Deaf high school students enjoying meeting with residents in Okinawa Prefecture

The high school students of the Tokyo Metropolitan Central School for the Deaf dance with sign language, taking a rhythm.

January 20, 2013

Fourteen juniors of the Tokyo Metropolitan Central School for the Deaf visited Okinawa Prefecture, the southern island of Japan, as a school trip and had a good time with the local residents, including the members of the sign language cafe "Bundles," in the public hall at Kitanakagusuku-mura on January 16.

Since high school students from the school visited the sign language cafe "Bundles" for the first time in 2012, the friendship exchange has continued until now.

When The band called the "Kentomi Family," consisted of persons with disabilities who promote musical activities started playing, the students went up to the stage eagerly, performed the sign language dance, taking the rhythm, and enjoying themselves with the local participants.

The students arrived in Okinawa on January 15 and traveled southern part old battlefields, such as Himeyuri Monument, etc.

Japanese original article:

Deaf students in vocational courses exhibit their works in Simane Prefecture

Vocational training works by Deaf high school students exhibited in Matsue-shi

January 20, 2013

The works exhibition of the industrial technique department of the high school in the Prefecture Matsue School for the Deaf started in Matsue-shi, Shimane Prefecture in western Japan on January 19 and through January 20.

The variegated works were exhibited in each field, such as woodwork furniture, clothes, life miscellaneous goods, which attracted many visitors.

Seven high school students in the industrial technical course and three students in the life design course study techniques aiming at employment. They all are exhibiting their works planned and manufactured for a year.

Japanese original article:

Disaster preparedness in midwinter: stay-overnight-experience program

The participants experience stay-overnight in a shelter in a junior high school in preparing for the time of a disaster in Yokosuka-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture.

January 20, 2013

The program to offer overnight-stay experience in midwinter against a disaster, which is sponsored by the Yokosuka Disaster Volunteer Network (YDVN) and NPO Yokosuka International Communications Association, is carried out from January 19 in the gymnasium of the Yokosuka municipal Shinmyo junior high school.

About 100 participants aged 6-74 mainly from Yokoshuka-shi, including foreigners and persons with disabilities, are wrapped up in a sleeping-bag on a mat on the cold floor and spend a night in the gymnasium.

This program is the 15th anniversary this year since the Kobe Earthquake in 1995. The Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 has increased concern further and the number of participants swells more than two times.

Every year, the program contents are updated. Although the signing volunteer escorted for Deaf/deaf persons till last year, the board with a message "a meal is served by the numerical order of a food ticket" and "it is time to sleep," etc. is used to urge them to be self-reliant this year.

The YDVN staff said, "We indeed assume that persons with disabilities and sick persons come certainly to a shelter. It is important to check how to cover these people as a future issue."

City International Affairs Division has joined since five years ago, urging the foreigners to participate in the program.

Japanese original article:

Coming-of-age ceremony for persons with disabilities held in Kumamoto Prefecture

Young persons with disabilities are photographed for commemoration after the ceremony.

January 15, 2013

The coming-of-age ceremony was held all over the country on January 13 - 14, 2013.

The coming-of-age ceremony for people with disabilities was held in the Kumamoto-shi health care service welfare center in Kumamoto Prefecture on January 14, and 67 persons were present.
Sumiyoshi Shota san, 23, a training assistant in the Kumamoto Prefecture School for the Deaf, made a speech in sign language representing their seniors, "When you come out to society, you will need to explain your disability before you get help. Please show how much you are grateful to people around you."

Representing the participants, a young hearing man said about a resolution, "I would like to tell my parents how much I am thankful for loving me since I was born. We will live with the awareness as an adult."

Japanese original article:

Social entrepreneur elected to Forbes's top 30 of the world

Ohki Junto san with the certificate of merit of a grand-prix.

January 18, 2013

Ohki Junto san (25), who is hearing and president of the ShuR Group located in Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture, was elected to "Forbes 30 under 30," which the American economic magazine "Forbes" elects 30 tops of the world aged 30 and below. He was the only Japanese elected. (English version:

Elected in the "Social Entrepreneur" section, Ohki san says that he did not know being nominated. "Although I was surprised at an unexpected news, I am glad that my social activities are evaluated globally. As I believe they chose me with expectation of 'those who change society,' I will do my best."

The students in Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus took the lead, forming the ShuR in November, 2008. The group is working as a volunteer organization as well as a sign language circle. They are developing the enterprise such as remote sign-language interpreting, a sign language dictionary, etc.

ShuR official site (English):

Japanese original article:

Underpass decorated with painting by Deaf students after repair in Toyama Prefecture

The underpass decorated with the picture drawn by the students of the Takaoka School for the Deaf in Toyama Prefecture

January 16, 2013

The repair work of the underpass in the Route 156 running through Takaoka-shi, Toyama Prefecture, a part of northeastern Japan, was completed on January 15.

The students of the nearby Takaoka School for the Deaf who use the underground passage for the school zone decorated the surface of a wall of the sidewalk with their painting, and celebrated completion.

After paint of an inner wall was separated and danger for the easy slide on stairs in the 22-meter-long sidewalk was pointed out by the school, the Tomiyama river and national highway office of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism was constructing from December, 2012.

The wall was repainted in bright white and beige and the skid was put on the stairs. The electric light of the light emitting diode is also used.

The picture (120cm long and 240cm wide) which decorated the surface of a wall was drawn by eight students. Their watercolor painting was processed into the tile.

The design of colorful branches extended from a big tree shows a wish of growth; its title is "Growing Up." Five pictures of the square tile of 30cm also were decorated on the surface of a wall on the other side.

The Deaf students have kept cleaning the underpass twice a year since 1989. They say, "By the repair, we are happy that the underpass becomes bright and safe to walk through."

Japanese original article:

Emergency seal produced for Deaf/deaf person which shines in a dark place for 10 hours

The emergency seal that shines in a dark place for 10 hours

January 18, 2013

The Non-profit Organization "The Better  Communication Study Society" located in Nakano-ku, Tokyo is tackling information barrier-free for the Deaf/deaf person who are easily misunderstood for a hearing person from appearance. It developed the seal which emits light in a dark place for 10 hours to show that the user is Deaf/deaf.

This development came from the experiences with the 1955 Great Hanshin Earthquake and the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, which the society aims at spreading to save as many Deaf/deaf people as possible.

President Nakazono Hideki san (64), who lost hearing at the age of 3, is worried saying,
"It was reported that the mortality rate of Deaf/deaf victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake was more twice than that of hearing ones. Probably because television broadcasting stopped suddenly by the power failure, the Deaf/deaf were unable to get the emergency information on tsunami arrival."

The card-sized emergency seal (500 yen per sheet) gets charged with the sun light or a fluorescent light for 20 minutes in order to shine blue for 10 hours. It may be the first one that shines longer than any one else.

Also it has messages on it, "I am Deaf/deaf. Please tell me what is going on in sign language or writing."

An inquiry can be made through e-mail (only Japanese):

Japanese original article:

Community meeting on disability held in Okinawa Prefecture

Higa Takeshi san (left), one of the panelists, appeals that a mutual understanding is important for coexistent society realization.

January 17, 2013

The town meeting was opened in Nago-shi, Okinawa Prefecture in the southern island of Japan on January 15. It was co-sponsored by "the Community Congress to promote society that people with and without disability live together" and the Okinawa Prefecture.
Congress board members and the local participants exchanged opinions towards ordinance establishment aiming at a disabled person's right protection promotion. It was pointed that all the people in the prefecture should start to understand each other about the development of society in which people with and without disabilities live together.

Three persons with disabilities acted a panelist, and one of them was Higa Takeshi, who is Deaf, a Congress board member and Director of the Okinawa Prefecture Association.

He said, "Because the Deaf have limited means to get information and to convey what to think to others, without right understanding, there is no mutual help. True support cannot be achieved only by consideration." He also insisted, "There are so many issues including a volunteer's training, etc. that we must make a good ordinance with our every effort."

Japanese original article:

Government official gives a lecture in Okayama Prefecture

Muraki san appeals for "society comfortable in the feeling of "each other".

 January 14, 2013

Muraki Atsuko (57), the head of the Social Welfare and War Victims' Relief Bureau in the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, gave a lecture entitled "Counting on local convivial society" in the civic hall in Soja-shi, Okayama Prefecture on January 14. After arrested in the forgery incident of the Ministry, she was declared being innocent after all.

While Director Muraki said that while it tends to be considered that the working population's burden will increase by low birthrate and longevity from now on, the present condition that elderly people support a volunteer activity or disabled person employment is progressing.

She introduced the example that the Deaf salesclerk got the visitor write an order in a check at the cake shop. She said, " Everybody has power. It is important to help use of the power."

She also introduced the episode that her family and friends supported her while she was in a prison. "If everybody cooperates each other in the feeling of "each other," society will be comfortable to live."

The lecture meeting was a big event for the city health and welfare convention sponsored by the city and city social welfare council. About 1,000 citizens attended it .

Japanese original article:

Court declines sign-language interpreting at public expenditure

January 10, 2013

Ikegawa Yoko san, a Deaf woman aged 41 from Takamatsu-shi, sued the Takamatsu city office in Kagawa Prefecture which did not accept her suburban dispatch application of sign-language interpreting in 2012.

Advance deliberations of the lawsuit was held in the Takamatsu District Court on January 9, 2013.

It was decided formally that the district court will not be accepted sign language interpreting at public expenditure in the trial for which defense counsel has asked. It considered the note taking service for the Deaf to hear in the court without public expense, too.

The public expenditure of such a service arrangement was not accepted as "impossible by the current law." The concerned groups will meet and discuss again for more details in April, 2013.

Ikegawa san says, "I regret that public expenditure was not able to be accepted, but I feel we could get an understanding from the court which also showed progress. I hope that any trial should just be participated easily for a person with disability."

Japanese original article

Related links:
District Court refuses to pay the public expenditure of sign-language interpreting for Deaf woman

Deaf woman rejected for sign language interpreting to file a suit against city office

Deaf students to compete at the robot contest in Hiroshima Prefecture

The Deaf students make the final adjustment towards the robot contest.

January 13, 2013

Three Deaf junior high school students who attend the Onomichi special support school (Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima Prefecture) will participate in the "9th junior high school rescue robot contest" which will be held in Hiroshima-shi in the prefecture in western Japan on January 13.

Sixteen teams from 11 prefecture schools will join the contest, and one of these schools is the only one for students with disabilities that is the Onomich special support school.

The Deaf students are striving for practice, saying "We would like to do our best so that there may be no regret."

The participating teams compete for time until their robot rescues the doll in a game stand (1.8 meters long, 1.35 meters wide), avoiding an obstacle in 5 minutes.

The Deaf students are practicing weekly with their part-time teacher from November, 2012 with their two robots (each 40cm long, the side of 20cm, and 5cm in height) made from a plastic, which are operated by a cable controller.

Onomichi School has participated in the contest since 2011 and this will be the third time this year.

Japanese original article:

School for the Deaf principal exhibits photos of Deaf children in Yokohama

Principal Saito Michio san and his works exhibited.

January 13, 2013

The photo exhibition, which focused on the natural expressions of the Deaf children, in the Gallery Nana in Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Fifty-nine Deaf children aged 3-15 attend the Meisei Gakuen School" (Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo), the only school for the Deaf in Japan that uses Japanese Sign Language as their first language.

The exhibited photos were taken by Saito Michio san (65), its principal. He chose 38 out of the photographs he has taken since 2008 when the school was established.

Saito san was a TBS-TV news writer specialized in disability issues for a long time. After retirement he was invited to become a principal.

He says, "Even if there is no sound, a feeling is freely denoted by JSL, and the children feel relieved truly. I hope a visitor will feel the rich world in JSL by all means."

Japanese original article:

Deaf mixed martial arts event to be held in Nagoya in March

January 12, 2013

The Deaf Mixed Martial Arts Championship (DMC) announced that the 2nd "Deaf mixed martial arts" convention will take place in the Tokai-shi Gymnasium in Aichi Prefecture on Sat., March 30, 2013.

According to the organizer, this convention aims at develop into a global convention through cooperation with the Deaf/deaf persons and organization persons involved worldwide, based on Japan as a start.

Moreover, they hope more conventions will accumulate the performances by the participants in order to lead to a game with hearing counterparts. It is said that the group considers that it would prove that there is no obstacle for a Deaf person in any way in such a combative sport.

The first convention gathered 390 spectators with no vacancy in Umeda, Osaka Prefecture, in December, 2012. In the upcoming convention, athletes will join from not only Japan but also Turkey, Brazil, Italy, Finland, Bulgaria and Malaysia.

There will be all the 14 games, such as a lightweight and middleweight divisions tournament and a one match.

Official site:

Related link: 
Tournament for world championship of mixed martial-arts lightweight division held in Osaka

Japanese original article:

Booklet on evacuation ways at the time of the disaster for the Deaf completed

The manual explains the ways of evacuation at the time of the disaster for the Deaf and hard of hearing.

January 10, 2013

The interested organizations of Kure-shi, Hiroshima Prefecture in western Japan produced the manual which describes how a Deaf/deaf person and a supporter should cope with emergency disaster time.

The booklet will be directly distributed to a person with disability soon as well as it will be placed in a public facility, etc.

The colorfully printed booklet, A4-size and 16 pages, has two kinds, one for a person with disability, and another for the welfare commissioner supporters.

The booklet for disability advises how to evacuate successfully: for example, at the time of disaster a person with disability should go to "the place specified with neighboring people in a group." Meanwhile for the the supporters, it is stressed that they are expected to know the communication and information method for the Deaf/deaf, etc.

The evacuation method of the Deaf/deaf person who do not depend on spoken information when the Great Earthquake hit the communities in eastern Japan in March, 2011 surfaced as one of the serious problems. According to the city, the number of Deaf/deaf persons in the city is about 930.

Japanese original article:

"Silence Cafe" in collaboration with other popular cafe

January 11, 2013

The "Silence Cafe" that the Deaf staff are employed will start collaboration business for three days on January 16, the 23rd, and the 30th in the cafe named "The Todoroki Cafe" located at Kichijoji Middle Street in Musashino-shi, Tokyo.

The Silence Cafe was opened in a public facility in Mitaka-shi, next to Mitaka-shi, in order to promote the barrier-free between the Deaf/deaf and hearing people in July, 2011, but it closed temporarily in December of the same year for reconstruction work in the facility. It re-opened in the "Grand Kiosk" in February and managed until July, 2012.

In this collaboration business, the Silent Cafe will offer a space for a morning session, a seminar, a meeting, etc. for 1,500 yen per hour till 10:00, and 2,500 yen per hour (2,000 yen per hour in 2 hours or more) from 18:00 to 21:00 in the Todoroki Cafe.

The cafe space will be limited to 17 persons, equipped fully with Wi-Fi. The staff will help with communication in writing, which requires reservation.

Watanabe, representing the Silent Care, says, "The Todoroki Cafe is often published by a magazine, and its design and atmosphere are great - the valuable store which cannot be easily rented. You are welcome to use this opportunity as the place for a morning session, a lecture and a classroom, club activities, etc."

Japanese original article:

Deaf woman to contribute through sign language in the Dominican Republic

Hirose Meri san speaks about the ambition in the Dominican Republic.

January 9, 2013

A Deaf woman Hirose Meri san (39) from Tokyo who uses sign languages of several countries, such as Japan, the U.S. etc., will be dispatched to the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Sea in the field of the "youth activity" as a Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers member on January 10.

She will work for the NGO "Home for Children" which runs a school for the Deaf in Ra Romana in the eastern part of the country for two years.

Hirose san was born deaf in Mooka-shi, Tochigi Prefecture and attended a school for the Deaf. She wanted to be enrolled in a hearing school when she was a second grader, and moved with her family to Tokyo, studying with hearing classmates through a junior college.

After working for the major company for about eight years, she started a sign language school in Tokyo with an American friend to promote an exchange program for the Deaf from various countries.

Then, she went to the U.S. in 2008 and studied business at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. She had even internship with a video relay service company.

Hirose san has traveled alone in South America for three months. She met a Deaf girl in Paraguay and was shocked to know that she was forced to marry a 40-year-old man at the age of 14.

Hirose san says, "I want to help people with various handicaps able to become independent in order to live peacefully."

Japanese original article:

Management training on disability issues in Tokyo

January 9, 2013

In order to communicate with local persons with disabilities, including the Deaf/deaf, smoothly at the counter, the Nakano-ku city office in Tokyo will carry out "communications-skills improvement training to meet the needs of a person with disability" for all management for three years.

Over eighty managers in all the sections in the Nakano-ku city office will be trained. They study the example of what is misunderstood about a disability through meeting with the invited resident who has a disability after the lecture about the feature of an communication issue.

Furthermore, they discuss in a group to learn how to improve their communication skills through a role play in various settings which a resident with a disability and the manager communicate.

Japanese original article:

Deaf Japan Ski Association holding snowboarding training camp

January 5, 2013

Until January 3, 2013 from December 30, 2012, the Deaf alpine snowboard team of the Deaf Japan Ski Association participated in a training camp in the ski resort of Noboribetsu, Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan. On January 2, the snowboarding team of the Hokkaido Ski Association held their training camp, which the Deaf team joined and practiced together. The Deaf team strived to level up under the guidance of the world-class team.

Three Deaf snowboarders from Fukushima and Kanagawa Prefectures took part in the training. They camped in Austria from mid-December, and joined the training at Noboribetsu from December 30.

Takashima Koki from Kanagawa Prefecture will compete in the Deaf World Cup which will be held in Russia in February 2013. He said, "I aim at winning. Snow in Noboribetsu is so hard that it is easy for me to snowboard."

Japanese original article:

Deaf/Hard of hearing students join local meeting in Okinawa

January 6, 2013

The meeting to deepen a friendship among deaf/hard of hearing students was held for the first time in Okinawa Prefecture on January 5 at the University of Okinawa located in Naha-shi. 

For the purpose of preventing the isolation of deaf/hard of hearing students attending hearing colleges/universities across Japan, each chapter of the National Deaf Students Council has been active. 

This time the secretariat of NDSC held the event to assist the Okinawa chapter which has been inactive due to lack of memberships.

About 30 people including hearing people participated, and discussed candidly the common concerns and challenges. 

In the meeting, the students related their experience with how to get accessibility to spoken information in the hearing dominant environment, by using meaningful tools such as note taking, etc.

Through the discussion, the participants reaffirmed the significance of sharing information. They will continue expanding the circle of exchange by restarting the Okinawa chapter's work.

One of the participants said, "Everyone looked happy. It was a good meeting for us here in Okinawa. We hope our local chapter will restart and continue work."

Non-profit organization supports employment of people with disabilities

Morita-san (center), a Deaf staff, says, "I will greet to visitors with a smile."

December 30, 2012

The non-profit organization (NPO) named "The Light Square" in Yonago-shi, Tottori Prefecture which has worked to promote employment for people with disabilities will open its second cafe "O'tyano" with a small gallery in the city because of the popularity on January16, 2013.

The new cafe will be managed by the NPO staff and workers with disabilities who follow each other, aiming at creating a shop full of smiles, as well as the first one in the same city.

Morita Tsugue (59), a Deaf staff, will be in charge of making a lunch set (only 10 sets, ¥ 500 each), curry rice, and sweets set.

When she started working for the NPO five years ago, she was confused in communication with the coworkers. Now she smiles and is so kind that everyone likes her.

Morita-san says, "I will try to do my best to lipread what our visitor says as we want many people come over here." Other hearing staff helps her with the telephone, etc.

NPO chairman said, "We aim to get people with or without disabilities visit our cafe with a smile."

Japanese original article:

Deaf boy's dream drawn on poster for exhibition in Fukushima

December 23, 2012

The exhibition called "Colorful Balloons with Hope" was opened in Iwaki-shi, Fukushima Prefecture on December 22, 2012, sponsored by Mainich Shimbun and Shiseido. Cecil Kishimoto, a model, visited it and gave a gift or balloons to the children who attended, and was taken a picture with them.

Many posters painted by elementary school children of their dream or hope were exhibited. Cecil commented, "I was impressed by the thought that was put to work." 

One of those posters was drawn by a Deaf boy, Yamaji Hikaru (9), an elementary school boy of Fukushima Branch School for the Deaf under the Prefecture School for the Deaf. His dream was: "In clothes with full of stars, I want to go to a lot of countries."

His father, Ikki (43) was glad about it, saying "It was a wonderful Christmas present for us," taking a picture of the poster. 

Japanese original article:

Cooking course offered at the School for the Deaf in Tokyo

Sale at Katsushika School for the Deaf in Tokyo

December 19, 2012 

The high school students of the Tokyo Metropolitan Katsushika School for the Deaf in Katsushika-ku, Tokyo sold their hand-made madeleines in the school on December 18, 2012.

The school offers the only cooking course leading to license in Japan.

In order to develop the communication skills at a workplace such as the spot of cooking where sign language is not available, the students have exchanged with the local residents through sale once per month since May, 2012.
The cooking course for the student who graduated from the high school was opened in 2006. Cooking license can be obtained after completing the two-year course.

Six students are currently in the course. They learn and practice with experts such as a former Shiseido Parlour executive chef beside a school staff. 

The graduates are employed by a first-class hotel such as Hotel New Otani, major meal companies, etc. Some enterprises accommodate the need of the Deaf worker: the Hotel Metropolitan cooking staff uses a transparent mask for the Deaf worker to lipread during the work hours. 

Japanese original article: