Former Deaf cartoonist to give lecture in Nagoya

 Sakibana Yoichi and his work
(photo: )

July 29, 2014

Five Deaf persons working in the Nagoya-shi area, Aichi Prefecture, a part of central Japan formed the group in October, 2011, aiming to introduce the distinguished services of the predecessors who played an active part in each field through organizing a lecture meeting called "The Deaf Academy."

Sakihana Yoichi (咲花洋一), 80, who played an active part between 1950 and the 1960s as a pro cartoonist, will give a lecture at the 10th lecture meeting on August 2 in Nagoya-shi.

He became Deaf because of whooping cough at the age of three. He came out at the age of 18 as a cartoonist after graduating from the School for the Deaf, University of Tsukuba in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture.

Although he published the books of SF or detective comics, he turned embroidery business 13 years later.

The staff of The Deaf Academy says, "it was commonly difficult that a Deaf person worked as a pro in the time with less awareness of sign language. We hope the Deaf audience see what is required in order to fulfill a dream."

Japanese source:

Deaf education convention for teachers held in Aichi Prefecture

July 29, 2014

The Chukyo TV reported that the "52nd Tokai Region Deaf Education Convention" was held in Ichinomiya-shi, Aichi Prefecture, a part of central Japan, on July 29.

About 150 teachers from schools in the three prefectures in Tokai Region participated and discussed how to advance a lesson, etc.

The consultation division manager of the Aichi Educational Center gave the lecture entitled "Cherishing language and bringing up by means of language."

He introduced the teaching method of the language technique which Japan Football Association uses to train the players for the judgment in a game, and said, "It is called for mentality such as thinking by himself/herself and expressing by means of language."

Japanese source:

Deaf civil servant in Fukuoka Prefecture sets work goal from his own experience

July 28, 2014

Suzuki Reio (鈴木玲雄), 28, changed his employment from private enterprises, and is currently working as a government official in the Kitakyushu city office in Fukuoka Prefecture, a part of Japan's southern island, in April, this year.

Suzuki, Deaf since the age o two, is responsible to issue a resident card and check work, etc. in the citizen division of the Yahata-higashi ward office in the city.

Although Suzuki is able to catch the conversation in meeting with the use of a hearing-aid, he understands better when lipreading.

He attended the Prefectural Oral School for the Deaf preschool program in Shiga Prefecture where he and his family lived those days. When he came home everyday, his mother taught him hard how to pronounce 50 Japanese sounds.

Because of his parents' belief that their Deaf son could be able to adapt for severe environment after leaving school, Suzuki was enrolled the local elementary school, and when he was a third grader his family moved to  Fukuoka Prefecture.

At the time, every time his friend said something, Suzuki behaved as if he understood it more often. He became unable to follow the complicated contents of a lesson or conversation with a friend at the high school.

Suzuki asked his mother, "Why did you bear me halfway?" She answered, "I think it was fate that you were born halfway, not perfectly. I want you to become a bridge for those who hear and those who are hearing loss."

Suzuki learned sign language from these days. He started social activities, such as a sign language theatrical company, the Fukuoka Welfare Association of the Deaf.

He majored in disability and welfare at the university, and was employed at the private enterprises which has a deep understanding to a person with disability.

However, he thought, "I would like to work related to the better environment for persons with disabilities and infrastructure improvement," and he opted for change of occupation.

Suzuki has set a goal to build the environment like barrier-free society where people carry out social participation regardless of hearing ability."

Japanese source:

Fire department offers lifesaving workshop to Deaf community in Hyogo Prefecture

The Deaf persons learn how to carry a victim with the use
of an emergency stretcher at the fire department.
July 25, 2014

The lifesaving workshop for the Deaf community, including sign language interpreters, living in the Kitaharima Area of Hyogo Prefecture near Kobe was held at the Kato Fire Department at Kato-shi in the prefecture on the night of July 23.

Fifteen participants learned how to save the person attacked suddenly by the injury or the sudden illness nearby from the paramedic of the fire department. They also proposed development of a visual emergency communication system.

The Kitaharima Area group of the Hyogo Sign-Language Interpreting Problems Study Group, consisted of the Deaf residents and sign language interpreters, requested the fire department to provide the workshop.

After the event, one of the Deaf participants, aged 47, said, "Several years ago, when my father collapsed at home, I wasn't able to do anything. The workshop helped me to understand I can help someone else even if I am Deaf."

Fire department officials said, "although we receive emergency report also by fax, it is hardly used and there is a possibility that public relations may be insufficient. We are impressed with the participants are very eager about the management in an emergency. We would be happy to receive a request for a workshop of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, etc."

Japanese source:

Hard of hearing college student selected to National soccer team for Asia-Pacific championship in Iran

Shitara Takehide is doing shot practice.
July 24, 2014

Shitara Takehide  (設楽武秀), 21, a senior majoring in business information at Nagano University at Ueda-shi, Nagano Prefecture, a part of central Japan, was chosen to the Japanese Deaf soccer team for the first time.

The national team will participate in the Asia-Pacific championship in Iran in November, 2014, aiming at the world championship next year. It has started the training camp in Hokkaido, Japan's norther island, July 19-21.

Shitara is on the national Deaf futsal team, too, and he stands on the international scene of two sorts of games.

He uses a hearing-aid for daily conversation, although he is unable to hear mostly since birth. He began playing soccer with the local team when he was a fourth grader, and continues the sport even now at the university.

At the National Deaf Athletic Meet held in Toyama Prefecture in September, 2013, Shitara participated in the team based in Saitama Prefecture which he has participated in practice, since there was no soccer team in Nagano Prefecture.

Director Nakayama Takeshi of the national team who was inspecting spoke to Shitara to join the national selection training camp, which was held in December, 2013, March and May, 2014.

He plans to work at an IT system company in Tokyo next spring, and keep playing soccer as well.

Japanese source:

Lecture meeting in Ehime Prefecture appeals more support to the DeafBlind

Fujikika Kazuyuki gives a lecture about
the issues in the DeafBlind's social life.
July 21, 2014 

The lecture meeting by Fujijika Kazuyuki (藤鹿一之), 48, was held in the city welfare center at Matsuyama-shi, Ehime Prefecture, part of western Japan on July 20.

The lecturer is DeafBlind himself and the chairman of the non-profit organization Tokyo DeafBlind Friendship Group. 

According to him, a DeafBlind person has three major difficulties related to movement, communication, and access to information.

He spoke about his experience that he was able to escape from the fire which occurred in the place where he stayed thanks to an interpreter/care worker.

Since the interpreter/care worker who helps everyday life has been insufficient for the Deafblind, he requested for more support to Deafblind persons.

Japanese source:

Audience who lost hearing enjoys show by hearing support system in Saga Prefecture

The persons with hearing loss enjoy a comic story through
the use of the hearing system installed in the ceiling.

 July 21, 2014

The public performance of the comic story using an infrared hearing support system was performed in the Prefecture Deaf Support Center in Saga-shi, Saga Prefecture, part of Japan's southern island, on July 19.

About 40 persons with hearing loss enjoyed the witty art of storytelling, and the hall was full of laughter.

An infrared hearing support system is a system that changes the voice via the microphone into infrared rays, and conveys it to a hearing loss person's earphone from the exclusive receiver placed under the neck.

Since a speaker's voice can be heard directly, without being influenced by the surrounding noise, it is said to be effective in a meeting, public performance, etc.

Japanese source:

TV shows to get foreign-language subtitles by 2020

July 22, 2014

The Yomiuri Shimbun reported that the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry will develop a system to show Japanese TV programs with subtitles in foreign languages, including English and Chinese, to provide a more comfortable viewing experience for foreign visitors.

In response to the increasing number of visitors from overseas, the envisaged system will be launched by 2020, the year in which the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will be held.

Read more:
English source:
Japanese source:

Japan Deaf Athletics Conventions held in Tottori Prefecture

Nakamura Kaichi (right), a senior high school student of the Tottori
School for the Deaf ranked 2nd in running 100 meters for men.

July 20, 2014

The "11th Japan Deaf Athletics Championships," sponsored by the Japan Deaf Athletics Association, took place in the Coca Cola Athletic Field in Tottori-shi, Tottori Prefecture on July 19, attracting 62 athletes from the whole country.

The Association also held a training camp for the Japanese team in the prefecture three years ago. Because of Tottori's sign language ordinance enacted first in Japan, 250 volunteers, including the Tottori track-and-field association, high school students and sign language interpreters, supported the convention.

The convention leads to the participation in the "Asia-Pacific Deaf Sports Meet" following the results. Athletes from the Tottori Prefecture also actively joined, obtained good results, such like a Deaf student Nakamura Kaichi (中村開知)(photo).

The "64th Chugoku Region Deaf School Athletic Meet Tottori Convention" opened in the same field, in which 102 students participated from nine schools on that day.

Japanese source:

Hard of hearing player participates in high school baseball Kyoto convention

July 17, 2014

 "My dream is that I stand on the mound in Koshien (The annual National High School Baseball Convention in Hyogo Prefecture) to respond to the people who have supported me."

Mashita Daisuke (真下大輔), 18, a high school senior with
hearing loss since birth, is a pitcher for the Kyoto Kyoei Gakuen School (京都共栄学園) in Kyoto. He plays baseball with a hearing-aid on one ear.

Daisuke, influenced by his elder brother, began playing baseball when he was an elementary school boy, and played an active part in the junior high school baseball team as the ace. At the high school, when he fails to get the directions, his teammates help him by telling anew in a loud voice, etc.

Daisuke has been an infielder since last autumn, and currently is a bench warmer as a pitcher this spring. Although he had no turn in the game at the Kyoto convention held on July 16, the team advanced to the third round by the sweeping victory.

Japanese source:

Six teams join rubber-ball baseball game for the Deaf in Osaka

July 14, 2014

The 49th Osaka Rubber-Ball Baseball Autumn Convention for the Deaf  (sponsored by the Osaka Deaf Rubber-Ball Baseball League and Mainichi Newspapers Osaka Community Services, etc) opened in Yao-shi, Osaka Prefecture on July 13.

Six teams from Osaka and Kyoto participated in the event and played hard.

The final game will take place on August 3 to select top four teams to participate in the nationwide competition scheduled to be held in Aichi Prefecture in October.

Japanese source:

Deaf pitcher beaten at local high school baseball match in Shimane Prefecture

July 18, 2014

Following up the past article on Hironaka Soma, a Deaf pticher:

At the Summer High School Baseball Shimane convention, Masuda East High School (益田東) and Rissho University Shonan High School (立正大淞南), each with 80 or more teammates, played a match on July 17.

The Deaf pitcher Hironaka Soma of the Masuda East had thrown by himself through the match, and was beaten by the opponent, the runner-up to the championship last summer, by one point lead.

Japanese source:

Related link:
Deaf ace uses fingerspelling for communication in high school baseball in Shimane Prefecture

Social welfare services company in Sendai develops free application for online handwriting

The handwriting application online displays the same
contents at a partner's terminal (back) when you input.
July 13, 2014

Using a smart phone or a tablet computer a Deaf person communicates with other non-signer far apart with the application called "Handwriting Telephone UD," which was exhibited for free this month.

The reputation among the clients is very positive, such as "I can contact in an instant," "I can write on the display of my tablet even if poor at touching the keyboard."

It is expected that the new application will lead also to the promotion of exchange between a Deaf person and a non-signer or a hearing person.

"Plus Voice" located in Sendai-shi, Miyagi Prefecture, which deals with a Deaf-oriented social welfare services enterprise, developed the application as an apparatus development commission enterprise of the Sendai Finland Healthy Welfare Center in the 2011 fiscal year.

Japanese source:

Arts exhibition to support preschool for children with hearing loss in Okayama Prefecture

Kataoka Sosuke, the founder

Painter, Kataoka Masashi 

Sculptor, Kataoka Yukio

July 12, 2014

Kataoka Sosuke (片岡宗助), a former principal of the Prefecture Okayama School for the Deaf, and others established the Okayama Canaria Preschool in Okayama-shi in the prefecture in 1975, the first preschool for the children with hearing loss in Japan.

Currently about 20 speech therapists are in charge of language instruction through the use of the cochlear and support of the guardians. There are sixty five preschoolers from inside and outside the prefecture.

Because the subsidies from the Government and the prefecture will be abolished in several years, etc., management of the school is  severe.

Two persons belonging to the family of Kataoka stood up to support the Okayama Preschool. They are Kataoka Masashi, 87, a painter who is the first son of the founder, Kataoka Sosuke (1899-1976), and Yukio, 60, a stone sculptor who is his grandson.

They will hold an exhibition on July 17- 27 in Okayama-shi and donate all the sales profits to the preschool.

Japanese source:

New book by Deaf illustrator and mother in Tokyo

Coauthors: Sugimoto Marina (left)
and her mother Kanae
Marina's Picture Is Her Language

July 11, 2014

--- The language which we found was a "picture" ---

The book, titled "Marina's Picture Is Her Language" (A5-size, 192 pages; ISBN 978--4-8058-5058-9), was published from Chuohoki Publishing Co Ltd  this month.

The book is about the childhood of Sugimoto Marina (杉本聖奈), a Deaf illustrator in Meguro ward, Tokyo, who has developmental disorder. She grew up through drawing a picture before she would become an illustrator.

It is based on the four-frame strip cartoon that Marina, 27, drew from three years ago in order to enhance an understanding of how she felt during her childhood.

Her mother Kanae (香苗), 54, added a thought of those days and experience by comments. "It  was so severe that I was worried," says she,  "But I was convinced with "such a thing happened to my daughter from a picture which Marina drew in many cases."

Marina is still drawing the daily occurrence on the "picture card." She explains, "I draw a picture like the photograph taken by the heart. I would like to let a picture carry my message to everybody."

These coauthors encourage those who worry about child-rearing to read the book.

Japanese sources:

Related link:
Deaf illustrator exhibits her works in Tokyo

Tablet tested to support hard of hearing children in lesson in Kagawa Prefecture

Fujiwara receives a lesson with the use of the system which shows a teacher's talk in written form through the tablet computer on a desk. (photo:

July 10, 2014

In order to support the hard of hearing children in a lesson, the proof experiment of the system which transmits a teacher's voice through a mobile phone and displays it in written form on a tablet computer immediately was conducted at the Kitahokubu Elementary School at Takamatsu-shi, Kagawa Prefecture in western Japan July 9.

A sixth grader, Fujiwara Torajiro (藤原虎次郎), 11, participated in the experiment whether to understand a lesson easily. He, implanted with the cochlea, had an arithmetic class by one to one with the teacher.

When the teacher addressed, several seconds afterward, her voice was captioned on the tablet computer. Fujiwara said, "If I missed what my teacher said, I was able to check it on the tablet immediately."

The system has not been introduced to schools within the prefecture. Kamata Koji (鎌田浩二), president of the "Prefecture Society of Parents with Hard of Hearing Children," has tackled the proof experiment. He said, "We would like to talk to the school officials concerned within the prefecture for introduction based on the result of this experiment."

Japanese source:

Hearing high-school player presents home run to Deaf parents at baseball convention in Tokyo

Kudo hits a home run to a left center by two outs with a player on the second base in the second half of the first inning. His team won the game. (photo:

July 8, 2014

Kudo Takashi (工藤孝史), 17, started playing baseball when he was a 4th grader and belonged to a local little league during his junior high school days.

The High School Baseball Eastern Tokyo Convention took place in the Meiji Shrine Ground in Tokyo on July 7. It rained.

Outfielder Kudo, a senior of Iwakura High School in eastern Tokyo was the fourth batter. He swung hard the straight ball which approached higher than middle by two outs with a player on the second base in the second half of the first inning.

It was a powerful home run, total 18th through his high school day and the first arch in a regular-season game, which was witnessed by his Deaf parents in the rainy stand.

Kudo has communicated in sign language with them. He explained, "My parents  has worked hard to let me allow to do high-school baseball at the private school which requires money. I would like to go to the National High School Baseball Convention this summer in order to make them happy."

Director Isoguchi Hiroshige  (磯口洋成), 65, said, "Kudo is most often practicing. In order that he may look after his parents, he is doing this baseball in the feeling of the last."

Japanese source:

Movement advanced to secure use of sign language by law

Japanese Federation of the Deaf held an event aiming at realization of a law on sign language in Tokyo on March 14. The person in charge of Tottori Prefecture explained the outline and effect of the sign language ordinance. (photo:

July 8, 2014

The first sign language ordinance in Japan that Tottori Prefecture enacted in October, 2013 is influencing various places. Four cities and towns (Ishikari-shi, and Shintoku-cho in Hokkaido, Matsusaka-shi in Mie, and Ureshino-shi in Saga) across the country already enacted the ordinance until now.

Tottori Prefecture has welcomed self-governing bodies all over the country a few times per month for observation. The assembly staffs of six prefectures and two cities from other places visit the prefecture assembly also.

The Japanese Federation of the Deaf based in Tokyo emphasizes, "It is the proof that the ordinance was able to be enacted in Tottori Prefecture, a prefecture with the least population in Japan, that it is possible for every prefecture to do the same."

On the other hand, although the organization of the Deaf has asked to enact a "sign language law" also on a country level, a concrete examination is not progressing.

Tottori Governor Hirai Shinji intends to show a law on sign language at the Government's request on July 9. It is pointed out that it is necessary to secure the use and spread of sign language by law.

Japanese source:

Deaf students learning how to spin wool with hearing students in Okayama Prefecture

Deaf students (second and third from left) are instructed
by hearing  students how to use the "spinning machine."

July 3, 2014

Deaf students (second and third from left) are instructed by a hearing  student how to use the "spinning machine."

Three students in the clothing course at the Prefecture Okayama School for the Deaf visited the Prefecture Kurashiki Industrial High School, and learned how to spin wool on July 2.

The Deaf students spun the woolen lump into thin thread, learning how to use the "spinning machine," which one steps on a pedal on foot, from ten hearing students in the fashion skills course.

The students from both the schools will make a bag, etc. together in August, using woolen clothe produced by the Deaf students and the denim manufactured by the hearing students.
Both the schools are located in Okayama Prefecture, a part of western Japan.

Japanese source:

Deaf ace uses fingerspelling for communication in high school baseball in Shimane Prefecture

A pitcher Hironaka Soma (right) discusses with
a catcher Koga Kenji through the use of fingerspelling.
July 3, 2014

The local convention for the National High School Baseball Championship (The Summer Koshien Tournament) will open on July 15 in Shimane Prefecture in western Japan.

With congenital hearing loss, the baseball ace Hironaka Soma (広中蒼磨), 17, is practicing hard aiming at the Summer Koshien Tournament. He belongs to a baseball club of the private Masuda East High School located in Masuda-shi, Shimane Prefecture.

After graduating from the Nara Prefecture School for the Deaf, Hironaka entered the hearing high school which has the participation experience of a national convention and he became one of  the baseball teammates.

A total of about 80 baseball teammates have mastered basic sign language and communicate with Hironaka in sign language.

Director Oba Toshifumu (大庭敏文), 32, influenced by the teammates,  learned fingerspelling together with the coach. Oba said, "Hironaka has struggled with many difficulties and has overcome them. So his strong emotional strength has also permeated the team."

Japanese source:

"Sign language ordinance" to be first discussed in Hyogo Prefecture

July 1, 2014

Sasayama-shi, Hyogo Prefecture in western Japan made the policy to  enact the "sign language ordinance" which aims at realization of the community in which a Deaf person lives at ease.

The ordinance examination committee consisted of experts, Deaf persons, and sign language interpreters was launched on May 28.

In view of the ordinance already enacted in some places across Japan, it is clearly defined that "sign language is language," and that the duty and the role of a self-governing body and residents about the spread of "sign language.

It may mean that it is almost certain to include contents aiming at "realizing the community where Deaf persons and persons who are not Deaf can live together."

First, about a phrase "sign language is language," it puts on the first revised Disabled Persons' Fundamental Law to accept the language nature of sign language, and, probably, is defined also for each ordinance.

Next, a share and acquisition of a communication tool are fundamentally meant about "symbiosis of a Deaf person and the  person who are not Deaf." If a Deaf person has been forced to learn by the oral method, this means that the "Deaf person" is forced to use the communication tool of "non-Deaf persons."

However, the ordinances by self-government bodies and the revised Disabled Persons' Fundamental Law do not take such an attitude, but ask for the Government and the self-government body to take the measure towards enhancement of the environment which sign language can be used easily and the spread of sign language.

From a viewpoint of the local residents, it means making an effort that "non-Deaf persons" compromise to "Deaf persons" to communicate with each other.

"The respect for an individual" defined in the "Article 13 of Constitution  means accepting people as they are. It puts in another way; it is preparing various choices in society with cost. Especially a physical disability certainly appears at a fixed rate, and it can be said that the cost for equalizing is a suitable burden on society.

Probably, the sign language ordinance that asks "non-Deaf persons" for only a few burden and consideration should be evaluated as it follows the idea of the constitution fundamentally in that sense.

Japanese source:

Takamatsu city office in Kagawa Prefecture installs magnetic loop

"Magnetic loop" that Takamatsu-shi introduced in
its building on July 1, first in a public institution in
the prefecture. 

July 1, 2014

Takamatsu City Office installed the hearing supporting system "magnetic loop" in its building on July 1.

In order to enhance listening comprehension of a user, including a hearing loss person, etc., magnetic loop was installed in not only five places in the city hall buildings where many people visit, but also the city information plaza in front of JR Takamatsu Station besides .

This equipment is a desk type which can be carried and catches the voice of a city clerk clearly. The use of the magnetic loop is no charge.

Japanese source:

Film on Deaf community in disaster-stricken area shown in Gifu Prefecture

Deaf director Imamura Ayako speaks
before the movie show.
 June 30, 2014

The documentary film titled "The Bridge Connecting the Two Worlds - Deaf and Hearing" was shown in Gifu-shi, Gifu Prefecture on June 28. About 120 persons came.

The movie describes experience and difficulties of the Deaf persons who were hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. 

Imamura Ayako (今村彩子), 35, a Deaf director introduced the process and highlight of coverage in the film, and appealed by saying, "After you see the movie, I want you to act as an intermediary between the two worlds - Deaf and Hearing."

She went to coverage after the occurrence of an earthquake disaster in the Tohoku Region three years ago. Through the interviews, the Deaf victims explained how they suffered from the disaster; they did not hear siren which warned the coming of a tsunami; they did not understand spoken directions or guidance in a shelter; they could not use an e-mail and so did not acquire necessary information, etc.

The film appealed these problems that "life-threatening information must not have a gap."

The film was evaluated as the third place in the Japan Video Section of The 14th Japan Film Festival "Nippon Connection," held on May 27- June 1 in Frankfurt, Germany.

Japanese source:

National Deaf Athletic Meet to be held first in Okinawa in September

The members of an organizing committee advance preparation for the upcoming national event to be first held in the prefecture.

June 28, 2014

The 48th National Deaf Athletic Meet will be held for the first time in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan's southern island, on September 27-28.

Ten games, including track and field, volleyball, etc., will take place in various places within the prefecture. About 1,500 athletes and officials are expected to join from all over Japan.

The organizing committee is selling goods, such as a T-shirt and a sticker, for funding the sport event, and calling for donations and orders for the advertisement to be printed in the program book. 

Japanese sources:

Tokyo board of education plans stay emergency drill at special support schools

 June 27, 2014

The Tokyo Board of Education announced on June 26 that they will try the stay emergency drill overnight at two metropolitan special support schools, including the Central School for the Deaf High School, between July and September.

This drill aims at raising the awareness of disaster prevention of the children and students with a disability, and checking the support organization of the school staffs who turn to security in preparation for the earthquake beneath the metropolitan area, etc.

Board of Education officials are saying, "A similar drill will be carried out to a total of 56 special support schools in Tokyo in the future based on a trial result."

Japanese source: