Deaf female runner wins five successive championships in 1500 meters

October 26, 2015
Yasumoto Makiko shows powerful run by 1500 
meters for women with hearing impairment. 

A Deaf woman, Yasumoto Makiko from Shizuoka-shi, 28, won the first prize for 1500 meters, achieving five straight championships at the National Disability Sports Conference held in Wakayama Prefecture, western Japan in October. 

She also won the first prize for 800 meters, saying, "I was really tired after running for 800 meters, but I did my best, so, I felt a sense of fulfillment spread."

Yasumoto has competed in the Conference since eleven years ago, but it was the first time for her to run two races on the same day. 

Japanese source:

Use of hearing aid approved in driving bus and taxi

October 22, 2015

The National Police Agency developed a proposed amendment of the Road Traffic Law enforcement regulations on October 22 which approve use of a hearing aid in the second-class license test for driving a bus, taxi, etc.

Public opinion is called for from October 23 to November 21. The amended regulations is scheduled for enforcement on April 1,2016 .

Without using a hearing aid for the current test, it was one of the conditions of the driving license for a Deaf/deaf person to hear the tone of 90 decibels of horn at the place from 10 meters away, which will be changed by the proposed amendment.

The Japanese Federation of the Deaf welcomed the move, "The big one first step could be taken for more business chance for the Deaf."

Japanese source:

Popular cooking class through sign language 

October 17, 2015  
Ogata explains how to make 
pizza by sign language.

Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo:

The cooking class that a Deaf lecturer teaches by sign language is opened in Tokyo. It is carried out by two women;  Ogata Miwa, 44, the Deaf woman licensed as a cook  and Tanaka Hiroko, 42, the French lecturer who volunteers to teach sign language.

They achieved to start a cooking class after eight years, because they believed; 
"Even if interpreting provided in an ordinary cooking class, it isn't possible for a Deaf student to see  both an interpreter and a lecturer at the same time, so a Deaf person is left out."

The cooking class called "The Rainbow" was opened in Bunkyo-ku in August. It was the second time since June, this year. The Deaf woman who participated in the class said, "The lecturer used sign language, so, I understood how to make immediately."

Ogata lost hearing by an unknown cause suddenly when she was a high school student. Her dream was to become a cook or a dietitian, but was not allowed to enter a college. She was an office worker after graduating from high school. Yet she entered other college with a note taker in 2008. One year and a half later she finally was qualified to be a licensed cook.

Japanese source:

Japanese art by Deaf man wins prize at contemporary art exhibition

October 17, 2015

Fukuyama-shi, Hiroshima:

The domestic and abroad experts concerned of fine arts examined total of 231 domestic works exhibited at the National New Art Museum in Tokyo in August, and 13 works have won a prize.

One of the works was the Japanese painting titled "The Moonlight" that a Deaf barber owner Monden Ryoji, 71, a Fukuyama-shi resident in western Japan, drew the image of Mt. Fuji as a base material won the Paris International Salon Prize at "the 16th Japan-France Contemporary Art World Exhibition."

After graduating from the school for the deaf, Monden started a barber shop at the age of 21. he has kept facing canvas between work since about 40 years ago when getting off the ground to a good start. He communicates with the guest by means of sign language and writing.

Domestic and abroad, Monden, who had in his hand winning by first entry in the International Show where attention is attracted, said, "I thought winning the prize was difficult, so I'm very happy. I will continue painting for the best further."

Japanese source:

Beauty shop open to promote Deaf employment

October 16, 2015
Ogawa (center) begins the first work. 
A hearing staff (right) supports the 
communication between him and the guest. 

Sagamihara-shi, Kanagawa:

The barber/beauty shop called "Lupine Hair" where a person with disabilities and an able-bodied person work together equally opened in Sagamihara-shi near Tokyo on October 15. 

It is managed by a corporate organization, the "Japanese Barber/Beauty Lupine Society" in the city with an aim at promoting social independence of a person with disabilities through barber/beauty work as well as welcoming a visitor with disability to the store to enjoy dressing up. Such project is also unusual in the whole country according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

On the open first day ,Ogawa Toshio, a deaf staff, 35, welcomed the first hearing guest, asked him what kind of hair style while indicating a homemade hair styles list  by means of writing.

Ogawa fell ill and lost hearing about ten years ago when he was working at an ordinary beauty salon. He found the job-opening information and came to the new shop. He said with a smiling face, "It's very comfortable to work."

As the need arises, a hearing staff supports communication for the Deaf staff and the guest.

There used to be a barber/beauty training course in schools for the deaf across the whole country. After finishing it, the student acquired a national qualification before work, which would lead to an independent living. However, the needs on the side of employers decreased in recent years. There are only two schools, Hiratsuka School for the Deaf in Kanagawa next to Tokyo and Fukuoka School for the Deaf in southern Japan have offered a barber/beauty flirting presently.

Japanese source:

Popular comic "The Sound of Voice" to be filmed

October 14, 2015
"The Sound of Voice" 7th volume

According to the Weekly Boy Magazine" 46th issue published on October 14, Yamada Naoko will direct an animation film of "The Sound of Voice" based on the comic, an original work of Ohima Yoshitoki. Kyoto Cartoon Film will produce the film.

The cast and the details such as opening to the public time are uncertain.

Japanese source:

Related blog:

English article on why "no dogs allowed"

October 15, 2015        


Recently, 100 guide dog users were interviewed to assess the current situation. 52 stated that they had experienced denial of access at some time even after the passing of the Access Law for Service Dogs in 2002

Of those facilities that refused entry, restaurants ranked the highest at 32, followed by taxis, hotels (mainly Japanese-style inns), and privately owned hospitals…” 

Deaf man makes best to appeal he is Deaf while running

October 15, 2015
(top) Kurokawa checks a course for Kanazawa marathon.
(bottom) The best that he made personally (the back with 
a letter "Deaf" is shown)

The Deaf office worker Kurosawa Taiki, 26, who lives in Osaka, will participate in the Kanazawa marathon which will be held on November 15 in northeastern Japan.

He has enjoyed a marathon since twenty years old, experiencing the sport twenty-three times so far from 2009.

Kurosawa had the experience that he was knocked down in the side by the runner who accompanied a runner with visually impairment from behind suddenly at the Hokkaido marathon at Sapporo-shi, northern Japan in August, 2014. 

So Kurosawa made a best with a word "Deaf" on the back at his own cost, wishing the environment that everyone can run comfortably through Kanazawa in autumn.

There is a national sports event that a person with disabilities puts on the special best according to a specialist, but it is unusual that the Deaf person wears a best. There are a person who want to show that he has a disability meanwhile a person who doesn't want to, too, so wearing a special best is optional, but it may be certainly the effective means.

Japanese source:

English article: Deaf graduate student completes thesis in sign language

October 15, 2015


A graduate school student, born Deaf, has become the first person in Japan to undertake the challenge of completing a master’s degree thesis through Japanese sign language. 

Shinya Kawabata, 36, studying at the Japan College of Social Work in Kiyose, western Tokyo, has been video recording the sign-language thesis for presentation in DVD format to the graduate school. 

As the title of his master’s thesis, Kawabata has chosen "Support for the deaf LGBT by means of sign language."

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New book by Deaf Tokyo assembly woman who was former writing hostess

October 14, 2015  

The publisher, Corporation KADOKAWA in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo will sell a new book by Saito Rie, titled "Frankly - Note by writing assembly woman and her struggles" (1,300 yen + tax) on October 21, 2015.

After Saito was Ginza NO.1 as a hostess who communicated by means of writing, she wrote a book titled "The Writing Hostess," about her half a lifetime and experience was published. It was a best seller of 390,000 copies of total.

Saito was elected as one of the Kita-ku assembly members in Tokyo in April, 2015 winning the top 6,630 votes, the largest in Kita-ku history. She is active to achieve "the barrier free of the heart" for 2020 Tokyo Paralympics in at present.

In the book she relates frankly about a deep-rooted strife with her mother, child rearing and a confrontation with disability. 

Japanese source:

Related blog:

Japan comes out second best in soccer tournament, getting into Summer Deaflympics

October 12, 2015  
The Japanese national soccer team
achieved coming out second best

The final male soccer game in the tournament took place on October 11 as a part of the 8th Asian Pacific Deaf Sports Conference in Taiwan. 

Japan played against Iran, being defeated in 3-4 at the end of penalty shootout. It missed two straight victories, ending in the second prize. This game was combined with the Asian Pacific region preliminary for the 23rd Summer Deaflympics which will be held in Turkey in July, 2017, so Japan grasped the chance for Summer Deaflympics.

It was also a good game ahead of the third World Deaf Soccer Championships which will be held in Salerno, Italy in June, 2016.

Japanese source:
English article: Helen Keller’s letter written during 1937 Japan visit 

June 24, 2015


A letter written by the American deaf-blind activist Helen Keller (1880-1968) during her first visit to Japan has been discovered.

She traveled from New York to Yokohama in April 1937, her first of three visits to Japan, during which she met with the prime minister and officials of organizations representing the deaf and blind.

During Keller’s 1937 visit to Japan, The Asahi Shimbun sponsored her lectures and receptions and reported up-to-date news on her activities around the country.

The letter, addressed to the then president of The Asahi Shimbun and dated May 30, 1937, expresses her gratitude to the newspaper for “opening the people’s minds to the problems of the blind.”

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Support agreement at the time of disaster concluded with disabilities groups

October 9, 2015
Chairperson Iwai of the City Social Welfare Council (left) 
receives a written agreement with the volunteer groups. 

Oshu-shi, Iwate:

Oshu City Social Welfare Council located in northeastern Japan concluded the cooperation support agreement at the time of disaster with ten volunteers groups in the city at the Welfare Center on October 8.

Based on the agreement, volunteers, including guides with braille and spoken Japanese, sign language interpreter and note-taker, support those who are visually impaired and Deaf/deaf persons in cooperation in order to secure them  evacuation without any trouble.

Japanese source:

Deaf woman with hearing dog refused to enter coffee shops

October 9, 2015

Osaka-shi, Osaka:

The Deaf woman, 46, with a hearing dog was blocked to enter each coffee shop two times in the Hankyu Department Store Umeda Main Store in Osaka-shi on October 3. 

That happened just after she participated in a service dog awareness event held by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare at the main store.

The Access Law for Service Dogs of 2002 requires a service dog, such as guide dog, hearing dog and nursing-care dog, acceptance at a store, restaurant, etc., but the coffee shop staff didn't know the law.

Hankyu Department Store has started accepting a service dog at the store in 1999, working in forward way such as showing the sticker which indicates acceptance including a nursing-care dog. The store manager apologized to the Deaf woman and promised not to happen such a thing again.

The Deaf woman commented to the reporter through a supporter," I have experienced in entry refusal at a restaurant many times, but I was truly surprised it happened just  after the awareness event."

Japanese sources:

Aiming at providing "free telephone relay service"

October 9, 2015

Reportedly there are about 10,000 Deaf/deaf persons in Japan. Currently only Nippon Foundation has offered them a telephone service experimentally.

The non-profit organization, inc. called Information Gap Buster (IGB) in Yokohama-shi was established for the purpose of achieving the abundant society without "information gap" in 2011.

Ito Yoshihiro who started IGB is a deaf person himself. He got a job in a general enterprise after graduating from university. He was able to get the chance to play an active part through cooperation of his colleagues in a workplace, such as starting a new business.

IGB is appealing an online signature aiming at getting "the telephone relay service" free for Deaf/deaf people as public service, a target for about 1,000,000 signatures. 

They collect signatures by March, 2016 and appeal to the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications and communication firms on the importance of telephone relay service for the Deaf community.  

Ito comments on the importance of such a service, asking for cooperation from the public, "First we want people to know that it isn't proper that everyone is able to call. We ask you all to help us make it proper."

Japanese source:

National Deaf Education Conference held in Saga

October 8, 2015
The Japanese class with the third 
graders open to the public. 

Saga-shi, Saga:

The 49th National Deaf Education Conference aiming at substantiality of Deaf education took place at Saga Prefecture School for the Deaf and other places on October 8-9. 

With the theme of the effective teaching method appropriate to the needs of each Deaf child, through the open classes, a subcommittee meeting and  lectures.

Holding such a meeting in the prefecture was the first time. About 480 teachers participated from across the whole country. The School for the Deaf had each class from elementary, junior high school and high school open to the visitors.

Japanese source:

Coda group in Japan held meeting

October 8, 2015  

The codas attending a regular meeting.

About 90 percent of the child born to Deaf parents are hearing, called Coda, Children of Deaf Adults. 

At the middle of September, a meeting of the coda group called "J-CODA" was held in Tokyo. Codas who were an adult had a meeting for the first time in 1994, and "J-CODA" was formed in 1996.

The investigation by the University of Tokyo Barrier Free Support Office targeted at about 100 codas aged 13 and older found that a peculiar parent-child relationship stood out, such like 72% had the feeling that they must protect their parents since a small child; 61% believed they would not let people around do something disrespectful to their parents, etc.  Related studies also showed that as Coda grew they tend to have a complicated feeling toward their parents.

"J-CODA" is putting the effort into an exchange among the members. Murashita Yoshihide, 37, the leader, spoke, "As long as we are Coda, we can make a laugh of every kind of experience, and share an understanding with one another."

Japanese source:

City issues help card to support Deaf community 

October 7, 2015  
The new help card distributed

Utsunomiya-shi, Tochigi:

Utsunomiya-shi in Tochigi Prefecture next to Tokyo has begun the issue of "help card" on which the feature of the disabilities in order for the persons with disabilities to get necessary support during being outside. 

The city office is distributing the applicant who visits a desk, including students of special support schools in sequence.

The card shows the feature of disabilities in addition to the home address for urgent contact, the family clinic and kind of necessary support, etc. When spoken communication is difficult for the Deaf, they can show the card to get the necessary support.

The city planned a card for the first time in the prefecture ahead of the Disabilities Discrimination Law that will be effective in April, 2016. The design of the cross and the heart is drawn in a red background on the surface. To raise the public awareness, it was unified with the design adopted in Tokyo and Tokushima-shi, etc.

Japanese source:

Store managers help Deaf/deaf shoppers by means of writing

October 5, 2015

Arakawa-ku, Tokyo:

Conversation with a shop assistant who has rich knowledge of goods is one of the pleasure for the shoppers, but not for Deaf/deaf shoppers.

The shop managers all in the shopping area at Minami-senju in Arakawa-ku, Tokyo started to serve those persons with hearing loss by means of writing in September. 

The bulletin board that shows a communication access by writing stands in a storefront in order to appeal to a Deaf/deaf shopper to visit casually.

At the desk in the store there is the board with a sentence written "We are available for written communication." It has a mark called the "Ear Mark" which All Japan Association for Hard of Hearing People located in Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo has appealed the spread. The badge with the same mark can help the user who needs help at once. 

The Ear Mark is put up nationwide at present according to the Association, such as a hospital, a bank and public facilities, and others. It is unusual for the whole shopping area to use it.

Japanese source:

Cartoon book distributed to learn more about hearing dog

October 2, 2015
Andoh Miki with the cartoon book.

Osaka-shi, Osaka:

Andoh Miki, 46, a Deaf-born woman living in Osaka, has been the user of the hearing dog, Leon, that once used to be a throwing away dog since March, 2010.

There are only 60 hearing dogs in Japan, and there is still also a lot of misunderstanding about the hearing dog. 

When Andoh and Leon take a train, someone offers a seat; when she is shopping with Leon at a supermarket, a shop assistant approaches and offers help. These cases may show misunderstanding about a hearing dog and its user.

Andoh, a leader of the non-profit organization corporation MAMIE who manages a painting classroom, has begun to distribute a four-frame cartoon book about Leon since August (

She speaks, "I want people to know Leon is enjoying himself every day."

Japanese source:

Video: What is a hearing dog? (English caption):

Two years after Tottori-ken Sign Language Regulation enacted

October 1, 2015   
Ishibashi Daigo interviewed

Tottori Prefcture: 

It will be the second anniversary of  the "Tottori-ken Sign Language Regulation" on October 11,  which places sign language as a language and plans for its spread is carried out in the prefecture for the first time nationwide.

Ishibashi Daigo, 42, the Prefecture Deaf Association Secretary-general, explains the current state of the regulation and the problems.

 - What changed after two years?

A movement of legal establishment for sign language was spread in the whole country starting from Tottori, and a similar regulation was made in 20 autonomous bodies already across Japan. In the prefecture, for example, when Deaf persons enter a store for shopping, they are greeted by sign language. Deaf persons also come to use sign language openly in the public.

 - How about schools on sign language learning? 

There are active schools certainly, but there are differences in the consciousness by schools in the towns and villages. Any elementary and junior high school that introduce a sign language lesson develop understanding to a Deaf person. The City School Board should re-recognize the role set as the regulation and introduce sign language education as a part of an integrated study.

 - Any problems in understanding spread?

As one of the problems, a hearing relative doesn't like an interpreter in a discussion of inheritance that forces a Deaf kin out. There is a case that a medical treatment isn't explained clearly to a Deaf patient at a hospital. Old Deaf persons even hide sign language from the public because of oralism in those old days. It's necessary to support the Deaf persons living isolated in the area, too.

 - It should not be supposed to bring to an end by a transient move.

The prefecture, hearing residents, Deaf persons and a business establishment have to keep consciousness and continue a rise respectively. The establishment of a sign language law is also important finally. We want hearing people to understand Deaf persons have a culture and a language of their own.


Asaka-shi's Japanese Sign Language regulation bill passed

September 24, 2015

Asaka-shi, Saitama:

On September 24, the last day of Asaka-shi regular meeting in Saitama next to Tokyo, there was voting on one of submitted bills, titled "Asaka-shi Japanese Sign Language Regulation."

A group of Deaf people, and members of sign language clubs had come to the gallery, and interpreting was provided during the regular meeting. After the meeting a group picture was taken (picture).

The "Asaka-shi Japanese Sign Language Regulation" was adopted by an unanimous vote without inquiry and discussion. The regulation establishment in Asaka-shi is said to be the first time in the Kanto area including Tokyo, and the 20th towns and villages across Japan. The regulation will be effective on April 1, 2016 and thereafter. 

The "Japanese Sign Language" in the regulation is defined as follows according to the Asaka-shi official website.

"In this regulation, the language with grammatical systems which express grammar based on movements by hands, fingers, bodies and faces are different from Japanese is called as 'Japanese Sign language'."

Speech-text communication system introduced for more communication accessibility

September 29, 2015

Tottori-shi, Tottori:
Governor Hirai tries "the speech-text system."

The Tottori Prefecture Office located in Tottori-shi introduced "the speech-text communication system" into the tablet terminal already installed at total of nine places, including the prefectural office, the main JR stations and the bus terminal, in September in order to support more communication access for Deaf/deaf persons.

Because Deaf/deaf persons can tell what they want more smoothly than by means of writing, officials of the disability welfare department expects that the speech-text communication system will be related to the "symbiosis of a Deaf/deaf person and a hearing person put up in the Sign Language Regulation.

The video remote interpreting service has been begun ahead of any prefecture in Japan as an autonomous body in December, 2013, but the service is used about several times a month.


Starter application used to support better practice environment for Deaf students in track and field

September 24, 2015  

KDDI offered a testing session for 11 students from the track and field club of Central School for the Deaf in Tokyo with the use of the new starter application developed by KDDI, for three days on September 19, September 20 and September 23, aiming at improvement of the practice environment.

The starter application shows a sign at flash light instead of pistol sound at the starting line. It is downloaded in the smart phone which is put under the athlete and tells him a sign of a start on the screen while facing to the bottom like a hearing athlete does (picture).

Start method by a sign of light has been accepted by International Amateur Athletic Federation. However, because only one pilot model exits in Japan which is a problem for practice, KDDI came to development of a starter application.

KDDI is planning to deliver the starter application in App Store.

Japanese source: