Sign language group of Kyoto celebrates 50th anniversary of establishment

Members practice in sign language for the special event.

June 20, 2013

The sign language group named "Horned Owl" in Kyoto-shi, Kyoto Prefecture celebrated the 50th anniversary of foundation. It is the oldest in the existing sign language circles across the whole country.

The group will hold a commemorative ceremony in Kyoto-shi on June 23, and all the past chairmen will give a talk to look back upon five decades there.

Nakajima* Chiyomi* (中島千代美) who was a nurse of the Red Cross' Second Hospital of Kyoto started the sign language group in 1963. There was hardly a sign language interpreter those days, and it was a motive that communication was not effective between a Deaf patient and a doctor.

Nakajima called to Mukono* Kaichi* (向野嘉一), 85, who is a sign-language interpreting expert, and twelve members began to learn sign language.

They had a goal to "become a Deaf's good friend", and have appealed for the discrimination abolition and the improvement in a Deaf's life in cooperation with the Kyoto City Association of the Deaf.

A branch is located in each division of the city now, and about 400 members learn sign language once a week, or plan an exchange event with the Deaf community.

Japanese source:

*Note: The Japanese name is usually in order: one's last name comes first, and then the first name comes next. 

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