Deafblind drummer to play in Osaka

September 26, 2015            
Ajiki plays a drum while having a lecturer 
hit his shoulder for taking rhythm.

Matsue-shi, Tottori:

A Deafblind drummer Ajiki Toshiyuki, 53,  a Matsue-shi resident, will take part in a performance in Tennoji-ku, Osaka-shi on November 3.

He has mastered how to take rhythm by original lesson and intensive training and has shown his performance in the Western part of Japan as the only Deafblind drummer in Japan. A performance in Osaka is for the first time for Ajiki. He said eagerly that he would like to tell when you make an effort, it certainly is possible."

When he was a schoolboy, Ajiki became so sick that he lost hearing. After attending Matsue School for the Deaf in Matsue-shi and graduating, he got a job in a local welfare factory. When about 20 years old, he was difficult to see this time, and diagnosed as amblyopia. Ajiki communicates by tentacle fingerspelling currently.

Music was helpful for him after he learned how to play a drum in May, 2007. When the Shimane Deafblind Friendships Society of which he is a member held a performance at an exchange event of the persons with disabilities in Middle  Shikoku-district in November, 2008, Ajiki decided to challenge then. He chose drumming because rhythm was easy to follow, and when playing a drum, he gets the exhilarating feeling which blows off a stress and worries.

During playing, a musical lecturer stands behind Ajiki, and hits his shoulder to tell how to take it the time, but anything else it is no different from an ordinary drummer. Officials of Japan Deafblind Association located in Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo is surprised, "We never heard of any Deafblind drummer!"


Bank installs bulletin board for communication accessibility

September 24, 2015

Matsuyama-shi, Ehime:
A Deaf customer (right) communicates with 
a clerk by writing beside the Ear Mark.

Ehime Bank at Matsuyama-shi, Ehime in western Japan installed a bulletin board with a symbol of an ear, the "Ear Mark," in all open desks in September. This symbol shows communication accessibility, such as writing, for a Deaf/deaf customer at the bank. 

Ehime Bank installed the Ear Mark board in total of 114 branch banks as well as the main office, providing a service with the use of a writing board, too (picture).

Ehime Bank officials said, "We hope Deaf/deaf customers feel free to use our service."


Information on the "Ear Mark":

Review on new mystery book on interpreter

September 22, 2015

Maruyama Masaki wrote a mystery book again. The book titled "Deaf Voice: a sign-language interpreter in the court" (311 pages/650 yen) was published by Bungei Shunju on August 4.

The story is goes: Arai Naoto became an interpreter at the age of 43.  He was asked to interpret at a court. It reminds him of the bitter memory which concerns the murder case which has happened 17 years ago.

This book is the social mystery that the author delicately figures the environment surrounding a Deaf person with the use of both spoken language and sign language which forms the multistory narrative way.

Japanese source:

Princess gives speech in sign language at national sign language contest

September 22, 2015

Yonago-shi, Tottori:

Princess Kako, the second daughter of Prince Fumihito and his wife Kiko, delivered a speech in sign language for the first time on September 22 at the opening ceremony of a national high school sign language contest held at Yonago-shi, Tottori Prefecture in wester Japan.

Twenty teams of high school students from 14 prefectures competed in the sign language event using songs and dramas at Yonago Public Hall.

A team from the Nara Prefectural School for the Deaf took won the top prize.

Japanese sources:

English articles:

Japanese Drum show performed by Deaf groups

September 22, 2015

Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima:
The members of the Deaf drum group 
"Tentekomai" shows a great performance.

 The "Deaf Japanese Drum Groups Performance in Hiroshima" took place, sponsored by the Japan Deaf Drum Fan Society, at Hiroshima-shi in western Japan on September 21. Nine groups from seven prefectures participated.

The performance is held every two or four years since 1993, and it's for the first time in Hiroshima Prefecture. Eight members of "Japanese Drum Tentekomai (means hectic)" appeared representing Hiroshima. A big cheer arose from about 430 audience.

Japanese source:

Opinion: "Regulation of Sign Language and Communication for the Person with Disabilities" od Akashi-shi, Hyogo

September 20, 2015


Otokita Shun, a Tokyo metropolitan assembly member, blogged his opinion as follows:  

- Sign language is a language.
- Historically, sign language has been oppressed and taken a chance of acquisition and culture away from the Deaf community.
- Reconsideration was made recent years, and sign language  was written clearly in the law in 2011.
- That establishment of "Sign Language Law" or "Sign Language Regulation" becomes an earnest wish for the Deaf community continuously. 

There is a case that the local politics advances to solve that problem which it's difficult to advance drastically by the Government, and the "Sign Language regulation" is one considered by local governments currently.

But as one of the biggest issues in case of the establishment of such a law on Sign Language as some groups point out: "It is not only a Deaf person is in trouble about communication," "Though there are various measures such as subtitles for a deafened person, Braille, etc.  Why is it only sign language?" 

Moreover there is also criticism; "There are a very small number of native signers. Why is it necessary to make a regulation for them?"

Actually, neither the local government nor the Government have an official statistics on the Deaf people population in Japan.

The regulation "Sign Language and Communication for the Person with Disabilities Regulation"which was passed by the Akashi-shi assembly in Hyogo Prefecture, is a good example to settle such problem. (Japanese version:

The regulation includes the spread promotion of note taking, Braille, transliteration, etc. to respond the criticism as above-stated.

Yanetani Atsuko, the first and only Deaf assembly woman elected in Akashi who uses sign language as her first language, was strong in a draft of the regulation. She indicated understanding and was a bridge of an adjustment with persons concerned.

She said that the groups related to hard of haring persons, deafened persons, and persons with other disabilities didn't feel resistance to the draft regulation.

Akashi-shi is a good example to decide to include the communication needs of other person with disabilities, and work on an adjustment between the groups concerned, leading to accomplish with very good results for a Sign Language regulation.

Japanese source:

    Deaf men's volleyball team to reinforcement training camp

    September 20, 2015  


    The Summer Deaflympics will be held in Turkey in 2017. A national men's volleyball team will work on a reinforcement training camp at towns in Kagawa Prefecture, part of western Japan for three days from September 21. They will play a practice game with a high school volleyball club. Also the practice will be opened to the public for Deaf sports awareness.

    The coat size and the play form, etc. of Deaf volleyball are the same as a rule of general volleyball. The national men team won the 5th place at the 2009 Taiwan Deaflympics.

    In addition to the reinforcement training for the Deaflympics, 
    the team organization for the World Championships in 2016 is the purpose for the training camp. The camp in the prefecture will be the second time, participated by 11 players and about 20 staff.

    Japanese source:

    National Athletic Conference of the Deaf opens in Kyoto

    September 18, 2015

    The 49th National Athletic Conference of the Deaf is held at 14 places in total of seven towns and  one city. Holding the sports event is the second time in 39 years.

    After the opening ceremony in Kyoto-shi on September 18, there will be a game on a couple of days, September 19-20.

    About 1,500 players compete in ten items of the game: track and field, rubber-ball baseball, table tennis, volleyball, soccer, tennis, bowling, softball, badminton and basketball.

    About 900  volunteers, staff, and interpreters support the Deaf athletes. Some accommodations are provided. For example, a start is made by a sign of lighting up of a lamp instead of a signal gun for the short distance running. A referee puts on yellow gloves during a basketball game, giving a signal by a flag to make sure that the player will recognize it visually at once.

    Japanese source:

    Support appropriate to Deaf community at the time of disaster

    September 18, 2015

     "Shelter picture card" (left) and member's purple jacket (right) (image:

    Toyohashi-shi, Aichi:

    Toyohashi-shi in western Japan has 880 members of the Deaf community as of April, 2015.

    To plan for appropriate support to them in the time of disaster, the volunteer group called Toyohashi Interpreting Group researched the living circumstances of the Deaf community and their family structure, and studied the protection against disasters environment.

    The group has donated the "shelter picture card" and "communication board" to the first designation shelters in the city in August last year in order for the Deaf resident to understand directions in a shelter and communicate with people concerned better. The group also plans to contribute the card and the board to other 99 second designation shelters in the current year.

    The member's purple jacket unified that shows the wearer is an interpreter was produced in summer this year.

    A part of the arranged support system, the Group also has a training program for interpreters in attempt to increase the number of interpreters who support the Deaf community. 

    Japanese source:

    E-mail system in elevators tested in case of emergency

     September 17, 2015  

    Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa:

    There are 106 elevators which Yokohama-shi Road Bureau manages in Kanagawa-ku. Out of them fourteen elevators in seven places that a lot of people use started checking communication with a Deaf/deaf client in case of emergency on September 15, until March next year.

    In response to a Deaf citizen's request, the Bureau checks whether it's possible for a Deaf/deaf person to make a contact with a watch room using the e-mail function of the cellular phone when an elevator stops suddenly.

    There are 8,452 persons with hearing impairments and others in the city, and 509 out of them are living in Kanagawa-ku.

    Japanese source:

    Pro soccer team donates uniform to Deaf children in Myanmar

    September 15, 2015  
    The uniform donation ceremony takes place 
    in the school for the Deaf in Yangon

     Albirex FC Singapore under the J1 Albirex Niigata, one of the Japanese professional soccer teams, has managed a soccer class in Myanmar. It conducted a ceremony to donate 70 uniforms and balls at Mary Chapman School for the Deaf in Yangon on September 14, a part of sports promotion and a community service.

    Albirex Singapore that started a soccer class in Yangon in September, 2014, including the Deaf children, found that a lot of the Deaf children don't have a tool to play for an economical reason, leading to the donation.

    Japanese sources:

    Play in sign language on Deaf movement history gets big clapping

    September 7, 2015

    Miyazaki-shi, Miyazaki:

    There was a sign language play to trace history of Deaf movement on September 6 as one of events of the "64th  Kyushu Deaf Conference and 43rd Kyushu Interpreting Workshops" which was held on September 4-6 at Miyazaki-shi in Japan's southern island.

    Total of about 60 Deaf and hearing persons performed so well that won big clapping from the audience.

    The play outlined as follows: Deaf people hid sign language in the public as "something embarrassing", and even the use of sign language was forbidden in the school for the Deaf. But movement has started nationwide taking an incident concerning sign language in 1965 as an opportunity. The Deaf won the right to drive, and also to apply for housing loan as a result of the Deaf movement.

    Some people shed tears to see such history at the stage. One person commented, "I felt that there is hardly discrimination against the Deaf right now because old Deaf persons had have a hard time to live years ago." 

    Japanese source: 

    Japanese Language drill to help Deaf pupils understand clearly

    September 5, 2015  
    A page on the particle in the Japanese Language drill 

    Deaf teachers made a drill to teach Deaf pupils Japanese Language. In the drill, a boy and a girl are learning the language while a cat guides them. An illustration is used to explain how to use the particle clearly for example where a Deaf person often fail easily.

    Soon after the drill was published in August, about 2,000 orders came from schools across the whole country as  reputed to be excellent.

    Maeda Hiroshi, 62, a Deaf teacher of Osaka Municipal Auditory Special Support School proposed to make a Japanese drill for the Deaf pupils. 

    He says, "Deaf people often have trouble with how to use the particle and use of a verb correctly, because it is difficult for them to hear as sound and remember it right repeatedly." 

    There was also a Japanese textbook that the government edited for schools for the Deaf, yet Deaf children have a weak point in Japanese, too, so Maeda felt this textbook doesn't match their needs.

    He started editing the drill in 2013, getting cooperation from four teachers including three Deaf teachers. They completed the edition work finally after one year and a half.

    Maeda says about the Japanese Language drill for the Deaf children, "I think it can also be used for foreigners learning Japanese and a child with intellectual disabilities."


    Interpreting arrangement for Deaf assembly woman

    September 5, 2015   
    Yanetani, a Deaf assembly woman, 
    questions using sign language in 
    Akashi-shi assembly regular meeting.

    Akashi-shi, Hyogo:

    It has been about four months since Yanetani Atsuko, 55, was elected as the first Deaf-born assembly member in Akashi-shi, near Osaka.

    She questioned about welfare policy substantiality in the regular meeting in June in sign language with interpreting.  When she visited a home for the aged in Niigata, northern Japan, on a committee inspection in July. Accompanied by an interpreter, she interviewed a facility staff about how to communicate with a person with disabilities, etc.

    The City Assembly assigns interpreters by public expense in the plenary session, the conference and the inspection and others. When requested for hearing to a city meeting, the city puts interpreters. A supplementary budget of 4,000,000 yen was put as the compensation cost to the interpreters. 

    When a municipal officer reports a administrative movement of  every week as a principle, interpreting is provided. About the other activities, the city will make a decision which activities can be covered with the monthly cost (80,000 yen) before April, 2016.

    Hyogo Prefecture Association of the Deaf insists that any political activity by a Deaf assembly member without paying an own expense equally as a hearing counterpart. 

    On the other hand, one of the welfare persons concerned in the city points out, "It is difficult to get the local residents understood to allow a Deaf assembly member to attend a small meeting in an area at public expense."

    Yanetani says, "It's an important activity also to understand what the participants talk through interpreting and grasp the real state of affairs of the area."

    The Kita-ku assembly in Tokyo has Saito Rie, 31, a deaf assembly woman who was elected on the same day as Yanetani, applying a device that works for both writing-to-speech and realtime captioning with cost of about 4,000,000 yen.

    Saito works actively by lipreading and writing with no special special expenses by the ward according to the ward secretariat.


    Colleges/universities to advance policy following disabilities discrimination law

    September 4, 2015  


    The Disabilities Discrimination Law, which prohibits the discrimination of a person with disability and requires to provide "reasonable accommodations," will be effective in April, 2016. A national/public university will be imposed on obligation, and effort obligation will be on a private university also. While accommodations are carried out nationwide, colleges/universities in Okinawa Prefecture are also getting active.

    Here are examples of the movement:
    University of the Ryukyus established the support office with  the vice president as its director in June. Thirteen staffs, including teachers from all the departments and others, are doing a management meeting to form the "in-depth policy."

    Meio University established a disability support rule in June. Following the rule, a committee of over ten people including the president will take place before April, 2016. The university has also accepted students with disabilities and supported them getting a job and studying abroad so far.

    Okinawa University arranges three disability support coordinators, establishes the system that students and staffs support a Deaf/deaf student with note taking and interpreting, and develops the advanced system in the whole country. A guideline is made to stipulate the present system according to the Disability Discrimination Law.

    Even without advance of the said law in particular, a lot of other colleges/universities have accepted students with disabilities independently so far. For example, Okinawa International University has a professional support staff in the welfare volunteer support office to manage a note taking service by student volunteers.

    Japanese source:

    Prefecture postpones submission of disabilities discrimination draft to assembly

    September 4, 2015


    The Aichi prefecture office in central Japan announced on September 3 that it postponed submission of a disability discrimination ordinance draft to a regular meeting in the prefecture assembly scheduled for September 17, because the preliminary explanation to disabilities groups was insufficient about the draft of the ordinance.

    The prefecture had finished making the draft including requirement for personnel working with a person with disability for the first time in Japan, and had explained to the peopled concerned with the assembly beforehand. 

    About 30 disabilities groups were shortly informed by the prefecture  on August 31 about the legal draft submission without detailed explanations. They insisted to include their opinion or idea in the draft.

    Japanese source:

    Junior college to make sign language course with credit next year

    September 3, 2015
    The students learn sign language from 
    a Deaf lecturer (front left) for the national 
    Deaf seniors meeting.

    Obihiro-shi, Hokkaido:

    Both the towns, Shintoku and Shikaoi, in Hokkaido, northern island of Japan, have established a sign language regulation already. There is a movement in which sign language is being placed as a language in Obihiro-shi also, aiming at regulation establishment.

    Obihiro Otani Junior College takes this flow, planning to contribute in its area, developing the policy which works on sign language education as a whole. The college first offered a sign language course freely for the latter term on September 28. The course with a credit will be offered as a general liberal art from April, 2016.

    Fourteen students, taking a free sign language course, will participate as a volunteer in the 27th National Deaf Seniors Conference in Obihiro from September 4.

    About 500 Deaf seniors and others participate in the conference, mingling with one another for three days until September 6, through a program such as a lecture, sport, etc., for their social status advancement.

    Japanese sources:

    Hearing man arrested by attempted extortion against Deaf woman

    September 3, 2015

    Nerima-ku, Tokyo:

    Takeda Kamikazu, a forty-aged man of insurance agency management in Nerima-ku, Tokyo, was arrested by the Metropolitan Police Department for a question of attempted extortion.

    He e-mailed through a cellular phone to a Deaf woman in fifties who lent money to her acquaintance, at the middle of last month, trying to rob her of cash by threatening such like "Hand me 500,000 yen as a handling charge of collection of the debt," "I have a friend from a gang." 

    Reportedly Takeda said to the investigation officer, "I was just   asked by a woman to collect the money." 

    Japanese source:

    Prefecture presents hearing dog to deaf man

    September 2, 2015        
    Ota Takuma (center) receives a letter of
    presentation with the hearing dog.

    Matsuyama-shi, Ehime:

    The presentation of a hearing dog to a deaf person was held at Matsuyama-shi, Ehime in western Japan on September 1. 

    The two-year-old toy poodle named Bell was presented to Ota Takuma, 33, an Ehime University staff, by the prefecture. An offer of hearing dog by the prefecture is the first time.
    Ota lost hearing due to meningitis when he was 9 months old. He had an experienced with the fire at a hotel, unaware of sirens, while studying in the U.S. The fire accident made him decide to get a hearing dog for himself. 

    He and Bell passed the final test after over a year of training.

    Japanese source:

    Survey planned on actual situation of Deafblind for support

    September 3, 2015
    Coordinater, who explains how to support 
    to a Deafblind woman says, "I hope that 
    the society where Deafblind persons 
    can live independently comes true."


    Totteri Prefecture Office in western Japan, advancing support of Deafblind persons in the prefecture, is unable to grasp about them. The office arranges a support coordinator and makes an effort toward the whole grasp and an actual condition survey this year.

    There are Deafblind persons who lack a communication skill don't get welfare support, and live on the world filled with silence and darkness.

    Officials in the prefecture disability welfare department say,
    "We would like to increase something more for the Deafblind to do with our appropriate professional support." 

    According to the National Deafblind Group based in Tokyo, there are about 70 Deafblind persons in the prefecture.

    Japanese source:

    Subtitles and sound for Deaf person to enjoy movie

    A Deaf viewer uses both the head mount 
    display and smart phone to see subtitles 
    in movie at the same time.
    September 1, 2015  

    Tokyo and Saitama:

    The Japan Motion Picture Producers Association made with major filmmakers and 4 distribution firms begins the project which shows scenic explanation and spoken words by subtitles and sound so that a Deaf/deaf person can appreciate the movie with a general viewer in a theater.

    This move responds to the disability discrimination law that will be enforced in April, 2016. Three movie theaters in Tokyo and Saitama next to Tokyo will show six Japanese movies experimentally from September through November.

    To see subtitles, a device will be used, combined with the head mount display (HMD) that looks like glasses and the application for smart phone which lets subtitles of words run following the sound of a movie "UDCast" at the same time.

    Japanese source:

    National rally for sign language law establishment held in Tokyo

    August 29, 2015  
    The participants demonstrate in a march 
    asking for sign language law establishment.


    The national rally for realization of sign language law establishment took place in the central part of Tokyo on August 28. 

    Governor Hirai Shinji of Tottori Prefecture, where the first sign language regulation was established in the whole country, explained the spread situation of the sign language in the prefecture, emphasizing, "We will work harder for sign language law establishment. Let's us start a sign language revolution."

    Deaf persons and supporters demonstrated around the Diet in Kasumigaseki, and other places in central Tokyo. This rally was organized by Japanese Federation of the Deaf, who announced about one thousand people participated in the march.

    Deaf persons, putting up the large-sized fans on which slogans, such as "Establish Sign Language Law Now," etc. were written, appealed to the Government of necessity of legal establishment of sign language.

    Japanese sources:

    More photos: 

    Lecture on Deaf atomic-bomb victims: "Deaf persons unable to receive food distribution, isolated"

    August 31, 2015    
    Nakagawa explains Deaf persons living 
    after an atom bomb hit Hiroshima.

    Kusatsu-shi, Shiga:

    During the heavy damage from which an atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, how did Deaf people survive? The lecture on such story of their experiences was held in Kusatsu-shi near Kyoto on August 30. About 40 people participated.

    Nakagawa Fumie, 75, Hiroshima branch director of the National Interpreting Issues Study Group which has been involved in activities to collect the experiences of Deaf atomic bomb victims, said that about 170 Deaf persons were exposed to radiation in Hiroshima and forced to spend a severe life.

    Nakagawa's parents were Deaf and she acquired sign language in childhood. She is the leader of a sign language theatre group, while writing books on Deaf atomic bomb victims.

    According to her lecture, many Deaf persons went to Hiroshima city after atomic bombing and was exposed to radiation because the school for the Deaf in those days evacuated in the Hiroshima suburbs.

    With an example of the neighborhood group made with residents in neighborhood given, she explains, "A Deaf person used to be helped by a neighborhood group, too, before atomic bombing, but the group itself disappeared in a burned field after a drop, and the Deaf was unable to get any help further."

     "With hardly also receiving food distribution, even without the house where they live, they were totally isolated. A hearing person wouldn't be able to understand easily how much the Deaf suffered at that time. So, I hope you all know more about the fact." 


    Sign language workshop for volunteers at National Athletic Meets

    August 30, 2015

    Matsuyama-shi, Ehime:

    A workshop for sign language instructors, sponsored by the prefecture information support volunteer education conference, has been held extensively for the National Athletic Meet and national disabilities sports event, which will take place in Ehime Prefecture, a part of western Japan in 2017.  

    There was a workshop the second time in Matsuyama-shi on August 29, and about 40 interpreters active in the prefecture discussed the contents of a text for sign language expression and teaching guidance.

    Both the sports events, 300 people are needed for the volunteer who hands information down to Deaf persons in sign language. 


    Imperial female members attend high school sign language speech contest

    August 29, 2015  
    Princess Akishinonomiya (left) 
    and her daughter Princess Kako

    The 32nd National High School Sign Language Speech Contest took place at Yuraku-cho Asahi Hall in Tokyo on August 29.

    Kiko, Princess Akishinonomiya attended with her second daughter Princess Kako. 

    Kiko made a speech using sign language in the opening ceremony, "I expect that those who are going to give a speech in sign language express their idea and thought in an abundant and certain way."

    Arai Honoka, a student of Tottori Prefecture Tottori School for the Deaf who was one of the two Deaf/deaf contestants has won the third prize.


    Related blogs:
    On Arai Honoka: