English article: Film festival for people with disabilities helps share theater experience

MAY 26, 2016

The 11th festival will take place at four venues in Hokkaido, Japan's northern Island from June to November.

With all entries accompanied by subtitles, audio descriptions and sign language volunteers, the Hokkaido Universal Film Screening Festival draws around 1,000 visitors each year.

Films at the festival are also accompanied by volunteers standing next to the screen who convey songs and music with sign language and physical movement.

“I want Deaf/deaf people to feel the music when a musical note appears in a subtitle,” an organizer explained.

Read more:

Airline company to introduce tablet terminal to meet Deaf needs

May 25, 2016

All Nippon Airways (ANA) demonstrated the tablet end (iPad) used for a customer at onboard and the airport on May 25 (photo). 

The device will use five languages, such as English and Chinese, and audio guidance as well as information access for a Deaf/deaf passenger.

A new app will be installed in the tablet end which loans to about 7500 flight attendants in June. Also 1500 tablets used by the ground staffs at airport counters and others use will have a new app.

It relates to many scenes assumed at onboard and the airport. For example when a passenger chooses request at an end, the explanation of onboard equipment and service is indicated. For the Deaf/deaf passenger who don't get the announcement of  the unplanned situation, such as change in the arrival place, feel anxiously, the screen of the tablet end that explains was also prepared newly.

Japanese source:

Deaf mountaineer succeeds in reaching the Everest summit

May 24, 2016

Tachikawa-shi, Tokyo announced on May 24 that the Deaf mountaineer Tamura Satoshi, 51, who resides in the city, succeeded in reaching the summit of the world highest peak Everest (8,848 meters) on May 21. (photo)

Tamara is the first Deaf person who reached the summit in the world according to the city.

He with his climbing history for 37 years succeeded in the third time challenging. He has been doing high-altitude training since March.

Japanese sources:

Deaf students injured by apartment fire in Tokyo

May 23, 2016

There was a fire from the first floor of "Royal Apartment Ayase" at around 10:05am in Adachi-ku, Tokyo on May 23. It was extinguished in about 45 minutes later.

Such as total of seven people of six students of "Katsushika School for the Deaf" near the building in addition to one resident in source of fire absorbed smoke according to the Tokyo Fire-Defense Agency. All seem not seriously injured. 

Japanese source:

English article: Imperial couple lifts spirits of quake evacuees in Kumamoto

May 20, 2016


Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko consoled victims of the earthquakes in Kumamoto Prefecture in evacuation centers on May 19. (photo)

Michiko spoke to a Deaf woman through sign language, saying, “Keep holding on.” 

New interface which feels sound by hair demonstrated

May 20, 2016

"Ontenna" exhibited in the "Fujitsu Forum," a private event, loads on hair like a hairpin and is the interface terminal which conducts sound by light and vibration (photo).
The new interface, developed through working with a Deaf/deaf person, changes a sound pressure of 30dB-90dB to the strength of 256 stages of the vibration and light.

It's unique that "Ontenna" can be loaded on hair, neither on clothes nor an arm.

Japanese source:

Picture book read to Deaf children in sign language

May 15, 2016

There was the event that story telling through a picture book expressed in sign language on May 14 at the Municipal Katsunuma Library in Koshu City, Yamanashi Prefecture near Tokyo. About 30 Deaf children and their siblings participated.

The event which tells the pleasure of the picture book to the Deaf children takes place several times a year. The group leader  is Osano Kie, 37, a Deaf woman and teacher of the Prefecture School for the Deaf. She read two picture books to the children by sign language. They were enjoying the story signed (photo). 

Japanese source:

Deaf woman teaches Japanese calligraphy at elementary school

Sasaki Kozue, 37, has opened calligraphy class in December, 2013 in Hokkaido. She went to Kushiro School for the Deaf for a  short time and later to a hearing school in Hokkaido, Japan's northern island,. 

She started learning calligraphy when she was the second grader. After graduating from high school she went to a calligraphy cultural college in Shiga Prefecture, part of western Japan, acquiring the seventh class in calligraphy.

Sasaki will teach about once a month at the calligraphy session by request of Tawarabashi Elementary School in Hokkaido (photo). She said, "I would like to teach children so that they enjoy calligraphy."

Japanese source:

Hearing dog club starts in elementary school

May 18, 2016
The children of a hearing dog club watch 
work of a nursing-care dog eagerly.

"Hearing Dog Club" started on May 17 in Miyada Elementary School in Mirada Village, Nagano Prefecture, part of eastern Japan in order to deepen the understanding how a hearing dog and a nursing-care dog help person with disabilities live through contact with these dogs.

24 children from the fourth through sixth grade who signed up for the club will be involved in activities ten times a year.

By going to the Japanese Hearing Dog Society in the village and learning how to train a dog and take care of the dog, the children will find what they can do as a member in the community.

Japanese source:

Nara Prefecture Deaf Conference held

May 18, 2016

The 29th Nara Prefecture Deaf Conference was opened at Nara Prefecture Social Welfare Center in order to deepen improvement of the social status of the Deaf person understanding to sign language. About 400 persons concerned participated.

The Nara Prefecture Deaf Association has sponsored social  promotion of Deaf person in a destination since 1987.

Executive Director of the Korean Deaf Association lectured on commemoration. Korea is the first country in Asia to establish the "Sign Language Law".

Japanese source:

Deaf lay judge to be supported with note-taking service

May 14, 2016

A trial on the arson case will start at the Takamatsu District Court in Kagawa Prefecture, part of western Japan, on May 16. It was learned that a deafened person was chosen as one of lay judges. A note taking service will be provided for the first time in the prefecture.

Yoshikawa Michiko, 78, the director of the non- profit organization "The Prefecture Note-Taking Circle," which received a request for a note taking service by the district court, commented, "We will support the deaf lay judge with our best service." (photo)

Japanese source:

Their Majesties on sign language spread

May 12, 2016
In the spring garden party the emperor and 
empress (left) talk to each invited person (right).

The spring garden party hosted by the emperor and empress was held at Akasaka Imperial Garden in Tokyo on April 27. There was an interesting dialogue with their Majesties and an actress, Kuroyanagi Tetsuko.

Emperor: "I remember we met you during the performance of the National Theatre of the Deaf  (NTD) from the U.S."

Kuroyanagi: "I was very happy to welcome you."

Emperor: "How many years ago then?"

Kuroyanagi: "It has been already about 30 years ago."

It was in 1979 when their Majesties who were Prince and Princess at that time appreciated  NTD's performance,

Those days it was assumed to be embarrassed to show sign language in the public. Kuroyanagi invited the theatre group from the U.S., because she wanted people to see the artistic wonderful acting of persons with disability. She also performed with the group, too.

Their Majesties who were Prince and Princess saw the performance. Princess Michiko visited the greenroom and described impressions, "I was moved really." She spoke to each actor. When the performance was reported, reputation that the sign language was nice spread, and sign language classes started nationwide. Kuroyanagi spoke to coverage in the past, "One of Empress Michiko's great achievements was to spread sign language across Japan."

Japanese source:

Deaf baseball catcher's story (3): Consciousness of Independence

May 10, 2016
Tamada Hiro talks to Deaf student 
by powerful Sign Language 
at his alma mater.

On consciousness of independence gained at Deaf school  

Tamada Hiro, 18, has struggled in starting to train note takers and student interpreters just after the Obirin University entrance. His parents was a source of his competitive spirit and energy.

Father Masami, 55, mother Satomi, 54, and, their eldest son Kaito, 20 are hearing. Tamada was diagnosed as serious difficulty in hearing at one year and nine months old. All the family members began learning sign language.

In 2000, the next year, the parents formed the "National Association of the Parents having Deaf children." Sign language was forbidden at school for the deaf in those days. The Deaf children were educated by oral method. The parents of the Deaf children who had a doubt in the educational method for the Deaf established the private school for the Deaf in Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, Meisei Gakuen School (MGS)," Japan's first school for the Deaf with sign language education after eight years. Tamada was in the first class when he was a fifth grader. His parents are seen as a role model; they acted perseveringly to change administration and get cooperation of an enterprise.

Tamada explained in gratitude to MGS, "The school taught me independence was important. If I were unconscious of independence, I would depend on welfare, and can't be aggressively. It might be impossible for me to stand equally with a hearing person, too."

Tamada didn't follow lengthily the girl who associated in high school days. When she told him she would support him, he wasn't happy at all. He resisted against unconscious discrimination. He said, "Even when I played a base ball catcher at a hearing high school, it's unrelated in a sport that I don't hear."

The Law on the Elimination of Disabilities Discrimination was carried out in April, defining that obligation of information security to a student with disability and reasonable accommodations on the communication could be imposed on a university (a private school required obligation for an effort).

Tamada says, "If I find a student as a note taker, I would like to offer him the merit, too."

Japanese source:

Related blog:
Deaf baseball catcher's story (2)

Kumamoto Earthquake: Video website with sign language and text started

Japanese Federation of the Deaf, a national organization of the Deaf in Japan, has requested to the Government and TV stations for subtitles and interpreting every time when a disaster occurs. However, the information accessibility for the Deaf community hit by Kumamoto Earthquake has not been improved.

In order to help the Deaf/deaf survivors in Kumamoto Prefecture on the updated information about the recent earthquake, Sato Mami, 39, the leader of a Deaf/deaf support group, "HAPUNE," in Yamagata Prefecture established the web site on the relief information resource for Deaf/deaf disaster survivors in sign language and text on April 18 (photo).

Sato appeals the hearing community to understand how the Deaf/deaf people in a disaster area feel suffered because of lack of vital information.

Japanese source:

Deaf baseball catcher's story (2)

May 9, 2016
Tamada Hiro (right) and Takemura
Mitsuki play together as a battery.

Deaf catcher joins a local Deaf rubber-ball baseball team:

Tamada Hiro, 18, devoted himself to go through regular baseball with a hearing team when he was a high school student. He joined a local Deaf rubber-ball baseball team this spring when he entered Obirin University in Tokyo.

For two days on April 17 and 24, the Tokyo Deaf Baseball Tournament was held at a stadium in Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo. Tamada's team won a ticket to the Kanto Region Championship.

Takemura Mitsuki, 19, who makes a battery with Tamada is his childhood friend and a former ace in the Tachikawa School for the Deaf rubber-ball baseball team. Tamada had worried until the end whether he should play with Takemura at the school for the deaf where only a rubber-ball style is permitted.

 A captain of the local Deaf team, Yuki, 21, is Takemura's elder brother. He attends Wako University as a senior after graduating from Tachikawa School for the Deaf, aiming at becoming a teacher of health  and physical education. Yuki had watched Tamada who worked hard in the severe environment at a hearing high school. Yuki said, "I was in a hearing baseball team until the junior high school for 3 years, too, but I don't think that a Deaf person can't do because of deafness. We make up with our eyes."

Related blog:

Mascot character’s sign language ability improved

Katy City, Hyogo Prefecture near Osaka made a first Sign Language Regulation be formed as an autonomous body in Kinki area in November, 2014. 

The character-costume mascot that represents the city, called  "Den-no-suke," started to show sign language at an event, a public relations magazine, etc. for the purpose of promotion of the citizen's understanding.

Because "Den-no-suke" had the fingers too thick to express sign language well, it was sent for improvement (photo).

City officials said they have used the mascot character since about eight years ago. 

Japanese source:

Deaf baseball catcher's story (1)

May 8, 2016
Tamada Hiro talks through writing with 
an American football club member during 
new members recruiting at a campus.

Deaf High School Catcher admitted to college

Tamada Hiro from Tokyo Metropolitan Omori High School was the topic of conversation as a Deaf catcher at the High School Baseball Tournament in Eastern Tokyo last summer. He entered Obirin University in Machida-shi in Tokyo this April.

There is no special support such as interpreting at the university. He, whose natural language is Japanese Sign Language, is positively doing in order to understand the lecture without help.

When Tamada spoke to the hearing student who sat down on the next by talking with the fingers and writing, the student asked him if he still play baseball. Tamada was surprised and then remembered who the student was from his tanned face. The hearing student was a pitcher on the opposite team at the fourth game in Kanto area last summer.

The first thing to do for Tamada after the entrance to the university is the start-up of a note taking group. He has already decided he would form a group by himself before the entrance. 

The English professor, aware of the information needs of Tamada in the class, lectures with the use of a projector for his lecture.

--to be continued

Japanese source:

Related blogs:
Deaf high school baseball player visits France for documentary filming

Kumamoto Earthquake: Students perform calligraphy and sign language song

May 7, 2016

The calligraphy club of Iwate High School for Girls and the Junior Red Cross Active Club in Morioka-shi, Iwate Prefecture, a part of northeastern Japan performed handwriting and song in sign language together at Morioka Odori shopping area on May 3, wishing for recovery from the Eastern Japan Great Earthquake and others (photo).

The shoppers stopped walking on the route, were gazing at an appeal by talking with the fingers and brush work.

The performance has been held every year since 2011 when the Eastern Japan Great Earthquake happened. This year 20 calligraphy club members and 21 students from the Active Club participated.

To support the victims of the recent Kumamoto Earthquake, the students also did a fund-raising campaign after the performance.

Japanese source:

Cafe that uses eyes for mutual communication

May 6, 2016

Yanagi Masahiro, 43, a Deaf owner, opened the first cafe "Sign with Me" at Bunkyo-ku in Tokyo near Tokyo municipal subway Hongo-sanchome Station in December, 2011. The cafe was a business model developed by signing persons.
The second cafe has just opened in April, 2016 near Tokyo municipal subway Kasuga Station in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo.

Total of 12 staff work using sign language at the Kasuga branch, too. When a visitor communicates with the staff, they use sign language or gestures, or writing by a tablet equipped by the cafe in order to communicate each other.

The logo of "Sign with Me," the Cafe's name contains an illustration of an "eye". Yangagi explains the reason, "We use the eyes for communication simply." Can you find it in the logo?

Japanese source:

Related blog:
Sign language cafe to secure job for Deaf persons

Hotel in Tokyo advances barrier free environment for Deaf guest

May 6, 2016

With Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics to be held in 2020 airline companies and a hotel are expanding service to persons with disabilities.

Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku, Tokyo started a video remote interpreting service for the guests on May 1.

The hotel also prepares five tablet terminals and lends one to a guest for free of charge. With it  the guest can use the Internet for communication between 8:00-21:00. Also the guest can make a procedure at the front, ask a question to the front from the guest room, talk with a staff at a guest exclusive lounge, etc. 

When The Rehabilitation World Conference was held in Tokyo in 1988, the hotel has advanced disability barrier free. In 2002, it prepared ten rooms arranged equipment according to the disability such as a table meeting the height of the wheelchair, the bowl to feed a guide dog, the sensor ceiling luminaire switches in response to the knock on the door of a guest room.

Japanese source:

Bulletin board for Deaf viewers at stadium completes

May 1, 2016

A large electric bulletin board was open at the Coke Athletic Stadium in Tottori Prefecture, part of western Japan on April 30 when the Japan Paralympic Athletics Championships started.  

The new bulletin, which has been repaired since January as one of the Prefecture's projects with Nippon Foundation, is the type that meets the Deaf needs for visual information system such as interpreting, caption, etc. 

Japanese source:

Deaf drum group performs to promote fundraising for establishment of Deaf support center

The group called "Ryukyu Deaf Drum" held a charity event in the Prefecture Gender Equality Center at Naha-shi, Okinawa Prefecture located in Japan's farthest southern island on April 30 for the purpose of funds making to establish a support center for the Deaf.

Ryukyu Deaf Drum introduced the practice method that the members feel vibration, judge from watching the leader's movement together with rhythm while playing. Then they showed perfect performance with force in harmony.

Japanese source:

Deafblind man uses hand movement for communication with guide dog

April 30, 2016

Kadogawa Shinichiro (photo), 51, an Osaka resident, was the first Deafblind person with a guide dog across Japan in March.

Usually an oral directive is given to a guide dog, but Kadogawa, who has a problem in spoken communication, has applied himself to practice together with a dog so that he could give   directions by a hand movement since May, 2015.

When moving, he usually uses a white cane, but to study rehabilitation for persons with disabilities in US during his 20's, He saw, impressed with that American Deafblind friend lived with a guide dog.

Japanese source:

Related blog on Kadogawa Shinichiro:
Deafblind man takes lead in social involvemen

Deaf American visits Tottori Prefecture during cycling

 April 29, 2016
Martin receives a bouquet 
from a Prefecture staff.

Martin Dale-Hench from Michigan, 29, USA has been cycling throughout Japan for the purpose of an exchange with Deaf persons and sightseeing. He visited the Tottori Prefecture Office in western Japan on April 28.

After graduating from Gallaudet University, he taught at a school for the deaf. He currently lives in Japan, teaching a American Sign Language class in the Japanese ASL society in Tokyo.

Martin will travel about 3000 kilometers for two months, aiming at reaching Soya-misaki Headland in Hokkaido, the farthest point of Japan.

Japanese source:

Deaf boy passes test for prospective sumo wrestlers

April 28, 2016
With a hearing aid on for a 
prospective sumo wrestlers test

A test for prospective sumo wrestlers of Summer Grand Sumo Tournament (starts on May 8 at Ryogkoku Kokugikan in Tokyo) was performed at a sumo wrestling medical office on April 27. 

Twelve boys all who took the test passed a physique check. One of them, Ezuka Kaoru, 16, is deaf since birth was admitted to a sumo society. 

He spoke about his decision, "I'd like to exert myself in order to become a ranking sumo wrestler within ten years." 

He has continued wrestling at the local club in Shizuoka Prefecture, his hometown, and also has the good record of performance; he won the victory at a local sumo wrestling tournament in 2012 when he was a junior high school student.

Japanese sources

Deaf couple lecture, encouraging young people to challenge

April 28, 2016
Hayase Kumi (left) and Kentaro

A lecture meeting was held on April 24 in commemoration of the third anniversary of the Prefecture Support Center established at Saga-shi, Saga Prefecture in Japan's southern island. A Deaf couple, Kentaro Hayase and his wife Kumi, were a guest speaker with the theme of "Our message: Never give up."

Kentaro had dreamed of becoming an Olympic judoist or an exercise leader in NHK's TV program for Children. Instead he became a teacher of a school for the deaf, and later a sign language lecturer on NHK program through an encounter with the program producer who visited the school. "I have served for eight years as a sign language lecturer for NHK."

There was the law that a Deaf/deaf person were not allowed to get qualified as a pharmacist. Kumi remembered what her mother said to her: "The law is made by a human being. It is possible to change it." Kumi kept not giving up and challenging. She carried on the signature activity with Deaf groups and interpreters in order to revise the national qualification examination for pharmacist for a Deaf/deaf person. After the legal revision was made three years later, Kumi became the first Deaf qualified pharmacist. She said, "The youth don't know the time when a Deaf person had a lot of restriction including a driver's license." 

The Deaf couple said together, cheering the young audience, "When you begin something, ask yourself whether you want to do it or don't, not whether you can or can't."

Japanese source:

Prefecture opens center in support to Deafblind persons

April 27, 2016
Governor Hirai (right) and the persons 
concerned put up a signboard.

The opening ceremony of the base center called the "Tottori Prefecture Center for the Deafblind" was held at Yonago-shi, Tottori Prefecture in western Japan on April 26.

The center, established by the Prefecture, is manages by Tottori Deafblind Friends Group. It has the function of the counseling service, the living training and also human resource training such as an interpreter and an assistant. Three counselors and others are stationed.

The establishment of a Deafblind support center at a local  government level is the second following Tokyo.

Japanese source:

Kumamoto Earthquake: Information system to keep Deaf persons aware at shelter


Keeping Deaf/deaf persons aware of what is going on is a problem at a shelter in Kumamoto Prefecture where an earthquake yet occurs.

They miss an announcement in the shelter because of deafness, missing an important information while people around them don't notice, so there is a fear that the Deaf/deaf persons are easily isolated at the shelter.

The person concerned said, "When you have an important  information at a shelter, you should make it written as much as possible."

Japanese source:

Fire fighting head office starts emergency system on web for Deaf people

April 27, 2016

The Akita-shi Fire Fighting Head Office in Akita Prefecture, a part of northwestern Japan, has begun the practical use of "Web 119 Emergency Report System" for the people who are Deaf, etc. since April (photo). 

It's the first effort by the prefecture.

With the system for emergency number 119, a Deaf person sends a message easily on the screen of a smart phone or a cellular phone without audio information.

Moreover, a satellite positioning system (GPS) helps to specify a whereabouts, which quicker communication becomes possible. 

Japanese source: