International exchange program through soccer game with Thai Deaf students

Aihara Yutaka, soccer coach
for Deaf students in Bangkok
December 25, 2014 

A soccer game took place for Deaf Japanese students and students of MAHAMEKU School for the Deaf in Bangkok, Thailand at the school ground of Otsuka School for the Deaf in Tokyo in October.

Deaf students usually don't have many chances to know outside easily. Even there is no chance for these students to have contact with foreigners. A former professional soccer player, Aihara Yutaka (相原豊), brought change to such an exclusive environment only by the soccer game.

He's an active leader to persons with disabilities at present. The wrist of his left arm has lacked since birth. When he was 23 years old, he made a professional contract in Thailand, and later he also played in Bangladesh and Uganda.

Aihara has lived in Bangkok since 2009, coaching a soccer club at the MAHAMEKU School for the Deaf.

This "international match" was achieved by Aihara, who led the Deaf student from Bangkok to Japan. This soccer game was valuable experience for the students of both schools, Thailand and Japan.

Japanese source:

Emergency charm for communication with Deaf person by pointing

"Kawasaki-shi Communication Charm" which
was sold to support a person with disability.
December 24, 2014

Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture:
The non-profit corporation called the "People Design Research Center" (Shibuya-ku, Tokyo) is selling the "Kawasaki-shi Communication Charm" at two places in Kawasaki-shi in order that the able-bodied person who supports a person with disability carries it around.

The charm combined with the hook type key ring is designed so that a Deaf person can communicate by pointing. The symbols not only necessary when asking for emergency, such as "Yes" and "No", but also "restroom" and "hospital", are shown on a card made of the acrylic fiber.

 The price is 756 yen (including tax).

Japanese source:

University rugby championship almost close to Deaf player

WTB Otsuka Takayuki of
Teikyo University (right)
December 21, 2014

The regular season game appearance put on as a target for WTB Otsuka Takayuki (大塚貴之), 22, a senior of Teikyo University in Tokyo.

He got over a handicap of being profoundly hearing loss, and grasped a chance competing with his 142 teammates aiming at 6 straight victories at the National Collegiate Rugby Tournament.

Otsuka entered a member list in Asahi University Competition in the 2nd stage of the 2nd collegiate tournament to be held on Dec. 21 at Kumagai, Saitama Prefecture. His uniform number is "23", a supplement in the back. "For me, because it's championship, I neither be conscious nor change with usual, I just do my best in each game".

He stepped on Chichibunomiya's attracted turf for the first time in the junior championship final game against Meiji University competition with teammates besides the 15 regular players on December 6. Otsuka stepped in a ground by the second half after 18 minutes as a change. "I didn't hear my fellows' and others encouragement, there was something appealing to me".

Otsuka's challenge met at compilation.

Japanese source:

Related blog:
Deaf university student continues playing rugby

Deaf university student practices Japanese-styled fencing, Kendo

Ogura shakes a bamboo sword while
raising a loud voice during practice.
December 21, 2014

Beppu-shi, Oita Prefecture:

Ogura Takahiro (小椋敬大), a 19-year-old freshman and a Kendo Club member of Beppu University at Beppu-shi, Oita Prefecture in Japan's southern island, is severely hearing loss since birth.

When he was an elementary student, he read a novel of Musashi Miyamoto, a famous old swordsman who used two-swords in fencing, longed for kendo and entered a Kendo club at a junior high school.

At the university, Director Iwamoto Takamitsu  (岩本貴光), 43, was hired by the university Kendo Club in April, 2013, but he never had experienced in teaching a deaf student. He was afraid of injured danger on Ogura and thought he would decline the admission to the Kendo Club, but he decided to call Ogura and see his practice on probation.

Iwamoto was deeply impressed with Ogura shaking a bamboo sword into practice, desperately powerfully with loud voice. Iwamoto thought, "There is guts in the boy. His thought to do his best impacted me". Ogura was accepted to the Kendo Club.

Ogura is working hard on practice,  exceedingly by sensing an opponent's movement quickly through seeing it.

At the beginning of a match, he can't see a referee's sign, so when beginning, he always concentrates on an opponent's movement, and stands up at the same time when the opponent stands up.

Currently, Ogura never misses practice to shake a bamboo sword during a lunch break, saying "I can't catch up only by the same practice as everyone else. I really need do more".

His goal is to win a match in the regular season game.

Japanese source:

English article: Japan Airlines Conducts Trial of COMUOON

December 18, 2014


Japan Airlines (JAL) decided to start a month-long trial of using table-top hearing support device, named "COMUOON," (photo right) to improve its customer service at JAL Plaza Yurakucho, Tokyo, starting January 2015 (photo left).

COMUOON is a high-performance micro speaker unit which produces sounds or voices that even a moderate hearing-impaired people can hear without using a hearing aid.

Read more:

Related blogs:
City office rents device to support communication by persons with hearing loss for free of charge in Hyogo Prefecture

Parents with hard of hearing children surprised at "the speaker that is easy to catch"

Deaf woman supports sexual minority through forming organization

December 18, 2014  
Osaka-shi, Osaka Prefecture:

Born Deaf, Yamamoto Fuyumi (山本芙由美), 33, formed the group which supports a Deaf sexual minority (LGBT), called "Deaf-LGBT-Center" in Osaka-shi in spring this year as she herself is the person concerned who lives as "double minority".

While the existence of LGBT themselves isn't known much, Yamamoto is challenging a lot of problems through arranging training and dispatch of interpreters who know about LGBT, information thorough a lecture, etc.

Yamamoto was born under a Deaf parents, and belonged to a LGBT club at a university. She met the Deaf person, Ryo (諒) who would be her husband when she was a graduate school student.

Ryo changed the family census register to a man from a woman in 2011 because of gender identity disorders. In case of the statement, the Deaf couple felt strong uneasiness that the interpreters dispatched publicly at a family court who didn't have knowledge about LGBT and used contemptuous sign language expression.

A younger Deaf friend of Ryo's from the school days, who had gender identity disorders, too, had committed suicide at the end after he broke off relations with his parents three years ago.

Yamamoto felt regret then that she was not any of assistance, "Such a tragedy shouldn't be repeated." She was driven to take action.

She published the book which gathered information on Deaf LGBT, which gained a lot of response, and she additionally issued total of 16,000 copies.

Yamamoto will go to the U.S. in summer next year and learn Deaf LGBT support.

Japanese source:

Deaf students to visit Taiwan for art seminar

December 18, 2014


Junior high school students from three metropolitan schools for the Deaf and a private school for the Deaf in Tokyo will visit Taiwan during the winter break, December 26-30, as part of the seminar including sketching and the appreciation of art.

They were selected by interview by the Tokyo Education Board, etc.

The group met with the School Board on December 15. Abe Natsumi (阿部菜摘), 14, a student of the Katsushika School for the Deaf, said in sign language that she hoped to draw Taiwanese streets.

An exhibition of the works sketched after the group returns home is planned.

"The Oriental School of Fine Arts," a college of fine arts in Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo started the program in 2002 with planning and funding.

Japanese source:

Hard of hearing children enjoy Christmas related event using sign language

The children receive a present
for a snack from Santa Claus.
December 14, 2014

Sendai-shi, Miyagi Prefecture:

About 40 kindergartners, elementary and junior high school children with hearing loss enjoyed an early Christmas party at Taihaku-ku Cultural Center in Sendai-shi, Miyagi Prefecture on December 13.

They enjoyed activities using sign language, such as making ornaments for a tree, having a snack given by a volunteer staff dressed like Santa Claus.

An organization called "The Arts for Hope" based in Tokyo sponsored this event. It works on the activity centering on three prefectures hit by the 2011 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake:  children and people together draw a picture on playground equipments in a park and an outer wall of a building in the areas.

The Miyagi Prefecture group of parents having hard of hearing children, which requested an event to take place, explained, "because of being hard of hearing, the children develop sensitivity while using visual clues, so that they also lead to growth."


Deaf experts win medal at national technical competition

Nakayama (top) and Nagata
December 12, 2014

Shizuoka-shi, Shizuoka Prefecture:

"The 52nd Technical Olympic National Tournament" took place in Aichi Prefecture from November 28 to December 1. It is the "national tournament for technical experts" with which technicians younger than 23 year old compete for the highest skill level in the 41 job sections.

Nakayama Ryu (中山竜), 22, who belongs to Isuzu Motors Technical High School in Shizuoka-shi won a bronze prize in the mechanical constructive section.

He has participated in the competition since three years ago. In spite of the trouble occurred in equipment that didn't work during the engagement, he found out the cause, solved it immediately and finally got a bronze medal.

Another contest titled "The 35th National Disability Skills Tournament" (called "The National Abilympics") was opened in Aichi Prefecture on November 21-23.

It is the national tournament with which technicians with disabilities older than 15 year old compete their skills trained at a workplace. This year 336 persons, the largest number ever, joined to compete in the 24 skill sections.

Deaf dental craftsman, Nagata Eiji (永田英司), 42, who works at Corporation Yokohama Dental Institute in Shizuoka-shi for 21 years, was glad to win a silver medal.

Japanese source:

Deaf association holds event to see election broadcast with interpreting

A person (left) interprets the contents
of an election broadcast program.
December 12, 2014  

Akita-shi, Akita Prefecture:

A national election of the House of Representatives is planning to take place on December 14.

Akita Prefecture Association of the Deaf located in the prefecture, northeastern Japan held a meeting to see an election broadcast program with interpreting in Akita-shi on December 10 beforehand.

There are a lot of political parties that only captions on their broadcast. Association officials pointed out, "Even if there are subtitles, it is difficult for Deaf people to understand what a candidate says. We have wanted each political party to put sign language on the election broadcast."

There are 4,312 Deaf persons in the prefecture as of the end of March, 2014, and about 30 out of them attended the event. They gazed at the election broadcast on which candidates make a campaign speech  along with interpreting.

Japanese sources:

College student interested in learning sign language after meeting Deaf woman

December 11, 2014
Ibaraki Prefecture:

The 18th overseas travel event, sponsored by Ibaraki Newspaper and Ibaraki Newspaper Cultural Group in eastern Japan, was participated by 188 persons with disabilities, family and volunteers, who enjoyed travel together in Guam on November 28 - December 1.

Among many participants aged older than 30, Inoue Kaori (井上香織), 20, a junior student at Ibaraki Christian College, communicated with the people around her actively without being timid.

She gave some participants a lecture how to sign one of the children's songs in the bus in order to perform at a farewell party to be held on the last night of the travel.

This good idea occurred to her while Inoue was learning sign language with a Deaf woman during the travel. She didn't know sign language at all up to that, but she says she'd like to learn more sign language.

Japanese source:

Deaf tour conductor serving the Deaf community

December 6, 2014
Katagiri Koichi, a Deaf tour guide
using sign language.


Katagiri Koichi (片桐幸一), 35, is a first sign language tour conductor at the one of travel shops under the bargain travel company called "H.I.S.". He was hired in 2002 and has conducted a tour for Deaf persons or groups more than 60 times.

Born Deaf to a Deaf couple, he learned how to  pronounce Japanese from his grandmother.

When young, he intended to become a social worker. Turning point was his travel in Korea when he was a sophomore at a university. Katagiri said, "a solo travel gave me a confidence in myself".

He has begun an travel event using sign language since 2008, planning a group tour, such like pilgrims, a group exchange with the overseas school for the deaf, and an personal tour one after another for the Deaf community, which wins popularity.

Japanese source:


"The Sound of Voice" ranked one of the best comics

"This Comic is the Best! - 2015"
 December 10, 2014

The latest edition on the comic introduction book titled "This Comic is the Best! - 2015"  published by the Treasure Island Company that issues every year was sold on December 10.

Ohima Yoshitoki's "The Sound of Voice" was selected as the best comic in the section of male comic writers this year.

"This Comic is the Best!" introduces the comic for boys and one for girls respectively to be ranked as the work which attracted the readers most in the year.

"The Sound of Voice" was serialized in the "Weekly Boy Magazine (Kodansha Publishers) about the story of a Deaf girl and a hearing boy who bullied her, which concluded in November. It has been also decided to be animated.

Japanese source:

Related link:
Comic titled "The Sound of Voice" to be animated

English article: Return of signing show urged at DisneySea

December 9, 2014,

Urayasu-shi, Chiba Prefecture:

At Tokyo DisneySea in Urayasu-shi next to Tokyo, an aquatic show called “The Legend of Mythica,” that used a sign language for performance since 2004 came to an end in September.

Although only the aquatic show offered the sign language performance, it is because the theme park’s entertainment programs were set to be renewed.

There have been growing requests for a restart of the show from deaf people.

Read more (English) :

Princess Kiko greets in sign language at the meeting for mothers of deaf children

Princess Kiko and her daughter Kako
attended the annual meeting for mothers
who brought up Deaf/deaf children.
December 8, 2014


Princess Kiko, wife of Akishinonomiya who is the younger brother of the Crown Prince, and  her second daughter Kako attended the "37th Meeting which praises the mothers who brought up Deaf/deaf children held in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo on December 8.

Princess Kiko gave a speech in sign language, "I pay my respects to the mothers for bring up their children well in spite of difficulties they faced".



Volunteers apply successively for 2016 sports events

The person (left )who applied is
writing in a board, communicating
with Deaf/deaf people.
December 5, 2014

Iwate Prefecture:

The number of applicants for the information support volunteer who supports Deaf/deaf persons at the National Athletic Meet and the National Disability Sports Meet to be held in the prefecture, northeastern Japan, in 2016, exceeded 600 as planned. The applicants will get training next year.

The number for volunteers had reached about half as of 10 days ago of application deadline (the end of November), so disability groups made efforts to call positively for more application to meet the goal.

The prefecture organizing committee has extended recruitment to December, because an application still continues.

Japanese source:

On International Day of Disabled Persons, Deafblind woman appeals UN

Meeting at United Nations Headquarters
December 4, 2014 
The meeting which thinks how to protect persons with disabilities at a natural disaster was held at United Nations Headquarters on December 3, International Day of Disabled Persons.

The Japanese Deafblind woman who can't move the whole body freely because of an incurable nerve disease called "frequent occurrence sclerosis" complained of difficulty in protecting the Deafblind including herself against a great earthquake and a tidal wave.

The speaker was Fukuda Akiko (福田暁子), 37, who serves as a secretary-general of the World Federation of the Deafblind, made a speech in English. "If a great earthquake and tsunami are drawing near a Deafblind person, how should it on earth be done?" Her speech was arousing sympathy in the meeting place.

The advice such as should increase more consciousness of an international community was given from the meeting.

U.N. World Disaster Reduction Conference will be held in Sendai, Japan in March, 2015, with an important theme: protection of persons with disabilities.

Japanese sources:

Deaf group invited to play drum at disability art festival in Myanmar

The Koshu Deaf Drum group members perform
a Japanese drum at the festival in Myanmar.
December 4, 2014       

Naypyidaw, Myanmar:

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Disability Art Festival has started in the evening on December 3 in Naypyidaw, the capital of Myanmar which is ASEAN presidency this year. About 160 people participated from the member countries and competed by singing, dancing, etc.

Deaf Members of the Yamanashi Prefecture's "Koshu Deaf Drum" also were invited and showed a performance of a Japanese drum.

Disabilities groups in Myanmar took the leading part in the event from December 3, the International Disability Day, through December 7. After transition to civilian rule, a chance of social participation and self-expression for persons with disabilities is increasing in the country.

Japanese source:

Teaching method at first school for the Deaf in 1878

Numeral signs

Japanese fingerspelling chart
Furukawa Tashiro was a hearing teacher and the founder of the Kyoto Institution for the Blind and Deaf (1878), the first school for the deaf in Japan, which would be the Kyoto Prefectural Institution for the Blind and Deaf later, and again the Kyoto Municipal Institution for the Blind and Deaf.

Furukawa did various works about instruction to the blind and deaf students, respectively. His attitude towards to the students was sincere, full of love; he accepted them as what they were from the bottom of heart without self-interest.

The subjects taught for the deaf students were "pronunciation (speech)", "dictation", the "discourse method", the "composition method", "composition with theme", "geography", and "arithmetic".

Furukawa's instruction was combined with the following methods. To teach how to pronounce a syllabary, he made the "pronunciation chart" (発音起源図 1878) along with the word list for the "speech". Also he used the question-answer method for the semantical grasp of the word, carrying out compatibility of the Japanese syllabary, a Chinese character, and the manual spelling. The "discourse method" was used to develop the skills in written communication and reading, and the "composition method" aimed at written expression of things.

Especially the speech training used the mouth form, arranged with the fingertips of the both hands which showed the form of the mouth, compared an up-and-down row of teeth and the right thumb as the tongue (発音起源図). All the elements of positions and movements showed how to pronounce a vowel and a consonant.

Therefore, the language education of Furukawa was based on the combination of sign language, fingerspelling, gestures, speech, writing combined with pronunciation (spoken language), reading comprehension, writing a composition, etc. The method was combined by oralism and sign language.

Furukawa invented the manual communication system to be used in teaching, such as the "Japanese fingerspelling chart" (五十音手勢図 1878), "Japanese kana syllabary printing-form sign language" (五十音字形手勢 1879), the sketch of "the numeral signs" (手算法略図 1878), and the "chart of the palm method for writing" (画掌法図 1879), etc., which are much different from the present days. The old, but precious documents are preserved in the Kyoto Prefectural School for the Deaf.

Related link: 
Furukawa Tashiro: first teacher of Deaf children

Metropolitan Police Department develops the mobile application for the Deaf to report emergency

Deaf person's report in blue color, and
Police Department's reply in red color.
November 29, 2014


The Metropolitan Police Department begins to use the exclusive application to make the Deaf/deaf persons possible to report to emergency number (#110) from the smart phone on December 1 at 13:00.

With the application, the Deaf reports a case or an accident, and an occurring place, etc. A picture of the site can be sent also. Such an application for a smart phone is reportedly the first in Japan.

A Deaf/deaf person needs to download the application from Apple Store or Google Play beforehand, before using it when encountering an event or an accident in the Tokyo metropolitan area. It's possible to exchange a message with the Metropolitan Police Department Telecommunication Dispatching Head Office.

Any non-Deaf/deaf person can't use the system, because there is a possibility to interfere the Deaf/deaf person reporting.

Japanese sources:

City sends wrong information in national alarm system drill

November 29, 2014

Kyotanabe-shi, Kyoto Prefecture:

National simultaneous transmission practice via an e-mail and fax using the national instant alarm system (J Alert) was conducted on November 28 .

Kyotanabe-shi sent an e-mail and a fax to 4,281 registrants and 59 Deaf/deaf persons listed on the city's protection against disasters information list, at 11:00am on the day. One sentence should be put primarily that "This is a test". Actually, the phrase stating "Crisis Warning. Take refuge in indoor and please put a TV and radio" has been used.

The cause was reportedly that a receiver couldn't recognize the test information sent from the Fire and Disaster Management Agency under the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications.

In response to the inquiries, the city sent an e-mail and fax with the correction again about two hours later.

Japanese source:

Deaf woman runs for "national long distance relay project"

Oikawa Toshiko has finished running at the goal.
November 28, 2014

A goal event of "Our Positive Long Distance Relay 2014", part of "The Long Distance Relay Around Japan Project", hosted by American Home Medical Treatment and Damage Insurance, took place on November 26 with a lot of participants.

The "Long Distance Relay Road Race" is a project that each runner connects a sash around Japan to encourage those people facing difficulty such as sickness, an injury, an accident, etc.

The race which was the third this year started at Tokyo on May 14, and about 1,900 runners and celebrities connected a sash for about 6 months through the whole country with 47 prefectures for about 9,200km.

The last runner arrived at the goal event, welcomed by a lot of clapping. Oikawa Toshiko (笈川敏子), a born-Deaf woman, was diagnosed breast cancer in 2013, but she says that an anticancer drug intravenous drip has been finished finally in August this year.

Japanese source:

Hagi-shi proposes to establish sign language regulation

November 27, 2014

Hagi-shi, Yamaguchi Prefecture:

The Hagi-shi city office in western Japan announced on November 26 that it will propose an establishment plan of "Sign Language Regulation" to an assembly in December, which would be the first time in the prefecture.

The city places sign language as a language, and aims at realization of the coexistence society in which the Deaf persons live at ease in a hearing world. The policy will be carried out on December 20 when the proposed establishment plan is approved.

The city which has developed a draft of the ordinance put a preface in it about the spread of sign language: "It is obligation of the city which is the place related to Yamao Yozo who built a foundation of Deaf education in our country".

Yamao was one of the "Choushuu Five" Men, including Itoh Hirofumi, the first Japanese Prime Minister, who went to the United Kingdom from Choshu-han (currently Yamaguchi Prefecture) in late the 1860's before the shogunate system ended. Yamao was surprised to see the Deaf engineers communicating in sign language at a Scottish shipyard in Glasgow, and after returning home, he established an educational institution for the Deaf in Tokyo.

To expand an opportunity for the Deaf persons to get socially involved, a city health welfare department senior spoke that they would arrange a policy in detail while asking an opinion of disability groups and the parties concerned regarding dispatch of more interpreters.

Japanese source:

First national high school sign language performance event held

November 23, 2014 
The Tsuruhama High School students from
Ishikawa Prefecture who won the victory sung
a song in sign language with great feeling.  

Tottori-shi, Tottori Prefecture:

The first "National High School Sign Language Performance" took place in Tottori-shi in the prefecture, western Japan, which high school students compete for the expressiveness by the sign language while showing a dance and a drama.

Princess Kiko, wife of Prince Akishinonomiya, and her second daughter Kako attended.

Tottori Prefecture which established the "Sign Language Ordinance" for the first time nationwide last year held this event for the first time.

Princess Kiko gave a speech using sign language, introducing the episode at the opening ceremony: "I learned sign language after I saw a drama by sign language in my college days. I deepened my understanding of life and culture of persons who are Deaf/deaf."

Twenty teams, including the Tottori School for the Deaf, of 13 prefectures from across Japan, competing for accuracy and abundance of the expressiveness of of the sign language while performing.

Tatsuruhama High School (田鶴浜高校) of Ishikawa Prefecture won the victory as a result of the judgement.

Japanese sources:

English article: Japanese electronics maker participates in foreign hearing aid maker

November 26, 2014


iHear Medical, which makes affordable hearing aids that users can customize at home, has raised $5 million in a Series C round led by Lighthouse Capital, a Shanghai-based venture capital firm that focuses on medical devices.

Japanese electronics maker Brother Industries and Ameritas Holding Company also participated.

This brings the total iHear Medical, which was founded in 2009, has raised so far to $7.8 million.

English article:

Japanese smiley developed by Deaf man

November 26, 2014

A smiley, often used in an e-mail nowadays, has a Western-style, Japanese style, and others. How was it born?

In a New York Times interview in April 1969, a well-known writer Vladimir Nabokov said: "I often think there should exist a special typographical sign for a smile – some sort of concave mark, a supine round bracket ..."

Scott Elliott Fahlman, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University,  was the first documented person to use the emoticons :-) and :-(, with a specific suggestion that they be used to express emotion, in September, 1982.
Japanese users popularized a style of emoticons (顔文字, kaomoji) that can be understood without tilting one's head to the left such like (*_*), (")(-_-)("), (T_T)).

It is said that Wakabayashi Yasushi (若林泰志), a Deaf manager of disability related bulletin board of "ASCII NET", contrived kaomoji (^_^) in 1986.

At the beginning it was used at an online bulletin board system. He seemed to have been using it as a signature first, but the other users were increasing a variation gradually, and a smiley was the tool which indicates feeling.

Japanese sources:

English source:

Deaf salesclerk commended for playing active role in business

Mihara (left) at the award program
November 25, 2014 


Accessibility Consortium (ACE) is the general general incorporated enterprise association which supports persons with disabilities as its object.

ACE held an event to present its first "ACE Award" on November 19 in Tokyo to commend the person with disability who plays an active role in an enterprise.

A Deaf man, Mihara Takeshi (三原毅), received the grand prize as the roll model who promotes coexistence of a person with disability and the person without one. He works in a flagship store of KDDI "au NAGOYA" in Aichi Prefecture, western Japan.

Mihara plans and offers a service to Deaf persons in sign language at the storefront, which was highly estimated that Mihara responded to the needs of many Deaf people.

photo gallery:

Japanese skier sells handmade T-shirt to cover cost for Russian Winter Deaflympics

Yamamoto made T-shirts for fundraising.
November 25, 2014

Fuji-shi, Shizuoka Prefecture:

Yamamoto Tomomi (山本智美), 38, was chosen to the Japanese cross country skiing team for "the 18th Winter Deaflympics," which will be  held in Russia in March, 2015.

She made T-shirts by herself for fundraising, appealing donation to cover the team dispatch cost as the team has insufficient funds.

Four athletes (one coach and three skiers) in cross-country skiing has been decided informally. A cost will be between 900,000-1,000,000 yen for a person in need. It is too economically burdensome for an athlete despite national support.

Japanese source:

First anniversary of Tottori Prefecture's Sign Language Ordinance enforced

The self governing body persons concerned
report on the effect of the sign language
regulation establishment.
November 23, 2014

Tottori Prefecture in western Japan commemorated the first anniversary of its Sign Language Ordinance  establishment by hosting a symposium in Tottori-shi on November 22.

Heads, five out of the six self-government bodies across Japan that established a similar regulation about sign language attended for the first time. They said that understanding of Deaf persons and sign language was promoted, but they also shared a problem on insufficient interpreters.

In addition to the prefectures, the persons concerned from Ishikari-shi, and Shintoku-cho  (Hokkaido), Matsusaka-shi (Mie Prefecture), and Ureshino-cho (Saga Prefecture) attended, too.

Shintoku-cho explained the effect indicated, "The recognition of sign language as language spread through the ordinance which states it expressly".

Ishikari-shi pointed out, "More people get  amused by the sign language, and understand what troubles a Deaf person through a workshop."

Ureshino-shi that has spread sign language among its personnel explained, "The city has arranged environment for our city clerk in order to deal with a Deaf person at the desk."

Matsusaka-shi mayor made a speech in sign language which he learned, saying, "The city has hired a Deaf person, as well as we are advancing the spread of sign language in the local community and enterprises. The ordinance is not the end, but a start. We will spread sign language more."

On the other hand, "scream" was heard among the audience: "The more we work on spread of sign language, the less interpreters and lecturers." The Japanese Federation of the Deaf appealed cooperation for sign language ordinance establishment.

Japanese source:

City office rents device to support communication by persons with hearing loss for free of charge in Hyogo Prefecture

November 21, 2014

Ioroi (right) visits the city office on October 29
and chats with Mayor Nishimura around
conversation support device.
Kasai-shi in Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan, has begun to rent the conversation device that supports a person with hearing loss for free of charge.

Ioroi Shinsuke (五百蔵伸祐), director of the company, "Universal Sound Design" (Minato-ku, Tokyo) which develops a device to support a person with hearing loss, presented a conversation support device to the city, saying that it will be used for a communication tool with young people and people with hearing loss. 

The company has developed the support device called "COMUOON" (195,000 yen) in December, last year. It is amplified from a loudspeaker even without a hearing aids, voice from a microphone sounds natural, and one can hear clearly. Ioroi says that it has been introduced already in the doctor's office in the university hospital, etc.

There are 154 people with hearing loss in the city according to the city office. The conversation support device can be used by a senior citizen, at a meeting by a disability group, training and a household.

Japanese source:

Comic titled "The Sound of Voice" to be animated

November 19, 2014 
Front page of
"The Sound of Voice"
final edition

The Kodansha Publishers announced animation of the comic titled "The Sound of Voice" by Ohima Yoshitoki in the 51th issue of the Weekly Boy Magazine sold on November 19.

The comic about a Deaf girl and the boy who bullies her has been serialized for about one year and three months since August, 2013 after the complete work which appeared on separate volume of The Boy Magazine, February issue, 2011. It is expected to sell its last 7th volume on December 17.

Her original works exhibition will take place at Gallery GoFa at Aoyama, Tokyo from February 7, 2015.

Japanese sources:

Video (Japanese):

December 17, 2014

The animation of the original work will be produced as a theater edition, according to the announcement printed on a belt of the last seventh separate volume of the sale on December 17.

Japanese source:

Related links:
A comic book titled "The Sound of Voice" first published

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

Use smart phone application to pick up taxi in Saga Prefecture

Application which can call a taxi
by easy operation
November 19, 2014

The Saga Taxi company in Saga-shi, Saga Prefecture, southern Japan will start a service in December, which specifies the place to pick up a customer on the map screen of a smart phone.

The taxi driver can run a car at the appointed place using car navigation, and quick and exact allocation of cars is attained, the first measure in the prefecture.

The company built the newest application into the automatic car allocation system, preparing the system in which information on the place that a customer stands is receivable by a nearby car.

Since car navigation shows around to the appointed place, the customer can save the time and effort to explain where standing in detail. Use of the Deaf person who depends on fax is also expected.

Japanese source:

Three Deaf students on national soccer term to play in Iran

(from the left) Yoshino Yuki, Onishi Ryo,
Fujimura Atsushi were chosen to the
Japanese soccer team for the Deaf Soccer
Championship in Iran.
November 18, 2014

Three students of Tsukuba University of Technology in Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki Prefecture near Tokyo were chosen to the Japanese Deaf soccer team. They will participate in the 3rd Asia/Pacific Deaf Soccer Championship" in Iran on November 17-30.

They are Yoshino Yuki (吉野勇樹), 22, a senior, Onishi Ryo (大西諒), 21, and Fujimura Atsushi (藤村厚史), 21, the last two ones are a junior in the Industry and Technology Faculty of the University where exclusively the Deaf/deaf students are enrolled.

Yoshino has played for the national team since three years before. He with the jersey number 10, plays the role of a "play maker."

It was the first time for both Onishi and Fujimura to play for the national team. 

All of them have belonged to a soccer club since the boyhood.

Japanese source:

Volunteers teach hearing students sign language to express disaster prevention in Tokushima Prefecture

A student (right) tells danger by the sign
language showing an "earthquake"
November 17, 2014

The volunteer group "Ishii Sign Language Circle" of Ishii-cho in Tokushima Prefecture, western Japan has a activity program to teach elementary and junior high school students the "disaster prevention sign language" which tells a Deaf person about danger at the time of a disaster.

The Circle began its activity last year after they learned that at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, emergency information did not reach many Deaf persons, who did not get to know and fell victim to tsunami without the ability to take refuge.

Since there has been fear about the Nankai Trough massive earthquake or typhoon damage in the prefecture, the Circle decided to spread sign language related to disaster prevention by organizing a "sign language classroom" in two junior high schools, etc. once a year in the town.
The classroom opened for 67 students in Takaura Junior High School on November 12. Eight circle members taught them.

Japanese source:

70% of Deaf persons rely on relatives for help at the time of a disaster

November 16, 2014

The Great Hanshin Earthquake in Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan, will be the 20th anniversary in January, next year.

The Prefectural Association of the Deaf carried out the questionnaire in 2013 to verify the environment which surrounds the Deaf after the earthquake disaster and services by welfare administration.

An interview by visit was held to 1,115 Deaf persons and families. The question (multiple answers) to the Deaf person which asked about "persons who can be relied on at emergency, such as a disaster", 653 persons (73.5%) answered it as "the family or the relative".

Next  226 Deaf persons (25.5%) responded as the neighbors, followed by the answer by 65 Deaf persons (7.3%) as personnel of the welfare office or  public office.

The actual condition that Deaf persons tend to be isolated in the area was also clarified by the  investigation: a half of the Deaf respondents answered that they felt anxious about the access to disaster information or evacuation.
The association chairman says, "Although it will be the 20th year since the last earthquake disaster in the prefecture, the social welfare for the Deaf persons is not progressing that much as we have expected."

Japanese source:

Hearing students in Shiga Prefecture learn about work of hearing dog

November 15, 2014

Recently about 260 students of Kusatsu Municipal Kusatsu Junior High School in Shiga Prefecture, central Japan learned about the assistance dog and its work that supports a person with disability, as part of the experience program related to disability.

Nakamura Masashi (中村正), 71, a staff from the facility "Biwakomimi no Sato (びわこみみの里)" in Moriyama-shi that provides social welfare services, explained about the role and the feature of the seeing eye dog, the partner dog, and the hearing dog in sign language.

He says that meanwhile there are 54 hearing dogs in the whole country, only two in the prefecture as of October.

When introducing work of a hearing dog, the dog under training demonstrated with the trainer. After the training, students touched the dog and said "lovely" with a smile.

Japanese source:

Conference that supports students with disabilities to be established

November 12, 2014

In order to support college/university students with a disability in the class and an examination, university staffs will organize the general incorporated association, the "National Higher Education Conference for Students with Disability" and hold an establishment convention in the University of Tokyo on November 15.

It is because the governmental agency and the company are required for a "reasonable accommodation" defined by the Disability Discrimination Law, which will be enforced in April, 2016. The institutions of higher education will be also applied and 42 colleges and universities that will participate in the conference are due to cooperate and aim at full support for the students with disabilities.

Even though the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology shows a definition and examples of "reasonable accommodation", since it is not concrete, the conference plans to collect knowledge and experiences and to examine the state of suitable accommodation.

According to the investigation of Japan Student Services Organization last year, there were 13,449 students with disabilities who were on the register in the institutions of higher education, 0.42% of the total. It goes up the twice in 2008 (6,235).

Japanese source:

Government’s basic policy proposal consented to solve disability discrimination

November 10, 2014

The Disability Discrimination Law will be enforced in April, 2016, aiming at realization of the coexistent society regardless of the existence of disability. The Disability Policy Committee of Cabinet Office consented the government's basic policy proposal based on the law on the whole on November 10.

The basic policy proposal showed the view about the kinds of the disability discrimination which the law forbids and how it corresponds.

According to the policy proposal, about "unjust discriminatory treatment", a treatment for a person with disability different from people without a disability sees "a justifiable reason" objective, and it is considered as the case where it is unavoidable in the light of the just purpose.

Moreover, the proposal shows how to interpret "a reasonable accommodation". A duty will be imposed upon the public sector, meanwhile the private sector is required efforts unless a burden becomes too serious.

The factor which infringes on the right an benefits of a person with disability, which should be flexibly achieved according to a situation, establishment of regional organizations for consultation and prevention of conflicts were also outlined.

The government aims at a Cabinet decision before the year end after seeking the public comment of the basic policy proposal.

Japanese source:

Deaf group formed in Shimane Prefecture to spread charm of sign language

Members of the "Deaf Corps" advances
event preparation in sign language.
November 9, 2014

Ten Deaf persons centering on Matsue-shi, Shimane Prefecture meet
and enjoy conversation in sign language every month. They became interested in holding an event to promote an understanding to sign language among the hearing community.
Influenced by the move of Tottori Prefecture next to Shimane Prefecture that has enacted a sign language ordinance and advanced the measure for understanding of sign language, the Deaf persons started the group called the "Deaf Corps" in order to spread the charm and the fun of sign language from Matsue-shi.

The group is planning the social event "The Deaf Festival in Christmas" including the performance of the sign language manzai pairs (comedians) on December 7, which hearing and Deaf persons will be able to enjoy together.

Japanese source:

Deaf students learn how to use the fax system for fire report

The Deaf students write and fax following the instruction
of the fire-fighting commander assistant (right). 
 November 7, 2014

Matsuyama-shi Fire Prevention and Control Administration in Ehime Prefecture, part of western Japan, held the workshop for the first time in the Prefectural Matsuyama School for the Deaf on November 6, aiming at teaching the Deaf students how to use the emergency report method smoothly.

Seventeen junior and high school students learned how to notify to the fire department by fax.

When a fire or an emergency case occurs, the tools which a Deaf person can notify in written form such like e-mail or an online report system are increasing in number, but hardly get recognized.

Japanese source:

PC software developed to caption real-time at meeting

The screen of FUJITSU’s meeting support
software shows conversation captioned
real time at the meeting.
November 6, 2014

FUJITSU developed the "meeting support software" which uses speech recognition technology to display the utterance at the meeting on that spot on a personal computer screen.

Recording of the minutes not only become almost unnecessary, but also a person with hearing loss is able to participate without interpreting in a meeting.

The sale of the software is planned before March, 2015.

Japanese source:

National Disability Sports Convention opens in Nagasaki Prefecture

The opening ceremony


Crown Prince watches an archery match.


November 2, 2014

The 14th National Disability Sports Convention started in the Athletic Field of the Nagasaki Athletic Park on November 1.

About 5,500 athletes who gathered from the whole country will compete for three days until November 3 in various places in the prefecture.

About 23,000 people, such as teams and a spectator, participated in the opening ceremony which the Crown Prince attended.

He observed archery and a volleyball game in Sasebo-shi on November 2.

Japanese sources:

English article: New tech brings cinema to the deaf and blind

November 1, 2014


In the theater at the Tokyo International Film Festival,  as Masayuki Suo's film "Maiko wa Lady (Lady Maiko)" began, the viewers were ready — with glasses-shaped head-mounted displays and earpieces designed to make cinema accessible to the deaf and blind.

The special screening held at TIFF on Oct. 24 was a chance for the audience to experience the future of cinema in a barrier-free environment, so that everyone can enjoy going to the movies.

"There was originally little interest in the film industry to making movies barrier-free, so we decided to tackle this objective ourselves," said Koji Kawano, secretary-general of nonprofit Media Access Support Center.

Read more:

Barrier-free polling places not progress in Okinawa Prefecture

November 1, 2014

The election of the Governor and Naha-shi Mayor, respectively, will take place on November 16 in Okinawa Prefecture, southern Japan.

Disability organizations sent the questionnaire to the Election Administration Commission in 41 cities, towns and villages in order to  investigate on a barrier-free environment of the polling place (339 places)  in the prefecture on September 2 and October 20.

In spite of having made the barrier-free polling place compulsory by Disabled Persons' Fundamental Law revised in July, 2011, it turned out that 253 polling places did not provide a ramp for the wheelers, 74.6% at a total of 339 polling places (as of September 2).

It was learned that no interpreter was ever stationed at the polling place for election of mayors and  lawmakers.

After the barrier-free mandating back, 40 cities, towns and villages except Naha-shi answered they have not taken any measure at the time of revised Disabled Persons' Fundamental Law. Almost all the Election Administration Commission gave a reason, saying that they just have kept the old way even though after the legal revision.

The persons concerned pointed out that results of the investigation indicated the negligence of administration and the emasculation of the idea of the revised law.

Japanese Source:

Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to tighten up the auditory disorder examination for disability card application

October 30, 2014

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare held the investigative commission to reexaminate the authorization method for auditory disorder on October 30, and compiled the report which asks for strengthening the accurate medical measure for the application of the physically handicapped persons' card.

It is a pillar in the report to impose a duty of more objective auditory examination: When the person with hearing loss applies for the second class which shows the serious condition, for the first time, the hearing test is conducted to achieve objective results over change of brain waves, etc.

The ministry will revise the notice to every self-governing body, aiming at enforcement next year.

The move was taken in response to the problem which Samuragouchi Mamoru who was working as "a totally deaf composer" was diagnosed as "he was not auditory disabled," and returned the disability card.

Under the present circumstances, the tester inspects auditory difficulties by the technique of the self-assessment by pushing a button when sound can mainly be heard.

There are about 1,000 persons, including the persons with disorder of the sense of equilibrium, who were issued with the disability card (the second class in auditory disorder) in 2012.

Japanese sources:

Related blog:
First meeting held to discuss on reexamination of the method to recognize hearing impairment

Prefectural questionnaire result shows insufficient consideration for the Deaf in western Japan

October 24, 2014

Tottori Prefecture released the result of the questionnaire for the Deaf within the prefecture at the sign language measure promotion council on October 23.

The questionnaire was carried out in order to reflect a Deaf person's opinion in the "prefectural sign language measure promotion plan" to decide before the end of the year, and 137 Deaf persons responded. Also 159 persons concerned, such as an interpreter, answered.

Most of the respondents felt actually an understanding about sign language or a Deaf person increased by the prefectural sign language ordinance enforcement.

Meanwhile many people answered that there is insufficient consideration on communication in everyday life.

About the communication means in everyday life, 49.6% answered about the disaster prevention field (communication and information at a time of emergency), and 59.5% answered about the traffic field (train, bus), respectively, as "there is no considered at all for the Deaf."

A half of the respondents pointed out lack of consideration also in the area where a Deaf person resides. The sign language persons concerned pointed out isolation of the Deaf person in the town.

One member of the Tottori Prefectural Association of the Deaf said, "The result of questionnaire showed clearly the frank feeling of the Deaf persons. We want people to understand what troubles the Deaf person."

Japanese source:

Policemen learn how to communicate with Deaf person at workshop

October 31, 2014

In order to know how to communicate properly with the Deaf person, the Kanagawa Prefecture Saiwai Police Office held the workshop on October 30, in which about 80 policemen and staff concerned participated. 

It is the second time this month following May, because a policeman was unable to communicate with a deaf client by writing when asked about the road direction or at the scene of an incident or accident.

The lecturer was Kameya, a counselor for hearing loss persons in the Kawasaki-shi Information Culture Center for the Deaf.

She explained that there is misunderstanding about a Deaf person, giving an example; a hearing person tends to believe, "I think if I write something because the Deaf person can see", "I considered my message was understood since the Deaf person was nodding in assent", etc.

Moreover, although some deaf person understand communication by writing better than sign language, some born-deaf person prefer sign language to written communication.

Kameya advised to the policemen, "You need to check first whether sign language is required."

The policemen learned basic sign language and appreciated, saying, "I was happy to know what does not notice usually."

Japanese sources: