeting on Deaf Education" was held in Sapporo City, Hokkaido Prefecture, and about 400 persons from schools for the Deaf, etc. participated.

Nishitaki Norihiko, director of the non-profit organization "The National Conference to Consider Deaf Education" which sponsored the meeting, said in his keynote report concerning sign language, "Deaf education accomplished a  historical step forward."

The sign language has been accepted as a language by the revised Article 3 in Disabled Persons' Fundamental Law which was enforced in 2011.

The next speaker was Tanaka Shinya, the ex president and a board member of the Japanese Association for Language Policy.  He gave a lecture and emphasized, "Even if secured legally, you have to assert the necessity and importance of sign language."

He also proposed the following actions:
- installation of "a special area for the sign language,"
- introduction of sign language in the foreign language course of universities/colleges,
- mandating of establishment of sign language interpreting services at medical institutions, etc.

Japanese original article:

Support center for the Deaf and Prefecture Police arrange to dispatch sign language interpreters

August 02, 2012

The Mie Prefecture Police and the Mie Prefecture Support Center for the Deaf which train a sign language interpreter, etc. made the agreement about a sign language interpreting service, and held the signing ceremony on August 1.

This is the first time that a support center for the Deaf makes an agreement with a chief constable in the whole country.

According to explanation of the Prefecture Police investigative planning division, etc., when a Deaf person is involved in an incident or an accident on night or a holiday, the center responds to the police's request in the prefecture by sending some of 65 sign language interpreters registered with the center.

Until this day, the prefecture and each self-governing body in the prefecture had dispatched the sign language interpreter only during weekdays and the day time.

Also the police had corresponded with the Deaf by writing, etc., resulting in the poor communication in many cases.

Japanese original article:

HAND SIGN, a performing group in sign language


The leader of a music group got interested in sign language when he was watching a certain TV drama, and started to add sign language while dancing to the music that he loved.

He put together a group called HAND SIGN in 2005 and created a performance that included sign languages. They’ve performed on various stages, and kept on winning numbers of dance contests.

In 2010, they’ve performed at the Opening Night of the Amateur Night in NYC. Soon, they were certified as an officially authorized performer of the Apollo Theatre.

In Japan, they’ve been appearing on TV and radio, and they’ve also been performing at night clubs, dance events, events related to sign languages, and other events held by companies as a guest performer.

Also, as a teacher, they go around various schools and do a special lecture about sign languages to tell kids how wonderful sign languages are.

YouTube link:!