Deaf volleyball team practice with professional team in Aichi Prefecture

October 27, 2013

Eighteen Pioneer Red Wings teammates based in  Tendo-shi, Yamagata Prefecture, belonging to the volleyball woman V Premier League, visited the Okazaki School for the Deaf in Okazaki-shi, Aichi Prefecture, and practiced with 27 Deaf junior and high school students on October 26.

It was planned in order for the students to experience how to take the importance of not giving up, and communication with a hearing member of society through practice together with top-level players.

The Deaf teammates tackled the practice and were instructed how to pass a ball, receive, spike, etc. One of the Deaf teammates was impressed saying, "I felt uncanny about the pro player's motivation."

Japanese source:

Signed chorus by parents and children performed in Tottori Prefecture

October 27, 2013

The first "prefectural sign language ordinance" in Japan that regards sign language as language was enforced early this month. The opportunity of coexistence with the Deaf community is growing.

At the Kurayoshi Municipal Nadate Elementary School, PTA takes the lead, continuing the sign language class since ten years ago when it was found that one of the children had a Deaf mother.

The sign language class opens 5 times in a year for the children interested in learning sign language. They learn the simple greetings and self-introduction by sign language besides a sign language chorus. They also play the telephone game by sign language at the year-end event.

In the study presentation this year held at the elementary school on October 25, nine sixth graders and about 30 parents performed the "sign language chorus".

The elementary school will continue the sign language class activity. The prefecture also will enhance the sign language education at schools in response to the ordinance enforcement from now on.

Japanese source:

Deafened life saver continues practice through "beach flags" game

Yusa Masami says, "I love the sea in Kashiwazaki after I got married and moved to live. I want to protect it with my husband and friends." (at Kashiwazaki-shi, Niigata Prefecture)

October 25, 2013

Yusa Masami (遊佐雅美), 40, is one of the best life savers who has kept winning the "beach flags" game, which the players run in sands and scrambles for the rubber tube standing 20 meters away.

She cannot hear with her left ear. She lost hearing all of sudden in February, 2010 when she won 17 successive victories in the all Japan championship.

Yusa's job is life saving which prevents a marine accident. While she watches a beach, she cannot perceive any sign for "help me", and it would be a fatal mistake. Yusa thought that she could not but give up her job and a game because of deafness.

Since she got married, Yusa has made a decision to face it, and has challenged the domestic convention in June, 2010, and won. However, she won the third place at the all Japan championship in the same year, which her successive victories once stopped. Again she won three straight victories at the convention from 2011 to 2013.

The ideal as a life saver is to prevent a sea accident. Yusa prepares for emergency and continues training instantaneous power and judgment by beach flags. "There is a life of those who ask for help beyond this game."

Japanese source:

Bus continues running for Deaf children in Aichi Prefecture

Deaf school children use a public bus which runs only once a day in the morning.

October 24, 2013

In Toyohashi-shi, Aichi Prefecture, the bus on a regular route in the morning runs for 14 minutes from Toyohashi Station to the Toyohashi School for the Deaf only once a weekday.

The parents who wanted their children's safety campaigned for the constant operation of the bus, and secured it.

The bus company, Toyotetsu Bus (豊鉄バス), in Toyohashi-shi opted for abolition of the route at once, and it decided to continue after the talks with the parent group.

Toyotetsu Bus company has determined abolition of the route passing through the School for the Deaf last autumn for deficit cutting.

If this route were lost, the Deaf children would be forced to use another bus stop about 300 meters away from the school, or the railroad about 600 meters away.

It is necessary to cross a crossing without a signal, and the road to the school is narrow, and there are many accidents. Two Deaf children were almost run over by a car on the way to the school until now.

The parents moved and requested of the continuation of bus operation to the bus company.

One of guardians said later, "On the rainy day when an umbrella is necessary is dangerous for the Deaf children who most of time depend on vision. We are really grateful for the company to understand the disability."

Japanese source:

Popular telecommunication services for the Deaf in Japan

Telephone relay service is demonstrated. A Deaf user communicates with an operator (right) in sign language through a computer display.

October 23, 2013

The service which supports the Deaf person's communication with a hearing counterpart is developed successively with the telecommunication apparatus such as a  video phone, a smart phone, etc. It is popular because it helps a smooth exchange of information between the Deaf person and a hearing.

Nippon Foundation began  a "telephone relay service" in a tentative way since September. Currently 240 Deaf persons use it now.

Business with comparatively high urgency is assumed as a use scene. For example, when a credit card is lost and contact a financial institution, unexpected change in a travel reservation, a medical appointment, etc.

The questionnaire survey conducted for the Deaf persons  (147 respondetants) in 2008 showed that three in four persons answered it difficult for telephone contact so that they gave up application procedure.

The telephone relay service will continue until March, next year. The Foundation will request the introduction as a public service from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications depending on reactions of the users.

There is also a service which supports the conversation using functions, such as a smart phone.

The application which the independent administrative agency "National Institute of Information and Communications Technology universal communication research center was developed, called "Koetora" (こえとら). It has been public since June.

With "Koetora," which is downloadable for free at the apple company store, texts and sounds are alternatively used.

It has been downloaded more than 4,000 times for four months after public presentation. The research manager is surprised, saying, "We did not expected that."

However, it is pointed out that though it is desirable to become easy to carry out communication by progress of technology, it is necessary to think hard about a society as a whole since it remains a problem whether a financial institution accepts the interpreting operator of a telephone relay service to be the person himself/herself for example.

Japanese source:

Round-table conference by disability organizations held at city office in Fukushima Prefecture 

A representative of the Deaf Association (left) makes a request to the city in sign language at the conference.

October 22, 2013

In order to build the society in which a person with disability lives easily, the disability organizations and the Fukushima city office in Fukushima Prefecture held an annual round-table conference in the city office on October 18.

Each representative of ten disability organizations were present, and exchanged opinions about the city issues the requests to the administration.

The requests were, for instance, to station the personnel fluent in sign language in the general hospital, to promote the opportunity of a person with disability for work as an obligation of the city office to achieve, etc.

Although the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006, Japan has not ratified yet.

It was also pointed out that positive promotion of "the city is needed to improve radically the welfare and disability policy towards ratification of the convention".

Japanese source:

Issues on "welfare shelter" to be checked in Nagano Prefecture

October 21, 2013

Chino-shi in Nagano Prefecture will hold a disaster drill on October 23 in order to review the role and issues of a "welfare shelter" for the people who have difficulties in the general shelter at the time of a disaster.

A welfare shelter will be established at "Shiozawa Spa" in the city which is one of the seven welfare shelters designated .  

It will be the first trial that persons with disabilities and their supporters participate in the project. They will actually experience the situation of the shelter, and recheck the contents of the welfare shelter management manual (2008).

The secondary welfare facility is used for people with special needs, such as elderly people, persons with disabilities, pregnant women and nursing mothers, and infants.

When it is judged that the life is difficult for those in a primary shelter, such as a school, they are moved from a person with high necessity to a welfare shelter.

Training was planned for the first time when the Chino-shi Association of the Deaf" and the city community welfare promotion section discussed disaster measures.

The section officials said, "it is a big theme that we get those who need consideration to spend a comfortable time at the time of a disaster. We will make it the manual to meet the needs of those people through the training."

Japanese source:

Deaf man publishes an essay originated in tweets

Jellyfish says,  "I want you to enjoy reading the book".
October 22, 2013

A Deaf man, 29, whose pen name is Jellyfish and lives in Ichikawa-shi, Chiba Prefecture, published the comic essay that describes daily life with a girl, 27, who has a developmental disorder, titled "My girlfriend has a developmental disorder: the chaotic diary about the couple with disabilities" (published by Gakken Kyoiku Shuppan). 

Jellyfish's attitude which responds to the girl named Blue while she struggles the troubled thing in her life invites sympathy.

Jellyfish who had progressive hearing loss underwent the cochlea implant at the age of 21. He does not feel inconvenient so much for the one-to-one conversation.

Jellyfish and Blue got to know each other through the bulletin board on a network five years ago. Tweets between Jellyfish and  Blue were noticed by an editor and resulted in publication.

Japanese source:

Deaf alumni from Akita Prefecture celebrate 50th anniversary of the Tokyo chapter

October 22, 2013

The Tokyo Chapter of Akita Prefectural School for the Deaf in northern Japan held the 50th anniversary ceremony in the metropolitan area recently.

The alumni came up to Tokyo after graduation and experienced many difficulties in piles. The head of the chapter Kenjo Yoshiaki (見上善昭)  who lives in Saitama Prefecture next to Tokyo looked back upon the time when fax had not spread, saying he had to run a long distance by the bicycle for meeting with the person far away.

The Tokyo Chapter has held a cultural lecture meeting 68 times until last year. The members have studied broadly the welfare and employment policy, the overseas present situation, etc. through a lecture.

Many more members utilize the smart phone to carry out communication in text on a screen. Even if apparatus progresses, sign language is still important and the much more spread is indispensable to it.

Appreciation is made to the members of the Tokyo chapter who have supported development of Japan for five decades meanwhile caring for their hometown.

Japanese source:

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

The members advance preparation towards day-care service to be opened.

October 19, 2013

The Non-Profit Organization "Bingo Welfare Association of the Deaf", consisted of the Deaf persons, families and sign language circle members in eastern Hiroshima Prefecture, was founded in May.

The association is advancing preparation to open the day service center for the Deaf senior, which they will operate, in Fukuyama-shi next year.

It is because the Deaf senior are unable to  mingle with other hearing users and only isolated in a general day-care service in many cases.

Establishment of the day care center based on public nursing care insurance will be the first time in the Chugoku district.

The Society has rented an apartment room in the city this summer, with a capacity of eight persons, meeting the standard by the Long-term Care Insurance Law. It has a kitchen, a bath room, and a consultation space.

Japanese source:

Tottori Prefecture Governor briefing interpreted first in Japan

Governor Hirai's remark interpreted at the Tottori prefectural office.

October 18, 2013

Tottori Prefecture where Japan's first sign language ordinance was enforced launched interpreting at Governor Hirai Shinji's regular briefing on October 17.

This is the first time that the sign language interpreter has been stationed by a governor's scheduled briefing in all prefectures all over the country.

The prefecture is broadcasting the regular briefing live by its website, and after the end of an interview distributes recording. It will set up the online video titled the "Sign Language Channel."

Japanese sources:

Tottori Prefectural officials learn basic sign language

The prefectural senior officials practice a greeting in sign language at the prefectural office.

October 17, 2013

In response to the fact that the first sign language ordinance in Japan was enforced on October 11, Tottori Prefecture held the executive meeting at the prefectural office, where about 20 senior officials checked the measure for advancing the spread of sign language, and then learned basic sign language on October 16.

At the meeting, demonstration of the remote interpreting service using the tablet computer which is due to be introduced before the year end was demonstrated.

The attendees practiced six kinds of greetings such as "good morning", "I'm sorry", etc. in sign language by instruction of the Deaf female personnel of the prefectural league of associations of the Deaf. They were advised that signing with expression should help the feeling get across to the Deaf person.

Governor Hirai said, "The Sign Language Ordinance is an ordinance which goes the one-step ahead of a world. It is important to cause movement which gets the residents to be familiar with sign language." He also requested to hurry the measure to orient the general people towards the spread of sign language in the prefecture.

Japanese sources:

Sign language interpreter in Aichi Prefecture tells her experience

Matsui Hiromi says, "I want many people to know the importance of sign language".

October 18, 2013

A sign language interpreter Matsui Hiromi (松井広美) first listens to the Deaf person who visits the welfare division for persons with disabilities where she is posted in the Anjo-shi City Office in Aichi Prefecture.

Then she guides the Deaf visitor to the citizen division, the national insurance pension division, Long-term Care Insurance Division, etc. depending on his request, and interprets exactly the system and procedure which a person in charge explains.

"The Deaf person cannot check whether something to say is told exactly, so trusts an interpreter. Therefore, I feel responsible as an interpreter."

Since she was born to Deaf parents, Matsui naturally acquired sign language. When she was a junior high school student, she joined the city sign language circle, and was involved in the interpreting volunteer activity.

She started work in the city office at the age of 28. Her working days of duty and time were increased gradually after once per week in the beginning.

Matsui studied the welfare system and technical knowledge through participating in a gathering of interpreters, the meeting in the Deaf community, etc. in weekends in the meantime.

It is because of her belief that "interpreting is impossible unless the interpreter shares the feeling of a Deaf person and understands the situation."

Matsui passed the national sign language interpreter's examination in 2002, and since April, last year, works as an expert with the term of office in the city office every day.

Sign-language interpreters run short and the spread of sign language is not still enough, either. Matsui says, "I want to see the society which has sign language anywhere."

Japanese source:

Bank tests text system for Deaf/deaf customers in Okinawa Prefecture

October 11, 2013

Ryugyu Bank located in Okinawa Prefecture in the southern island of Japan announced on October 10 that it carried out a trial of the system which displays on a tablet what a bank clerk says in text almost simultaneously.

It is assumed for a service to customers who are Deaf/deaf or elderly people.

The bank will test the system with ten brunches till the end of February, next year, and consider formal introduction after checking an effect.

The bank was using conventionally the "writing board" in communicating with a Deaf/deaf customer.

Japanese source:

Tochigi Prefecture to support hearing-aid buying expenses for the children with mild hearing loss

October 10, 2013

Tochigi Prefecture added up 1,750,000 yen to a supplementary budget in September in order to support the hearing-aid buying expenses for the children with mild hearing loss.

The support system of the government has been available till the end of March, 2013.

However, the government changed the degree of hearing loss indicator available only to the child with serious hearing loss starting in April, 2013. The prefecture responds to the change by its own system.

Japanese source:

Deaf student wins prize in speech contest of National High School Festival

October 8, 2013

Jinno Kana (神野華奈), a high school senior of the Ehime Prefectural Matsuyama School for the Deaf located in Matsuyama-shi, won the prize for an excellent work equivalent to the 4th place in the speech contest of the National High School Festival opened in Nagasaki Prefecture on August 2-3.

Sixty five students participated in the contest from the whole country.

According to the national high school culture federation secretariat, it was an inspiring feat for the first time in 19 years that the representative from Ehime Prefecture was placed on the higher rank winning a prize at the contest.

After competing with the hearing contestants, Jinno expressed the feeling of gratitude, "I appreciate the teacher who kept company for practice, my friends who cheered me, and my parents who watched."

Jinno lost hearing at the age of three, and used the hearing-aid after that. Although she went on to the local junior high school, she transferred to the Matsuyama School for the Deaf when she was a eighth grader.

She, mixing sign language, told the audience hard about having got interested in work of welfare through on-site training in a nursing home, accepting a disability and explaining it to hearing people little by little, etc.

Japanese source:

Deaf runner supported by sign language at international half marathon in Iwate Prefecture

Nagai Hisashi (right) talks about the race with the sign language interpreter at the goal.

October 7, 2013

The 32nd Ichinoseki International Half Marathon (21.0975 km) Convention was held in Ichinoseki-shi, Iwate Prefecture on October 6, where sign-language interpreting was introduced by request of the Deaf runner, Nagai Hisashi (永井恒), aged 57.

He came from his hometown in Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka Prefecture and received support by sign-language interpreting. He won the third prize for men aged 55-59.

Nagai was never able to get such support until now. He said, "This race is one of my best recollections," sharing a happy moment with two sign language interpreters.

The interpreters interpreted what the broadcast conveyed during the race including a commendation ceremony, etc., besides taking Nagai to a start line and at a goal point.

Japanese source:

Lecture meeting to be held in Kumamoto related to "Coda"

Noritomi arranges a lecture meeting.
October 5, 2013

The organization, KDWF, in Kumamoto Prefecture will hold a lecture meeting in Kumamoto Gakuen University located in Kumamoto-shi on October 5, aiming at promotion of an understanding of the issues that hearing children of Deaf parents (CODA) have faced.

The KDWF leader Noritomi Hideto (乗富秀人), 43, appealed for establishment of "a group to protect the human rights of a Deaf child, a hard of hearing child, CODA, and their parents and family" (KDWF), which was formed in 2010. There are about ten staff members who are Deaf or hearing with fluency in sign language.

Noritomi, a born-Deaf artist, attended a Tokyo school for the Deaf, went to France for study, and currently lives with his Deaf family in Kumamoto. He moved to live in Kumamoto where according him "is positive to sign language education", taking advantage of his son's birth.

Noritomi explains, "the Deaf person has been discriminated in various ways. Existence of "coda" is seldom known, but they stand between in two worlds; hearing and Deaf person especially."

"There are still the discrimination and prejudice over sign language, etc.
I want people to notice pain which CODA and a Deaf person have through the lecture meeting."

Moreover, Sou Keiko (荘恵以子), a sign language interpreter, is also herself CODA. She will give a lecture entitled "the sign language as a minority language".

Japanese source:

Empress enjoys National Japan disability drum convention in Tokyo

The Empress (center) views the Japan drums convention in Tokyo.

October 6, 2013

The Empress appreciated the 15th Japan disability drums convention in the Bunkyo Civic Hall in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo on October 6.

She raised both hands to the performance of seven organizations including the "god-of-the-wind drum" by junior high school students of the Ishikawa Prefectural School for the Deaf, conveying praise by sign language: waving the hands.

The convention has been held in various places since 1999. The Tokyo convention attracted 35 organizations and about 550 persons from Tokyo, Shizuoka, Fukushima, Osaka, etc. this time.

Japanese source:

Tottori Prefecture: Books of sign language exhibited at the library

Books about sign language were exhibited together in a section of the Prefectural Library.

October 9, 2013
The Prefectural Library located in Tottori-shi has set up a counter that the books about sign language are exhibited together in relation to the first sign language ordinance to be enacted in Japan. It will be opened through October 30.

Having placed is about 50 volumes, such as books about sign language described, the picture-books for children,  autobiographies written by Deaf persons, etc.

The library staff said that the sign language dictionary is so popular that about ten volumes all have been lent out.

Japanese source:

Tottori Prefecture: Video remote interpreting service and sign language class to be carried out

Image: Video emote sign-language interpreting service through the tablet computer.
October 9, 2013

The September supplementary budget approved at the plenary session in Tottori Prefecture on October 8 includes related costs of 22 million yen, such as a model project of the video remote interpreting service which uses the tablet computer, and a sign language lecture for the local residents in the prefecture.

The prefecture will station a full-time interpreter to a sign language support center located in Yonago-shi provides sign language service through the Internet with the use of the tablet computer that the Deaf resident in the prefecture owns.

The sign language lecture for the prefectural residents is planned about 10 times before the year end. The support of training cost of a sign language circle and sign language class for the staff of a school for the Deaf also starts.

On the other hand, the prefectural board of education also considers the opportunity for all the young students to study sign language. Although the lesson of "sign language" cannot newly be set up due to the government guidelines for teaching, development of teaching-materials is considered to be used as a part of integrated study, etc. that the student can learn. The delivery lecture to the elementary and junior high schools by the staff of a school for the Deaf, etc. will be also carried out.

Japanese source:

Sign language ordinance passed in Tottori Prefecture: "Historical day!"

Members of the organization of the Deaf share a happy moment with Governor Hirai  (left) after ordinance bill passed at the prefectural assembly hall.

October 9, 2013

When the first "sign language ordinance" in Japan was passed in Tottori Prefecture on October 8, about 80 Deaf persons and supporters who filled the gallery hoped that new convivial society would come true.

After the assembly closed, when Governor Hirai showed up to the gallery, the Deaf persons joyfully shook the special towels with a printed phrase "sign language ordinance passed."

Governor told a thought, "I would like to make sign language into an easy-to-use world."

Ogiwara Kozo (荻原耕三), 69, the president of the Tottori prefectural league of associations of the Deaf, said in appreciation, "I feel filled with deep emotion with Governor's sincere thought of sign language and the Deaf community."

Japanese source:

Sign Language Ordinance (Japanese):

Tottori Prefecture enacts the first sign language ordinance in Japan

Deaf people and supporters in the gallery wait for the moment of approval of the sign language ordinance at the Tottori prefectural assembly while being given to explanation with sign language.

October 08, 2013

The "sign language ordinance" of Tottori Prefecture to advance spread of  sign language as a language was approved unanimously at the prefectural assembly on October 8.

The ordinance positions the information dissemination in sign language, securing of sign language interpreters, etc. as a prefectural role, and aims at the creation of environment in which a Deaf person lives easily.

Such an ordinance comes out for the first time in Japan, and will be enforced soon. (on October 11th according to other Japanese sources)

The new ordinance of Tottori Prefecture defines sign language as "the cultural product which has an original language system," and determines that the prefecture and munincipls have a duty to strive for the spread of sign language and to promote an understanding among the people in the prefecture.

It is specified in the ordinance that entrepreneurs strive for the environmental management which Deaf workers are able to work without any difficulty, schools for Deaf children must raise a school staff's technique so that the children can learn sign language and study in the language, etc.

Penal regulations are not established by the aim to which participation of the people of the prefecture is urged.

In Japan, Disabled Persons' Fundamental Law was revised in 2011, and a section about  "language (sign language is included)" was incorporated in the article. However, since it has not got into a concrete measure, the call for the environmental management which spreads sign language is going up from the Deaf community.

The prefectural assembly also approved on the day of the supplementary budget of the current fiscal year which incorporated a total of about 22 million yen for expense of a model project of remote sign-language interpreting service using a tablet computer, the sign language lecture for the people of the prefecture, etc.

Japanese source:

English articles:
Tottori Pref. passes ordinance recognizing sign language
Tottori champions sign language

Sign-language ordinance: Nagano Prefecture vows to follow Tottori Prefecture

October 05, 2013

The "sign language ordinance proposal" is expected to be passed in the Tottori prefectural assembly. If enforced, it will become the first ordinance in the whole country.

About 300,000 Deaf persons with a card of disability are all over the country. Even there are many more people who are hard of hearing and don't own a disability card.

On the other hand, the number of sign language interpreters certified through the examination by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare remains as 3,000, and most of them are in urban areas, such as Tokyo and Osaka.

It is insufficient in rural areas even if we add the sign language interpreters who finished the interpreting training course run by a prefecture or city.

Nagano Prefecture with a large scale area in central Japan has only 39 certified interpreters and 137 prefecture-level interpreters.

There is a problem in their treatment. The hourly pay in the Prefecture for sign-language interpreting is 1,530 yen. If interpreters work for a long hours, they will be attacked by the spasm of the pain of the shoulder or the back, an arm, or a hand.

Movement towards Deaf right promotion occurred even in Nagano Prefecture for about ten years ago.

There is "summary captioning" beside sign language interpreting: a skilled staff writes a speaker's words in shorthand, which projects on a screen, etc.

When this was performed in the election campaign, it turned out that it was against the Public Offices Election Law. Twenty assemblies in the prefecture sent the petition for legal revision to the minister in charge.

It did not come out successfully as a result. The interpreting services for sign language and summary captioning, which were seen briskly at the assembly hall in every place have recently decreased.

The "National Convention of the Deaf" will be held in Nagano Prefecture next year. Concerned people would like to dig up an awareness of the issues of those days, and to follow the example of Tottori Prefecture once again.

If movement which aims at the society in which everyone lives easily spreads in rural areas, it may also move to change the legal system of the country.

Japanese source:

English aritcle: Tottori Prefecture to promote use of sign language

October 6, 2013
The Yomiuri Shimbun reports:

The Tottori prefectural assembly will likely pass an ordinance to promote sign language by, for example, teaching it in schools, with the hope of making the prefecture a place where people who regularly use sign language can communicate with more people.

Read more (English article):

Governor explains sign language ordinance "as legal expression of the idea" in Tottori Prefecture

October 3, 2013

The regular prefectural assembly was held in Tottori on October 2 to discuss the first "sign language ordinance" in the whole country.

About the ordinance aiming at the development of environment for Deaf persons to live easily with sign language positioned as language, Tottori Governor Hirai Shinji (平井伸治) explained that it would enter under the category of an ideal ordinance.

He explained that it would be an ordinance which expresses one idea in a  declarative and legal way, in responding to the question by an assembly member Inada Toshihisa (稲田寿久).

Inada stated, "although I would approve the aim of the ordinance, it seems different from what I myself visualized about the contents of the ordinance. We should not dance for the policy of a mere idea", and asked for the prudent argument.

On the other hand, Governor Hirai replied, "first of all, a box is made and contents are packed firmly after this. This being an ordinance of a starting point" and requested for an understanding.

It is due for the ordinance proposal to be examined in a committee on October 4, and to be voted on it at the plenary session on October 8.

Japanese source:

Related link:
Tottori Prefecture explains a draft sign language ordinance

Helen Keller and Hanawa Hoki-ichi, a blind Japanese scholar

Helen Keller visits Onko Gakkai in Shibuya-ward, Tokyo.

During her first visit to Japan, Helen Keller visited Onko Gakkai (温故学会) in Shibuya-ward, Tokyo, which is the research institute that inherits the learning of Hanawa Hokiichi (塙保巳一:1746 to 1821), a well-known Japanese classical scholar of the Edo period, on April 26.

Helen touched the wooden statue of Hanawa who was visually impaired since his birth, and spoke with gratitude as quoted:

"When I was a child, my mother told me that Mr. Hanawa was my role model. To visit this place and touch his statue was the most significant event during this trip to Japan. The worn desk and the statue facing down earned more respects of him. I believe that his name would pass down from generation to generation like a stream of water."

How did Helen's family know about the blind scholar Hanawa? Here is a story.

In 1887, the parents of Helen visited Alexander G. Bell about her education. They sent the letter by his introduction to the principal of the Perkins School in Maschusetts, and asked for a tutor for Helen.

Reportedly, Bell then told the parents about a Japanese man named Hanawa Hokiichi.

It was said that a Japanese man named Izawa Shuji (伊沢修二) (1851-1917) introduced Hanawa to Bell in details.

Izawa was sent to the United States by the Ministry of Education to study a teacher training program from 1875 until 1878. He also studied education of the Blind and Deaf including "the visible speech" from Bell.

Related links (English) :

Hokiichi Hanawa (1746-1821,died aged 76) --The Famous Blind Scholar of Japan--
HANAWA Hokiichi, Hellen Keller's role model
Hokiichi Hanawa~The famous blind scholar of Japan ~ (1746-1821)

Deaf children learn how to make the Japanese-style food which is useful for lunch in Osaka

September 28, 2013

The cooking class from which Deaf children, hearing children and their parents together learn making the Japanese-style food, some of which can be used for lunch, was opened in the local center in Osaka-shi.

Non Profit Organization "essence" in Suita-shi, which carries out activity to promote connection and exchange of the eating-and-drinking industries for the disability community, and "Deaf Support Osaka" in Osaka-shi, which offers help the Deaf for independent living, planned the event with interpreting.

Imagawa Takeshi (今川岳) who owns a Japanese restaurant in the city was a lecturer. He says, "Although I talked slowly and advanced the class focusing on the children, everybody showed a better result than I expected. It was a good experience for myself."

Almost all the participants enjoyed the program that they learned the flow in cooking, etc. from a professional in an easy way.

Japanese source:

Deaf woman promotes understanding of hearing dog in Yamaguchi Prefecture

Kamo explains the role of a hearing dog.

September 28, 2013

The demonstration of the "hearing dog" which supports a Deaf person will be held in the Yamaguchi Information Center for the Deaf in Yamaguchi-shi, Yamaguchi Prefecture on October 13.

Kamo Yukie (加茂由喜枝), 52, a Deaf office worker in the city, proposed to organize the event, appealing by saying, "I want many people to know about a hearing dog."

She has been giving a lecture since 2006 at the elementary and junior high schools in Yamaguchi-shi and Shunan-shi, etc.

One day, she explained the present condition, a role, etc. of a hearing dog. The children who listened to the lecture said, "I would like to do work which trains a hearing dog in the future", "I want to see a hearing dog", etc.

Although Kamo also wanted to prepare the place which introduces a hearing dog, the expense was a problem, far from being realized.

The Japan Hearing Dogs for Deaf People located in Miyata-mura, Nagano Prefecture is planning the national campaign this year using the subsidy of Japane Post. The organization accepted Kamo's request and chose Yamaguchi-shi as one of the 12 venues across the country.

Kamo is enthusiastic about the event, saying, "There are also many people grow older losing hearing. I would like to bring this event to the spread of hearing dogs."

Japanese source:

Sign language chorus active in "town of welfare," Hokkaido

The members of a "sign language chorus" have deepened an understanding to sign language through the song.

September 27, 2013

There is a sign language circle which works focusing on a "song" in Shintoku-cho, Hokkaido which is known as a "town of welfare."

The circle called "Sign Language Chorus," which greeted the 10th anniversary of establishment this year, has a dream that the members spread sign language in the town, and make into the town where a Deaf person and a hearing person can connect the heart, meaning they can understand each other in sign language.

The circle leader Ota Yasuko (太田泰子) invited Okada Setsuko (岡田セツ子), 74, in the neighborhood who is tackling sign language since 30 years, to give a lecture to start the circle.

The members thought that the circle would not continue for a long time only by memorizing sign language, and decided to learn sign language through a song.

The song phrases expressed in sign language are made from a Deaf person's instruction, and they are devised so that a meaning may get across to a Deaf person in the neighborhood.

The members who were at the beginning of establishment increased in number from 15 to 35 now.

Japanese source: