National Deaf Basketball championships held

February 23, 2015    

Otsu-shi, Shiga Prefecture:

The 13th National Deaf Basketball tournament", sponsored by the Japan Deaf Basketball Association, took place in the prefecture gymnasium in Otsu-shi, Shiga Prefecture near Kyoto on February 21-22. It was first for the prefecture to hold such an event. 

Four of ten men teams won in league series, proceeding to a tournament aiming at a victory. The winner was "Fukuoka Emperors A" from Fukuoka Prefecture in southern Japan. 

For women five teams competed, and "Kyoto DRAGON JOKER'S" won.

Japanese source:

English article: Shuwa Performance Troupe Entertains in Tokyo

February 16, 2015

Shibuya-ward, Tokyo:


The Japanese term “shuwa” translates to “sign language” in English and in a venue for live music in Shibuya Ward in Tokyo, the Shuwa Performance Kiirogumi troupe entertains in a two-hour song-and-dance concert. 
It is not a very common sight to see people with hearing difficulties provide a solid, entertaining program in front of a large audience especially in Japan, where entertainment involving singing and dancing live and other acts is quite common. 
But for the 15 men and women of the Shuwa Performance Kiirogumi troupe, they managed to break the norm, performing their song-and-dance routines live while signing.

Read more:

City assembly introduces interpreting for policy discussion experimentally

February 17, 2015   
Interpreting was provided experimentally in the 
seat for the public of the conference room.

Sendai-shi, Miyagi Prefecture:

The Sendai-shi assembly in northeastern Japan carried out interpreting for the Deaf community about the general discussion at the monthly ordinary assembly experimentally only one day on  February 16. 

The assembly study a problem and a refinement for interpreting provision and is going to introduce it from a monthly ordinary assembly as well as a plenary session in June.

Twenty members of the City Association of the Deaf observed the assembly. Three interpreters interpreted exchanges between four assembly members and the city authorities. The interpreters worked for approximately two hours, ten minutes each by turns.

Matsumoto Katsuyuki, 70, president of the City Association of the Deaf said, "I couldn't but depend on assembly public information and the news until now to know the contents of the assembly". 

The city will place interpreters depending on the prior application of the Deaf citizens from a monthly ordinary assembly in June.

Japanese source:

Deaf man's dream comes true, opening noodle soup store

February 11, 2015
Tokizawa at work: "I'd like to make a variety  
of ramen  appreciated by customers."

Takasaki-shi, Gunma Prefecture:

Tokizawa Tadayoshi (土岐沢忠良), 41, a Deaf resident in Takasaki-shi near Tokyo, starts a ramen  (Japanese noodle soup dish) store in the city, drawing attention.

According to the Prefecture Federation of the Deaf, it is unusual that a Deaf person takes restaurant business in the prefecture.

Tokizawa is managing the store by himself from cooking to service. A meal ticket vending machine is introduced at the store. He installed a mirror in a kitchen and made sure that he can check customers, too, while cooking ramen.

Japanese source:

Play to be performed related to Deaf A-bomb survivors' experience in summer

February 15, 2015  

Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki Prefecture:

The Nagasaki Prefecture Association of the Deaf and the National Interpreting Problem Study Group Nagasaki Branch established an organizing committee for the performance titled "That  Summer - 1945" on February 14,  which commemorates atomic bombing that hit the city 70 years ago and informs of "the Deaf survivors".

There is no record about the number of the Deaf survivors of the atomic bombing in Nagasaki. The material published in 1986 by both the groups states "about one hundred Deaf victims".

Sakaguchi Yoshihisa (坂口義久), vice president of the Prefecture Association of the Deaf, was chosen as a chairperson at the organizing committee meeting in the city. He said, "the Deaf survivors of the atomic bombing were passing away one after another. We'd like to convey their experience to the generation who don't know a war."

The play project was accepted for the 70th anniversary of Nagasaki-shi Atomic Bombing. The Deaf theatre group called "Sign Art Project Asian" is planning to perform in Nagasaki-shi on July 25.

Japanese source

Research concludes influence of deafness on mental health 

February 9, 2015  

A research team of University of Tsukuba, etc. announced that they found out that mental health of Deaf/deaf persons, both men and women, indicates the ill tendency compared with the persons who aren't Deaf/deaf, on February 5.

Using data of "The Basic Investigation on National Living" conducted by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the team compared the health and living circumstances of about 130,000 persons aged 20-39.

The risk to face trouble on a mental health aspect was 4.8 times as high as the hearing persons in case of the Deaf/deaf persons. It also became clear that Deaf/deaf women have a high possibility of smoking.

The team is stating that attentive support according to the special quality of the gender and  disability is necessary.

Japanese source:

English: Manga comes to the rescue of a deaf schoolgirl

February 16, 2015  


A manga comic has been launched in France that portrays disability like never before in the world of Japanese comics. 

A Silent Voice is the story of Shoko Nishimiya, who has been deaf since birth. She wears a hearing aid but still struggles to understand conversations and therefore what is happening around her. 

The author, Yoshitoki Oima, is only 18 but she manages brilliantly to talk about a sensitive issue that is often ignored: the harassment suffered by students with disabilities.

Read more:

Related blog: 

"The Sound of Voice" ranked one of the best comics

Deaf German lectures on Deaf community in North Korea

February 8, 2015    
Robert R. Grund lectures on the current state of 
Deaf North Koreans at a meeting in Niigata-shi.

Niigata-shi, Niigata Prefecture:

A Deaf German, Robert  R. Grund, 29, works for the World Federation of the Deaf as a liaison officer in Pyongyang in support to Deaf people in the country.

He was invited to give a lecture on his work, etc, in Niigata-shi, northeastern Japan, on February 7.

He told about schools for the Deaf, working circumstances, and future's problem in North Korea, as well as he appealed support to Japan.

Japanese source:

WFD related link (English):

Deaflympian bronze medalist wins in marathon 

February 8, 2015

Kitakyuchu-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture:
Yamanaka Koichiro finished by the first place for 
men and stands for an awards ceremony (right).

Yamanaka Koichiro (山中孝一郎), a Deaf citizen runner belonging to the Tokyo Athletics Assocation, won the victory with 2 hours 29 minutes 41 seconds for the men race in the Kitakyushu  Marathon 2015 held in Kita-kyushu-shi, Fukuoka-ken, in Japan's southern island on February 8. 

He said, "I hoped to get a prize, but am glad to win the first prize after all."

Yamanaka began a marathon in 2007, and competed more than 30 times on a meet up to now. He got a bronze medal at the 2013 Deaflympics.

Japanese source:

English article: Kindergartener youngest to pass sign language exam

February 9, 2015   
Clockwise from left: Nonoka, Sayaka, Akinao and 
Nikoharu Aman in Saito, Miyazaki Prefecture. 
They are using the sign language for “thank you.”


SAITO, Miyazaki Prefecture:

The quarrels that erupt between siblings Nonoka and Nikoharu Aman (阿萬暖々果, 和春) bring a smile to the face of their mother.

The children previously had trouble communicating, but Nonoka, 6, has become so proficient in sign language that she can now quickly get her point across to her deaf older brother.

Last year, Nonoka, at the age of 5, became the youngest person to pass the fifth grade of the nationwide sign language certification exam. At that level, she is capable of introducing herself through signing.

Read more:

Deaf woman works for the Deaf community in Dominican Republic

February 6, 2015  
Hirose Meri (left) teaches 
sign language to students.

Hirose Meri (廣瀬芽里), a Deaf woman from Tokyo, was assigned to Myrna Lalo prefecture in the Dominican Republic as a member of an international cooperative institution youth overseas cooperative group about two years ago.

She's teaching at the school for the Deaf named "Hogar del Nino" (meaning the "child's house in  Spanish). It is an elementary school from primary to junior high school consisted of  a hearing school and a school for the deaf, operated by a nongovernmental organization Eastern Welfare Charity group to which Hirose belongs.

When she had just assigned, the school for the Deaf seemed to have been isolated in the school building. Deaf children had events and activities less than their hearing peers, so Hirose  complained to an executive in the charity organization many times, "Deaf and hearing students should be treated equally." They came to listen to her wish gradually, and the situation has improved in various points at present.

Living in a developing country, Hirose often feels there is an inconvenient case many times because of being Deaf herself. For example she had to make a contact with a guardian, but there is only a telephone for its means. The environment that you can make a contact by mail is not available. This made her realize that not only the financial matter but also the information network were also issues in a developing country.

Related blog: 
Deaf woman to contribute through sign language in the Dominican Republic

Deaf pro baseball pitcher meets with Deaf students at spring camp 

February 5, 2015  
"Silent K" Ishii (right) and Deaf students

Nago-shi, Okinawa-ken:

"Silent K" Ishii, a middle reliever of Nippon Meat Packers who is deaf since birth, met a group of students of the Tokyo Metropolitan Tachikawa School for the Deaf. They visited Nago-shi by a school excursion.
After practice, Director Kuriyama and "Silent K" Ishii met the group at a sub-ground. When one of the students asked Ishii, "Didn't you ever think it was hard?" and he replied, "No, I had never. My friends and teammates understand me well."

He said confidently, "For my target in this season  I will threw more than 50 games as a middle reliever and win the victory."

Japanese sources:

Dog found in Fukushima completes training as hearing dog

February 4, 2015   
When an alarm clock rings, the hearing dog "Fuku" 
pats a woman lying down on a bed with a forefoot.

Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken:

The medium-sized dog was found in Okuma-machi, Fukushima-ken where became a evacuation directive district due to the Tokyo Electric Power Daiichi Fukushima nuclear accident, and taken by a nonprofit organization "The Society for hearing dog upbringing" located in Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken next to Tokyo. The three-year-old dog named "Fuku" has finished all practice to be a hearing dog, and the society is recruiting the user.

The society says since Fuku is little bigger as a hearing dog, a man with physical strength or a young man is preferred. After doing combined practice with the user, and  passing certificate test, Fuku will be a hearing dog formally. The rent is without charge.

Fuku was found in about one month old in October, 2011 at a forest in Okuma-machi in which all the townsmen took refuge by a nuclear accident. It was taken care by the animal protection group which was in Samukawa-machi then, and again taken by the society of hearing dog upbringing which was looking for a hearing dog candidate in March, 2012.

There are only 57 hearing dogs in the whole country currently as of February 1, 2015 according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Out of them three are working in the prefecture.

The society of hearing dog upbringing started as the hearing dog upbringing fund which collected costs of hearing dog upbringing in 1990. It changed its name to the present name in 1996 and has begun upbringing activity. Five dogs were certified as a hearing dog so far. The Society's contribution to the Deaf community was regarded highly by the prefectural office, being awarded the prefecture barrier free community building prize in fiscal year 2014.

Japanese source:

Princesses enjoy traditional play performed in sign language

February 02, 2015
Princesses Kiko (left) and Kako
at the National Noh Theater

Shibuya Ward, Tokyo:

Princess Kiko and her daughter Princess Kako attended traditional “kyogen” comedic plays performed in sign language by Deaf actors at the National Noh Theater in Shibuya Ward on February 1.

Kako is the second daughter of Prince Fumihito, the second in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne. She just turned 20, the legal age of adulthood in Japan, studying sign language, which her mother has studied.

Read more:

City office dining room where persons with disabilities work is open

February 3, 2015

Sakai-shi, Osaka:

As a part of persons with disabilities employment  opportunity expansion and independent support, the Sakai City Office in western Japan opened its renewed dining room on February 2.

The city decided to reduce the rent to 1/2 by employing two persons with disabilities as a condition because the previous enterprise had given up the business due to the low profit in November, 2014, and a new enterprise was being solicited.

The new dining room called the "Kitchen in a Forest" employs two persons with disabilities among 14 employees formally, and five people work as a part of starting working practice. A Deaf woman takes charge of coffee, etc.

Japanese source:

Gathering to learn lessons of past earthquake disasters held in Kobe

February 2, 2015  

Kobe-shi, Hyogo:

An event to learn from the lessons of persons with disabilities' experience with the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995 and the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake in 2011 was held at Kobe-shi in Hyogo-ken next to Osaka on February 1.

A non-profit organization the Hyogo Center for Persons with Disabilities sponsored this event to remember the 20th anniversary of the Great Hanshin Earthquake in January that hit Hyogo-ken, About 200 persons with disabilities from the prefecture and Eastern Japan, persons concerned participated.

Kata Shinsuke (嘉田真典), director of the Hyogo Prefecture Association of the Deaf, lectured on his experience with the Great Hanshin Earthquake:  "Information for shelter and living reconstruction didn't come in soon, because we were unable to hear anything; there was no interpreter at a shelter; the procedure of suffering proof application and the communication with other refuges were also difficult." 

He also pointed out that the similar problems happened even to the Deaf earthquake victims in Eastern Japan.

Person with disabilities and researchers complained, "Problems of welfare for people with disabilities appear at the time of a disaster. It is important always to make the disability support mechanism better ."

Japanese source:

Miyagi-ken establishes base to support Deaf community

Opening the Prefecture Information Center for the Deaf

February 1, 2015 

Sendai-shi, Miyagi-ken: 

The support base of Deaf/deaf people in the prefecture called "The Prefecture Information Center for the Deaf" (shortly "MimiSapoMiyagi") was established in the prefecture government office building in Sendai-shi, Miyagi-ken, part of northeastern Japan. 

About 40 persons concerned attended a dedication event on January 30, where Governor Murai Yoshihiro (村井嘉浩知事) made an opening speech in sign language partly. 

The center specialized in deafness as the only dissemination of information facility in the prefecture will support the persons with disability. It has a counseling room and exchange space. A staff is total of 10 interpreters, note takers and others, who will support the needs of a Deaf/deaf person and the family, etc for free of charge. 

The center will offer training for interpreters and note-takers, a lecture program on the basic knowledge and communication related to deafness. Also it will support the Deaf community with the prefecture administration at the time of disaster. 

 Opening time: 9:30 - 17:30 (closed on Sunday) 

Japanese source:

Deaf group enjoying tour of traditional Kakiemon kiln

January 31, 2015
Sakaida Kakiemon XV (left) guides participants 
in the atelier of Kakiemon kiln.

Arita-machi, Saga-ken:

Twenty one Deaf persons visited Kakiemon kiln and the Kyushu chinaware culture hall in Arita-machi located in Japan's southern island on January 22.

The Prefecture Support Center for the  Deaf, established in Saga-shi in April, 2014, has arranged an event aiming at a social involvement of the Deaf persons who don't have many chances to touch first-class art and culture. This time was the second since November, last year.

About 30 people participated in an Arita ware tour, including interpreters, note-takers and local sign language club members.

Sakaida Kakiemon XV, the present family hear, 46, who owns the Kakiemon kiln which represents Arita ware, showed around in the atelier. The family is doing this baking by the traditional firewood kiln which also became unusual at the town.

The participants observed the masterpieces and the first-class craftsman work of Arita ware which takes pride in tradition for about 400 years, also learned a story directly from the persons concerned and were moved.

Japanese source:

Kakiemon (Arita ware)

Deaf students challenge cooking Indian curry 

January 29, 2015
Gilly and the students cook a Indian dish together.

Wakayama-shi, Wakayama:

A lesson to experience Indian food culture was held at the Prefectural Wakayama School for the Deaf in Wakayama-shi in western Japan on January 27. As a lecturer, Ganeshu Gilly (ガネーシュ・ギリ), an Indian man who lives in the city, taught five Deaf students in advance courses how to make real curry.

Gilly has participated in the "Educational Support Menu Fair" which NPO and the enterprise opened last year to offer the class contents at school, sponsored by the prefecture education board. The School for the Deaf knew the class of Gilly at the Fair and asked him for the purpose that the Deaf students learn a different culture experience.

The students cooked following Gilly's direction. They ate curry for lunch with Gilly with his homemade Indian tea when a dish was completed. The students tasted ethical curry much while learning how to eat a nan.

The lecturer commented, "I'm happy because the students cooked with much interest. I hope they will raise the interest to the food by using seasonal vegetables and making it by hand."

Japanese source:

Junior high school student passes first-level sign language proficiency test as youngest

Nozawa talks with mother in sign language.

January 29, 2015

Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken:

Recently, Nozawa Kazuki (野澤一樹), 15, a senior of Okamura Junior High School in Yokohama-shi near Tokyo passed the first level in the 9th National Sign Language Proficiency Certificate Examination  sponsorship by the social welfare corporation National Sign Language Training Center, as the youngest in Japan.

When he was a third grader, Nozawa participated in an experience classroom for children by the sign language club of which his mother was a member. He began to learn sign language thereafter.  

As he wanted to communicate with a Deaf person even more, he challenged the fifth (beginning) level of the sign language proficiency certificate examination for the first time in the next year. He has passed every level of the examination, and finally reached the top proficiency level in October, 2014.

The Training Center consisted of the Deaf persons whose natural language is sign language holds the examination every year. The first (top) level requires the understanding of the Deaf community's living, the legal system, etc. and the signing skills by written and performance tests.

Nozawa said: "I would like to use my experience in learning sign language to spread sign language and help to reduce discrimination and a prejudice against a Deaf person".

Japanese source:

Sign language workshop for city councilors held

January 26, 2015  
City councilors challenge self-introduction 
using sign language by guidance of an 
instructor (right) at Sasayama City Office.

Sasayama-shi, Hyogo-ken:

The Sasayama-shi Council in Hyogo-ken next to Osaka held the sign language workshop on January 26 in the City Office. Two staff from the City Community Welfare Services Division in the City Office who also work as an interpreter were a lecturer for them.  

The "Sign Language Regulation" was established by the city in December, 2014 and will be carried out in April, 2015. The workshop was planned in order for the councilors to take the lead in learning sign language.

Chairperson Hayashi Shigeru (林茂) explained; When sign language is spreading over the citizens gradually by our councilors' using sign language on our own initiative, it will make the city a warm place for the weak".

Japanese source:

Deaf students commended for class newspaper contest

January 26, 2015
Award ceremony

Toyohashi-shi, Aichi-ken:

An award ceremony of the 34th Class Paper Contest was held by a few sponsors such as the Aichi Newspaper Education Research Conference at a department store in front of Toyohashi-shi Station on January 25.

There are total of 1,468 applications for the contest for elementary and junior high schoolers, and total of 62 individuals and groups won a prize.

Two sixth graders Morishita Kasumi (森下華純) and Furukawa Yoshimaru (古川義丸) of the Toyohashi School for the Deaf won in the wall newspaper session for their appeal about deafness. They were glad that they won an award, "We made a plain sentence in our wall newspaper, and we are happy that many people read it."

Japanese source:

Deaf biker arrives in Malaysia en route to other countries

January 24, 2015

A deaf man from Japan, Hakamada Kohei, 64, has been on a solo mission riding his 250cc Suzuki motorcycle around the world since 2010.

He arrived in Malaysia, scheduled to leave for Thailand.

Riding a 250cc Suzuki motorcycle around the world since 2010, he will complete his journey in 2018.

Read more: