Hard of hearing children visit workplace of people with same disability in Fukuoka Prefecture

June 26, 2014

Five hard of hearing children from the first through sixth grade of the Yawata Elementary School (274 children enrolled) visited the Yahata-higashi Ward Office in Yahata-higashi-ku, Kitakyushu-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture located in Japan's southern island on June 25, aiming at learning the work situation where a person with hearing loss is employed. It was the first program that the school planned this year.

The children met with Suzuki Reo (鈴木玲雄),  28, in the citizen service division in the ward office. His hearing level needs a hearing-aid to hear the communication with hearing visitors. He was employed in April and is taking charge of issue and a check of a resident card, etc.

A sixth grader said, "I was glad to know despite of hearing loss, it is possible to work what I want. I would like to become a beautician in the future."

Japanese source:

"Sign language police box" in Tokyo celebrates 20th anniversary

Fujikawa Chieko, a master patrol officer, tells, "Persons with hearing loss are always welcome to  drop in at my police box," using a sign for "Greetings."
(photo: http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/)

June 25, 2014

In Tokyo, there are six police boxes that a policeman can responds by sign language. It had been 20 years this year since the Metropolitan Police Department installed the "sign language police box."

The sign language police box in which a female policeman works was also started in May. The signboard of a "sign language police box" is set to the entrance of the Nogata 1-chome police box near the 7th Circular Road in Nakano-ku, Tokyo.

A master patrol officer Fujikawa Chieko (藤川千枝子), 24, tells with a smile, "I want a person with hearing loss to drop in here without reserve," showing the her original work for conversation with pointing an illustration, and the file of the paper for writing.

Fujikawa, fluent in sign language because of her Deaf parents, passed the second level of the sign language proficiency measurement of the Metropolitan Police Department in April. This level shows one can utilize sign language at work related to the police, such as reception of an incident report, as well as daily conversation.

The Metropolitan Police Department is carrying out the license examination since the 1990s. From 2001, the training class of sign language is also provided twice per year. Meanwhile about 300 policemen passed the second level proficiency test, about 70 passed the first level qualified for using sign language in the police investigation, etc.

The Nogata police station has an original measure. Fujikawa took the lead, developing teaching materials at her own expense. Before morning office hours, etc., her coworkers and the younger officers are studying sign language with the materials.

The community administration division in the Metropolitan Police Department urges the measure, stating, "Many people will gather here for the Tokyo Olympic Games and the Paralympics in 2020. The policemen who use sign language can be increased in number, and more sign language police boxes should be spread."

There was a case where the non-compulsory inspection was performed in Nakahara-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture in July, 2011 while the Deaf woman involved in the traffic accident had not got a policeman to listen in spite of her repeated request for dispatch of a sign language interpreter.

It was concluded that the policeman's lack of understanding invited that the accident which should have been resulted as an injury or death was processed only as a damage accident temporarily.

The Japanese Federation of the Deaf based in Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo requested the National Police Agency in written form in September, 2011 to meet the needs of the Deaf appropriately in a traffic accident, application procedure, etc. 

The Nakahara police station requested cooperation from the Kawasaki Information and Culture Center in response to this problem. As part of training, the original measure for the newly appointed policemen is advancing. They attend the short course of easy sign language, communication through writing, etc. taught by the Center staff since the 2011 fiscal year.  From the 2013 fiscal year, the trainee of the police academy who is given training in the police station has also received the short course.

The person in charge of the police station explains the aim, "Our effort may not be enough for a policeman to respond in sign language, but more awareness of the Deaf community will help us deal with them better."

The 39-aged Deaf woman in Tokyo who tackles a plan to start a sign-language interpreting enterprise, etc. says, "I want them to also advance an effectual measure, such as taking the demonstration on how to meet the needs of a Deaf person, etc. as a lesson in the police academy." 


TV CM captioned getting into stride next spring through government work schedule

CM with caption of the vertical mold washing
machine which Panasonic built.
(photo: http://www.asahi.com/)

June 25, 2014

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications summarized the work schedule towards the spread of CM captioned on June 24.

There are about 20 million persons with hearing loss including the Deaf/deaf and the aged with hearing loss, who call for broadcast of a captioned commercial for information accessibility.

Currently the program sponsored by an independent company is broadcast in a tentative way. The rule of the industry will be revised before formal broadcast in the spring of 2015, and also the trial broadcast in the commercial by two or more companies will be planned.

The Ministry is considering how to incorporate the subsidy for spread, etc. to the next fiscal budget, and planning to make broadcast of a captioned commercial get into stride.

Japanese sources:



Research shows 80 percent of Deaf/deaf workers feel "promotion" is difficult

June 22, 2014

Since more than half Deaf/deaf workers can fully understand neither a meeting in an office, nor the contents of training, etc., they tend to give up participation in the workplaces.

It turned out by a result of the questionnaire published by Dai-ichi Life Research Institute, Inc. that about 80 percent of the Deaf/deaf workers think that job promotion and skill training are difficult.

Mizuno Eiko (水野映子), senior research scientist of the Research Institute has concluded that "the company and the government should make sign-language interpreters and a note-takers participate in a meeting, etc. which a Deaf/deaf worker attend, and should improve the environment which the Deaf/deaf person stands to the same starting line as a hearing coworker."

The questionnaire was carried out for 123 Deaf/deaf workers between November and December last year. More than half of those have been employed by a company with more than 1000 or more employees, etc., and the workers aged the 40's was the largest at about 40 percent.

Japanese source:
Research paper in Japanese:

Northeast Deaf Athletic Meet held in Miyagi Prefecture

The players play a soft volleyball game.
[photo: http://www.bloglovin.com/]

June 22, 2014

The 45th Northeast Deaf Athletic Meet, sponsored by the Northeast Federation of the Deaf, which is held in each prefecture every year, started in Kitakami-shi, Miyagi Prefecture on June 21.

About 110 Deaf athletes from six northeast prefectures as a member of the Federation competed hard, and promoted exchange one another through a game as well.

The events performed for two days from June 21 included table tennis, gate ball, bowling, badminton, and soft volleyball.

Except bowling held in Oshu-shi, Iwate Prefecture, all the games took place for the first time in six years in the prefecture since 2008 in Ichinoseki-shi.

Yoshida Masakatsu, president of the Federation said, "We want all the players to fully demonstrate the skills cultivated every day through a sport".

Japanese source:

Note taking supports Deaf/deaf student at hearing university

June 20, 2014

A note taker works to support a student with hearing loss. Two note takers sit down next to a Deaf/deaf student and translate literally the contents of the teacher speaking in the classroom, or the spot of what happens in the class, with handwriting or a computer.

In Senshu University in Tokyo, the disability support promotion committee started a course on note-taking to not only promote an understanding and support to a student with hearing loss, but develop a skill in hearing people's talk and writing down. The regular course for a note-taking skill is provided, all 15 lessons.

Both handwriting and a computer are used in note taking. The lecturer of charge tells, "We hope the student learns how to develop the imaginative power in a place of person with disability through the course."

Okinawa University located in Japan's southern island positively tackles note-taking activity with student volunteers. As its motto says that every school event is arranged with note taking, an entrance ceremony, a graduation ceremony, a lecture meeting of the university, etc., is held with  "screening" which projects the contents of note-taking.

Furthermore, the university holds the study meeting regularly which offers an experience with note-taking, etc. The activity is not only limited to the on-campus, but the off-campus such as holding the symposium about Deaf/deaf student support in collaboration with University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa International University, the Okinawa Christianity University, and Meio University in 2005.

Okinawa University has employed two coordinators, who connect a student with disability and a support student, give a student with disability advice, or train a student volunteer, and maintain a support environment properly.

Taira Satoko (平良悟子), a deaf coordinator, who graduated from the university with support, has employed her own experience and viewpoint in support efficiently.

Japanese source:

Diary written by Deaf student in 1940's published as book

"A Deaf Boy in The Militant Nation"
The book titled "A Deaf Boy in The Militant Nation" was published in August, 2004 (B6 size/216 pages ISBN4-921142-71-8 C0095). 

A deaf boy named Shiraishi Takami (白石尭美) wrote a diary for five years from his admission to a school for the Deaf until graduation as a student of the Osaka Prefecture Oral School (currently the Osaka Prefecture Ikuno High School for the Deaf).

The young author described the situation of the everyday life under the wartime of the 1940's in detail through his eyes, such as the death of a relative or a friend, the poverty of a life, etc. in the style of a diary.
The book won "the 10th Record of Showa Period" Prize of the "My
Tale/Japanese personal history grand-prix" in 2007.



I had the entrance examination of the Osaka Prefecture Oral School* junior high school class (old system), passed successfully and entered in April, 1942. Because the school advanced the oral method, it was so imposing that in the classroom sign language with a schoolmate was forbidden severely, even during a playing time. I was so confused.

There are a few subjects of a "drill" in a week which the Osaka Municipal School for the Deaf and Mute* does not offer. I wound gaiters around the legs and attached the bayonet to the waist. I aligned with a real 38-type foot soldier gun without a cartridge, and marched or rushed. The drill was severe.


*The Osaka Municipal School for the Deaf and Mute had not only the class for manual communication but the oral class. Shiraishi was taught by the teacher famous for oral education before he passed the entrance examination of the Prefecture Oral School.

Japanese source:

Nagasaki Prefecture School to be relocated for reconstructing

June 19, 2014

Nagasaki Prefecture located in Japan's southern island appropriated design-for-execution expense 76,640,000 yen for relocation and reconstruction work, etc. of the Prefecture School for the Deaf in the supplementary budget in June.

The School is located in front of the new Omura station to be built in connection with the Kyushu Shinkansen West Kyushu Route.

In order to secure a new educational environment for the school, part of which is needed for renovation, from having positioned the school area in the operating business zone by the new station area building plan formulated for the start of Shinkansen, the school will be moved to the farm of the prefecture high school.

The new school is planned with the dormitory, the vocational education department, the educational counseling center besides each classroom from preschool through high school, a gymnasium, etc.

The groundbreaking is planned in 2016, and opening of the school in 2018.

Japanese source:

Free climbing helps overcome the wall of barriers

"The Monday Magic" event helps the participants regardless of the existence of disability challenge a wall together.
(photo: http://thepage.jp/detail/)

June 18, 2014

There is a gathering of those with disability or without disability to "overcome a wall" once a month. This event related to free climbing (bouldering), called "The Monday Magic" held in the climbing gym in Tokyo, saw the third year this year.

There is no exception of the existence of age, sex, and a disability, and the people mainly gathered by word of mouth call out to each other, climbing a 4-meter-high artificial wall.

The "Monday Magic" held in June had 44 participants including 12 persons with visual impairment and six Deaf/deaf persons, who concentrated on a wall while making the feeling of hand and foot sharp.

Japanese source:

Comic dialogue by Deaf and hearing comedians getting popular

A comic duo with a rich expression during the show:
"Pu-san" Miyake Hisashi (right), a hearing man,
and "Mi-san" Sato Masashi, a Deaf man.
(photo: http://www.asahi.com/)

June 15, 2014
The comic dialog which a hearing man and a Deaf man work together as a pair is secretly popular. All spectators, regardless of the existence of hearing loss, laugh at the talk which the comic duo use with sign language and spoken Japanese.

The pair also uses the difference in expression of a Japanese idiom from sign language as the kind of laughter, playing a role in contracting the distance of the two "languages."

In the weekend of May a sign language class held a public performance for the comic dialog of a two-men group named "Pu-san & Mi-san" in Osaka, which about 80 persons were present. The performance lasted for two hours including the question time from the spectators.

Miyake Hisashi (三宅寿) whose stage name is "Pu-san", talks while interpreting roughly and utters a pun. On the other hand, the richly facial expression and a quick movement of Sato Masashi  (佐藤正士) who is called "Mi-san" apparently doesn't need an interpreter. Even if they neither know sign language nor hear spoken language clearly, the spectator gave a horselaugh.

After the performance, a Deaf person said, "I have seen other comic dialog before, but didn't enjoy it because interpreting could not follow. But today I enjoyed the performance."

About 20 years ago, "Pu-san" saw the sign language program on TV, got interested, and began learning sign language. One year later, he met "Mi-san" and both became good friends after they found they liked Chaplin's movies.

Visiting "Mi-san" and learning sign language, "Pu-san" noticed that there were some Japanese idioms that cannot be translated into sign language. He says, "There are some signs in the sign language which suit spoken language like the differences between Japanese and English. I thought that sign language was profound."

The two men started a blog (Japanese: http://ameblo.jp/2010-plutonium-mi/), forming the group called "Pu-san & Mi-san" in November, 2010. They begun to distribute the video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRw7QRc705s) explaining how sign language expresses for a spoken word or phrase.

The sign language comic dialog, held in September, 2012, was a smashing success. Popularity spreads by word of mouth and a public performance came to be called in various places.
The comedian group says, "We hope more people will see how different sign language is from spoken language through our performance."

Japanese source:

Cable TV company arranges with Tochigi to broadcast an alert captioned

June 17, 2014

The government has distributed information, including a disaster, etc., for the national instant alarm system called "J Alert" using an artificial satellite for the information on emergency related to natural disasters and missiles, such as an earthquake and tsunami, and mass terror, to the self-governing body across Japan.

The self-governing body transmits the emergency information to its residents through disaster prevention administration radio, etc. in an instant.

Tochigi-shi in Tochigi Prefecture and the Cable TV company (CATV) located at Hinokuchi-machi in the city started operation of the system which distributes information automatically through the CATV on June 16.

The information which the city receives from the government is automatically forwarded to the company, which disseminates the information in caption on its program.

Japanese source:

Sign language class begins at high school in Hokkaido

The students learn sign language
from a Deaf lecturer, Okada (right).
(photo: http://www.tokachi.co.jp/)
June 15, 2014

By having enforced "the basic ordinance on sign language" in Shintoku town, Hokkaido located in Japan's northern island, in April, this year, the opportunity to study sign language is growing in the town.

The Shintoku High School (67 students) has taken in the sign language class since April, 2013. The integrated study for the first-year student offers sign language, and "buckwheat noodles making" which is currently carried out since April, 2012.

On June 13, the sign language lesson started as part of a first-year integrated study. Okada Setsuko (岡田セツ子), 75, who teaches in a sign language circle in the town, is a lecturer till September.

Five members of a sign language chorus visited the class and learned together with the students on that day. Okada explained to the class, "By repeating sign language, you will memorize it and be able to communicate with a Deaf person. Sign language helps you some day even after you graduate."

As the final stage of study in September, the students will visit a facility for the Deaf in the town, demonstrate how to make buckwheat noodles, sing a school song in sign language that they would have learned, etc.

Japanese source:

Deaf dance circle to perform at music event in Nara Prefecture

June 13, 2014

A music event, "The Music Fest Nara 2014" is due to be opened in various places on June 14 -29 in Nara Prefecture. "SEEL," a dance circle of the Prefecture School for the Deaf, will perform with the Austrian jazz singer Stephanie Hacker in the Kintetsu Nara Station Square at 14:30 on June 22.

The SEEL was formed in October, last year, and the Deaf members from the elementary through the high school practice every Wednesday, instructed by Harumi Rika (春見梨香).

Deaf students had visited her dance studio in Nara where she works as instructor. She thought, "Even if these children wanted to come to a dancing school, they looked hesitated, not having courage to come to the school because they are unable to hear any sound. Why not I teach them how to dance myself."

Harumi started studying sign language and teaching the Deaf students how to dance. According to her, even if a member uses a hearing-aid, he/she hears only the rhythmical sound like "Don Don", but when Harumi takes a rhythm using sign language, gestures, applause, etc., the Deaf children feel music in the whole body and become expressive with the body movement.

The members have practiced eagerly towards their first public performance. A sixth grader talks about charm of dancing, "Although I become tense, I am excited. Dancing is difficult, but I am very happy when all the members get to one with everybody in a dance." He is also intent saying, "We all want to show everybody how wonderful dancing is."

Japanese source:

Revolving light installed in city office to alert Deaf visitor for emergency in Hokkaido

June 11, 2014

Obihiro-shi, Hokkaido in Japan's northern island installed the red-colored revolving light in the first floor of the city office building so that a Deaf/deaf person could perceive the danger in emergencies, such as a fire.

The light was set on a pillar in both the sides of the front counter of the welfare division for persons with disabilities which a Deaf/deaf person often visits.

Since there is also the personnel who is hearing loss, it was considered that one can see the light from everywhere in the whole floor.

Japanese source:

Video remote interpreting to start in Ureshino-shi, Saga Prefecture

 June 11, 2014

In order to meet the need of Deaf people who visit the Ureshino city office in Saga Prefecture, a part of Japan's southern island, it will begin a video remote interpreting service with a tablet through the Saga Deaf Support Center located in Saga-shi in July.

Ureshino-shi has adopted the city planning of the universal design since the 2010 fiscal year, a part of which is a measure for sign language.

According to the welfare division in the city office, there are about 100 Deaf residents in the city. On the other hand, there are no personnel who use sign language. They are going to hold a sign language program for personnel during the current year.

The city stipulated that sign language should be spread with a sign language ordinance bill, and proposed it to the assembly in June. The video remote interpreting service via a tablet is considered as a temporary measure until the personnel learn sign language.

Japanese source:

First steering committee held in Deaf Support Center in Saga Prefecture

The steering committee discussed the policy
for promoting the use of the Center.
(photo: http://www.saga-s.co.jp/)

June 9, 2014

The first steering committee of the Prefecture Deaf Support Center was held at Saga-shi in the prefecture in southern Japan on May 28. The center opened last April. 

Opinions were exchanged about the issues and ideas in the committee consisting of thirteen members including college professors in order to have the center utilized positively.

The present condition which the hearing-aid for a check can be tried only in the center was discussed. The members present shared the idea; "The search for a suitable hearing-aid is troublesome for a person with hearing loss. More kinds of a hearing aid should be arranged in the center."

About 1,200 clients have visited the center by this day since establishment. The center has offered a counseling service to the clients regardless of  the possession of the disability handbook, a volunteer training program for the college students, the sign language interpreter training course, etc.

There were 20 cases for consultation, the largest number of which was related to a workplace that the most Deaf client complained; "I don't understand what is said at the meeting since sign-language interpreting is not provided at my company," "I feel isolated because many coworkers aren't willing to write for communication," etc.

Japanese source:

Related links:
New center to support the Deaf community for social participation in Saga Prefecture

Prefecture facilities open in the Saga Commerce Industry Building


Booklet with illustration about support to Deaf community at the time of a disaster distributed

June 8, 2014

Ando Miki (安藤美紀), 45, a Deaf-born illustrator, made a booklet for the supporters in collaboration with the Yodogawa-ku Social Welfare Council in Osaka-shi. The booklet summarizes the problem which the Deaf community faces at the time of a disaster.

It explains the Deaf/deaf person neither notices the voice of a rescue staff nor a siren's sound, etc. intelligibly with the illustration, attracting attention from welfare facilities, etc.

Since many people do not know what kind of troubles the Deaf/deaf person face in the daily life while there is anxiety about the possible occurrence of the Nankai Trough massive earthquake, etc., a project to publish the booklet (B5 size, 19 pages) was planned.

800 copies of the booklet in all were made to the seminar of the disaster support which took place in March.

The booklet introduces a disabled person's problem and the method of support through the characters of a pretty touch, etc.

Ando said, "Deaf people cannot get information easily, but feel lonely easily. The surrounding person reassures them with a little support -- write required information on paper to show them. I am glad if the booklet helps you know how to support the Deaf community."

It is reported that there is an order of the booklet from the welfare facilities across Japan.

Japanese source:

Hearing cyclist hired as Japanese Deaf cycling team coach

New coach Ogasawara Takahiro
(photo: http://cyclist.sanspo.com/)
June 7, 2014

The Japan Deaf Cycling Association (JDCA) has decided to hire Ogasawara Takahiro (小笠原崇裕), 33, who is hearing and a professional athlete, as a coach for training aiming at the Summer Deaflympics, which will take place in Turkey in 2017.

The national team "Ogasawara JAPAN" will start when a training camp is scheduled for June 21 - 22 at the Japan Cycle Sports Center located in Izu-shi, Shizuoka Prefecture.

JDCA will tackle strengthening activities for the time being prior to the "Le Tour de Taiwan" for the Deaf on October 28 - November 6, this year.

Coach Ogasawara was on the Japan mountain bike team for the world championship, etc. Also he gained the all Japan champion over many years in XTERRA (an off-road triathlon). Moreover, serving as the Japanese national team coach for the mountain bike world championship in 2011, etc. he has gained instruction experience.

This time, a sign language interpreter will be placed to promote a smooth communication between Ogasawara and the team members.

Japanese source:

Sign language volunteer training progresses before national conferences in autumn in Mie Prefecture

June 6, 2014

Ise-shi, Mie Prefecture in central Japan has held the training of the volunteer guide since October, last year to act as a sightseeing guide for the Deaf/deaf travelers by sign language.

The National Welfare Convention of the Deafened and Hard of Hearing will be held in Yokkaichi-shi in October, and the National Deaf Youth Research Discussion Meeting in Suzuka-shi in November, both in the prefecture.

Ise-shi is concerned to get the Deaf/deaf person to enjoy the sightseeing of Ise which is well known for one of the oldest shrine in Japan, Ise Jingu.

Twenty-two persons including sign language circle members and Deaf/deaf persons in the city have applied for the training program.

They participate in local training at a tourist resort, a tourist information center, etc. in the city, visit advanced sightseeing spots in the outside of the prefecture, etc., and get knowledge as a guide.

The volunteer registration to a sightseeing guide organization is planned to be made by October.

Japanese source:

Fire Management Agency considers requirement of flash alarm installed in public space for people with hearing loss

"The shining fire alarm" tells the outbreak of a fire by flicker of a strong light. Fire and Disaster Management Agency conducted the actual proof experiment in the waiting room of the hospital.
 (photo: http://www.asahi.com/)

June 3, 2014

How can be the aged and deaf persons warned of an outbreak of a fire in a public space?

About installation of "the shining fire alarm" imposing a duty, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency starts examination on whether to install in a customer-attracting facility with a large-scaled space. The cost of installation expense, etc. are likely to be an issue.

One of the reasons the Agency considers mandating of equipment is frequent occurrence of the fire from which elderly people fall victim.

The Agency, with cooperation from the Deaf community, conducted the actual proof experiment of the shining fire alarm in January, this year.

They have finished an experiment at a total of 25 places across Japan, such as a hospital, an airport, a department store, and an underground shopping center, and are analyzing the questionnaire to the participants, etc.

The result of analysis will be used for development of installation criteria; to find out how many shining alarms are installed in the wide place for high effectiveness, etc.

While a common fire alarm detects smoke and heat and an outbreak of a fire is conveyed to sound, the shining alarm works by flicker of a strong light. Although more Deaf persons or persons with hearing loss prepare a flash fire alarm sold for 4,000-5,000 yen at home, installation of this device is not progressing in the large-scaled facility such like a hotel, a theater, a department store, a hospital, etc.

Japanese source:

Mothers' organization activity in Kyoto promotes social understanding of hard of hearing children

The members of the "Kids Barrier-Free" discuss
an original T-shirt that they wear for raising funds. 
(photo: http://www.kyoto-np.co.jp/)
June 2, 2014

The organization called the "Kids Barrier-Free" in Kameoka-shi, Kyoto Prefecture saw establishment of one year. It supports the children to whom a disability handbook is not issued while they have the mild or moderate degree of hearing loss.

The organization has done activity; they prepared the petition to the self-governing body to ask for purchase assistance of a hearing-aid, provided the place of exchange for children regardless of disability, etc. The members hold up a goal to build a society where everyone understands each other."
Chairman of the board of directors, Sueyoshi Rika (末吉理花), 42, who has a daughter with moderate-degree hearing loss, called to mothers and formed the organization last year.

Since the hearing-aid purchase assistance to the child with difficulty in hearing to whom a disability notebook is not issued varies from a self-governing body to other, the organization has been requesting for Kyoto, etc. that the same assistance should be provided all over the districts.

Members increased in number to about 50 in all. Sueyoshi said with great enthusiasm, "As the disability in a gray area does not have a corresponding place, a mother has to check something by herself and deal with it. Our organization hopes to do consultation and information exchange in order to reduce a problem of a parent and her child."

Japanese source:

Deaf girl joins universal ekiden in Tokyo

June 2, 2014

The event which regardless disability people compete in the same field called "Ota Universal Ekiden* Convention" took place in the Ota stadium in Tokyo on June 1.

The participants, both the persons with disability and healthy persons, enjoyed the sport event. The non-profit-organization Japan Universal Sport Network sponsored it.

The convention which was the 7th time by the end of this year also has many people who participate every year.

One of them was Niki Yuzuki (仁木柚希), a 11-year-old Deaf girl, who is sixth grader of a private school for the Deaf, Meisei Gakuen School in  Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo. Her ekiden team was named the "Rabbit and Cat," her favorite pets this year.

Niki enjoys soccer and swimming in a sports club. Her mother Takako (貴子), 42, says that Niki was refused for reasons of being deaf. After the club allowed Niki participate in a trial, they registered her as a club member, saying 'attendance of mother is also unnecessary'."

Takako said, "In many cases if people come in contact with a person with disability, they will understand. It is good to have a place like universal ekiden where the persons of various backgrounds participate together."

On that day Niki was the second runner, and when she got the light-blue sash, she did energy full jump for running as if she might lead Taguchi Miku (田口美紅), 19, a high school student and a volunteer escort runner with the white board in her hand for writing.

After the goal Taguchi said, "It was the first time for me to have come in contact with those who are Deaf. I understand that expressing exactly short is important for writing. I will write more smoothly next time. It was a precious experience for me."

Niki wrote on the white board with a smile, "I am worn out", and she continued with signing, "I have run hard today. I was happy to have talked with many people."

Japanese source:

Ekiden (駅伝) is a term referring to a long-distance relay running race, typically on roads. The Japanese term originally referred to a post-horse or stagecoach which transmitted communication by stages.

Prefecture school for the Deaf carries out the last sport day before closed in Fukuoka Prefecture

June 1, 2014

A sport day was held in the Prefecture Nogata School of for the Deaf located in Nogata-shi,  Fukuoka Prefecture on May 31.

The school will merge with a Prefecture Nogata Special Education School in April, next year, and make a fresh start as a special support school for the Deaf and children with physical impairment.

The alumni also joined the last sport day event, celebrating the history of  foundation for 67 years.

The Nogata School for the Deaf serves a total of 27 preschoolers aged 3 and over, elementary school children, and junior high school students.

All the children and students enjoyed running a race, skipping-rope games, etc. There was a special program for the alumni: throwing balls into baskets. Also a unique game which a group carried a cart the corrugated paper which looked like the school building, connected with the school closure.

The principal said, "it seemed that so many the alumni also came and enjoyed themselves. They will be welcome to visit the school again as we plan to have a study demonstration in autumn."

Japanese source:

Second Deaf soccer game held in Osaka

June 1, 2014

The Deaf soccer game, the "Adiantar Championship 2014" (sponsorship of the West Japan Deaf Soccer Association), was held in the Sakai Municipal Soccer National Training C enter (J-GREEN Sakai) in Osaka on May 31 - June 1. 

Five teams including a foreign team participated, having the hot game.

The "Osaka Adiantar FC," which works at a base on Osaka, appealed to the team of every place for promotion of the exchange of the Deaf players for first time in 2013.

Japanese source:

Interpreting provided at opening ceremony of high school athletic meet in Saga Prefecture

Koda Yoshiko (香田佳子) interprets
at the general opening ceremony.
(photo: http://www.saga-s.co.jp/)
 May 31, 2014

The Saga High School Athletic League provided sign-language interpreting at the general opening ceremony in order to convey the presence of the festival of a high school sport to the spectators.

It followed the measure which the Saga Prefecture in western Japan hammers out based on the "universal design in the sport" that everyone enjoys a sport regardless of the existence of age or a disability.

The two certified sign language interpreters who also a staff member of the Prefecture Deaf Support Center were there to do the job.

Japanese sourece:

More universities opening Japanese Sign Language course as "second language"

ASL Class in Nagoya University in Aichi Prefecture
(photo: http://www.asahi.com/)
The students talk using sign language
with a Deaf lecturer Nozaki Shizue
(野崎静枝: right) in Rikkyo University in Tokyo.
(photo: http://www.asahi.com/)

May 29, 2014

The universities which teach sign language as one of the language studies are increasing in number little by little. The recognition of "sign language being language" serves as the background.

Rikkyo University located in Toshima-ku, Tokyo opened a course of "Japanese Sign Language" as one of the language elected subjects in 2010. The student of any faculty can take the course. A level is divided into four steps, and the fourth step puts focus on discussion, etc. A lesson is recorded for a  student to view and listen to it later. The video review is also supplied with the online system each time.

A junior student became a friend wit a Deaf person, and decided to take the course,  because she wanted "not only to lipread, but to communicate in sign language." She is learning through seeing the sign language news program also at home.

A sophomore was pulled to the concept of "studying sign language as language." She belongs to the international exchange club and is intent on "coming to like to be able to show around by sign language as a volunteer at the time of the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020."

It is said that the opinion that development of the manual communications skills that has been limited to a spoken language should be expanded" as a reason for opening a sign language course.

The course is adhered to acquisition of the visual language as "the Japanese Sign Language" which the Deaf community members use for conversation instead of the "signed Japanese" currently studied in the circle, etc.

Hosono Masako (細野昌子), an interpreter for Nozaki, says, "A student must learn away from the spoken Japanese rhythm and word order. The same passion as mastering other languages is required." There are some graduates who took the course became a flight attendant. Nozaki says, "I wish especially a Deaf school teacher studies Japanese Sign Language."

When Nagoya University of Foreign Studies in Nisshin-shi, Aichi Prefecture established a new English education course in 2008, it established the "American sign language" class at the same time, with three levels from the beginning class, the middle class, and an advanced class.

A lecturer Imamura Ayako (今村彩子) who is born deaf  and can speak, teaches the course for 90 minutes. She learned first American sign language at the age of 19 when she studied in the U.S. She says, "Various languages exist in the world, and a language called sign language is among them, which is different according to every a country. A view also spreads by getting to know the culture of the person using sign language."

Kwansei Gakuin University in Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo Prefecture introduced sign language as language arts in the human welfare faculty in 2008. Freshmen and sophomore students require to take the sign language course positioned by one of the indispensable "second language." About 90 students are taking it for one year.

Shikoku Gaguin University in Zentsuji-shi, Kagawa Prefecture opens the Japanese Sign Language as one of the second requirement language arts, and the American Sign Language class for a summer intensive course.

Moreover, Kinjo Gakuin University in Nagoya-shi, Aichi Prefecture established the sign language interpreter training course for the first time in a four-year college in 2001.

Tottori Prefecture enacted the "Sign Language Ordinance" for the first time in Japan in 2013. The text book on sign language was distributed to schools, sign language is taught at hours of comprehensive learning, or the sign language interpreter is dispatched to the staff meeting of the Deaf school or the PTA meeting. The same ordinance was enacted even in Ishikari-shi, Hokkaido, and Matsusaka-shi, Mie Prefecture.

Special Support Education Associate Professor Iwata Yoshio (岩田吉生) of Aichi University of Education has indicated that opening a sign language course is increasing gradually at the university which is influenced by not only the change of such society but also more university and faculty in medical or welfare field increased as a background.

Japanese source: