Deaf center in Okayama Prefecture makes fairy tale DVD in sign language

Signed DVD of a fairy tale titled "Momotaro" (The Peach Boy) made by the Okayama Deaf center.

July 17, 2013

The Okayama Deaf Center located at Okayama-shi, Okayama Prefecture in western Japan made DVD titled "Momotaro" (The Peach Boy) (about 20 minutes) with sign language and illustrations.

It is the 2nd DVD of fairy tale series begun in 2010 for the Deaf children to enjoy the story.

The center had lent out DVD only for the Deaf adult, and started work of series in response to the request for DVD for the Deaf children, too.

The first signed DVD in fairy tale series was about "Puss in Boots," one of the popular fair stories in Europe.

The signed DVD is lent out free for the center registrant.

Japanese source:

"Momotaro" (The Peach Boy) in English:

English article: Silence is a virtue for Tokyo’s Flau

July 17, 2013


Back when he still worked as a speech therapist and audiologist, Yasuhiko Fukuzono used to observe an interesting phenomenon.

When deaf patients were fitted out with hearing aids for the first time, they complained that everything was just noise.

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"Help cards" made for Deaf shoppers to help communicate better at a store in Aomori Prefecture

"Help cards" are shown by Deaf members.

July 17, 2013

The Hachinohe-shi Association of the Deaf in Aomori Prefecture, a part of northeastern Japan, produced the "help card," which shows in Japanese such like "what are you looking for?", "Does this size suit you right?", etc. to help communication smooth between a store clerk and a Deaf customer.

The association presented 45 sets of cards to the local stores union on July 15.

Store union members had voiced their puzzlement with usual receptions of the Deaf customers as well as with the evacuation guidance for them after the Great Earthquake hit northeastern Japan.

In response, the association proposed the use of card.

The union distributes a set of cards to a member store to be placed for use near the register.

Japanese source:

Information Center for the Deaf develops projects for social participation in Okinawa Prefecture

The staff communicates by sign language through the TV phone function of iPad in the Okinawa Information center for the Deaf.

July 15, 2013

The activities of the Okinawa Information Center for the Deaf was opened at Naha-shi, Okinawa Prefecture in Japan's southern island in April, 2012 as a base to support the Deaf community in the Prefecture. It is getting off the ground.

The various services including training and dispatch of a sign language interpreter, consultation support, a rental of DVD with caption/sign language, etc. have been provided in order to urge the social participation of a Deaf/deaf person.

The center hopes to improve the environment where the Deaf person can acquire information through a video remote interpreting service provided by the center by installing a video remote equipment in the information desk of government and municipal offices or an airport.

Higa* Tsuyoshi* (比嘉豪), 61, Director of the Center who is Deaf, says, "We further want to expand the contents of management to meet a Deaf/deaf user's needs. We hope to arrange a lecture on how to use iPad or a smart phone."

One of the Deaf users, 57, who lives on an island near Okinawa, was glad about the center, saying, "By using a video remote interpreting, I do not need to go out to the main island since I am able to ask for consultation. I am relieved now. It would be much better if a video remote interpreting were set up in a hospital, a fire department, a police station, etc."

Japanese source:

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

Broadcast of political views with sign language interpretation provided in Shiga Prefecture

July 14, 2013

Casting and counting the ballots of the upcoming Upper House election is scheduled on July 21.

In Shiga prefecture, four candidates have stood for the constituency (one to be elected).

Three organizations including the Shiga Association of the Deaf and the prefecture sign-language interpreting problem study group will hold "the meeting to watch broadcast of their political views" with sign-language interpreting in Hikone-shi and Kusatsu-shi in the prefecture on July 14 and 17, respectively.

Although sign language interpreting by each political party's judgment is possible which they have taken so at proportional representation in broadcast of political views of the Upper House election, it has not realized yet in a constituency across the country.

For this reason, the three organizations planned holding of the meeting so that a Deaf person could correctly grasp the contents of broadcast of political views.

Japanese source:

Event: 2013 Tottori Prefecture Sign Language Forum

July 12, 2013

In Tottori Prefecture, a study group was formed in April, this year towards establishment of "a sign language language ordinance (tentative name)."

"The 2013 Tottori Prefecture Sign Language Forum" will be held on July 27 (Saturday) at Sakaiminato-shi in the prefecture.

10:00 - 12:00
Lecture: "Town planning which one can talk by sign language always anywhere: Considering on the future of Japan"

Lecturer: Ishino Fushisaburo (President, Japanese Federation of the Deaf)

13:00 - 15:00
Mini symposium: "What we expect of establishment of the Tottori sign language ordinance (tentative name)"

Hirai Shinji (Tottori governor)
Ishino Fushisaburo (President, Japanese Federation of the Deaf)
Goto Hiroaki (Principal, Tottori Prefecture Tottori School for the Deaf)
Ishibashi Daigo (Director, the Tottori League of Deaf Associations)

Japanese source:

Board of education to investigate corporal punishment at school for the Deaf in Miyagi Prefecture

July 13, 2013

The information on anonymity early in April, this year about "whether there was any corporal punishment" was brought to the Miyagi Prefecture School for the Deaf located in Sendai-shi.

It was found out on July 12 that the prefecture board of education and the school officials are setting about investigation noting a possibility which a male teacher in thirties gave a corporal punishment to the children in his class two years ago.

He said reportedly that he did not remember it well.

According to the school, he was a teacher of the sixth graders in autumn of 2011, and gave corporal punishment, such as striking two or more children.

In response to directions of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the prefecture board of education checked the prefecture schools between January and April this year for any possibility of corporal punishment, except the prefecture school for the Deaf which was not included their check.

Japanese source:

Korean elementary children participate in Sports Day program of Deaf school in Ibaraki Prefecture

July 9, 2013

The elementary children of the Ibaraki Korean School participated in the sports program by the elementary classes of the neighboring Mito School for the Deaf in Ibaraki Prefecture on July 7.

Although the exchange by both the schools has been continued since about ten years ago, the event was the last one.

The Korean children participated in various games and group gymnastics, came into contact with Deaf students, running a race together.

One of the Korean sixth graders said, "I learned many things from the Deaf friends through the program."

Japanese source:

Female singer encourages Deaf students with her songs

Imai sings with students on a stage (second from the left)

July 8, 2013

Imai* Eriko*, 29, a vocalist of the female music group called SPEED visited the Hiroshima Prefecture School for the Deaf in Hiroshima-shi, and sang songs for the high school students on July 7.

The Hiroshima board of education which held a skills proficiency examination at the school invited Imai in order to encourage the students who took the examination.

Imai appeared in the gymnasium in which about 80 students and guardians gathered, and sang songs including one that she wrote for her Deaf 8-year-old son.

One of the high school freshmen, 15, said happily, "I was glad that Imai spoke to me 'Do your best.'"

The board of education has conduced the skills proficiency examination in five fields, such as cleaning and reception, to support employment of Deaf students since 2011.

Japanese source:

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

Sign language class for local residents starts in Saga Prefecture

July 6, 2013

The sign language class organized by the Takeo-shi Social Welfare Council of Saga Prefecture and the Takeo Sign Language group started in the city cultural center on July 3.

About 40 persons participate in the class, learning the means of communication with a Deaf person through 12 lessons by October 16.

The greeting with sign language and the fingerspelling were introduced by a lecturer, Hirakawa* Shingo* (平川信吾), 61, of the western association of the Deaf after introducing himself.

One of the female participants, 68, who took the class for the first time, spoke about the motive, "I am a volunteer for the aged in this area. I think that a feeling will be conveyed more each other if I use sign language."

Japanese source:

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

First Miss & Mr. Deaf Japan Pageant held in Osaka

Oshiro* Saki* won the title as Miss Deaf Japan.
July 6, 2013

The First Miss & Mr. Deaf Japan Pageant 2013" (sponsored by MMDI JAPAN) took place in Osaka on June 29.

Thirteen contestants from ten prefectures demonstrated sign language skills and special ability on the stage.

Oshiro* Saki* (大城早貴), 25, from Okinawa shone with the first title. She will participate in the International Convention held in Bulgaria on July 24-31 representing Japan to compete for the beauty against the contestants from 47 nations.

Oshiro has been chosen as the finalist in the Miss Universe Japan Okinawa pageant in 2012.

Facebook (Japanese):


Miss & Mister Deaf International 2013 (English):

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

Sign language ordinance proposal to Tottori Prefecture assembly in September

July 6, 2013

In order to aim at the spread of sign language, Governor Hirai said at the regular press conference on July 5 about "the sign language ordinance (tentative name)" which Tottori Prefecture aims at establishment; "With interested organizations all over the country with a hope, we will incorporate the development of a community which can be friendly with sign language in the ordinance."

He made clear also that the ordinance proposal will be made to a regular prefecture assembly in September at the earliest.

According to prefecture officials, the ordinance was planned to be examined for  enactment by March, next year, but since there has been a strong request from the prefecture assembly and the prefecture league of the Deaf associations, etc. for early enactment, the prefecture decided to move a schedule forward.

The study group was held in Tottori on July 4, and discussed about the meaning of ordinance establishment, naming of the ordinance, state of the environmental management for studying sign language in an educational field, etc.

A draft is due for a public comment starting in the middle of July before a final version of the ordinance early in August.

Japanese source:

Related link:
Tottori Prefecture to establish "sign language ordinance"

Deaf children from Tokyo enjoy planetarium in Yamanashi Prefecture

The screen of the planetarium which projects a teacher sign-language interpreting.

July 4, 2013

The planetarium show for the Deaf children which projected sign language on the screen was held in the Yamanashi Prefecture Science Museum in Kofu-shi on July 4.

About 40 students of the Metropolitan Tachikawa School for the Deaf enjoyed the stellar world.

Takahashi* Mariko* (高橋真理子), 43, an astronomical adviser and others planned the show.

The figure of the male teacher of the school interpreted simultaneously in sign language was projected on the ceiling which projected the star in the whole sky.

When Takahashi who explains asked, "Which is the great triangular shape in summer?", the students pointed at all at once.

To many of students the planetarium was the first experience, saying in sign language after the show, "We enjoyed it. Thank you."

Japanese source:

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

English article: UCL celebrates 150th anniversary of Japan’s Choshu Five

Yozo Yamao (right in the front row)
July 3, 2013


The story of five young Japanese noblemen who endured a perilous 135-day sea journey aboard a Jardine Matheson & Co ship to come to Victorian-era London and study at UCL (University College London) is being marked today at an event to commemorate the 150th anniversary of their departure.

On their return to Japan, the five men went on to form the core of a new Japanese government, leading the nation’s transformation from an isolated state to one of the world’s foremost technological powers.  Included amongst them was Hirobumi Ito, the father of the Japanese Constitution and the first Prime Minister of post Meiji-Japan.

Read more (English):

Yozo Yamao, one of the five Choshu samurai, who became Secretary of State in Japan’s Ministry of Industry and established Japan’s first Institute of Technology after coming home from England, was also the first person to recommend to the Government the establishment of a school for the blind and deaf. His son and grandson have been involved in the Deaf community, too.

Local deaf organization formed in Yamanashi Prefecture

The inaugural meeting of the Hokuto-shi Association of the Deaf

July 2, 2013

Ten Deaf persons who live in Hokuto-shi, Yamanashi Prefecture established the Hokuto-shi Association of the Deaf on June 29.

They aim at promotion of social awareness about 200 local Deaf residents and starting an exchange program for Deaf and hearing people.

Also the association will cooperate with three sign language circle in the city in planning training of those who can sign, holding of the lifesaving emergency workshop for the Deaf community, etc.

Japanese source:

Day care facility for Deaf children after school in Hiroshima Prefecture

Hamamura, chairman of the board of directors, greets at an opening ceremony (center).

July 1, 2013

The opening ceremony of a day-care facility "Open Space of the Hands" (「手と手の広場」) which accepts Deaf children after school took place in Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima Prefecture on June 30.

About 50 persons from local town associations attended the opening ceremony.

According to the Non-profit Organization Hiroshima Welfare Association of the Deaf located in the city which manages the facility, this kind of facility is the first in five prefectures in Chugoku Region, western Japan.

Hamamura* Takamasa,* 56, chairman of the board of directors of the Welfare Association of the Deaf, greeted saying "We would like to make this facility into the place where every child spends a happy moment."

The facility, which was opened in May, has accepted 32 Deaf children and students from elementary through high school who live in the Hiroshima city zone.

A capacity is ten persons per day. Application for admission is required to make at a city/town of residence.

Japanese source:

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

IT apparatus: a weapon for the Deaf to online election campaigning

Higuchi* Ikuo* uses an electronic memo pad for written communication. 

June 29, 2013

Higuchi* Ikuo* (樋口育生), 28, a Deaf resident in Hokuto-shi, Yamanashi Prefecture, aspires to become a candidate for a national election in the future.

He makes full use of IT apparatus in everyday life, such as a tablet computer into which the electronic pad for written communication and voice conversion software were put.

He expects "even if a speech is impossible, an opinion can be spread by sign language and caption on videos" by the removal of the ban of an election campaign which utilized the Internet.

After graduating from Yamanashi Prefecture School for the Deaf, Higuchi found a job at the automaker. However, he returned to hometown in 2010 and worked at the Prefecture Association of the Deaf in Kofu-shi.

At that time, he felt actually that the  government refused to move quickly. He participated in one of the political party political cram schools last year, saying "I would like to advance a disabled person's political participation and to do my best for socially vulnerable groups' support."

He welcomes an election campaign on the Web, saying "It becomes a weapon for a Deaf person as a person who carries out political activity as well as a voter."

In the prefecture, young local  representatives began to upload since June the captioned video for the expected candidate of the Yamanashi constituency to appeal his policy.

Conventionally, there is at least broadcast of political views with sign language, and Higuchi says, "it becomes easy to access information. If it is on the Internet, the Deaf can also see a video with sign language easily, which will give them a better opportunity to judge."

There is no Deaf member elected to the Diet until now. Higuchi said, "the day will come when a Deaf member gives a speech in sign language as the first language and discusses through sign language interpreting." He wishes this online election campaigning becomes the first step of a change.

Japanese source:

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

Deaf organizations request for captioning broadcast of constituency political view

June 28, 2013

An Upper House election is scheduled for mid-July, this year.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications revised the enforcement provision of broadcast of political views about Upper House election proportional representation on June 10.

It means when there is the proposal from a political party, Nippon Hoso Kyokai (Japan Broadcasting Association: NHK) will caption broadcast of political views of proportional representation by its candidate.

So, what a political party appeals will be "read for" those who do not understand sign language.

According to the Ministry and NHK, since a local station has a limitation in staffs or equipment, it is impossible to caption broadcast of a constituency.

Although sign-language interpreting is not accepted in the constituency of the Upper House election, either, the gubernatorial election in all prefectures is possible for interpreting since 2011.

According to the Ministry, the number of the certified sign language interpreter for broadcast of political views is uneven across the country, and even rural areas have fewer.

As the Upper House election takes place all at once in the whole country, it is reportedly because there is a possibility that the certified interpreters may be less to meet the information needs of the Deaf community.

According to the Japanese Federation of the Deaf and other deaf organizations, there are about 50,000 people with hearing loss and understand sign language.

If the elder with hearing loss also are included, it will be expected the number goes up to millions.

Six organizations including Japanese Federation of the Deaf asked for the improvement of the situation, sending the open letter to each political party.

Japanese source:

Deaf gangsters who blackmailed released due to lack of proof

June 26, 2013

Regarding the incident that the two Deaf gangsters were arrested for threatening their acquaintance male, 75, to pay them 1,500,000 yen, it turned out that the Tokyo District Prosecutor's Office had released the Deaf gangsters by disposal suspension, according to the coverage to the criminal-investigation persons concerned.

It was reportedly because of insufficient proof for prosecution. The prosecutors are planning to continue criminal investigation and  judge the propriety of prosecution.

Japanese source:

Related link:
English article: Deaf gangsters arrested for extorting Deaf man in Tokyo