Japanese Deaf cyclists strengthen practice for Sophia Deaflympics

Six cyclists have been informally selected to the national team for Summer Deaflympics.
(photo: http://cyclist.sanspo.com/)

May 28, 2013

The cycle circuit event called "FUJI VELO FESTA" took place at the Fuji International Speedway in Oyama-cho, Shizuoka Prefecture on May 11, in which six Deaf cyclists (5 males and 1 female) participated. They have been informally selected to represent Japan at the Deaflympics. 

Although it rained, all the Deaf cyclists did their best in a 120-km solo, etc., each making a good record with the 5th place in finish, spurring high expectancy in Deaflympics this summer.

Japan is going to sent the national cycling team to Deaflympics for the first time. The Japan Deaf Cycling Association (JDCA) was established in 2010 towards competitions at the International Convention, etc. Forty or more members joined, aiming at the Deaflympics participation.

Japan Deaf Cycle Association website: (Japanese)

Japanese source:

All the remarks uttered in assembly to be simultaneously translated into text

May 27, 2013

The Takeo-shi Assembly in Saga Prefecture, a part of Japan's southern island, announced on May 27 that it will make all discussions in its plenary session public in text immediately through the Internet, starting in June.

According to the municipal assembly secretariat, the move responded to the information need of the Deaf community, and that it will be the first trial in the whole country.

The city transmits the data including all the remarks made by the executives and lawmakers to an Internet-related company "ISCEC Japan" (アイセック・ジャパ ン) located in Uruma-shi, Okinawa Prefecture.

The company transcribes the data in an instant to be published on the city's Facebook page. Even if at the plenary session, you can read on the Facebook page for free.

The expense of the translation work is estimated about 3.6 millions yen per year.

The Deaf person used to read the minutes published one month after the end of the assembly meeting.

Japanese source:

Deaf customers at ease call taxi through a smart phone in Okinawa Prefecture

"National Taxi Allocation of Cars" application used for a smart phone
(photo: http://www.okito.or.jp/)
    May 25, 201

In Okinawa Prefecture, the southern island of Japan, the Okito Traffic Group (沖東交通グループ) has begun the service to call a taxi through a smart phone with the free application, the "National Taxi Allocation of Cars" since January, 2013.

Since a taxi can be called on the screen of a smart phone, a person who is Deaf/hard of hearing, etc. can use the application at ease.

Writing materials are kept in all the taxis since May, and the driver will be able to communicate with a Deaf/deaf customer in writing. Watch for the "ear mark" sticker on the door of a taxi as a sign.

According to the Group, after beginning allocation of cars by a smart phone in January, 300-400 cars are allocated per month.

Japanese source:

Deaf man manages job assignments in Tokyo

Shioda Tomohiro at an interview.
(photo: http://www.asahi.com/)
 May 24, 2013

Shioda* Tomohiro* (塩田知弘), 25, works for the General Affairs/ES Promotion Department of FAST RETAILING Co. Ltd. based in Tokyo, which develops UNIQLO, etc., since February, this year.

He is deaf since when he was a small boy, and can exchange oral conversation with the surrounding people. His communication abilities are so good that people would forget he is deaf.

Shioda who never went to a school for the Deaf attended a hearing school throughout. When he was a high school student, he tried hard himself to develop his lip-reading and speech abilities.

After being hired by the company in 2011, Shioda got to know that the company was promoting positive employment of persons with disabilities.

Currently, about 900 persons with disabilities including Shioda are employed in the whole group (6.45% of employment rate).

The target which UNIQLO held up in 2001, "one person with disability for one store," has reached even to 96%.

Shioda currently sits on counter in the General Affairs Department in the company, being engaged in counseling for the employees.

In fact, he is also on the Japan national soccer team. He played and won the victory in the Asia-Pacific Deaf Soccer Championship last year. He will play for the national team at the Deaflympics in Bulgaria this summer.

Japanese source:

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

Deaf man draws scenes of hometown destroyed by the Great East Japan Disaster

Okubo* Noritsugu* continues drawing a picture for the thought of his hometown Otsuchi.
 (photo: http://www.iwate-np.co.jp/)

May 23, 2013

Okubo Noritsugu (大久保紀次), a 75-year-old deaf man, lives in Otsuchi-cho, Iwate Prefecture where the Great East Japan Earthquake hit in 2011 .

He is overcoming disaster experience, striving for pictures expression.

His elder brother fell victim from tsunami, and his hometown has also completely been changed.

Okubo is expressing the town that he used to see in the past and that he still remember in his heart to show the sight of the town to future generations, although many of his own works were lost.

He says, "Otsuchi is in a state still like a desert by an earthquake disaster. I am drawing the picture by the desire to regain a beautiful hometown."

Japanese source:

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

Ishikari City promotes environmental building to establish sign language ordinance

May 18, 2013

Ishikari-shi, Hokkaido in Japan's northern island launched the investigative commission with Deaf organization representatives and experts on May 16, aiming at establishment of the "sign language basic ordinance (tentative name)"  which defines the philosophy for building the environment where a Deaf person lives easily, etc.

The commission makes a draft ordinance, etc. by the end of June, and the city mayor will submit an ordinance proposal to the regular municipal assembly scheduled for September.

If approved, it will be the first ordinance in the whole country about sign language.

An ordinance regards sign language as "language" and aims at the production of society that Deaf persons and citizens communicate in sign language. The production of environment for a Deaf person's social participation is also set on a pillar.

The city is holding the sign language class since about 20 years ago, and stations the certified sign language interpreter part-time in the city office since 1996.

According to the city, about 300 Deaf persons live in the city, out of whom about 50 are estimated to use sign language.

Japanese source:

Ishikari City official website (Japanese):

Study meeting held in Hiroshima Prefecture for hearing people to understand the needs of Deaf persons

May 16, 2013

The study meeting which deepens an understanding about deafness was held in the chamber of commerce hall in Higashi-Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima Prefecture the night of May 14.

The Higashi-Hiroshima junior chamber of commerce sponsored it, and about 100 members and residents participated.

Although there are about 470 Deaf/deaf persons in the city, those who use sign language are reportedly less than 100 persons.

A sign language interpreter, Karasawa* Mika*, 51, explained, "I hope you understand that communication with a Deaf/deaf person does not rely only sign language but also various methods, such as writing."

The participants divided into several groups learned how to communicate with a Deaf/deaf person through various games such like lip-reading, etc.

In response to the result that few persons gave the right answers when lip-reading, Karasawa explained, "Even if Japanese differs in pronunciation, there are many words with the same form on a mouth."  She suggested that using gestures would help communication go smooth.

Akiyama* Akemi* and other members of the Higashi-Hiroshima Association said that the Deaf/deaf persons are troubled usually and asked for cooperation: the Deaf/deaf cannot grasp a situation, even if a train stops at an accident; "Deaf/deaf workers cannot hear the siren in the workplace which tells the commencement of work or closing time, etc.

Japanese source:

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

Handwriting app. with easy operation for communication

The handwriting board made in easy operation
(photo: http://www.plusvoice.jp/UDtegaki/)
May 19, 2013

Plus Voice (head office: Sendai-shi, Miyagi Prefecture) that deals with a deaf-friendly welfare solution, developed the "UD Handwriting" Board with an application for hand writing, in collaboration with two companies, Shamrock Records, Inc. and Advanced Media, Inc. both located in Tokyo.

Plus Voice will start a sale of the UD Handwriting on May 17, 2013. 

The application is distributed for free through the download service App Store which Apple Inc. manages.

The "UD Handwriting" Board was made by Shamrock Records, Inc. which makes elated application development in the universal design. The user can operate intuitively in an input-by-hand-writing application.

When Deaf persons take communication, they can not only use it as a writing board, but also take a memo with it on that spot.

Moreover, it is possible to display characters from the voice of a speaker through the add-on called "an input of a character at voice" which utilized the Cloud type speech recognition service "AmiVoice Cloud" of Advanced Media, Inc.

Plus Voice official website (Japanese):

Event to be held for Deaflympic promotion in Fukuoka Prefecture

Ninomiya* Shino* (left) and a "Fukuoka LIVE" committee member.
(photo: http://www.oita-press.co.jp/)

May 17, 2013

The event called the "Fukuoka LIVE" which advertises "Deaflympics" will be held in Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture in the southern island of Japan on  May 26.

Ninomiya* Shino* (二ノ宮志乃), 31, an Oita native, who belongs to the Deaf basketball team in Yufu-shi, Oita Prefecture, leads the event organizing committee. She says she is intent on promoting awareness of Deaflympics. "I want many people to know about the International Games for the Deaf and encourage the Deaf athletes who have challenged it."

According to investigation of the Cabinet Office in 2006, the popular recognition of Deaflympics was as low as 2.8%.

The Deaf athletes are striving for practice, while working full-time. However, many of them give up an entry because of lack of  funding. Actually all the athletes even have to prepare the uniform for the Deaflympics on their own account.

Japanese source:

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

Wanted supporters to cheer local soccer team by sign language in Saitama Prefecture

People cheer the local soccer team by sign language during the game in July, 2012.
(photo: http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/)  

May 17, 2013

The Omiya Ardija soccer team based in Saitama Prefecture on Soccer J1 League will play against the Sagan Tosu team on July 6, at 19:00 in NACK5 stadium Omiya in Saitama Prefecture next to Tokyo.

An Omiya official sponsor, Mainichi Productions, is inviting 2,000 supporters to cheer the Omiya team by sign language during the game.

The similar event with sign language started in 2006, and this year it will be the 5th time.

The last event was carried out on July 14, 2012, with 1,325 persons. They wore the uniform orange T-shirt in the specially set-up stand, and rooted for the Omiya team.

The knowledge of sign language is not required. A participant will be admitted with no charge, wear the orange T-shirt given.

Japanese source:

School for the Deaf in Kagawa Prefecture opens a support center for parents with Deaf children

May 16, 2013

The Kagawa Prefecture School for the Deaf located in Takamatsu-shi, Kagawa Prefecture, a part of western Japan, is the only school that offers Deaf education in the prefecture. It recently established the support center on campus for the Deaf/deaf children and their parents in the area.

The school set up the consultation space about ten years ago and has been involved in consultation services to support guardians and Deaf/deaf children aged from preschool through junior high school in the prefecture.

Since needs were growing more in diversity, such as consultation about Deaf/deaf infants that increases in recent years, the school determined strengthening of the consultation services.

Teachers who is also qualified as a speech therapist advise on how to use a hearing-aid or a cochlea besides pronunciation instruction, etc.

Exchange events, such as a camp and a pounding-steamed-rice event, will be also held. The school will not only make concrete proposal about teaching materials, etc. to the teacher who takes charge of hard of hearing children, but also hold the study session in the center periodically.

Japanese source:

Deaf woman appointed as new principal of private school for the Deaf in Tokyo

Kaya Yoko becomes the principal of the Meisei Gakuen School in April.
(photo: http://www.asahi.com/)

May 14, 2013

The Deaf woman, Kaya* Yoko* (榧 陽子), 45, was appointed to be the principal of the "Meisei Gakuen" School located in Tokyo in April. The school for the Deaf is the first private school in the whole country that teaches Deaf children and students by sign language as their first language.

Kaya, born Deaf, received the lesson by the "oral method" in her school days as sign language was forbidden then because it would hinder Japanese language acquisition that many schools believed.

But, the oral method didn't help her understand any spoken communication. Kaya remembers saying, "I behaved as if I understood what the teacher said in many cases, which was much stress on me."

After she studied mathematics in the University of Tsukuba, she went to the graduate school, where she majored in overseas deaf education as she wanted sign language to be used in a school for the Deaf in the future.

Kaya had an opportunity to visit the U.S. to observe Deaf education, and saw the Deaf students using sign language at school with her own eyes.

She started the free school with friends to spread the "bilingual deaf education" which Japanese sign language is the first language and Japanese as the 2nd language for reading and writing. Later she also exerted herself for birth of the "Meisei Gakuen" School in 2008, making herself a vice-principal.

Currently, 58 children and students from preschool through junior high school are attending. One of them even commutes from Shizuoka Prefecture by a bullet train, "Shinkansen."

Kaya says, "If Japanese sign language is used, the Deaf children can support deep thinking and will lead also to self-confidence. I would like to value the dream and hope of every child and to bring up them in order to survive with confidence."

Japanese source:

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

Related link:

Deaf woman becomes principal of school for the Deaf in Tokyo

Cities and towns mandated for training sign-language talented people in Ehime Prefecture

Training of the sign language interpreter is an urgent issue. Three years and a half are needed for learning minimum technique as a sign language interpreter.
[photo: http://www.ehime-np.co.jp/]

May 16, 2013

The support by sign-language related resource are made by three kinds of qualified sign language interpreters: those who passed the examination of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, those who passed the national unified examination after having completed the training program by the prefecture, and the sign language volunteers trained by cities and towns.

The comprehensive support law for persons with disabilities enforced in April, 2013 requires every city and town to train a service staff including a sign language interpreter.

In Ehime Prefecture in western Japan, nine cities except Iyo-shi have been carrying out the training program for some time. Eleven cities and towns have started training, too, in April, 2013.

Ehime Prefecture will hold a national disability sports in four years ahead, and talented people reservation is pressing need.

However, there are likely some areas that don't get any training applicants, and it seem to be difficult.

Japanese source:

Apartment house for the visual and hearing impaired to start construction work in Hakodate, Hokkaido

 May 15, 2013

The non-profit organization in Hakodate which builds a universal home (NPO法人ユニバーサルホーム函館をつくる会) will start building the apartment house for vision and hearing-impaired persons in Hakodate-shi, Hokkaido in Japan's northern island, in June, 2013.

The residence named "Hakodate House Hiyoshi" will have a full-time staff fluent in sign language who supports a tenant for 24 hours.

The Japan Federation of The Blind located in Tokyo says,"This residence is not a welfare facility but general rental housing.  That example which provides such service may be the first in the whole country."

A residence will be a 3-story concrete structure, with the gross floor space of 1300 square meters, five spaces with two rooms and kitchen, 32 one-open rooms, a dining-room, etc.

According to the organization's official web page (Japanese), the construction will be completed in fall, 2013


Former Tateyama School for the Deaf to establish alumni association

Alumni members work towards alumni association establishment
[photo: http://www.bonichi.com/]

May 13, 2013

The alumni group of the Tateyama School for the Deaf in Chiba Prefecture is advancing alumni association establishment.

About 50 alumni members, former teachers and staff will gather on May 18 at an organization meeting in the hotel in Tateyama-shi to launch an alumni association.

The Tateyama School for the Deaf was established as a branch school of the prefecture Chiba School for the Deaf, and became independent after that in 1958.

However, since the number of students has decreased, the Chiba board of education set forth the plan to unify the school for the Deaf to the Awa Special Support School for students with disabilities in the prefecture.

The school for the Deaf was unified to the Awa School in April, 2010. In response to the Deaf alumni's request, the school building was named the "Tateyama Classroom for the Deaf" then. It was renamed to the "Tateyama Branch School for the Deaf" in April, 2013.

In integration with the special support school, the Deaf alumni felt it was necessary to spread information and an exchange place, working towards establishment of an alumni association.


YouTube: Deaf pitcher at the Japan Series in 2012

May 2013

The following YouTube link shows Ishii* Yuya*, a professional baseballer pitching for the Nippon-Ham Fighters located in Hokkaido, Japan's northern island.

He made three batters strike out during the game against the Tokyo Giants at the 2012 Japan Series.

Ishii, 31, is currently in the ninth year, acting as a relief in the 2013 season.


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

Performance group "HANDSIGN" dashes forward with sign language

May 10, 2013

The five men group performance unit, HANDSIGN (Hand Sign), which combines sign language and the street dance becomes the first in Japan, continuing the new music scene that one can see and enjoy with the eyes.

HANDSIGN, formed in 2005, attracted attention first when they appeared in "a guide to learning the sign language by performance" which was broadcast by the monitor of JR Yamanote Line, etc. in the car in 2011.

Then, the group appeared on TV programs and were requested for a public performance at a stretch. They belonged to the Oscar Promotion Office in January, this year.

HANDSIGN also appears on an NHK education program titled "Everybody's Sign Language" since April. They take charge of the sign language dance with original music every other month, and a member announces a mini sign language dance by turns.

They also visit a school for the Deaf for signed performance willingly.

The group arranged a dance of the lyrics and sign language as a theme song for the Japanese national team who will participate in the Summer Deaflympics in Bulgaria in July, this year.

The HANDSIGN was appointed as an official supporter, promoting recognition of Deaflympics as well as encouraging the Deaf athletes for the international convention.

Japanese source:

Peroformance on YouTube link:

History: Discrimination against Deaf Sports (3) High School Baseball Club in Okinawa Prefecture

Kitashiro School for the Deaf baseball club members in Okinawa Prefecture
(photo: www.jfd.or.jp/)

The Okinawa Prefecture Kitashiro School for the Deaf established in 1978 in Japan's southern island was the only school for the Deaf limited to the junior and high school students of six years altogether. It was specially established in order to meet the need of the great number of children born in 1964 through 1965 who lost hearing due to German measles.

The baseball club was formed in the school in April, 1981 when the children became a high school student. The club had 16 members, all a freshman. They were enthusiastic aiming at playing in the "Koshien" which is a dream stage for high school baseball players all over the country.

However, the Kitashiro School baseball club was rejected by the Japan High School Baseball Federation to join a high school baseball organization because of being a Deaf school . It turned out that their refusal was based on the regulation in the Japanese School Baseball Charter.

The 16th article, "High School Baseball" under the third chapter of the Charter states that "The school which can join the high school baseball league of each prefecture should be referred to what is defined in the Chapter 4 of the School Education Law."

The school for the deaf is specified by the Chapter 6 of the School Education Law, and since Kitashiro School for the Deaf is not a school as defined in the Charter, it was not eligible to join the high school baseball league in Okinawa.

The "Japan Deaf News" reporter who was coming to Okinawa for coverage by chance took up this problem, and announced the scoop.

The report stirred up the big echo of public opinion. The telephones and FAX messages of the protest poured in the Japan High School Baseball Federation from people all over the country. It recognized affiliation of the Kitashiro School at last.

The hard-of-hearing boy, Ishii Yuya, from Yokohama was impressed with the happening. When he grew up he became the first Deaf professional baseballer ever in Japan after being drafted by the Chunichi Dragons Team. He is still playing with other professional team.

It was clearly proved that it was wrong to ban Deaf people to play baseball because of being Deaf. 

Japanese source:

History: Discrimination against Deaf Sports (2) Deaf high school baseball team

Baseball teammates in uniform watch a game in a protest.
(photo: www.jfd.or.jp/))
In July, 1974, the Fukui Prefecture School for the Deaf, located in northeaster Japan, defeated the Prefecture Takefu High School Ikeda branch school, and first won the victory in the finals of the Fukui primary convention for the National High School Rubber-ball Baseball Convention. They jumped for joy, saying, "We will go ahead to the next, the Hokuriku Region Convention!".

However, the manager of the deaf school baseball club was called by the Fukui High School Baseball League immediately after the game, and was told that a school for the Deaf was not allowed to participate in the Hokuriku Region Convention.

The League did not accept the Fukui School for the Deaf to represent the Fukui Prefecture at the Region Convention, and instead accepted the high school which was the runner-up to the championship as a prefecture representative, granted the right of participation of the Hokuriku Region Convention of a top class.

It was because of the regulation of the league, which stated that an ordinary high school should be granted the right of participation, and so a school for the Deaf was not permitted.

The voice of criticism went up from the parents and the persons concerned who got to know this, and the Japanese Federation of the Deaf and Japanese Athletic Association of the Deaf protested to the Japan High School Baseball Federation.

At last, the Japan HS Baseball Federation, which was flooded with the telephones and letters of the protest from the whole country, accepted the Fukui School for the Deaf to be the second representation at the Hokuriku Region Convention as well as the special participation to the National High School Rubber-ball Baseball Convention held at the Fujiidera Stadium in Osaka in August.

Japanese source:

History: Discrimination against Deaf Sports (1) Track and Field Convention

Endo Muneshi reaches the goal line.
(photo: www.jfd.or.jp)

In May, 1967, Endo Muneshi, 18, a high school senior from the Tokyo University of Education (currently the University of Tsukuba) School for the Deaf located in Chiba Prefecture, won the victory in the Chiba High School Track-and-field Convention at two items in the good record: Men's 100M final 11 second 4, and 200M final 22 second 6.

The higher-ranking winners of the various items of this convention were to be granted to participate in the Kanto Region High School Track-and-field Championships of a top level.

Endo believed that he could participate in the Kanto convention, and he felt sure for it.

However, the National High School Athletics League made a decision to cancel Endo's qualifications for entry to the Kanto Championships on June 17, because Endo was a student of the "school for the deaf" instead of an ordinary high school.

League officials further explained: a deaf student is so unable to hear that danger may follow, and this causes trouble on a convention management, such as summoning athletes, etc.

Japanese source:

History of Deaf Japanese Sports: 1918 - 2008

On July 7, Tokyo Branch of the Japanese Deaf-Mute Society holds the Tokyo Baseball Tournament at government-owned Tokyo School for the Deaf-Mute in Koishikawa.
 In November, the Japanese Association for the Deaf-Mute holds the first Athletic Meet for the Deaf-mute. This event continues by the cooperation of the Ministry of Education, schools for the deaf, and deaf-mute groups until wartime control in the 1940's.

In May, the National Track and Field Meet for the Deaf-Mute is held in Kyoto.

On October 20, the baseball tournament (official title unknown) is held in the government-owned Tokyo School for the Deaf-Mute. Tokyo City School for the Deaf-Mute Alumni Association Baseball Club, named "Kashiwaba Club", and others participate.

In July, the discontinuance order of the national sports events is put out by the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education notifying.

Baseball is banished as a "hostility sport" during the wartime by the School Physical Education Training Outline of the Ministry of Education. As a result, deaf-mute groups are forced to dissolve their baseball clubs.

The Pacific War, part of the World War II, intensifies and calls for a decisive battle; social and sporting activities are stopped as well as the welfare activity. This state continues until 1945 when Japan is defeated.

The Japanese Federation of the Deaf starts. The tradition of sports at prewar days resumed; sporting activities by the Deaf begin to revive across the nation.

- On May 30, the first Kinki-Regional Schools for the Deaf Baseball Tournament is held at the Osaka City School for the Deaf.

- On August 15-16, the first Kanto-Regional Rubberball Baseball Game is held at the Tokyo School for the Deaf-Mute.

In November, the first Kanto-Regional Schools for the Deaf Track and Field Meet is held.

On September 24, the first National Deaf Baseball Tournament is held in Kyoto. This event continues as a rubberball baseball game after being absorbed to the National Sports Meet in 1968.

At the 12th National Conference of the Deaf held in Fukuoka Prefecture, the resolution that Japan participates in the World Games of the Deaf is adopted.

Establishment of an independent sports organization of the Deaf is called for in order to join the CISS (currently International Committee of Sports for the Deaf: ICSD) memberships. As a result, in March, the Japanese Athletic Association of the Deaf forms and immediately applies for the CISS membership .

- In January, the application of Japanese Athletic Association of the Deaf for CISS membership is approved.

- February 15-16, the first National Deaf Table Tennis and Physical Exercise Championships is held. 149 atheletes including students from schools for the Deaf participate.

- On September 17, two students from Fukuoka Prefecture Nogata School for the Deaf and one student from Osaka City School for the Deaf are selected as a domestic torch relay runner for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

On June 27-July 3, the Japanese national team (7 athelets and 4 officials) participates in the 10th World Games of the Deaf in Washington DC for the first time. About 890 atheles and others from 28 countries participate. The Japan team competes in track and field, swimming and table tennis, winning a bronze medal in the men's marathon and a silver medal in women's table tennis.

- The Japanese team first participates in the 6th World Winter Games of the Deaf in West Germany (12 countries). No medals for Japan.

- On October 23-24, first national Deaf sports meet is held in Tokyo; about 500 athelets and officers participate.

- On June 17, the High School Physical Education League revokes qualification of Endo Muneshi, a high school student of the Tokyo University of Education School for the Deaf to entry in Kanto-Regional High School Track and Field Championships as  any school for the Deaf is not qualified according to the League.

On February 5-6, the first national winter sport meet for the Deaf held in Gunma Prefecture. 110 athletes from 16 groups participate in three items: downhill, slalom, and giant slalom.

on April 1, Adachi Yukio and Ezaki Koichi are registered as first deaf official judges in the third category by the Japan Association of Athletic Federations.

In July, at the regional prelimamenty games for National High School Rubber Baseball Tournament, Fukui Prefectural School for the Deaf wins first time. However, they are denied to compete at the prefecture level game because of a deaf school.

On August 1, Okinawa Prefectural Kitashiro School for the Deaf is refused to join the Japanese High School Baseball League because of a school for the Deaf. The "Japanese Deaf News" publishes an article on the issue, attracting nation-wide attention.

- On April 24, the Japanese High School Baseball League officially decides to allow Okinawa Prefectural Kitashiro School for the Deaf to join the League.

- On October 16-17, the 18th National Sports Program for persons with disabilities is held in Shimane Prefecture; first volleyball game for the Deaf included.

Informal Asia-Pacific Deaf Sports Meet is held in Hong Kong.

- October 27 - November 1, the second JAL Cup Asia Pacific Deaf Soccer Championships is held in Kyoto. Five countries participate: Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Japan. South Korea wins the championship.

On March 26 - April 3, the Asia-Pacific Deaf Sports Meet is held in Melborune, Australia. The Asia-Pacific Deaf Sports Conference is formed.

On April 18-26, the  Asia-Pacific Deaf Sports Conference is held in Seoul, South Korea.

On March 30 - April 7, the Asia-Pacific Deaf Sports Conference is held in Kuala Lumpor, Malaysia.

- In the 18th Olympic Winter Games held in Nagano in February, a Deaf jumper, Takahashi Ryuji from Hokkaido acts as a test jumper for the jump game.

- in July, the Deaf baseball team from United States is invited to the Japan-U.S. Deaf Friendship Baseball Tournament which is held in Japan.

- The Japanese team win medals for the first time in the women's alpine at the 14th World Winter Games of the Deaf held in Davos, Switzerland in February; a silver medal in slalom and a bronze medal in giant slalom.

- in June, Japanese Federation of the Deaf abolishes its Deaf Physical Education Division and puts the Japanese Athletic Association of the Deaf, renamed to "Japanese Sports Association," into JFD's system.

- The Japan-U.S. Deaf Baseball Tournament is held in Washington, D.C. in July.

- On August 12- 16, the  Asia-Pacific Deaf Sports Conference is held in Taipei, Taiwan.

At the professional baseball draft meeting, a Deaf pitcher Ishii Yuya who previously played for the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Yokohama is nominated for the first time ever. He is the 6th player to be nominated for Chunichi Dragons Team as a pitcher, making the debut in 2005.

The Asia-Pacific Deaf Sports Conference in Kuwait is canceled.

Japanese source:

Deaf baseball player aims to becoming professional

Noro Daiki in the Niigata Albirex Baseball Club
(photo: http://www.niigata-albirex-bc.jp/team.php/profile/member/57/)

May, 2013

Noro* Daiki*, 24, a deaf baseball player from Tokyo, engages himself in hard training on baseball every day as a member of the Niigata Albeirex Baseball Club, an independent baseball club located in Niigata Prefecture, a part of northeastern Japan, aiming at becoming a pro-baseball player he has dreamed since his boyhood.

After graduating from the Horikoshi School, Noro was on the baseball team of Heisei International University till the 2010 fiscal year. Taking advantage of being a swift runner, 5 seconds and 7 for 50 meters, he was the best player to win the largest number of bases stolen in the Kanto region college baseball league for two seasons.

Noro aspired to be on draft for the pro-baseball player in 2010, all to no avail. Yet he did not give up his boyhood dream, and went into the Professional Baseball Independent League called the "Niigata Albirex Baseball Club."

Noro's position is the center, and was the first batter. His active role also shone with the 2nd place of the batting average league with the leader in the number of bases stolen last season which his second year, making a great contribution to the league title of the team.

He says, "Even though I am deaf, by becoming a professional player I hope I would give people with disability courage."

More pictures of Noro are found here:

YouTube: Noro's interview

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

New club established for Deaf seniors in Oita Prefecture

Yoshida (fifth from right in the back row) and the participants enjoy the program in the clubhouse.
(photo: http://www.oita-press.co.jp/)

May 6, 2013

The new club called the "Salon - Seeds of the Sunflower" aiming at exchange of Deaf persons and local residents opened in Nakatsu-shi, Oita Prefecture in Japan's southern island.

The clubs have been established in various parts of the city, in order for elderly people to mainly gather and enjoy activity such as a meal, conversation, a hobby, etc., but this new club was the first time for Deaf seniors.

About 50 people including the members of the club establishment organizing committee, local residents, and  administration persons concerned attended the opening ceremony.

Yoshida Hiroyoshi, 55, president of the Nakatsu Association of the Deaf, who acts as head of the new club, greeted saying, "We would like to make this club a place for many people to come and enjoy meeting other people, which will deepen our bonds."

The association established the organizing committee in cooperation with the sign language circle group in the city and others in October last year.

They remodeled the building used as an office of a construction company into a place with a barrier-free environment.

In the clubhouse, the basic sign language class, cooking, the handicraft, the woodwork and so on which all serve as rehabilitation are planned.

The club is opened from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on a weekend every month. Participation fees are 500 yen with lunch.

Japanese source:

Otsu city office in Shiga Prefecture stations Deaf counselor

A Deaf counselor, Onaka Koji, appealed for cooperation at the meeting with city hall officials, etc.
(photo: http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/)

May 2, 2013
Otsu-shi, Shiga Prefecture has stationed the "Deaf counselor" who advises a Deaf/deaf person who has a trouble for the first time in the prefecture.

According to the Otsu Welfare Association of the Deaf, there are many issues such like: there is no person who helps Deaf persons with their problems by sign language even if they seeks help, or it is impossible for Deaf persons to write what is their problem in details during counseling.

Deaf/deaf persons have few opportunities to get to know the place about which it can give advice, and usually visit the association of the Deaf or the organization of sign language interpreters.

Onaka Koji (尾中浩治), 51, who is Deaf himself, became a new counselor. He will introduce where to consult, such as a hospital, a job placement office, a lawyer's office, depending on the contents of consultation.

Onaka says, "I think that there will be more elderly people who live alone and have insufficient information. When they come to me, I intent not only to introduce an expert to them but also to give proper information."

Ishino Fushisaburou (石野富志三郎), 61, the association president and also chairman of the board of directors of the Japanese Federation of the Deaf, commented, "City offices tend to think that sign language interpreters should just respond to a request from the Deaf client. I expect that assigning the Deaf counselor will change such a situation."

Japanese source:

Nippon Foundation funds linguistics research and training program in Hong Kong


In August 2006, the Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies (CSLDS) of The Chinese University of Hong Kong received a generous funding from the Nippon Foundation, a non-government organization based in Japan, to run the Asia Pacific Sign Linguistics Research and Training Program (The APSL Program).

Teams of professionally trained sign language researchers will be generated to support the establishment of sign linguistics research and training at the region, which ultimately promotes the concept of incorporating sign language in deaf education at different levels.

For more details, visit CSLDS official site (English):