Application for fingerspelling practice developed for sign language spread

June 28, 2015  
When the manual alphabet you want to 
know is pressed with an application, 
an expanded illustration is shown.

Yonago-shi, Tottori Prefecture:

The system development trader named "Dream On-line" at Yonago-shi in western Japan has developed application software for manual alphabet practice in a sign language expression called "Let's fingerspell‼".

The drills to make sure a manual alphabet of Japanese syllabary (50 letters) and a learned manual alphabet expression also are included. The person concerned expects that the application will be useful for the spread of sign language."

Japanese source:

Deaf ward assembly member questions through sound software system at plenary session

June 26, 2015     
Saito Rie commented after the plenary 
session of the ward assembly.

Kita-ku, Tokyo:

After the first election in April, Saito Rie, a Deaf member of the ward assembly, stood for the first question in Kita-ku assembly plenary session on June 25. 

Using the audio-text software downloaded in her computer which was permitted to bring in the meeting, Saito questioned about promotion of the barrier free environment.

"We want subtitles to be put on the Ward's online public relations information," "The ward should put a fax in the patrol room of the ward at night for the Deaf person who can't use the telephone to ask emergency for help," etc.

The ward officials answered that they would study."

Japanese source:

Deaf person lectures on deafness at elementary school

June 25, 2015   
Iwamoto Yoshimasa gives 
a lecture using sign language.

Miki-shi, Hyogo Prefecture:

Iwamoto Yoshimasa, 39, Chairperson  of Amagasaki Deaf Society, gave a lecture entitled "It's difficult to hear, what kind of this?" on June 25 at the Minagidai Elementary School in Miki-shi near Osaka, in which total of 85 pupils, their guardians, local residents and others participated. 

Iwamoto told them how to come into contact with a Deaf person, including his own experience, how to sign, etc. through interpreting.

He learned as a little boy that everything in the room had a name or word by seeing the card attached to something;  he always watched teacher's action because he was unable to hear the sound of the whistle during pooling before carrying out, etc.

Iwamoto also called attention; When meeting a Deaf person, speak clearly in front of him; when walking with a Deaf person, the person who notices approach of a car by sound walks the roadway side on his own initiative.

Japanese source:

City council introduces interpreting service in meetings for Deaf residents

June 24, 2015

Takamatsu-shi, Kagawa Prefecture:

Takamatsu City Council in western Japan has decided on June 23 to introduce the interpreting service for the Deaf residents who want to know the contents of proceedings at an assembly, starting on June 26.

When  a Deaf person applies to the city council secretariat beforehand to hear a plenary session and committee meetings, interpreters will be dispatched from the Prefecture Association of the Deaf. The service is free.

This is a part of the efforts for "an open assembly." The  city council secretariat calls, "Use the system and learn discussions in the meeting."

Japanese source:

Successful sign language festival held

June 23, 2015  

Ishikari-shi, Hokkaido:
The participant learns basic sign language and  
and fingerspelling at a hands-on corner.

The "Ishikari Sign Language Festival" took place for the first time at Hanakawa North Community Center in Ishikari-shi located in Japan's north island on June 21. The event offered the participants an opportunity to experience charm of sign language through a comic act and a play, attracting about 300 people including related groups.

Many people lined up in a sign language hands-on corner with a Deaf person. Also people were talking with the fingerspelling and sign language here and there in the place.

To commemorate that the "Basic Sign Language Regulation in Ishikari-shi (Sign Language Regulation)" was carried out for the first time at towns and villages in the whole country in April, 2014, the organizing committee, consisted of six groups including sign language clubs in the city, held the event.

The committee said, "As long as there was no sign language regulation in Ishikari, even if we had the same event, few participants would show up. We are very happy to see the children challenging sign language positively."

Japanese source:

English article: Deaf council member asks city gov't about policy measures for disabled

Atsuko Yanetani

June 23, 2015

AKASHI-shi, Hyogo Prefecture:


Yanetani Atsuko, a member of the Akashi Municipal Assembly who is Deaf, stood on a platform in the assembly room for the first time on June 22 to address questions about measures being taken by the municipal government for residents with disabilities.

Yanetani spent about 30 minutes addressing questions to the municipal assembly about three policy items -- measures to address discrimination against people with disabilities, handling of disabled residents in times of disaster and the hiring of disabled persons as city government staff. 

Read more:

Related blog:
Akashi-shi to provide interpreting service for Deaf assembly member

Assembly members with disabilities exchange views about barrier free in assembly activities

Saito Makoto (left) and Fujita Yoshio

Hori Toshikaze (left) and Saito Rie 

June 14, 2015    
An event took place in Kita-ku, Tokyo on June 13, and four current and former assembly members with disabilities exchanged their opinions about social involvement of persons with disabilities. 

Attended were: Saito Makoto, 55, the first wheelchair member of Nagoya-shi Assembly in his sixth term, Hori Toshikazu, 65, a former House of Councilors member with visual impairment, Fujita Yoshio, 67, a former assembly member of Nagaoka-shi, Niigata Prefecture who is visually impaired using a guide dog during his term for the first time in Japan, and Saito Rie, 31, a newly elected Deaf assembly member. 

They discussed the barrier free situation of the assembly, and appealed, "The society which excludes persons with disabilities can be changed by themselves."

Saito, known as "writing hostess" because of deafness and elected by Kita-ku assembly election in April, stated that the system that the system that changes voices to text for the first time in the country was introduced in the assembly after election.

Japanese sources:

City employees begin putting on sign language badge

June 18, 2015

Tokorozawa-shi, Saitama Prefecture:
Sign language badges

The Sign Language Club for the City Employees" was formed in May, 2000 in the Tokorozawa-shi next to Tokyo. They meet  to study sign language once a week.

The club made the "sign language badge" which shows that the wearer is ready to answer Deaf visitor's question by sign language. The total of 36 club members have begun to put the badge on at the office.

The sign language badge has a design of the mascot character of the city on it, and there are two kinds, pink and green. Pink shows "I can use sign language for communication," and green shows "I sign for a simple phrase such like a greeting."

Japanese source:

City to introduce interpreting of city council through video relay

June 16, 2015
Kobe-shi, Hyogo Prefecture:

Kobe City Assembly will introduce interpreting through video relay of a plenary session starting from a regular meeting on June 19. The city says this service is the first time as a government ordinance city.

"Our Sign Language Regulation" has been carried out in Kobe-shi near Osaka since April. The city keeps putting a related policy into effect with obligation, and as part of policy, the city assembly decided to introduce interpreting in the meeting through video relay.

"Kobe Deaf Society," a non-profit organization incorporated,  dispatches interpreters for the purpose. 

The city assembly secretariat says, "We hope more citizens will be interested in the assembly taking such an opportunity."

Japanese source:

National Deaf Conference ends with resolutions

June 16, 2015

Maebashi-shi, Gunma Prefecture:

The 63rd National Deaf Conference, sponsored by Japanese Federation of the Deaf (JFD), was held in Maebashi- shi on June 10-14, attracting more than 3,000 Deaf persons and people concerned from the whole country and an old friendship was heated up.

There was a closing ceremony on June 14, the last day of the conference. The resolutions and proclamation were adopted; rights for sign language in education, political rights including interpreting for an election broadcast and introduction of subtitles, etc. JFD and the participants promised once more to work on society to protect human rights of the Deaf.

Prior to opening of the Conference, as many Deaf persons were expected to visit an eatery and use a public transportation, the Prefecture Federation of the Deaf distributed a "communication support board" to 300 stores or restaurants, and the hotels where a Deaf participant would stay overnight in the city. It was made sure a Deaf person points some items on the board for communication.

Japanese sources:

Japanese Federation of the Deaf unveils monument at historical place

June 12, 2015

Gunma Prefecture:

An unveiling ceremony of a monument took place on June 11 at Ikaho Hot Spring in Shibukawa-shi, a place where the national organization for the Deaf called Japanese Federation of the Deaf (JFD) was formed, in which many Deaf persons and others participated. Ishino Toshisaburo, president of the Federation, gave a speech, "We will never forget what happened today. The Federation will work hard aiming at the future when everyone can live regardless of hearing ability."

A monument was placed at two spots, one is at the "Hotel Kigure" site in Ikaho and the other at the hot spring town center where the meeting to form an organization of the Deaf was held in 1947. The monument at the hot spring town was designed by three Deaf students of Tsukuba Technology University in Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki Prefecture.

Hearing persons such as a principal of school for the Deaf dominated the top position of the Deaf organizations in a prewar time (until 1945). The discrimination and the prejudice against the Deaf were severe then, and there was no concept of empowerment. A teaching in the root; the Deaf students were told many times by their teachers, "Be a good person to be loved by any hearing person." 

After the WW II ended in 1945, Deaf people started standing up for discrimination removal and a Deaf right. They exchanged a letter and about 250 people gathered from the whole country at Kigure Japanese-style hotel (present Hotel Kigure) in 1947.

After they argued a movement policy until late at night by sign language which also differed among regions then, the organization the Japanese Federation of the Deaf started formally in 1948 as "an organization by the Deaf persons, for the Deaf, and of the Deaf." It was a great meaning to meet and use sign language "directly" for the Deaf who were scattering across the country and often isolated from society.

Ever since the movement of Deaf people along with JFD has changed the social system in the country. The civil law which didn't accept housing loan was revised in 1979. A qualification system for an interpreter was established in 1989. A Deaf person is allowed to get a driver's license with a hearing aid on in 1973. Even if hearing impairment at all, by using a wide mirror and a hearing impairment sticker as a condition became possible to acquire in 2008.

The Deaf man, Miwa Takeji, 87, who lives at Maebashi-shi in the prefecture helped to manage an organization meeting when he was 19 years old then. "I hardly believe it has came when a Deaf persons can drive a car. The young generation is fluent in Japanese and active. I hope they will keep the spirit that the elder have carried on."

Japanese source: 

Two Deaf students compete each other on university campus

June 12, 2015

Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa Prefecture:
Okita (right) and Morimitu (center) 
practice with Coach Inoue (left) in the 
Kanazawa Seiryo University Athletics Club.

Two Deaf students, Okita Taiga, 20, and Morimitsu Yuya, 19, are trying hard to improve themselves at the Athletics Club in the Kanazawa Seiryo University at Kanazawa-shi. They have also been the rivals in a national tournament since their high school days.

It was Okita who made the opportunity which both would continue to compete each other at the university.

When about to graduate from Ishikawa School for the Deaf, Okita was invited by Inoue Akihiro, 54, coach of the Kanazawa Seiryo University aiming at "normalization" through a sport, and Okita went to the university in 2013.

Coach Inoue was told by Okita that there was a better athlete than he. So Coach went to Kochi School for the Deaf and met Morimitsu personally, recommending entrance to the university.

About 70 students belong to the University Athletics Club at present. During practicing, Morimitsu who has a relatively better hearing ability tells Okita the directions from the surrounding in sign language. Coach tries to communicate with the Deaf students in simple sign language that he had learned during working at the school for the deaf, too.

Existence of the two Deaf students was also the opportunity for the university to make enrich the support study system: it collected students for the first time as a  note-taker when Okita was admitted. There are about 35 note takers at present.

Japanese source:

Deaf fusal team plays harder in prefecture league 

June 12, 2015

Urayasu-shi, Chiba Prefecture:

The Deaf futsal team called "Bardral URAYASU Defio" at Urayasu-shi in the prefecture next to Tokyo keeps challenging a hearing league.

"Bardral URAYASU Defio" started in March, 2014 as a subsidiary team to a strong contestant of the Japanese futsal league (F league), "Bardral URAYASU," joining the third group of the prefecture futsal league this spring. 

The "Defio" teammates aims at the further top, saying, "Even if impossible to hear, we devise how to overcome and unite as a team, we can be stronger."

Eleven out of the 14 players in the "Defio" are Deaf/deaf. They use an eye contact, stamp their feet, give a signal, etc. for communication during play. They are requested to broaden their horizons and grasp the whole, and at the same time sense surrounding circumstances while moving. 

The prefecture's third league consisted of 12 teams. "Defio" won the game to get qualified as an entry team in March, achieving promotion after a year of its foundation.

Japanese source:

Facebook site (Japanese):

Nippon Foundation requests Ministry to provide telephone relay service for Deaf people

June 8, 2015
Chairperson Sasagawa (left) hands 
a letter of request to Minister Takaichi.

Sasagawa Nobuhira, Chairperson of Nippon Foundation, visited Takaichi Sanae, Minister of the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications, on June 3, and submitted the request asking for institutionalization of the telephone relay service for Deaf/deaf persons as public service. 

The Foundation has begun to offer the telephone relay service as support to Deaf residents in three prefectures, Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima, hit by the Japan Great Earthquake in March, 2011 as a start. The service has expanded into the model business which made nationwide beside the Deaf disaster victims. Over 2,000 Deaf/deaf persons use the relay service about 7,000 cases monthly.

Japanese source:

Related blogs:

Interpreters learn Deaf survivors of the atomic bombing through recorded video

June 11, 2015  

Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki Prefecture:

The Nagasaki Brunch of the National Interpreting Issues Study Group held a workshop at Nagasaki-shi in western Japan on June 7, which a recorded video of experiences of Deaf survivors of the atomic bombing titled "Let's Talk in Hands" was used (photo).

About 40 branch members attended the workshop for the purpose of learning concern of Deaf survivors of the atomic bombing and the interview report activity of the branch for more than 30 years.

In the video which was produced in 1989, five Deaf survivors describe in sign language about how they met an atom bomb and what they saw the terrible scene, etc.

Japanese source:

Hard of hearing woman opens coffee shop 

June 11, 2015   
Nishino has started a coffee shop recently.

Tokushima-shi, Tokushima Prefecture:

Nishino Miyoko, 60, who carries on a boutique at Tokushima-shi in western Japan, remodeled half of the women's wear floor to set up a counter with six seats as a tearoom space in March. 

The tea party which visitors talk about various themes is also held on Tuesday every week, and it's being the salon-like location in the area.
Nishino became hard of hearing because of a stress at 35 years old. There was also time when she moped, but she is working cheerfully at present.
The service to the visitor isn't easy: when failing to understand each other, a visitor gets angry and leaves the shop. Still she tries to read a lip movement, using the residual hearing and gestures as possible as she can, while managing the two spaces -- dress making and coffee shop -- by herself.
She says, "I have wanted to make a community in the area. I hope everyone drops in casually."

Japanese source:

Deaf man opens Chinese noodles store

Takasaki-shi, Gunma:

Tokizawa Tadayoshi, 41, started a store of Chinese noodles called "Ramen Atelier Toki-chan" (photo left) at Takasaki-shi north of Tokyo in November, 2014. The gentle taste with the seafood and the soup stock of a chicken is poplar.

Tokizawa was working for the company which produces auto parts, but he determined on a dropping out of the company, made a series of research by himself and started a ramen store.

However, he was unable to make the flavor of ramen at first. There were a lot of visitors confused at being unable to communicate with the Deaf owner, too. So customers were few and far between.

It started to appear on a local newspaper as a result of  Tokizawa's efforts in improving the taste of the ramen soup three times.

To help Tokizawa aware of what is up in the store, how did he devise? A meal ticket vending machine (photo right) was introduced first, and made sure that the visitor can order. A mirror was installed in the kitchen during cooking, which made sure that Tokizawa is able to keep seeing the customers moving in and out, too while cooking. So when a visitor goes out of the store, he would show his gratitude.

Then some change occurred. A customer proposes to add plum vinegar to secret ingredient, some other helps to take an order. Various people came to follow Tokizawa up. His store got off the ground to a good start finally in this way.

Japanese sources:

Deaf students connects with Taiwanese counterparts thorough videophone

June 9, 2015

Ichikawa-shi, Chiba Prefecture

Students at Tsukuba University Special Support School for the Deaf located at Konodai, Ichikawa-shi near Tokyo communicated using an Internet phone "Skype" with students of a Taiwanese school for the deaf "Taipei Municipal Keisou School" on June 5. 

The communication between two groups of Deaf students took place through four languages, Japanese Sign Language, spoken Japanese, spoken Chinese and Chinese Sign Language.

Seventeen Japanese students and sixteen Taiwanese counterparts explained the features of the school and an interesting place around, respectively, on the videophone. A Japanese student introduced Mt. Fuji and Tokyo Skytree Tower which can be viewed from the dormitory.

One of the Japanese students said, "Taiwanese Sign Language was akin to Japanese Sign Language, some signs of which I understood."

Japanese source:

"Flip cartoon" to introduce the fact of hearing loss

June 9, 2015

Toyonaka-shi, Osaka Prefecture:

Ando Miki, 46, a Deaf woman living at Toyonaka-shi in the prefecture, serves as the chief director of the non-profit organization corporated called "MAMIE" which works on support learning of children with disabilities and computer lessons, etc.

She is collecting funds of cartoon film production until 11:00pm on June 9 through "cloud funding" in order to spread understanding of hearing loss.

Ando exhibited a work of "flip cartoon" on You Tube in 2014. She said, "I'd like to make a work to make the public consider a person with hearing loss."

Japanese source:

Ando's works:
What is a hearing dog? (English caption)

What is deafness?

Related blogs:

Mayors exchange views about sign language spread

June 7, 2015  

Kobe-shi, Hyogo Prefecture:
The mayors in Hyogo Prefecture talk 
about their Sign Language Regulation.

The Prefecture Association of the Deaf sponsored the "sign language forum" in the Nada Ward Hall at Kobe-shi next to Osaka on May 6, in which about 500 citizens and others participated.

Invited were four mayors in the prefecture who had established a Sign Language regulation. They looked back to regulation establishment, discussing the policy to spread sign language among their citizens.

Five out of 18 autonomous bodies across the country that established the regulation are in the prefecture.

Japanese sources:

Deaf woman active related to LGBT issues

June 5, 2015  
Yamamoto Fuyumi 
Nagoya-shi, Aichi Prefecture:
There is survey result that LGBT calls one against 13 persons in Japan, as well as ones in the Deaf community in the country.

Yamamoto Fuyumi, 33, a Deaf woman living in Osaka-shi, has  carried on the activity related to sexual diversity, spoke to about 60 participants in the lecture held in Nagoya-shi at the end of May, "LGBT is also an identity as deafness."

Yamamoto noticed when she was in the first year at high school in Osaka that she might like a woman. She consulted her mother, who said from the experience with her homosexual friends, "I think that's good because it is a natural thing."

Yamamoto went to a university in Kyoto and learned feminism, getting involved in the activity of a LGBT club, etc.

Ryo, 35, a Deaf transgender whom Yamamoto married in 2007, works as a nursing home staff. He was born as a girl, and became a man on the family census register after operation in Thailand.

Yamamoto set up a support group called "Deaf LGBT Center" in May, 2014. It was a trigger that one of her Deaf LGBT acquaintances committed suicide after breaking off relations with the family. Yamamoto will go to the U.S.A this summer to study at Gallaudet University.

The first National Deaf Sexual Minority Conference will be held in Tokyo on June 20-21 this year.

Japanese sources:

Deaf LGBT Center official site (Japanese):

"Talkative meeting" for persons with hearing loss held

June 3, 2015  
The people planned a talkative meeting 
for persons with hearing loss

Saga-shi, Saga Prefecture:

The Prefecture Deaf Support Center at Saga-shi in Japan's southern island has begun a "talkative meeting" to offer adults with hearing loss an opportunity to chat with each other.

Recently more aged people lose hearing ability and tend to speak in a loud voice. Many people don't understand such a situation that the aged often shut themselves.

Therefore the center planned an event on May 31 for the first time to invite the clients to communicate freely with their counterparts. The participants enjoyed the meeting through writing.

It will be expected to open for about 2 hours from the afternoon once a month from now on.

Japanese source:

National Deaf Surfing Tournament held in Shima-shi

June 1, 2015      
National Deaf Surfing Tournament "All Japan Deaf Cup"

Shima City, Mie Prefecture:

The 12th All Japan Deaf Cup, a national tournament, was held by Japanese Deaf Surfing Association (JDSA) at Kohama, Shima City on May 30.

On the day, before the event, the 36th NSA Deaf Chapter Preliminary took place sponsored by Nippon Surfing Association (NSA), in which about 40 Deaf surfers participated from the whole country.

JDSA, established as a represented group in 1978 to integrate Deaf surfers, is active including understanding of Deaf surfers, environment protection, several surfing contests held yearly, the "Deaf Chapter Preliminary"to select representatives for the National Championships, etc. 

Japanese source:

Photographs of bombed Old Urakami Cathedral taken by Deaf man

May 30, 2015
Outer wall in Old Urakami Cathedral  
bombed and fell in
(photograph by Inoue Koji )

Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki Prefecture:

The "Inoue Koji's Photography: Gunkanjima and Nagasaki" is exhibited at present at the Nagasaki Prefecture Art Museum in  Nagasaki-shi. Inoue Koji (1919-93) was a well-known Deaf photographer.

Photographs of Old Urakami Cathedral destroyed by an atom bomb are displayed in a glass case in this exhibition. About a photograph after bombing on Old Urakami Cathedral, the U.S. forces in those days took one as record, but it's very rare that a Japanese person took a photograph of it.

In April, negatives of the photographs were found. Inoue's family says that the back of a photograph printed from one of five negatives had a message "January, 1948" by Inoue himself. 

Two of the five photographs discovered capture a view of the outer wall fell in. There was also a photograph of the saint image which paused taken near Old Urakami Cathedral in ruin. It is said that these photographs are the valuable materials that show power of a nuclear weapon and damage to be remembered as well as valuable as a work.

Japanese source:

Related blog:
Pictures of Battleship Island taken by Deaf photographer exhibited

"I Can Sign" badge for hearing person to help Deaf in emergency

May 19, 2015     
"I Can Sign" badges

Yosano town, Kyoto Prefecture:
 A listener for a person with hearing impairments for the network organization made with 

The Northern Network Committee based in Yosano town works to develop living abundant for Deaf and speech disorder persons in Kyoto, consisting of Deaf organizations in the North region of Kyoto Prefecture. They has produced an "I Can Sign" badge to shows the wearer who is hearing is able to sign. 

A "badge," diameter 3.8 centimeters, has four kinds of clip system badges, key chains and straps in addition to a pin badge, and three types of color for choice;  red, yellow and green.

The explosive accident occurred by a fireworks event at Fukuchiyama-shi in Kyoto in August, 2013 was the reason for making this badge.

A Deaf man came to the site to see fireworks on the day, and found out that something serious has occurred, but he could not hear what a broadcast said. There were many people around there then, but he did not know who could sign by a look. So the Network Committee took it up as an agenda to make a badge.

Hearing persons who can sign puts a badge on the bag. When some accident happens, they make it easy for a Deaf person to notice it.

Japanese source:

School office chief arrested by hit-and-run suspicion 

May 27, 2015  

Muroran-shi, Hokkaido Prefecture:

The Hokkaido Prefecture Police Muroran area office arrested Onodera Kenrou, 59, an office chief of Hokkaido Muroran School for the Deaf at Muroran-shi located in Japan's northern island, by a question of a injury and hit-and-run on May 27.

During driving his light car on the National Highway No.37 in Muroran-shi around 5:00 pm on May 7, he collided with a car from behind, and ran away while burdening a female office worker, 31,  with serious injury on a sprain of her neck. She was decelerating for a traffic jam then.

Japanese source: