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. 

Postwar 70 years as theme of upcoming "theater festival"

August 27, 2015    
A scene of the first performance,
"Soldiers' Story."

Tottori-shi, Tottori:

"Bird Theater Festival 8" produced by the Bird Theater organizing committee and sponsored by Shin-Nihonkai Shinbun company, etc. will be hold in Tottori-shi, part of wester Japan, September 12-27.

With the theme of 70 years after the war this year, seven groups, domestic and abroad, including Korea, Finland and others will perform.

Local residents also take part in the drama and a dance. Students of Tottori School for the Deaf will show a play titled  "Road with Hope: Bond" with the theme related to the high school baseball.

A theater festival has begun to promote theatrical culture in the area in 2008.

The event director says, "A drama conveys a clearer image of a wartime than reading a book. I'd like to make a memory of the war which fades through this theater festival be revived now."

Japanese source:

Deaf high school baseball player visits France for documentary filming

August 24, 2015  
Tamada (right) enjoyed living with 
French people in sign language.

A documentary work related to a Japanese Deaf high school baseball player, Tamada Hiro, 17, was taken in France in August. 

A student of the Tokyo Metropolitan Omori High School in Ota-ku, Tokyo, Tamada enjoyed mingling with the French  willingly

In autumn of 2014, he met Fujiwara Aki, 36, a documentary work director residing in France. When she planned the work which would use sign language as a subject by taking place in Japan and France. She consulted the school for the deaf, "Meisei Gakuen," located at Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, and Tamada, an alumnus, was introduced to her.  

Before a voyage to France, Tamada explained, "I like communicating with people. I'd like to communicate with the French in sign language and gestures."

He visited France with Fujiwara on August 2 and spent ten days living with the Deaf youth in Poitiers, a city west from France.

Fujiwara looks back saying, "I think the clearest purpose of his travel was to see how a Deaf person lives in France. He may have learned the life-style was different between Japan and France." 

Two documentary works, a TV program and a movie, are to be produced. The TV program on a life of Tamada as a young baseball player will be aired in France by the end of October, and a documentary film on his stay in France will be completed within this year.

Japanese source:

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"Station name board" unveiled at old railroad site

August 21, 2015  
Station name board in old Minato Station unveiled.

Okayama-shi, Okayama:

To tell history of the Sanban Light Railroad which used to run in Okayama-shi, part of western Japan, during 1910's-1930’s, Sanban Railroad Research Group commissioned to manufacture a station name board.

High school students of Okayama School for the Deaf in the city completed making the board that would stand in a place where Minato Station used to exist.

An unveiling ceremony was held at the old station on August 21. One of the seniors involved in making the board said, "I would be happy if this station name board will make people look back to the history of our hometown."

Station name board making is one of the Railroad's 100th anniversary projects.

Japanese source:

Sign language guide training in Ise-shi

August 20, 2015  

Ise-shi, Mie:

Ise-shi Office in Mie Prefecture, part of western Japan, which has advanced barrier free sightseeing is working on training of a sign language tour guide volunteer since 2012.

The National Interpreting Issues Study Workshop will take place at Suzuka-shi in the prefecture on August 22. 

Prior to the event, members of a sign language club in the city performed a simulated guide for Deaf persons in the area of Ise Shrine, one of the oldest shrines in Japan.

Thirteen tour guides who already completed a training course guided six members of the organizing committee of the national workshop around Ise Shrine. The tour guides confirmed a guide method advised by the committee.

Japanese source:

Play based on challenge of Deaf baseball team in Okinawa to perform again 

August 16, 2015  
The troupers, who have learned sign language and 
baseball intensively, apply themselves to a practice.

Yao-shi, Osaka:

Based on the real story, the play "Far Koshien" by Kansai Geijutsuza Theater about Deaf students who made a baseball club with their ardent interest will be shown for the first time in 11 years on August 26-28 in Yao-shi.

In Okinawa under control of the U.S. forces located in Japan's southern island, pregnant women were contracted the German measles epidemic from autumn in 1964 to next spring. As a result, about 500 babies were born Deaf.

For education of these children, Okinawa Prefecture government established a school for the Deaf in 1978. The students who loved baseball advanced towards a high school in April, 1981 appealed that they wanted to have a baseball club.

However, they were impossible to hear the tone of the batted ball, and baseball using a hard ball involved danger of an injury. The Japanese Student Baseball Charter didn't admit the Deaf students to join the Japan High School Baseball Federation, and so they were unable to play a practice game.

Yet the Deaf students cooperated with their teammates, getting over a high wall of Japan High School Baseball Federation to join. Their struggle aroused sympathy with an impression in the whole country. It happens the national high school baseball championship "Koshien" hits the 100th anniversary this summer.

The play, based on a real story of the Deaf students' struggles and efforts supported by the family and people concerned, will draw a tear and a laugh. The actors will act with sign language, and subtitles to be shown also.

Japanese source:

First workshop with sign language for fire fighters

August 13, 2015  
Assuming a first aid site, the fire fighters do 
the drill in which sign language was included.

Ebetsu-shi, Hokkaido:

Ebetsu-shi Fire Department located in Japan's northern island held the first sign language workshop for its fire fighters on August 12 at the Fire Fighting Head Office in the city. 

To make the communication with a Deaf person smooth at a first aid site, about 30 fire fighters learned a basic sign language such as ambulance, hospital, the fire, "What happened?" "Could I make a contact to someone?," etc. 

Three fire fighters in a group worked together on practice to meet the need of the Deaf person who complains of bad condition. They were even encouraged to use gestures.

Japanese source:

English article: Hiring individuals with disabilities begins with understanding from employers

August 18, 2015

Mihara Tsuyoshi, (left), a Deaf employee, helps 
a Deaf customer at the KDDI store in Nagoya-shi.
The number of employees with disabilities at private companies is rising according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare indicating a total of 431,225 as of June 2014, which is the highest to date. 
While this increase is due in part to the Handicapped Persons' Employment Promotion Act, which requires companies to raise the ratio of employees with disabilities to their total workforce to 2 percent, only about half of private companies have achieved the goal. 

Read more:

Japanese original article:

"Pre-Japan Deaf Exhibition" to be held in Tokyo

August 6, 2015  
A large-size motorcycle and an outdoor 
activity are Kadokura Yuriko's hobby.

Machida-shi, Tokyo:

Kadokura Yuriko, a Deaf resident of Machida-shi, is active in the realization of "Japan Deaf Exhibition" where Deaf people and their friends/supporters in the whole country gather.

She serves as an eastern Japan representative and a secretary-general of "Silent Japan" group, which actively connects and forms "Deaf world" through sports, culture, etc. in order to carry bridging with society.

The exhibition being planned is the general event that shows "Deaf Power," the Deaf persons playing an active part by taking place in the world, and introduces related groups as well as Deaf history in order to encourage a lot of people.

Prior to this event scheduled for 2016, "Pre-Japan Deaf Exhibition" will be held at Tokyo-to National Olympic Memorial Youth Center from 10:00am on Saturday, August 22, 2015.

At the event, activities and projects will be appealed through video on Deaf history as well as a fashion show, dances, performances, plays, etc.

Japanese source: 

Lecture on dementia for Deaf persons held

August 11, 2015
Deaf persons learn the feature of 
dementia and its careful points.

Shimanto-shi, Kochi:

The new course offered to the Deaf community to learn about dementia was held recently at a social welfare center in Shimanto-shi located in western Japan. 

About 30 Deaf persons attended the course and questioned eagerly. There was an opinion also such as "I want the city to arrange a system in order for the Deaf to consult about dementia in sign language."

Japanese source:

Deafblind persons learn how to act at time of fire  

August 5, 2015

Wakayama-shi, Wakayama:

Recently, 18 members of the Non-profit Organization (NPO) corporation called "The Wakayama DeafBlind Friendship Group" made with the Deafblind and support volunteers learned about fire prevention and disaster prevention at the fire department protection against disasters learning center located at Wakayama-shi in western Japan.

The participants experienced evacuation from the place inside filled with smoke. They were told by a city fire fighting staff to lower their body while holding a nose and the mouth by a handkerchief so that they might advance with luminaire for emergency exit sign along a wall. Following the guidance, they went through a room full with white smoke. 

Japanese source:

Mt. Ontake: Deaf man found in corpse near the mountain top  July 31, 2015

August 2015

Search party looks for missing persons 
near the top of Mt. Ontake

Missing person's search was resumed nine months later in the morning on July 29 at Mt. Ontake, which was eruptive and became the worst volcanic disaster after the war with 57 dead people and six missing persons in September, 2014. The 3,067 meter-high mountain sits on the border between Nagano and Gifu prefectures.

A search party from Gifu prefecture found a corpse near the mountain top on July 31. According to Gifu-ken, the corpse was found by tens of centimeters in the state which was buried in volcanic ash lied thick on the ground at the place behind a rock where it's about 500 meters from a crater of Nagano prefectural side.

Nagano prefectural police announced that the corpse revealed to be Inooka Tetsuya, a Deaf resident of Kai-shi, Yamanashi Prefecture as a result of the DNA examination on August 1. Tetsuya's family confirmed that his backpack and clothes.

Tetsuya climbed with and his Deaf wife Hiromi, and they were involved in an eruption. Hiromi's corpse was found in October, 2014, but Tetsuya was while being missing.

The search work was suspended on August 6.

Yamamori Yusuke chosen to national team for Deaf Futsal World Cup 

August 2, 2015

Echizen city, Fukui-ken:

Yamamori Yusuke, 22, was chosen for the first time to the Japan team for the Deaf Futsal World Cup this June, which will be held in Thailand in November. He said enthusiastically, "I have been eager to play, so I'm very happy. I will work by full strength and would like to aim at best in the world."

Soon after he was born, he lost hearing and since then he used hearing aids. He belonged to a soccer club since a third grader through high school.

When he was a freshman at Waseda University in Tokyo, he joined the "Tokyo Deaf Futsal Club" after a friend in a sign language club introduced.

Yamamoto explained, "The Deaf Futsal was different in a sense from my experience with soccer." All the players frequently shook their heads for check around and got an eye contact. "I felt comfortable that the players share the same image and link a pass to make a score."

During the winter holidays of his second year at the university, Yamamoto joined a Japanese team candidate training camp for the first time. He competed keenly with the players who gathered from the whole country. 

Yamamoto chose the Echizen city office after graduation this April, because the workplace showed understanding of him as an activity player.

Currently Yamamoto makes up with trunk training and practices with a home team twice a week, preparing for the Asian Pacific Meet in Taiwan in October as well as the World Cup in which 16 countries will participate.

Hard of hearing rugger to be presented award by Mayor in his hometown

August 1, 2015
Otsusa receives a mayor prize.

Usuki-shi, Oita:

Otsuka Takayuki, 23, a hard of hearing man from Usuki-shi located in Japan's southern island, contributed to six straight victories of Teikyo University at the National University Rugby Football Championship early this year.

Usuki-shi has decided to present a mayor prize to Otsuka for his performance at the end of this month.

After getting a job in Panasonic this spring, Otsuka continues playing the rugby. His achievement is expected as the Japanese selected team member who takes on a New Zealand rugby team this autumn.

Japanese sources:

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Deaf man completes large-sized doll for local float festival

Matsue colors "Funabenkei," a doll
for Neputa carefully in his studio.

July 30, 2015

Goshogawara-shi, Aomori:

After graduating from the Prefecture Aomori School for the Deaf located in Japan's northern region, Matsue Hiromitsu, 25, a born-Deaf Goshogawara-shi resident, has been hired at a working support facilities in Tsugaru city as a cook.

As one of the three well-known summer local parades in the prefecture, an event with large Doll Float Festival called Neputa beyond 20 meters of height parades in Goshogawara-shi will be held on August 4-8. 

Matsue, being fond of Nebuta originally, made a mask for  Neputa by watching others since he was the fifth grader. Growing up as a Doll Nebuta Festival lover, he became a pupil of a professional maker when he was 19 years old. Ever since then he has made a medium-size doll for Neputa.

Beside of his work, Matsue completed a doll named "Funabenkei" sized five meters of width, five meters of height and 4.5 meters in depth this year. He said, "It's a hard work, but I won't give up making a doll for Neputa." 

Japanese source:

Okinawa bowlers to compete at World Deaf Bowling Championships in Italy

July 30, 2015
Shimabuku Kei (left), Arakaki Tadashi 
and Nakanishi Asami.


The Third World Deaf Bowling Championships will take place in  Italy from August 16 - September 1, which 29 bowlers from across the world will compete for the best.

Three Deaf bowlers from Okinawa, part of Japan's southern island, were selected to the Japan team: Arakaki Tadashi, 39, Nakanishi Asami, 34, and Shimabuku Kei, 51.  

Arakaki has won a prize in the National Deaf Athletic Meet at Okinawa in September, 2014. He has experienced with world championships in the past, getting a game of 300 points. All the National team members promised to do their best aiming at mounting a podium.

Japanese sources:

Crown Prince meets with Deaf students before national sports event

July 29, 2015  
Crown Prince talks with a group of students.

Wakayama-shi, Wakayama:

The opening ceremony of the 27th Annual National High School Athletic Meet (Interscholastic Athletic Meet) was held in the hall called Wakayama Big Whale at Wakayama-shi in western Japan  on July 28.

After the opening ceremony, the Crown Prince, who visited Wakayama Prefecture for the first time in ten years, met with the high school students in the event site who have advanced management preparations of an interscholastic athletic meet, in the afternoon.

The students of the prefecture Wakayama School for the Deaf who produced a tote bag and coaster for enlightenment met the Crown Prince, too. The coaster was distributed to the guests of the opening ceremony earlier. Crown Prince spoke with a smile, "I used a coaster at a meal."

Japanese sources: