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.

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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.

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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:

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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:

Tottori Prefecture announces the draft of a sign language measure promotion plan

October 30, 2014

Tottori Prefecture got into shape the draft of the basic policy titled "the prefectural sign language measure promotion plan" towards the spread of sign language based on the sign language ordinance.

The draft was explained by the person in charge of the welfare division at the meeting related to the sign language measure promotion in the prefectural office on October 23.

The draft included a numerical target, such as increasing the number of sign language interpreters to 65, the twice before the ordinance enforcement, focusing on " environmental management for easy-to-use  sign language," etc.

For nine years from April, 2015 to March, 2023, the plan will advance sign language spread in the local area or an office, and provide "an opportunity to study sign language with all the grades of all the schools."

As the example of a measure, the counseling service for the Deaf citizens will be expanded, and the sign language volunteers will watch the Deaf aged who tends to be isolated. 

Various opinions came out from the present members at the meeting. The prefecture will get a proposal into shape by around the end of 2014,  collect an opinion from the residents in the prefecture, and then summarize a plan by the spring of 2015.

Japanese source:

Organization formed to promote spread of captioned commercial

October 29, 2014

The National Association of Commercial Broadcasters, the Japan Advertising Agencies Association, and the Japanese Advertisers Association together established the "Council on Captioned Commercial Spreading and Promotion" on October 28, 2014.

The purpose of the Council is to "spread captioned CMs through the three related organizations' cooperation aiming at improvement in information accessibility for the Deaf and hard of hearing."

The council decided to hold skull sessions with disability organizations. It is due to hold the first captioned commercial seminar for the persons concerned on December 9.

Japanese source:

Hard of hearing woman wins, ten successive victories at national karate convention

Kurimoto (center) reports her tenth successive 
victory to Mayor Nagamatsu (left).
October 26, 2014

The 10th National Disability Karate Convention was held in Tokyo Budokan Hall on October 4. Kurimoto Saya (栗本紗弥), 25, a personnel of the Bungotakada-shi Office in Oita Prefecture in Japan's southern island, won the victory in the hearing impairment category of the patter practice for women, winning the tenth successive victory. 

In spite of her congenital hearing loss, she attended the hearing school until the university. When she was a second grader in an elementary school, she went to the local karate club, began karate, and made quick progress by the strength of her natural unyielding spirit.

Kurimoto was a gold medalist in the the karate match for women (50-68 kg) at the Taipei Deaflympics in September, 2009.

She won the first victory when she was a high school freshmen at the Convention in Tokyo, continuing winning ten straight victories.

Kurimoto renewed a resolution, "I will train myself harder while teaching the younger people, by which I hope to repeat victories one by one". 

Japanese source:

High school baseball player with hearing loss drafted for pro

Yamada (center) who was nominated
as Saitama Seibu at the draft meeting 
is tossed by his teammates.
October 24, 2014 
"I have never given up playing baseball." 

Yamada Haruka (山田遥楓), 18, a senior of the Saga Industrial High School in Saga Prefecture, was nominated by the Saitama Seibu Lions as the 5th place at the professional baseball draft commission on October 23.  

He, a slugging shortstop with a strong arm, is hearing loss since he was born. He began playing baseball when he was a second grader at elementary school under the influence of his elder brother. 

Yamada belonged to the hard-ball baseball club in his junior high school days. Because it was not allowed to stand on an at-bat for reasons of hearing loss depending on a convention, he felt "humiliated" of only being on defense.
He chose Saga Industrial High Schoo that has experienced total participation of three times at the National High School Baseball Conference (Koshien), and practiced batting hard at the school as well as his home.
Although he was not able to achieve results at the time of admission to the school in spring, he was a regular baseball player since the autumn of the first year at the school exceeding 100 teammates. He became a principal hitter when he was a senior. 

Pitcher Ishii Hironari of Hokkaido Nippon Meat Packers is hearing loss in the field of professional baseball. Yamada swore at the press conference, "I will do my best in giving a dream to the children with hearing loss like myself" . 

Japanese source:

Discovery of postal envelopes made by the students at Institution for the Blind and Mute in 1880

According to the report in 2008 by OHSAWA Hideo (大沢秀雄), a professor of the Department of Health, Tsukuba University of Technology,  postal envelopes produced by the students at the Rakuzenkai Institution for the Blind and Mute in Tokyo were found.

The production of postal envelopes was to reduce school expenses in the early days of the Institution as well as part of vocational training. A stamp to show who  produced is seen on the evelope

Maejima Hisoka (前島密: 1835~1919), the chief of the Japanese post office (Ekiteiryo), recommended the sale of these products. Maejima worked on the establishment as a member of a philanthropic society called the Rakuzenkai Society. Furthermore, he acted as a negotiator for the Tokyo Blind and Deaf School, contributing to the development of education for the blind and deaf.

On Maejima's recommendation, the envelops were produced by blind students from May, 18, 1800, and later deaf students from September 1 in the same year with the use of the instrument created by Ochi Seiren (), the first director of the institution.

Japanese source: