Deaf fusal team director lectures on communication

May 28, 2015

Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture
Yamamoto tells about his team.

A lecture by Yamamoto Noriki, Director of Japan Deaf Futsal Women Team was held  at a special elderly nursing home Yokohama-shi near Tokyo on May 15.

A theme was how to keep a sense of distance and how to take communication. First Yamamoto spoke about the problem that his team faces, etc., and then a discussion was held between the nursing home staff and Yamamoto.

It is said that national support to disability sport is related to strength of the team. Yamamoto says his team players gather from across the country once for two months at present for practice, of which the total cost is all paid by the players.

The Deaf Futsal World Cup will take place in Thailand in November, this year, in which both Japanese men and women teams participate.

Japanese source:

English column: VOX POPULI: Lawmaker's deafness a 'gift' that can help transform society

May 27, 2015

"Vox Populi, Vox Dei" is a daily column that runs on page 1 of the Asahi Shimbun.

It mentions Saito Rie who is deaf, faced such a wall --- and she smashed a big hole in it.
When she decided to run in Tokyo's Kita Ward assembly election this past April, she felt that the election campaign system "excluded" people who are hearing loss.

Read more:

English article: Tokyo ward adopts system that lets deaf assemblywoman join the action

May 27, 2015

Kita Ward assembly in Tokyo introduced a 4-million-yen ($33,333) computer system (picture: left) that transcribes voices in real time to accommodate Saito Rie (right), 31, a newly elected deaf member on May 26.

Lecture meeting held on Tottori Prefecture's work to set sign language regulation

May 22, 2015
Ishibashi (left) from Tottori Prefecture 
Federation of the Deaf introduced 
work on sign language regulation.
Nagano-shi, Nagano Prefecture:

Nagano Prefecture, which currently works to establish "Sign Language Regulation to the spread of sign language (tentative name)," held the lecture meeting in Nagano-shi on May 21, aiming to learn Tottori Prefecture's work which realized its Sign Language Regulation for the first time nationwide in October, 2013. About 50 people attended from Deaf groups in Nagano Prefecture.

Ishibashi Daigo, 42, Secretary-general of Tottori Prefecture Federation of the Deaf, introduced works that spread awareness of sign language by the new regulation, such as holding of a sign language class in the local areas and enterprises, interpreting during the governor regular press conference. He also spoke about problems such as lack of interpreters, etc.

At the prefecture level, only three prefectures, Tottori, Kanagawa and Gunma, have established the regulation related to sign language according to the Nagano Prefecture  Disabilities Support Department. Nagano Prefectural Governor pledged on regulation establishment in 2014, and the department will develop a regulation gist plan around September.

Japanese source:

90% of schools use sign language handbook for beginners

May 24, 2015

Tottori Prefecture:

The Prefecture Education Board has edited and distributed the sign language handbook for beginners and advanced learners. It conduced a survey on learning situations about sign language" targeted for the elementary and junior high schools, the high schools and the special support schools directed by the board in February, 2015.

Responded by 132 elementary schools, 63 junior high schools, 33 high schools and 10 special support schools, the Board found out that about 90% of the schools use the beginning level of the handbook, while about 75% of schools for the advanced level of the handbook.  

Many schools use the handbook in a morning meeting, etc. in addition to a classroom lesson, which seems related to continued learning by a short time.

Such as an opportunity to brush sign language up for the teaching staff from now on, the Board will advance substantiality of educational environment.

Japanese source:

Pictures of Battleship Island taken by Deaf photographer exhibited

May 23, 2015    
One of the pictures of Gunkanjima 
(Battleship Island) at prosperous time
(possessed by Inoue Koji Photo Studio)

Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki Prefecture:

The pictures which caught the form that Hashima coal mine in Nagasaki-shi in Japan's southern island was once prosperous are exhibited at Nagasaki Prefecture Art Museum for the first time until July 26. 

Hashima coal mine (commonly called Gunkanjima, meaning Battleship Island) is one of the Japanese pieces recommended for a registration in the world cultural heritage
Inoue Koji (1919-1993), a well-known Deaf photographer, took the pictures in 1958, each of which reminds of the past of the ruined island. Each exhibited picture was taken in 1958 when about 5,000 people swelled up in Battleship Island which looks like a battleship afar.

Hashima coal mine where good coal was collected was an islet located in about 20 kilometers of southwest in Nagasaki harbor. Collective housing of Japan's first ferroconcrete with constructed one as a start in the Taisho Era (1912–1926), and later high building in the housing where a worker and the family lived and the school crowded. The island became an uninhabited in 1974 after the mine was closes down.

Japanese source:
Wikipedia on Hashima:

Video: Hashima Island (Battleship Island)

Deaf students visit lawyer office in Tokyo

May 8, 2015  
Deaf lawyer Wakabayashi tells 
the students about his experience

Twenty-three students of Tokyo Metropolitan School for the Deaf visited the Tokyo Lawyers' Office as a part of their independent activity on May 8.

Lawyer Wakabayashi Ryo, who is deaf, spoke using sign language mainly about his personal experience that led to his current job: why he wanted to be a lawyer, study method during the high school days, a memory of a seminar in the law department when he was a graduate student that he discussed using a chat, etc.

Japanese source:

English articles: Ward assembly introducing system for deaf member

MAY 21, 2015

Japanese newspapers report in English on a newly elected deaf assembly member in Tokyo.

A Tokyo ward will introduce a system in its assembly to allow a member who is deaf to join debates.

Rie Saito, 31, who is deaf, was elected as a member of the Kita Ward Assembly in late April. Before her election, Saito was known as a “hitsudan hostess” as she had to communicate with customers using notes.

The ward will introduce the system on Tuesday, the first time for an assembly to do so. The system was developed by Fujitsu Ltd. and other companies.

Read more:

Princesses attend French movie preview 

May 19, 2015
Princesses Kiko (center) and Kako arrived  
at a theater for charity preview.

Princess Kiko, the wife of Prince Akishinonomiya, and her second daughter Princess Kako attended a charity preview of the French movie titled "Marie's Story" (similar to "The Miracle Worker") at Yuraku-cho Ashai Hall in Tokyo in the evening on May 19.

They are interested in the Deaf; Princess Kiko is fluent in sign language and Princess Kako learns sign language, too. They appreciated the movie eagerly and applauded when ending.

It was Kako's first public duty after she was admitted to International Christian University in April.

The fund-raising gathered at the event will be assigned to active support of the Japan DeafBlind Association.

Akashi-shi to provide interpreting service for Deaf assembly member

May 18, 2015  

Akashi-shi, Hyogo Prefecture:

To accommodate the first-elected Deaf assembly member nationwide, Yanetani Atsuko, 55, the Akashi-shi assembly secretariat made the policy clear on May 18 that it puts interpreters at a public expense when she attends assembly activity such as a plenary session and a committee. The budget of 4,000,000 yen will be proposed as the interpreting compensation cost for this fiscal year.

When Yanetani attends an assembly members conference during assembly closure, interpreters will be arranged. When there is a report and the explanation from the assembly secretariat, the use of the municipal staff who can sign for interpreting is also considered.

Meanwhile, Yanetani will arrange an interpreter personally in the independent political activity that requests hearing from a local resident. An agreement change is considered in order to outlay from the political cost of activity (80,000 yen a month).

Japanese sources:

Related blog:
First Deaf assembly member elected attends first plenary session in Akashi

Deaf space science staff lectures at Deaf meeting

May 18, 2015

Kashihara-shi, Nara Prefecture:

The 28th Prefecture Deaf Conference" took place at the Prefecture Social Welfare Center in Kashihara-shi next to Osaka on May 17, in which the persons concerned and citizens participated.

Hasegawa Akiko, 33, a developer of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, was invited as a keynote speaker.

Revealed that she had severe deafness when she was 9 months old, she started to have an interest in the universe about at the age of five. She explained the process which changed her occupation after working for a private enterprise, to the current job at the age of 24.

She encouraged the audience, "Because I have had been supported by many people, it is now what I am. Challenge the chance now and open the future one after another".

Japanese source:

Imperial couple visit special support school

May 17, 2015   
The emperor and empress (right) visit the class that 
the students learn a lesson on sale and service.

Ishikawa Prefecture:

The emperor and empress visited Ishikawa Prefecture by Hokuriku Shinkansen on May 16 to attend the 66th National Arbor Day ceremony to be held in Komatsu-shi on May 17.

They made a visit to the Prefecture Meiwa Special Support School in Nonoshi and observed the class which the students learned how to make a sale, and later enjoyed a Japanese drum performance by a group of students.

Her Majesty the Empress spoke to one of the students who played a drum after the performance, using sign language, "Thank you for your good performance. Please do your best further". The student answered in sign language, "Thank you very much" with a smiling face. She said happily to the reporter happily, "It is like a dream".

Japanese source:

Sign language subject established in university's language study course

May 16, 2015  
27 freshmen are learning how to express 
a last name in the sign language class.

Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki:

Nagasaki Junshin Catholic University located in Japan's southern island established "sign language" as one of the language study subjects (the 2nd foreign language) in a basic course in April, 2015.

There is a movement at present which places sign language as a language and asks the Government for the Sign Language Regulation establishment to secures a Deaf person's right using sign language. Following the movement, the university has the idea that interpreting links the field besides the welfare to the upbringing of human resources.

There are universities and junior colleges in the the prefecture that provide a course on sign language as a communication subject in a general course or the welfare-related course. It's for the first time that sign language is introduced into a language study subject in the whole course.

Tottori Prefecture established the Sign Language regulation for the first time in Japan in 2014, advancing the environmental improvement that sign language is easy to use. The Nagasaki Prefecture Association of the Deaf says that the every assembly, including the prefecture and all the cities/towns, has adopted the opinion document in 2014 asking for sign language regulation establishment.

First Deaf assembly member elected attends first plenary session in Akashi

May 15, 2015  
Yanetani Atsuko  (front) votes for the chairperson 
election on the floor. An interpreter stands behind.

Akashi-shi, Hyogo Prefecture:

Yanetani Atsuko, 55, has won her first election by Akashi-shi Assembly election in April as one of the fixed 30 members. She attended the first plenary session on May 15.

Her daughters grasped a microphone interpreting what Yanetani signed at the street in the election race. She got 2,994 votes, elected as the 18th member successfully.

The chairperson and a vice-chairman were elected in the morning at the plenary session on this day. Two interpreters who were arranged by the city stood in turn on on the floor .

Yanetani stated about her first official meeting, "I was very tense, but it was also easy to follow what was interpreted and understood it  as well. I'd like to do my best like everyone in the assembly."

Japanese source:

Special sticker asking for support to person with hearing loss

May 16, 2015  
The sticker to tell that the user is hearing loss. 
It can be put in a nameplate when to use.

Oita-shi, Oita Prefecture:

The Oita Prefecture Association of the Hard of Hearing in Japan's southern island has begun to distribute the special sticker which tells the surrounding people that the user is hearing-impaired and sign language/ writing is needed for communication/information. 

Such as not hearing a warning and guidance at a shelter at the time of a disaster, disadvantage is easy to put on a person with hearing loss who cannot be distinguished by the appearance. Putting on the sticker will get help at once. 

The sticker is purchased in bulk from a non-profit organization in Tokyo which manufactured it taking the Great Eastern Earthquake in 2011 as an opportunity. The sticker has been distributed to a person with hearing loss in the prefecture for free of charge through the city office. 

The hearing-impaired person who always puts on the special sticker explained, "A shop assistant prepares a pencil and paper at a department store, a nurse speaks by sign language at a hospital. In daily life the sticker has the immediate effect".

Japanese source:

Interpreter group donates testimony collection on Deaf survivors of the atomic bombing

May 14, 2015  
The interpreter group branch chief (right) 
presents a testimony collection on Deaf 
survivors of the atomic bombing to the 
superintendent of educational board (the right).

Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki Prefecture:

The Nagasaki branch of the National Interpreting Problem Study Group (about 250 members) in Nagasaki-shi, part of Japan's southern island, presented 114 copies of the testimony collection on Deaf survivors of the atomic bombing titled "Let the Hands Tell" to the Nagasaki municipal board of education as 70th anniversary on May 12. 

These copies will be distributed to all the elementary schools, junior high schools and the municipal Nagasaki trade high school in the city.

The Nagasaki branch, established in 1983, worked on the activity that the members recorded an experience of a Deaf survivor of the atomic bombing in sign language and published a documentary booklet in 1986, which described the growth and after-bombing circumstances as well as a life experience of the Deaf survivors in detail. Interviewing and writing of an experience of two Deaf people is continued at present.

Japanese source:

Social welfare department staff practice how to sign every morning

May 11, 2015     
The staff of the social welfare department learn 
sign language with Sakai Mayumi (third from left)

Ono-shi, Hyogo Prefecture:

Ono-shi, Hyogo Prefecture next to Osaka in western Japan arranged two staff, Yokoyama Masahiko, 53, as section chief, and Sakai Mayumi, 50, both of whom can sign, in the social welfare department in April in order to meet the communication needs of signing citizens.

About 20 staff of the department are learning how to sign for 5 minutes every morning before desk opens since April 2, instructed by Sakai who was employed as a part time non regular interpreter in April.

The staff said enthusiastically; "We would like to make the citzens who are Deaf visit the city office at ease".

Japanese Source:

More professionals in real-time caption service needed

May 8, 2015   
The real-time caption service is provided 
for a person with hearing loss (right).


After Tottori Prefecture established the Sign Language Regulation in October, 2013, a dispatch request of a real-time captioning as well as interpreting is increasing rapidly in the prefecture. 

However, the number of the persons engaged in real-time caption service doesn't increase, so it is the situation that operates at full capacity with the limited work force. Even a training course on captioning attracts few people.

According to the Prefecture Association of the Deaf which dispatches a note-taker/captioner, the dispatch number in 2012 before the Sign Language Regulation establishment was 90 cases, but in the previous year increased to 139 cases, about six times more, most of which a group requested in particular.

On the other hand, even including the "note taking volunteers", about 70 persons have been registered under the prefecture as a note-taker/captioner in recent years. Many of them work on weekdays, too. 


Policeman fluent in sign language stationed  

May 11, 2015  
Tagawa signs for "Thank you." 

Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture:

Tagawa Takashi, 43, an assistant police inspector was designated in October, 2014 as a "super policeman", the policeman of police substation duties in the area police activity using a special skill. He has been an interpreter certified by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in 2009.

When Tagawa was a schoolboy, he had Deaf relatives who taught him basic sign language and manual alphabet. When he worked at a police substation in Yokohama-shi, he started attending the near sign language club, improving his sign language skills along a little.

When a Deaf person is involved in an incident or accident around, Tagawa is called to interpret. "A Deaf person will be relieved when there is a person who can sign even a little." 

A Sign Language regulation was carried out since April in the prefecture, the second example as a prefecture nationwide.

Japanese source:

English article: Deaf snowboarder strikes gold on the slopes

May 15, 2015  

The Japan News reported on Harada Noboru who was on the national team to represent Japan, winning two gold medals in the Deaflympics in April .

Read more:

Sign language cafe to secure job for Deaf persons

May 7, 2015  

Yanagi Masahiro, the owner in front of the soup cafe "Sign With Me" (right)

Popular cafe with women


When you enter an ordinary soup cafe in Tokyo, and look around inside, a Deaf staff makes gestures with a soft smiling face for a seat.

You would get confused at a moment, but notice that there are no troubles when pointing to the menu and ordering.

This soup cafe called "Sign With Me" uses Japanese Sign Language as an official language. The cafe owner and staff are all Deaf. Not only Deaf people out of Tokyo who learned about the cafe visit from the whole country, but also the other local people as well as University of Tokyo students love the cafe. 

Yanagi Masahiro, 42, the Deaf owner of "Sign With Me" explained about his job experience. When he worked dealing with support person with disabilities who start working before he noticed the workplace that tended to settle was different depending on the kinds of disabilities. He says, "A high fixed rate of Deaf persons was when they had discretionary power more than the workplace where showed tendency to function."

"Sign With Me", which started in 2011 after many twists, especially stresses the consciousness as ownership for each staff by playing the leading role.

Japanese source:

Related blog:
Deaf owner opens new soup cafe in Tokyo

Legal counseling system needs to improve Deaf accessibility

April 22, 2015

Hyogo Prefecture:

The prefecture next to Osaka has begun a free legal counseling service to support a person with disabilities in April. 

Dissatisfaction is voiced to the service from disability organizations, because the system accepts only by telephone. They said that they want the prefecture to improve immediately in order to answer with a fax and an e-mail. 

Officials of the Prefecture Welfare Division for the Physically Challenged said, "As our lawyer has no experience in consultation using a fax, the legal counseling service has started only by telephone first. We will change the method to meet the communication needs of the Deaf from May".

English articles about the middle finger in Japanese Sign Language

May 11, 2015

A few recent English articles explain the middle finger in Japanese Sign Language.

Read more: 

Card major companies meet the Deaf needs for inquiry

May 3, 2015   

For persons with hearing loss, two card major companies, Sumitomo Mitsui Card and JCB, have begun the service that they accept by a question on theft and loss of a card by means of a video remote interpreting service in April.

Both the companies use "Plus Voice", a video remote interpreting service, setting up a special account of "Skype", a free communication application "LINE", etc.

The inquiry to the company using the special account is free, while the call is charged.


Broadcast Captioning Center opens

May 3, 2015   
A staff is working on subtitles using a computer.

Wakuya-cho, Miyagi Prefecture:

The "Wakuya Broadcast Captioning Center" which makes closed captions on a TV program opened at Wakuya-cho in northeastern Japan.

The center, which an enterprise in the town operates on the property owned by the town, is a starting working support facilities where persons with disabilities carry subtitles making. It has covenanted with Walt Disney Japan for subtitles of a broadcast animation program on "Disney Channel".

Ten staff were trained how to produce subtitles in autumn, 2014 for technical skills, and six persons with disabilities have worked since April this year.

About 50 town executives attended an opening ceremony of the center on April 24. Executive director of the project, greeted saying, "We hope to hire 40 persons with disabilities in the future".

Japanese source:

English article: Sign-language robot shows off its singing voice

May 1, 2015  


Seven months after Toshiba Corp. surprised the public with a humanoid robot that can communicate using sign language, the same device is now serenading shoppers at a Tokyo department store by singing duets with a human partner (photo).

Special TV program on life of deafblind wife aired

Hisayo (left) talks to Yoshihiko 
through tactile signing.
NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai), a national broadcasting company,  collected data on living of the married couple from summer of 2014 until spring, 2015 and televised on May 3 with the title, "Happy search for an elderly couple without seeing and hearing".

Umeki Yoshihiko, 68, and his wife Hisayo, 65 live in a small village in a gorge in Tango Peninsula in Kyoto Prefecture which faces the Sea of Japan.

Hisayo who lost seeing and hearing both in the second half of forties met and married Yoshihiko, who was a volunteer then, in fifties.

They cultivate the fields and carry on a life near self-sufficiency while communicating through "tactile signing".

Japanese source:

Deaf couples participate in a sign language wedding experience sampling party

April 29, 2015
Wedding sampling party 
attended by Deaf couples

Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido:

A sign language wedding experience sampling party was held on April 24 at the restaurant called "Sentir La Saison Nakajima Park" at Sapporo-shi in Japan's northern island. It is operated by the company "GLOVE ENTERTAINMENT, Inc." which manages wedding business.

The company and Sapporo Association of the Deaf planned a project cooperatively. It was the second time since the company offered a wedding plan with sign language.

This project has started with Saito Kaname, a Deaf woman, who serves as a project leader and leads sign language lessons for the staff all to enhance an understanding of Deaf persons.

Six sets of Deaf couple participated on the day. While Saito explained a concept of the project by sign language first, and then with BGM a quiet sampling party started. Casual consideration was seen such as when the staff served using sign language, the participants showed a smiling face. A performance went on such as the flame which can be enjoyed visually, and a staff kept rhythm by clapping by sound rather bigger than usual.

Saito attended a special support school and hearing school, After graduation, she worked as the edit operator of a bridal magazine which helped her gain knowledge of bridal industry. She belongs to Sapporo Association of the Deaf, playing an active part as a sign language lecturer, too. She said she wanted to use more her experience, getting a job at the company two years ago.

Most participants gave a comment, "A staff used sign language, so, I felt relaxed."

Japanese source:

French Deaf actress visits Japan to promote barrier-free viewing in theater  

April 22, 2015 

The film titled "Marie's Story" is about a bond between a Deafblind girl and a nun in charge of her education in France in the end of the 19th century.

Ariana Rivoire, the French Deaf actress who performed a Deafblind girl in the film, visited Japan. She was interviewed at the Japanese Foreign Correspondent Society in Tokyo on April 21 in order to promote the spread of a barrier-free viewing though caption, sub voices, sign language, etc. (photo:

Such a work for the film was decided to solicit the production costs of 500,000 yen to put sub voices by cloud funding for the first time.

"Marie's Story" is based on the true story of Marie Huertin, who continued her education at the institute and lived there until her death at the age of 36. Ariana said, "The film has a very important message. In France, persons with disabilities enjoyed the movie, it was captioned".

The film "Marie's Story" will be released in Tokyo on July 6th.

Japanese sources:

English source: