Calendar promotes social awareness of sign language

With the calendar in the hand, Nakashima speaks, 
"I want people to have an interest in sign language."

December 17, 2015

Akita-shi, Akita:

Nakashima Netsuke, 40, a housewife in Akita-shi, northeastern Japan, has a Deaf daughter and communicates with her in sign language. 

Nakashima made a calendar for the year 2016 with an illustration of sign language.

About 600 copies of calendar will be put up in hospitals and public facilities in the city. Nakashima says, "I'd like to make sure that people think sign language is proper in the society."

Nakashima established a general social organization incorporated, The "Sign Language Akita Spread Center" in August, 2015 with her husband. The first activity project was calendar making. It is because a calendar is practical and it's possible to enjoy sign language through the year.

Japanese source:

Establishment of a Sign Language regulation by both prefecture and city is first in Japan

December 16, 2015

Maebashi-shi, Gunma:
A Maebashi City Sign Language Regulation proposed by a councilor was approved by an unanimous vote in a regular meeting plenary session of the Maebashi municipal assembly on December 15. The regulation will be carried out in April, next year (2016).

The Gunma Prefecture Assembly near Tokyo has also established a Sign Language Regulation, in April, 2015.  It is the first case that both a prefecture and a city establish and carry out a regulation related to Sing Language.

The sign language club which was set up in Maebashi-shi in 1968 was the first group to advance sign language interpreters training in the prefecture.

Japanese Source:

Business starts wedding ceremony in sign language


Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido:

The firm called "Grove Entertainment" which manages a wedding event at Sapporo-shi in Japan's northern island held the wedding reception for Deaf clients on December 13 in the city as the first company to provide the service.

Employee learned sign language intensively for half year, and also a caption system for a Deaf bridegroom and his invited guests was provided.

The company will offer the wedding ceremony service in Hakodate and Akita, too.


Imperial member speaks in sign language at Deaf event

Kiko (left) and her daughter Kako 
December 12, 2015


Kiko, the wife of Prince Akishinomiya who is the Crown Prince's younger brother, and her second daughter Princess Kako attended the event in Tokyo to promote information access to the Deaf community.

Kiko made a speech by sign language about the tool for a Deaf person to receive information, issues of information access at the time of an accident, etc.

The imperial members also dropped in at the section introducing the modern technology useful for advancement of the life of visually impaired and had the explanation about Deaflympic athletes (photo). 

Japanese source:

Subway drivers try to promote barrier free environment for the Deaf

The Mole Team explains the careful points when 
taking the subway, to Deaf children and students.
December 12, 2015  

Osaka-shi, Osaka:

The volunteer group of subway drivers called "The Mole Team" in Osaka-shi holds a monthly meeting to study how to make the subway barrier free in cooperattion with the nonprofit organization incorporated, "Deaf Support Osaka."

The team is trying to improve the current situation from a site, such as making the video which introduces a station name by sign language with the Deaf, asking for opinion from the Deaf community and proposing a measure for change. 

For example there is a communication board that can communicate smoothly with a Deaf passenger through pointing the "letter and/or picture" even if a word isn't understood. The board has been put at subway each station, but it found out that such an accommodation was unknown to the Deaf. The team asked the Bureau for improvement, and the communication board was just put at the place at all stations which everyone can notice.

Japanese source:

In wartime I didn't hear air alert warning: I made a weapon, too.

Kurosaki Tokiyasu (right) tells 
his wartime experience.
December 7, 2015

Sumoto-shi, Hyogo:

The Pacific War started on December 8, 74 years ago. Kurosaki Tokiyasu, an 86-aged Deaf man, has the memory which sticks to his mind now.

A big formation of B29 bombers of the U.S. forces raided in the sky of Osaka late at night and dropped countless incendiary bombs on March 13, 1945, 70 years ago; the town became a sea of the fire.

A 15-aged boy Kurosaki didn't hear an air alert warning then, but felt the rumble of the ground. While running around to escape, he arrived in an embankment in Yamato-gawa River and held his breath until morning.

His mother who kept being blamed by her husband, a carpenter, because of having a Deaf baby. A several years later, she was dead. Kurosaki thought he couldn't live with his father who used violence, and left his home. 

When he was putting himself under the protection of various places, it was Osaka Great Air Raid that he met. After that he got work to make fuse of a bomb at a munitions factory to survive.

During the wartime persons with disabilities worked for Japan  as "gear" under a slogan of "nation general mobilization", too. Kurosaki was said by people around him, too, that it was natural to work on national agenda in work, but he could not follow and left the factory. 

That was several months before the end of the war in August. He made all part rolling on after the war, getting the cost of living by stealing.

Kurosaki lives presently at the special elderly nursing home in Sumoto-shi near Osaka which accepts a Deaf senior. He tells the people who visit the home in a tour about his wartime experience; what kind of environment a Deaf person was put by a war.

Japanese source:

Mirrors to prevent collision effectively on hallway in Deaf school

December 11, 2015

Katsushika-ku, Tokyo:

The mirror manufacturing sales company which delivers a mirror for onboard to a worldwide airplane manufacturer installed 22 anticollision mirrors in the end of last year in the Tokyo Metropolitan Katsushika School for the Deaf for free of charge.

The school has about 200 children and students from preschool to high school. The school officials said they have told the children and students not to run through a hallway. However there was a lot of collision around the dining room and the teachers' room.

After about one month later since the mirror installation, the result of a questionnaire showed that collision between the children and with a staff decreased dramatically.

Japanese source:

Use of hearing aid allowed in driving license test next spring 

December 10, 2015  

The National Police Agency decided to amend he second-class license in the Road Traffic Law enforcement regulations for driving a taxi, a bus, etc. on December 10 to allow the use of a hearing aid in the hearing test. 

The regulations will be proclaimed at the middle of December and be carried out on April 1, 2016. It'll be a chance of business opportunity for a Deaf/deaf person.

When hoping for license acquisition, a Deaf/deaf person is able to attend a driving school before April, 2016.

Japanese source:

Related blog:
Use of hearing aid approved in driving bus and taxi

Deaf and hearing mothers enjoy gathering in local area

December 9, 2015  

Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa:

A monthly gathering by mothers, both Deaf and hearing, is held at a cafe in Yokohama-shi, next to Tokyo. Matsumoto Mari, 34, a Deaf mother with three hearing sons aged from two to five, started this project, which has popular currently.

She explained, "Regardless of disability I wanted to make the place where I feel easy, communicate and get in touch with other people in the area." 

Matsumoto has felt difficulty and irritation because of deafness through child rearing. She started a place for gathering in the cafe where she used to work as a staff, in September, 2014.

At the gathering, the participants, both Deaf and hearing, communicate through lipreading or mouthing as well sign language.

A Deaf mother says, "When coming to gather round, I can enjoy myself without hesitation." A hearing mother says, "I didn't know how to communicate with a Deaf mother first, and I am feeling easy after we became friends in spite of disability. "

Japanese source:

Cookie with sign language illustration for sale

The cookie with a sign illustration meaning
 "Thank you very much" (left).
February 7, 2015  

Akita-shi, Akita:

The general corporate organization called the "Sign Language Spread in Akita Center" in Akita-shi, northeastern Japan, sells the cookie with a sign illustration meaning "Thank you very much" (180 yen for one) and other snacks.

A Deaf woman made and distributed a snack with a sign language illustration in order to show gratitude to friends and parents when her daughter completed a kindergarten program this spring. 

The cookie was commercialize in order for a Deaf person to show a feeling. 

Japanese source:

Lecture by Deaflympic and Paralympic athletes

December 4, 2015
Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa:

Takada Yuji, a Deaflympian, and his wife Chiaki, an Asia-Paralympian who is visually impaired, were invited to a lecture meeting at a junior high school in Yokohama near Tokyo on December 3.
Takada spoke to all the students in the lecture. "If you come across the person in trouble regardless of disability, it is important for you to ask if you could help. 

The Olympics and Paralympics will be held in Tokyo in 2020. A lot of people are expected to gather from all over the world. If you see a person in trouble, I want you to speak to the person if help is needed, too."

Chiaki has been applying herself to training at present aiming at competition in the Rio Paralympics which will be held next year. She hopes eagerly that she gets a gold metal and puts it on her son. 

Japanese source:

Deaf medical student aiming at becoming doctor

Hattori Norishige
a deaf medical student

November 3, 2015

Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka:

Hattori Norishige, aged 22, who aims at becoming an
otolaryngologist, is a deaf student in Hamamatsu University School of Medicine in Hamamatsu-shi, eastern Japan. His dream is to support deaf person's health and mentality.

He, a medical school senior, wears a hearing aid in both ears since he was born because of hard of hearing. He understands what is told from lipreading, too. He concentrates on slides and material in the lecture, and when having a doubt, turns over a reference book.

He had the time when he felt despaired because of deafness in once in his life, but overcame it after encouraged by his former teachers. They told him, "There must be something only you can do. Change your disability to your power".

Hattori went to USA in May and participated in the health care worker's meeting. Not only doctors who were hard of hearing, but also specialists in law, sign language and technology gathered as well. Hattori was surprised at the size of the medical professionals, and then he wanted also to develop a Japanese system better".

There is a national group in Japan consisted of about 70 hard of hearing professionals in the filed of medicine, including 29 doctors, two dental doctors, and pharmacists, nurses and others. This group is independent allowing free admission according to the secretariat, so health care workers who are deaf should be a lot more. 

Japanese source:

Issue on interpreting in broadcast for national election

November 30, 2015

The only constituency election of an Upper House Election, one of the national elections, doesn't allowed interpreting for an election broadcast. Because there are not enough interpreters in local areas, it may imply that equity of election can't be kept as long as there are local areas which can't reserve interpreters enough.

In particular in Kyushu and Okinawa, there are not so many interpreters that the Deaf community are worried about "an information gap." 

They have decided by making reference to an election bulletin and a newspaper article up to now, but can't get information from the election broadcast without interpreting.

The high skill is asked for an interpreter in an election broadcast with a lot of difficult terminology. Therefore those who have taken the course offered by national groups of interpreters work on the election broadcast generally. Out of about 3,300 certified interpreters in the whole country, only about 1,300, less than 40%, took the course as of May, 2015. 

Japanese source:

English article: Deaf community hopes 2020 Olympics a ‘game-changer’ for better social inclusion

November 4, 2015 
Japanese students practice using American Sign Language during a course by the Japanese ASL Signers Society in August in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward.



Living in Japan as a foreigner who is deaf has revealed many challenges. Prosser, who works as a travel agent for the deaf, hopes 2020 will be a game-changer in a society where a lack of understanding of the deaf population leads to audism — or the notion that one is superior based on an ability to hear.

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English article: Same-sex partnership paper issued to sign language instructor

November 5, 2015

Setagaya Ward, Tokyo:

Eight couples in Tokyo were issued with certificates recognizing their same-sex partnerships as equivalent to marriage on the first day of the long-awaited policy change.

Although the papers are not legally binding, hospitals and businesses such as real estate firms are requested to treat certificate holders in the same way as married couples.

In Setagaya Ward, it was a day of celebration for Yumiko Takashima, 45, and Sachiko Takano, 44, a transgender male sign language instructor. The two have lived together for 17 years.

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