Session meeting on sign language's legal promotion held in Tokyo

Tottori Governor Hirai reports on the prefecture sign language ordinance.

November 25, 2013 

A session about the nationwide motion of the establishment of an ordinance or law that advances spread by making sign language into a language was held in Akihabara UDX in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo on November 22.

The Japanese Federation of the Deaf which aims at establishment of "a sign language law (tentative name)" sponsored the event. About 330 deaf persons and persons concerned all over the country gathered in the hall.

Mayor Taoka Katsusuke (田岡克介) of Ishikari-shi, Hokkaido in Japan's northern island reported the progress of an ordinance on sign language as a language. Its enforcement first in Hokkaido will be scheduled for April, next year.

He looked back upon the process that establishment of an ordinance when discussed, and mentioned, "There was also an argument whether to distinguish rather only a Deaf person from a person with physical disability."

The mayor indicated, "The ordinance is not concerned with whether you are disabled or not, but it is for all the citizens."

"If an ordinance or a law can be done and there will be a society with a new sense of values, persons other than a Deaf person will also come to use a language called sign language. We rather hopefully will not need this ordinance as soon as possible."

Then, Tottori Governor Hirai Shinji (平井伸治) explained in sign language the circumstances until the Tottori Prefecture sign language ordinance was enacted. "Although Tottori Prefecture is a very small prefecture, by stepping forward together. we can change this country. Your cooperation is requested."

After the reports, panel discussion was held also. Edano Yukio (枝野幸男), a Democratic Party member of the House of Representatives, and others participated.

Edano revealed having come to get interested in sign language when he was told that his new-born son might have a hearing problem. 

He introduced sign-language interpreting at the press conference of the prime minister and the Chief Cabinet Secretary at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, while acting as the Chief Cabinet Secretary by the Democratic Party Administration.

Also when Disabled Persons' Fundamental Law was revised, Section 1 with "language (sign language is included)" was incorporated in the article.

Edano said, "It is good that planted seeds are shooting out the bud in various places, but last must make a flower bloom in the form of law."

Japanese sources:

Deaf disaster victim proposes about disaster prevention support based on his experience

Sasaki tells in sign language while the situation of those days which suffered a great deal of damage is shown in a photo slide.

November 25, 2013 

The disaster prevention lecture meeting took place in Nagoya-shi, Aichi Prefecture on November 24, aiming at considering measures, support method for the Deaf, etc. in case of the large-scale earthquake.

A Deaf office worker Sasaki Katsuhiko (佐々木克彦), 46, of Sendai-shi, Miyagi Prefecture stricken by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, presented a lecture entitled "Remember the Day when the Earthquake hit northeastern Japan".

He told his own experience, etc., and appealed for the preparation to the seismic hazard.

He is from Ishinomaki-shi, Miyagi Prefecture. The office where he was hired in Sendai inland located about 800 meters from the seashore was attacked by tsunami. Although he was safe, he lost not only his coworkers and acquaintances, but also his parents who lived in Ishinomaki-shi.

Sasaki currently advocates and lectures for support to the Deaf disaster victims. He spoke about the fear of tsunami that rolled in, the bodies of his parents found three months later, etc.

Scholars recently have pointed out the possible occurrence of the Nankai Trough massive earthquake in the Tokai district where Nagoya-shi is located. "If a Deaf person has mingled with neighboring people, they will help you," insisted he, "human relationship in the area where you are is vital."

The organizing committee consisted of sign language interpreters and the volunteers of the sign language circles held the lecture meeting for the first time. About 220 persons were present at the event.

Japanese source:

Opinion: Charge of video remote interpreting should be shared by all the telephone users

November 22, 2013

Excerpted from the post by Sasagawa Yohei (笹川陽平), president of Nippon Foundation, a public incorporated foundation.

The UN Convention on Rights of People with Disabilities adopted in 2006 requests for the measure to secure the opportunity for a person with disability to use a telecommunications service.

Also the revised Disabled Persons' Fundamental Law in Japan has appealed for improvement of convenience for a person with disability in smooth communication with others.

After the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, Nippon Foundation started a video remote interpreting service as an experiment, tackling a telephone relay service mainly in the earthquake-hit prefectures including Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.

As a result, 302 persons registered for the service with 5,700 cases for two years by September, this year.

One person used nearly an average of 20 times; the urgent inquiry to the emergency contact to the school or hospital due to a child's illness and an injury, the consumer credit company at the time of card loss, etc. The daily situation where a Deaf person needed a telephone actually increased; the needs of the telephone was very high.

About three companies are currently working on a VRI service. Such a service will cost more than 300 yen the charge for interpreting per time.

The universal service system in Japan collects three yen one time regardless of fixation or a cellular phone for maintenance of a public telephone and an emergency telephone. When the system started in 2006, it was 7 yen one time, and later 8 yen. However, reduction in a public telephone, etc. caused less than half of the peak now. 

Telecommunications Business Law prescribes the institutional meaning "Offer should be secured universally in Japan as a whole." Yet, it is a view of a public office that "universally" means an area, and that it is difficult to apply to specific groups, such as persons with disability.

Japanese source:

National School for the Deaf in Chiba Prefecture wins the fourth victory at national deaf school athletic convention


November 21, 2013

The 50th anniversary National Deaf School Athletic Convention was held in the Komazawa Olympic Park Athletic Field in Tokyo on November 7-9. About 1,000 officials and spectators participated and 280 athletes from 45 schools for the Deaf across Japan competed.

The high school track team of the University of Tsukuba School for the Deaf in Ichikawa-shi, Chiba Prefecture won the fourth straight championship: both the championships for boys and girls, and the men's and women's relays.

Also many of the teammates took out the personal best record, and they demonstrated the best result of daily practice. The team was also overjoyed with the highly achieved results of the championships.

Japanese sources:


Deaf-friendly coffee shop in Osaka Prefecture

November 17, 2013

The coffee shop, "Deaf Cafe: Enjoy Sign Language," in Osaka-shi in the prefecture, is managed by the non-profit organization "Deaf Support Osaka", which tackles support of Deaf persons, such as life counseling, dispatching interpreters, etc.

The organization opened the cafe in 2006 in response to the request of the Deaf person who wanted to be engaged in service trade in spite of being Deaf.

In the space back in the cafe shop, there is a place for Deaf fourth to sixth graders to enjoy learning the arithmetic, the language, etc. twice every month. Moreover, a sign language lesson of 500 yen once is offered.

A hearing person is also welcome to the cafe shop. Those who do not know how to sign can order a menu by pointing.

Business hours: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Closed on Sunday, Monday, and a national holiday.

Japanese source:

Official website (Japanese):

Tottori Prefecture launches new sign language channel

November 19, 2013

In Tottori Prefecture, the "sign language ordinance" was enacted for the first time in Japan in October, 2013.

The ordinance defines that the prefecture is obligated to promote the environmental management which makes everyone easy to use sign language, such as offering more opportunity for the people in the prefecture to learn sign language, the information dissemination in sign language, etc. 

In response to the ordinance, the website page designed only for sign language called "Sign Language Channel" was newly added in the prefecture official network called "Tottori Video Channel."

The "Sign Language Channel" also has an audio guide for a person with visual impairment, the elderly people, and children who are unable to read caption online as well as caption for a hard of hearing person.

Japanese source:

Sign Language Channel:
First sign language lesson for the prefecture personnel

Event to learn different sign languages held in Tottori Prefecture

November 15, 2013

An event for Deaf persons from Japan and South Korea was opened in Yonago-shi, Tottori Prefecture. They learned mutually sign language which is different in both countries. About 30 Japanese Deaf persons gathered.

This event was held when five members of a Deaf theater group from South Korea visited Japan to participate in a signed theater with a Japanese counterpart.

After all the participants in both countries learned that sign language is varied with countries, etc. from the lecturer, one of the South Koreans explained that, as for South Korean sign language, the form of the Hankul alphabet was origin, etc.

Then, they were divided into a group of 2 persons and introduced themselves each other by using sign language and gestures.

Japanese source:

College for the blind and Deaf to set up new MA course on information accessibility next year

November 16, 2013

The Tsukuba University of Technology in Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki Prefecture which offers various education program to the Blind and Deaf students respectively, announced that it will introduce an "information accessibility" course as a two-year major in the graduate program in April, 2014.

The course is to train a professional to support social participation of the Blind and Deaf in obtaining more accessible information, and to research and develop of a device to support learning of sign language and activities.

Although Tsukuba University of Technology  (formerly Tsukuba College of Technology) has educated only for students with disabilities since the establishment in 1987, it will accept a hearing person also for the first time in the new MA course.

Five persons will be admitted. When completing the course, a job will be available such as a school staff or researcher in support of persons with disabilities.

Japanese source:

A comic book titled "The Sound of Voice" first published

November 15, 2013

The first volume of a comic book titled "The Sound of Voice" (「聲の形」) by Ohima Yoshitoki (大今良時) was put on the market on November 15. (Kodansha Publisher: 450 yen)

"The Sound of Voice" is a story of the Deaf girl named Shoko, and the hearing boy Masaya who bullied her.

The complete version printed in Kodansha's the weekly boy magazine has attracted attention, and is serialized in the magazine now.

With the series version, it begins from where the two people who grew up to be a high school student meet again, and Masaya faces a conflict.

The special edition of the serialized comic and the author Oima was broadcast in the NHK program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing recently.

Japanese source:

Related link:
New comic series titled "The Sound of Voice" to start in August

Deaf children first slide on fallen leaves in Aichi Prefecture

The children enjoy skiing on the fallen-leaves slope.

November 15, 2013 

The opening ceremony of the "fallen-leaves skiing area," covered with the pine needle instead of snow, was held on the hill at the back of the Okazaki municipal Eda elementary school on November 14. The children did the first slide, getting down from the slope with smile.

It is a routine program which continues since 1957, and the children of the Prefectural Okazaki School for the Deaf also have participated since about 30 years ago.

Guardians carried about 4-ton pine needle from the nearby golf course, and covered and prepared three courses (30 meters, 35 meters, and 45 meters).

The fallen-leaves skiing area is used for the PE lesson, etc. till February, next year.

Japanese source:

Metal of honor to the sign language circle for social service activity in Kanagawa Prefecture

The sign language class held by the circle.

November 15, 2013

The sign language service organization called "the Atsugi-shi sign language circle Ayu" (厚木市手話サークルあゆの会) in Kanagawa Prefecture next to Tokyo was awarded with a medal of honor, the Medal with Green Ribbon,  for the season of autumn.

The distinguished services of the energetic social service activity were evaluated; the circle opens a sign language course for elementary and junior high school students in the city every year, and participates  positively in the event such as a parent-and-child sign language classroom, a disability athletic meet and a public event by the city, or the social welfare council, and exchange with the local association of the Deaf.

The circle, formed in 1977, has about 100 members now, working in the welfare center at night on Tuesday and the daytime on Wednesday.

The circle will prepare for a disaster, etc., such as the members grasp a neighboring Deaf/deaf person, make a disaster prevention map, and offers assistance when a disaster occurs.

Japanese source:

Deaf student of Yamagata Prefecture commended in a message contest

November 13, 2013

Saito Kyoka (斎藤京香), 12, a junior high school first-year student of the Yamagata Prefectural Sakata School for the Deaf located in Sakata-shi, won the Mainichi Newspaper Co. prize in the 2nd "Message Contest" (Mainichi Newspaper Co. sponsorship), which presents a message to support the friend who does his/her best in extracurricular activities, a committee, etc. of a school.

Saito began swimming at the swimming class in the city when she was a first-grade elementary student. She swims six days a week currently. After becoming a junior high school student, Saito likes to swim the 800-meter freestyle, recommended by her instructor.

This summer she competed also in the northeast junior high school convention held in Akita-shi, Akita Prefecture in August after the Yamagata prefectural convention, ranked 14th in the good time which exceeds her personal best record for 8 seconds, which gave her confidence.

Saito worked for the message contest as homework during the summer vacation. "I have already decided whom I would write a message. I thought of the swimming teams across Japan."

Saito said at the contest, "I have a dream." It is her dream to complete in the Olympic Games to be opened in seven years later in Tokyo.

There were 6,888 pieces of applications for the contest from the whole country.

Japanese source:

Deaf student joins a school speech contest for the first time in Tottori Prefecture

A Deaf student Maeda Mana discusses in sign language at the speech contest.

November 13, 2013

The 42nd Tottori Junior High School Championship Speech Contest was held in Tottori-shi, Tottori Prefecture on November 12.

The chosen students from 25 junior high schools in the eastern part of the  prefecture showed the fervent speech by each theme such as relation by friendship or a family, club activity, etc.

In the contest, Maeda Mana (前田真那), a senior of the Tottori School for the Deaf presented discussion in sign language for the first time.

She told about a frank thought entitled "Overcome now." that she wanted to tell people what is like to be Deaf.

Japanese source:

New exchange base for the Deaf elder in Hiroshima Prefecture opens

The users and the staff join the exchange program using sign language at the new facility in Fukuyama-shi.

November 13, 2013

A Non-Profit Organization, the Bingo Welfare Association of the Deaf based in Fukuyama-shi, Hiroshima Prefecture opened the exchange base for the elderly people called "Smile-Bingo" in the city early November.

The opening ceremony was attended by a total of 13 persons with disability and 21 staff members.

Two full-time residence personnel and volunteers have planned recreation activities, such as handicraft and physical exercise.

A fee is 800 yen per day. A meal will be served for 500 yen. Bathing will be available with a helper's care for 200 yen.

Open hours: 10:00 a.m. - 15:30 p.m.
Closed on Tuesdays, 2nd and 4 Sundays.

Japanese source:

Related article:
Day care center for Deaf senior to be established in Hiroshima Prefecture

Disaster prevention DVD for the Deaf produced in Osaka Prefecture

Members of the sign-language interpreting association discuss the preparation to a disaster while looking at DVD.

November 12, 2013 
The Nonprofit Organization The "Hirakata Sign-Language Interpreting Association" which holds the sign language lecture, etc. in Hirakata-shi, Osaka Prefecture produced a DVD which explains disaster prevention information in sign language and caption for the Deaf.

Yamada Tomoko (山田智子), a 53-year-old president of the association, explained, "It is as difficult for the Deaf person who lives on sign language ever since the childhood as a foreigner to understand a Chinese character and a text. The way things stand, it will be involved in a disaster."

The Association increased a sense of crisis and started the project since last autumn. Fifteen association members including Deaf persons, whose viewpoint is incorporated in the DVD production, performed, filmed and edited. They also raised funds at the Deaf-related events.

The DVD is made not only by sign language and a caption for explanation, but making a part into a drama cut to make the Deaf viewer understand it easily. The DVD production completed at the end of October.

One Deaf person who participated in the production team said, "The text of a disaster prevention map published by the city is so difficult that I hardly read it. As I don't have much about the knowledge of disaster prevention, I got to know for the first time in many cases while working on  the DVD".

Japanese source:

DeafBlind group to grasp of the actual condition in order to get more support in Wakayama Prefecture

The DeafBlind woman (left) talks with an interpreter through tactile sign language.

November 08, 2013

Although 300 or more DeafBlind persons are estimated in Wakayama Prefecture, south from Osaka, it is said that there is so little support that the DeafBlind bear most alone in the world without light and sound.

With a supporter training, NPO Wakayama DeafBlind's Friend Society in Wakayama-shi in the prefecture began a project to find the situation of the DeafBlind in the southern area in the prefecture.

Only 20 DeafBlind persons registered with the DeafBlind Society. Neither a book nor television is not accessible to a DeafBlind person, who definetly is isolated from information.

Moreover, the support system for social participation of the DeafBlind is not enough. A required supporter is made into ten persons to one DeafBlind person.

Through cooperation from the prefecture the Society has trained and dispatched persons who interpret with advanced interpreting techniques, such as "tactile sign language," etc. and accompany the DeafBlind user in moving, yet 90 persons completed the training program.

The Society says, "Although being DeafBlind is a very serious disability, if support is offered, the deaf blind person can lead good life. We will advance the project to find the actual condition of the DeafBlind while attempting to increase more supporters."

Japanese source:

Japan to ratify the UN Convention on Rights of People with Disabilities

November 08, 2013

The UN Convention on Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) is expected to ratify after a period of six years at last in Japan.

With the conclusion of the Discrimination Dissolution for the Persons with Disabilities Law in June, this year, etc., the government saw "national law having been fixed, and environment having been ready for the CRPD ratification".

The ratification proposal was submitted to the current Diet session. Deliberations are due to be in Lower House Foreign Affairs Committee on November 8th. The governing and opposition parties have no objection, and the probability of conclusion is high in the session.

The Japanese government signed CRPD in 2007. However, the procedure was interrupted by the disability organizations. They feared aloud that it would be only the ratification, pointing out that the national legal systems to be reviewed first.

Japanese source:

First hearing-aid store opens in Yaeyama in Okinawa Prefecture

The first hearing-aid store opens in Ishigaki-shi, Okinawa Prefecture.
 November 06, 2013 

On November 6, the Ryukyu hearing-aid store Ishigaki branch opened for the first time at Ishigaki-shi, Yaeyama in Okinawa Prefecture, the southern island of Japan.

This branch is the 6th store following four branches in Okinawa mainland and Miyako island.

The new store has a counter, a reception corner, and a soundproof room with three staff including the manager. A special motorbike is even prepared for an outreach service in a house including battery exchange.

The store has offered maintenance and counseling on the business trip for two days a month for 26 years. The president of the Ryukyu hearing aids store said, "We responded to the request from the users to open another store in the city". According to him, there are about 600 customers.

Business hours: 9:00 - 18:00 on weekdays except holidays

Japanese source:

Deaf natural beauty therapist starts a makeup volunteer for elderly-people

Tanikawa Miyu, Deaf natural beauty therapist (photo:

November 06, 2013
"Everyone can be alive beautifully, naturally and healthily." Such a lifestyle is proposed by a Deaf woman Tanikawa Miyu (谷川碧優)" of Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka Prefecture.

She began a makeup volunteer activity for the elderly-people in the institution in November. Fax and e-mail are accepted for an appointment.

Tanikawa plays an active part in her own business "Jolie coeur", such as a makeup artist, an aromatherapist, and a natural food coordinator.

She became independent as a makeup artist in 2005 after working for a foreign-affiliated cosmetics company. She studied the "makeup therapy" in various fields, such as a "nature cure", "body's internal environment", and "aroma mental counseling", opening a salon "Jolie coeur" at her home in Hamamatsu-shi in 2013.

Official website (Japanese):

Japanese source:

Signed dance performance held in Kumamoto Prefecture

The dancers show the signed dance perfectlyl on the stage.

November 5, 2013
The "sign language dance" program was held in Kumamoto-shi, Kumamoto Prefecture in Japan's southern island on November 4, sponsored by the "Kumamoto Sign Language Dance Club", performed by about 120 members from ten classes within the prefecture. 

They who practiced for about three months towards the dance program performed dancing with 27 songs freely.

Fukuma Asako (福馬朝子), 76, a club leader and instructor, learned about the sign language dance for the first time, devised it so that Deaf/deaf persons could enjoy it, and started a class in 1988.

Japanese source:

Edward S. Morse, a distant relative of Samuel F. B. Morse

Edward S. Morse

 An exhibition about collections of Edward S. Morse (1838 – 1925), an American botanist, is opened at the Edo-Tokyo Museum in Tokyo from September 14 through December 3, 2013.

In June 1877 Morse first visited Japan and this visit turned into a three year stay when he was offered a post as the first Professor of Zoology at the Tokyo Imperial University (currently Tokyo University). 

He is well known for discovery of the Omori shell mound in Tokyo in 1877, the excavation which shed much light on the material culture of prehistoric Japan.

It is said that Edward S. Morse was a distant relative of Samuel F. B. Morse whose wife was Deaf. He was famous for inventing telegraph in the U.S.A.

Exhibition websites:

Reference (English):

Deaf student to play for local high school rugby primary in Gifu Prefecture

Kishino Kaede strives for practice towards the High School Rugby Gifu Prefecture Primary, saying "I would like to win a victory by a try."
(photo: Add caption

November 02, 2013

Kishino Kaede (岸野楓), 15, a high school freshman of the Gifu School for the Deaf in Gifu Prefecture, will participate in the 93rd National High School Rugby Football Convention Gifu Primary which will open on November 3.

His dream that he stands on the field together with the players of other schools aiming at the National Convention came true when he became a member of the combined team consisted of the players from ten high schools. His goal is to win a victory with a try.

Born deaf, Khino went to a local rugby club since the age of 7 under the influence of his father who belonged to the rugby team of Nippon College of Physical Education.

Kishino stood also on the field of a rugby field as a Gifu's selected player when he was a junior high school student.

It was possible to enroll a high school in other prefecture that would lead Kishino to participate in "Deaf Rugby". Instead he went to the Gifu School for the Deaf, which he could participate in a prefectural primary as a combined team member.

Japanese source:

Delicate wood-block prints by a deaf person exhibited in Okayama Prefecture

Ando with his works exhibited at the gallery in Kurashiki-shi.

November 2, 2013

A Deaf wood-block printer Ando Shohei (安藤昌平), 77, who lives in Kurashiki-shi, Okayama Prefecture, opened his 10th commemoration private exhibition at the gallery in the city on November 1.

A little more than 30 works from the school days are exhibited, including precise, skillfully works finished with the scenery of the familiar hometown, etc.

Ando became Deaf because of illness when he was a little boy. He joined a wood-engraving club by a teacher's advice at the Prefectural Okayama School for the Deaf. Since then he has made a wood-block print for the New Year's card.

After retiring from an autoparts company in 1996, Ando started the woodcut, having won a prize with his work repeatedly.

He said, "I want to make people enjoy my works in spite of disability. I would like to continue my work still more."

Japanese source:

Hearing woman returns home from Egypt as a job trainer for the Deaf

Ishii (left) says to Mayor Jinbo, "Egyptian Deaf people are bright, living with pride."
November 1, 2013

Ishii Hiromi (石井弘美), a 30-aged hearing woman living in Toda-shi, Saitama Prefecture, paid a courtesy visit to Mayor Jinbo Kunio (神保国男).

She worked at the job training school for the Deaf in Cairo, Egypt, for two years, from September, 2011 to August, this year, as a member of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV).  "My stay in Egypt was as if a moment to me. I have come to communicate in Egyptian sign language."

Ishii studied how to make ladies' wear in the cultural dress institute and found a job at the dressmaking shop in Tokyo. Later she quit the job and applied for  JOCV to find a way to help other country with her own ability.

At the job training school for the Deaf in Cairo Ishii taught needlework,  proposed the design of a handbag, how to make it, etc. She said the hand-made goods at the school were sold so well that she was glad.

Ishii has participated in a non-profit organization for stricken area support of the Great East Japan Earthquake which JOCV alumnus formed, after she came home in Japan.

Cairo was shook violently in political changes and public demonstrations for these two years. Ishi said, "I would like to treat my parents with filial respect because they have been worried about me during my days in Cairo."

Japanese souce:

Tottori Prefecture: First meeting about development of sign language textbook

The committee members exchange opinions on the production of practical teaching materials at the Tottori School for the Deaf.

November 6, 2013 

In response to the recent enforcement of the "Tottori sign language ordinance", about 20 eduction experts concerned in sign language in the prefecture set up the sign language materials development committee, and discussed sign language teaching materials at the Prefectural Tottori School for the Deaf in Tottori-shi on November 5.

They will edit two kinds of materials for beginning level and application level. The former is planned to be distributed to about 80,000 children, students and teachers of all elementary and junior high schools, high schools, protective care schools, and a special support school, both public and private, within the prefecture. It will to be utilized at the short class meeting, the morning meeting, etc. during the 3rd term starting in January, next year.
The application level will be complied of conversation examples in school life, daily living, etc., which will be used in April, 2015 after the trial at a model school.

Tottori prefecture will station a sign language spread coordinator in three areas in the prefecture as a project next year. It also intends to start awareness through the comics for young students, making an animation, etc.

Japanese sources:

Tottori Prefecture: Special sign language program for personnel starts

The personnel struggle in learning how to communicate in sign language in the Prefecture Office.

November 1,2013

Tottori prefecture has a duty to promote the spread of sign language at the time of enforcement of the sign language ordinance.

A "sign language promotion member," who takes charge of the spread of sign language, or promotion of practice action, has been arranged at each post in the prefecture office, not only the governor department but the parliamentary secretariat, the Bureau of Hospital Administration, etc.

The system to make all the prefectural personnel prepared for getting familiar with sign language. More personnel are encouraged to learn sign language, such as enforcing a greeting in sign language at the morning meeting.

Japanese source:

Elementary students, Deaf and hearing, participate in exchange program in Kyoto Prefecture

Deaf children explain living aids for a person with disability.

November 1, 2013
An exchange program with children from the Prefectural School for the Deaf Maizuru Branch was held at the Kyoa Elementary School in Maizuru-shi, Kyoto Prefecture on October 31.

The exchange program of both the schools is continued for about 40 years. Eight Deaf students visited the elementary school and performed Japanese drums this year.

All the students including about 240 hearing children were divided into groups and played the game in sign language. Through the activity the hearing children deepened an understanding about disability.

At the study meeting by the grades, three Deaf sixth graders introduced living aids for a person with disability, such as a hearing-aid. They explained if they could not find any person to communicate, they would feel lonesome, and that they would be glad when you write something on paper.

Japanese source:

Deaf students challenge denim making as part of training in Okayama Prefecture

Students learn the sewing technique of denim from the instructor (left).


Senior students in clothing course of the Okayama School for the Deaf located in Okayama-shi are trained at a direct-sales retail shop under Ibara clothing cooperative called "D# The Store" in Ibara-shi in the prefecture to learn industrial processing of the denim which is the Okayama specialty.

The students are making a product at the store 4 times from the beginning of September to the end of November.

The training aims that a Deaf student cultivates special sewing skills, the communications skills in a place of work, etc. in preparation for employment in future.

The students says eagerly, "We want to make the goods which many people like to use."

The products made by the students will be exhibit for sale at the school festival on November 17, and also the work exhibition which will be opened in Okayama in January, next year. A part of profit will be donated to the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake fund.

Japanese source:

Photo exhibition featuring the daily life of Deaf college students to be held in Tottori Prefecture

Takada said that many Deaf college students who wish society without discrimination cooperated with his work.

October 30, 2013

The photo exhibition titled "Pursue A Dream" of a former teacher of the Tottori School for the Deaf, Takada Keiichi (高田啓一), 65, will be opened at two places, such as a gallery in Tottori-shi, in mid-November.

He took each photograph of 79 Deaf students in 15 prefectures four years. 

As a photographic subject these students actually suffered from discrimination despite their lively smile shown in a black-and-white photo.

Takada emphasized, "I hope my photographs will appeal a college student's thought. I want many people understand about a Deaf person."

Japanese source:

Tottori Prefecture: New teachers attend first training program with sign language

Newly appointed teachers learn how to sign a greeting at the Prefectural Tottori School for the Deaf.

November 1, 2013

In response to the fact that the "sign language ordinance" of Tottori Prefecture was enacted for the first time in Japan, sign language training to the newly appointed teachers of elementary and junior high schools was conducted at four places including the Prefectural Tottori School for the Deaf located in Tottori-shi, etc. on October 31. About 60 persons participated.

The training was provided for the purpose that a teacher teaches Deaf children in sign language in the class, etc., which the Prefectural Educational Center carried out for the first time.

At the School for the Deaf, 13 new teachers participated and learned how to sign a greeting such as "good morning", "thank you", etc., after receiving the lecture on the purpose of the ordinance, its meaning, etc.

One of the participants who was an elementary school teacher said that three years ago he met a Deaf child and that he began learning sign language. "Taking advantage of this opportunity, I will learn sign language more and tell children the importance of sign language."

Japanese source:

Hearing university students in Iwate Prefecture practice signed songs for concert

"We hope to encourage those who survived in the earthquake-stricken area." The sign language circle members practice signed songs with a songwriter Hikaru (right) who plays guitar. 


Seven of 50 members of the sign language circle at Iwate Prefectural University will show their performance on the stage of the concert, which will be held in the Yamada-town, Iwate Prefecture on November 17.

They have practiced by instruction of the Deaf people and a sign language circle in Morioka-shi in the prefecture since July in response to the thought of a revival singer-songwriter Hikaru. She wanted to send those who suffered from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake her song  in sign language."

The students will sing three songs made by Hikari by sign language.

Japanese source:

Otaru School for the Deaf in Hokkaido holds closure ceremony

The students sing a song in sign language at the closing ceremony.

November 03, 2013

Another school will end its history following the Kushiro School for the Deaf in Hokkaido, Japan's northern island as previously posted. The Otaru School which will be closed at the end of March, 2014 held a closing ceremony on November 2, About 240 alumni,  former teachers and others were present.

Kobayashi Unpei (小林運平) from Odate-shi, Akita Prefecture, who was an elementary school teacher, responded the request of parents by tutoring their deaf-mute children in his room.

Then, he founded the private Otaru School for the Blind and Dumb in 1906 (Meiji 39) in Otaru-shi, and was in charge of management as the first principal.

Currently seven students attend. The number of students ten or less  continues after the 2007 fiscal year although about 670 students have so far graduated. Consequently it was decided in the fall, 2012 that the school would be closed.

Japanese sources:

Kushiro School for the Deaf in Hokkaido to be closed next spring

The children perform a local dance at the closing ceremony.

October 27, 2013

The Kushiro School for the Deaf in Kushiro-shi, Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan, which will be closed at the end of March, 2014 because of reduction of the number of students, held a closing ceremony on October 26.

About 150 alumni and former school staffs gathered and said good-bye to the school's 65-year history. The students will be transferred to the Kushiro Tsuruno Support School (釧路鶴野支援学校) which will open in April, next year.

The School for the Deaf has offered a program from a preschool, elementary through junior high school, and eight children are currently enrolled.

A Deaf-Mute class was established for the first time in the municipal Toei elementary school (市立東栄小) in 1948, and it was transferred to prefectural two years later.

About 300 students so far graduated, and in recent years the enrollment with less than ten students has continued. The Prefecture Education Board determined the closure of the Deaf School in 2012.

Japanese source: