First Deaf student to compete at National High School Sign Language Speech Contest

Arai Honoka (right) and 
Fujimoto Minami, (left)

August 28, 2015   

The 32nd National High School Sign Language Speech Contest, sponsored by Japanese Federation of the Deaf, Asahi Shimbun and others, will take place in Tokyo on August 29.

Arai Honoka, 17, a high school sophomore of the Tottori Prefecture Tottori School for the Deaf in western Japan was one of the ten chosen form 62 applicants from across Japan.

She passed both the examination of the manuscript which she would present on the day and the video examination which sign language expression and speech of a given assignment were judged.

This contest is held annually for the purpose of upbringing of a person who bridges Deaf and hearing people and the spread of sign language. 

The contestants in the past were familiar with sign language, because they belonged to the sign language club in a high school, or because of their Deaf parents. It was the first time to select a student attending a school for the deaf.

On the other hand, Fujimoto Minami, 16, a freshman of Kawamura High School in Tokyo, is hardly hear anything, yet was stranger to sign language. Since she was a small child, she was trained to lipread, hence able to communicate as she understands what is said through a movement of the mouth. She has been cochlear-implanted since five years old. 

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