World Federation of the Deaf appeals "improvement of Sign Language law" in Kyoto.
June 8, 2017

The Sign Language Law Forum which focused on the legal system of Sign Languages in the world as a theme took placed in the National Sign Language Training Center at Kyoto-shi on June 6.

Two members of the World Federation of the Deaf board directors gave a presentation on necessity of development of legislation through International Sign interpretation. (photo)

The forum was held by the Kinki Federation of the Deaf as a part of the Japanese Federation of the Deaf's 70th anniversary program. It was the first time for the Kinki Federation to invite WFD officials, and about 170 people attended the event.

Japanese source:

Deaf soccer: Friendship match for Japan and Korea
June 11, 2017

A Deaf soccer friendship match by Japan and Korea, sponsored by the Japanese Deaf Soccer Association, was held in Munakata-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture located in Japan's southern island on June 10.

Japan won easily with 4-0.

Japanese source:

Deaf society presents book on protection against disasters for junior high schools in Toyohashi
June 7, 2017

The Toyohashi-shi Organization of Deaf Groups in Aichi Prefecture, part of central Japan, which has produced a cartoon book based on the protection against disasters radio play titled "If a person with disabilities comes to the shelter," presented 880 copies (22 schools---40 copies each, 88,000 yen equivalence) on June 6 for all the junior high schools in the city. (photo)

The book (A4-size, 31 pages) was based on a scenario of the disaster prevention radio play for the "shelter experience" which was performed three years ago at the city welfare center.

Japanese source:

Gifu School for the Deaf children challenge pizza making at store
June 6, 2017

28 elementary children of Gifu School for the Deaf in Gifu-shi, Gifu Prefecture, near Osaka, visited the pizza store in the city, "Da Asch" and learned how to make pizza from the cooking staff on June 5.

The staff showed how to stretch dough, etc., speaking slowly while communicating by gesture. (photo)

The store has invited the children who have disabilities as their contribution in the area by offering a program with pizza making and a dinner since four years ago.

Japanese source:

Sapporo-shi to discuss Sign Language Regulation with Deaf organization

June 6, 2017

Sapporo-shi in Hokkaido, Japan's northern island, made the policy on June 5 which places sign language as a language and considers establishment of "Sign Language Regulation" aiming at improvement of Deaf persons' right.

The City Office has aimed at developing a policy on the regulation which communication means of the person with disabilities, such as sign language as well as braille and the transliteration, incorporated widely at first. The policy was changed because a Deaf group arose a question.

The city will discuss a legal text with the group; such as a phrase "Sign language has its own language system", "the city enforces the policy to promote understanding of sign language," and others. The regulation establishment time is uncertain.

In Hokkaido 13 municipalities of autonomous bodies including Ishikari-shi and Shintoku-cho have established a sign language regulation as of April 20.

Japanese source:

TRS saves Deaf persons in marine accident at night

June 4, 2017
At night on June 3, four Deaf office workers aged between 46 and 51 caught the pleasure boat that was overturned at Mikawa Bay in Nishino-shi, Aichi Prefecture located in central Japan, and they were rescued. 

One of the Deaf men requested relief using "the Telephone Relay Service" through his own smart phone. The patrol boat received the emergency notice and rescued about four hours later.

Around 5:30pm on June 3, an engine stopped the pleasure boat by some defects according to Marine Safety Station officials. They assumed that seawater might enter in the boat, which later was overturned.

Japanese sources:

Prince Akishinonomiya speaks at 65th National Deaf Conference

Prince Akishinonomiya and his wife visit a work exhibit 
at Fukuoka Deaf Special Support High School.
June 4, 2017

Prince Akishinonomiya, the younger brother of the Crown Prince, and his wife Kiko attended the 65th National Deaf Conference at Fukuoka-shi located in Japan's southern island on June 4.

This meet, attracting about 4,100 persons who were Deaf and welfare persons concerned, commemorated Japanese Federation of the Deaf's 70th anniversary of establishment.

Prince Akishinonomiya presented his greeting, speaking with sign language, "I pay my respects to long effort of the Federation which has advanced social involvement of the Deaf persons. I hope sincerely that development of community building based on a universal design and the information access environment will be accelerated."

Japanese sources:

Fire fighting staff in Hokkaido start learning sign language for sports meet
June 3, 2017

The 50th Hokkaido Summer Deaf Athletic Meeting" will be held on July 1-2 at Kitahiroshima-shi, Hokkaido, Japan's norther island. 

A sign language study meeting for the fire fighting staff was held at the city fire fighting head office. About 30 firemen  learned the basic sign language used at a first aid site. (photo)

The study meeting was planned in cooperation with  Kitahiroshima Association of the Deaf, the sponsor of the sports meet, to help a fire fighting staff  communicate with a Deaf person better when a first aid is requested at the meet. 

Japanese source:

War dead mourned by sign language dance in Okinawa
June 3, 2017

Non Profit Organization Sign Language Dance YOU & I Okinawa "Young Leaf" showed the sign language dance to mourn at the Okinawa Peace Prayer Hall in Mabuni, Itoman-shi, Okinawa Prefecture on June 3. (photo)

The members of ten clubs who belong to "Young Leaf" expressed the contents of lyrics by sign language and danced at the same time.

About 100 people attended this event, which was the second time following last year.

The "Young Leaf" leader explained, "Deaf  as well as hearing persons died during the battle in Okinawa in 1945. We expressed the feelings for all the war victims whose names are inscribed in the monument."

Japanese source:

Library arranges human services staff for the Deaf to encourage use library


Nagano Prefecture Sign Language Regulation has been carried out since March, 2016, and promotion of understanding of sign language and its users, and the spread of sign language are an issue of the local community.

Suzaka Library in the prefecture arranged two staff for a human services in charge,  planning improvement of the use environment from a more welfare point of view.

A group of Deaf persons visited Suzaka Library with members of Suzaka Sign Language Club on May 25. Almost all seven Deaf visitors were a beginner, and some applied for a personal user card first.

Suzaka Sign Language Club has made a group user card of the Suzaka Library earlier this year. With the card the club can borrow at most 30 books for a month. Because the request from the Deaf club members were interested to select a book to read by themselves, the visit to the library came true as a part of the club regular activity.

Japanese source:

Teeth health guidance takes place at school for the deaf in Kagoshima-shi


There was a guidance health program on   the teeth and the mouth by dental hygienists and others at the Prefecture Kagoshima School for the Deaf in Kagoshima-shi, located in Japan's southern island.

Kagoshima-shi Dental Association holds in accordance with the "Healthy Teeth and Mouth Week" which Japan has advanced for June 4-10 every year.

All the children and students, from preschoolers through high school students, received health teeth guidance on June 1 at the school. The kindergarten children and their parents learned how to polish the teeth properly from a dental hygienist. The students from the first graders to high school students learned  importance of the teeth brushing through a play and a quiz prepared by the dental academy college students.

Japanese source:

Ward in Tokyo starts interpreting service through app and telephone
June 1, 2017

Minato Ward, Tokyo started the "telephone service" for its inhabitant with hearing impairment to communicate with the  administrative agency, a hospital, a police  or a fire fighting station through the use of the application on a smart phone or tablet. (photo) It is said to be the first try by an autonomous body in the Tokyo Metropolitan area.

Minato Ward Office has incorporated 5,750,000 yen into the budget the current year as the project cost entrusted to the Interpretation Center. 

Welfare disabilities department officials explained, "This is a measure to respond the person with disabilities discrimination removal law which was carried out last year. No more burden on the people who had to go to the office for a small request."

About 300 inhabitants in the Ward are able to use the service at 8:00am-9:00pm.

Japanese source:

Afghan woman with artificial leg to visit Japan after 14 years

June 2, 2017

The movie titled "I Love Peace" about the Deaf woman who aims at a certified  artificial limb equipment producer makes an artificial leg for a land mine victim while building trustful relationship with the girl by gestures. The movie was taken in Shimane and Afghanistan in 2003. Even it showed in Afghanistan in 2005, too.

The Afghan girl who appeared on the movie lost her right leg by a land mine at the age of four. Afifa, 24, is going to visit Japan in the end of June after 14 years to get herself a new artificial leg in Oda-shi, Shimane Prefecture located in western Japan.

The manufacturer "Nakamura Brace" which produces artificial limb and an equipment in the city, used as a stage of the movie, will present Afifa a new artificial leg.

The exchange between Afifa and Nakamura Brace have stopped for a long time. The president of the said maker received an e-mail from Afifa in January this year. "My artificial leg broke, and no one could fix it. Please help me." It was revealed that her artificial leg didn't match any more by her growth and worsened quality of the artificial leg.

Japanese source:

Deaf senior citizen residence opens in Sapporo, first in Japan
May 23, 2017

The "Village of Smiles", a house with a service for the Deaf senior citizens aged over 60 opened in Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, Japan's northern island, on April 1. (photo)

Sapporo Association of the Deaf achieved an earnest wish in 40 years: a living place without worrying about being Deaf you can enjoy living. It is assumed to be the first housing with a service for the elder Deaf across Japan.

The "Village of Smiles" has three floors: the second and third floors are used as a resident room. At most 24 people live in 20 rooms including double rooms. A single room will be charged 100,000~120,000 yen a month including rent, board and others.

A small-scale multi-functional type home nursing business managed by the Association is on the first floor. So far 14 people moved in 12 rooms by April 26.

Japanese source:

Sign language club for child rearing mother celebrates 10th anniversary

Maruyama (front center)
May 27, 2017

A Deaf mother, Maruyama Kiyomi, started the child rearing sign language club named "Pingu" in Tokachi, Hokkaido, Japan's northern island. Deaf and hearing mothers with their children enjoy sharing a time at the same time as learning sign language.

Maruyama who was bringing up her baby was unable to follow conversation in other child-rearing club. She started a club with two mothers who were able to sign in April, 2007.

A Deaf mother, and a hearing mother who was interested in sign language while  rearing her children joined in the club one after another.

The club celebrated its 10th anniversary of establishment this year. (photo)  Currently 13 sets of mother with children aged 20-40s, and Maruyama and others aged 30-50s belong to the club. Among them there are four Deaf mothers.

Hearing mothers commented: "There aren't other places where you can take a child and interchange by sign language. I'm enjoying myself very much," "An ambiguity isn't to Deaf persons, and they are clear about likes and dislikes. We are learning Deaf culture". 

Japanese source:

Video on sign language used at the time of flood damage introduced
May 27, 2017
The "Chiyokawa Basin Zone Meeting" made with officials and the people in the Tottori Prefecture East developed a video titled the "sign language for protection against disasters" which appeals Deaf persons for evacuation at the time of flood damage occurrence.

"Run away!" Both arms are shaken big to the direction for run away. (photo)

17 vocabularies such as "Run away!" "A river is flooded", which are made of both gestures and sign language are introduced for quick escape in case of emergency.

The protection against disasters signs were made by the meeting with cooperation of the Prefecture Association of the Deaf in response to the Sign Language Regulation establishment in 2013. 

Risk of failing to escape is high because escape information by a protection against disasters administrative radio fails to transmit through local Deaf persons. When the person who lives in the neighborhood uses a disaster-related sign, it'll be possible to appeal to the Deaf for immediate escape.

Japanese sources:

Actress appointed as a sign language ambassador
May 26, 2017
Kanagawa Prefecture next to Tokyo established "Sign Language Promotion Regulation" in 2014.

The Prefecture Federation of the Deaf recommended an actress Saito Yuki, 50,  as an ambassador of the spread enlightenment on sign language.

An investiture took place at the Prefecture Office on May 25. (photo) 

Saito, a residence of Yokohama-shi in the prefecture, assumed a sign language spread promotion ambassador. Saito will participate in enlightenment events.

Her grandparents who passed away were Deaf, and Saito was familiar with sign language since her childhood.

Japanese source:

Deaf students experience home stay in local area

Twelve Deaf students, high school seniors of Hiratsuka School for the Deaf (118 students) in Kanagawa Prefecture near Tokyo, are visiting Rikuzentakata-shi, Iwate Prefecture in Japan's northeast area, staying at private houses for two days from May 24, as school excursion. 

Acceptance of Deaf students to stay overnight at a private house is the first time to the said city and uncommon to the prefecture, too.

The School for the Deaf planned so that the Deaf student can meet hearing people and gain valuable experience before leaving the school. 

All the students experience agriculture by each home (photo), learn the situation of the earthquake disaster six years ago, enjoying the atmosphere in the local area which is completely different from a metropolitan area.

Japanese source:

Prefectural Office and Prefecture Hospital offer remote interpreting service through tablet end
May 23, 2017

Oita Prefecture located in Japan's southern island has started remote interpreting service for Deaf persons by installing a tablet terminal in each reception desk of the prefecture office and the prefecture hospital.

When the Deaf visitor who prefers communication through sign language, the staff at the reception desk connects a terminal for an interpreter in the Prefecture Deaf Center, using a tablet end. (photo)

Japanese source:

Deaf man reduces "invisible wall" - "I don't escape from hearing difficulties"

Nakama (second from left)
May 22, 2017

Nakama Masahito, 39, who takes charge of decision processing on campus and managing of a document and an official seal at Okinawa Science Technology University Graduate School is Deaf since birth. 

While at all workplaces, an office work contact often depends on an e-mail, what Nakama tries to do is to meet and tell the person concerned directly.

In the communication, if there is something like a "wall" even a little, Nakama doesn't escape from there, but stands with the concerned person. 

Nakama went to the Prefecture Okinawa School for the Deaf which was in Naha-shi in 1980 's. He learned how to speak at school. He says, "The lip reading that I learned at school is the biggest treasure for me." 

Nakama attended a hearing school from an elementary school through the high school, and entered Tsukuba Technology College, majoring in architectural engineering. After graduating, he worked in the field of architecture design at a building company in Tokyo, Nagano and Fukuoka and others, returning to Okinawa in 2007.

Nakama was hired by Okinawa Science Technology University in 2010. He has been trusted by a staff with disabilities, whom he hears their worries and giving advise.

Nakama also tries to make the people around him understand himself through interchanging, such as using time of the lunch break, he teaches sign language to a colleague. (photo)

Nakama commented,  "I would like to do positively to make the society where people, regardless of disabilities, are able to work together."

Japanese source:

Training material for promotion of sign language at school published by Education Board in Chiba Prefecture

May 19, 2017

Chiba Prefecture Education Board, located near Tokyo, published the material which will be used for the sign language training in promotion of sign language at school on May 18.

The training material explains basic idea and a policy of the law related to a person with disabilities including discriminatory prohibition regulations and the prefecture policy as well as consideration of a person who is Deaf or hearing impaired.

As the special quality of the hearing impaired person and consideration are mentioned:
- Dissemination of visual information such as the characters and figures.
- Communicate according to the need of the person who are Deaf/deaf such as sign language, summary note-taking and writing.
- Confirm whether the contents of communication are clearly understood.
- Keep the distance to see the move of the mouth, etc. clearly.

The important points when using sign language are mentioned:
- Convey what you want to tell in a place where one can see clearly.
- The use of facial expression is important.
- Use voice also while signing.
- Understand sign language can be expressed in several ways. 
Easy sign language expressions and the explanation of a manual alphabet are also included.

The material for a workshop can be used such as a sliding material, copy distribution for participants and a notebook.

Japanese source:

Major life insurer to get credit of manners in customer special quality

President (front) spoke, "While being on a wheelchair, 
I understood how a person with disabilities feel". 
May 19, 2017

To practice of behavior in an effort to meet the needs of a client with disabilities,  about 7,200 executives and regular employees including the president of Daido Life Insurance aim to acquire the "universal official approval third class of manners" which Japanese Universal Manners Society sponsors.

According to the society, attendance by the staff will be the largest. The seminar will be held seven times until February, 2018. 

The first lecture was held at the Tokyo headquarters on May 1 through a video conference system from Osaka headquarters and branch offices across Japan with 1,800 persons.

The persons who have acquired the third class are 26,000 so far according to the Society, and the number of enterprises and organizations has reached 400.

Japanese source:

First official Deaflympics support theme song completed
May 19, 2017

The Deaflympics will be held on July 18-30, 2017 in Samsung, Turkey.

The first Deaflympic support theme song, "HERO", which was officially recognized by Japanese Federation of the Deaf, was shown on May 19 through a music video trailer animation.

The song is performed by a dancing group "HANDSIGN" and others who express lyrics by sign language.


Japanese sources:

Slow spread of mobile emergency reporting system for persons with disabilities introduced in Akita
May 17, 2017

Akita-shi is using "Web 119 Emergency Reporting System" for a person with disability including Deaf persons (photo), the only city in Akita Prefecture located in northern part of Japan.

The Fire-Defence Agency has suggested introduction of "Web 119 emergency reporting system" to a fire fighting head office in the whole country, which was introduced in Akita at the time of its system renewal in April, 2016.

Registrants for one year are 28. The registration number is stagnating because 
it appears difficult for the person unused with the Internet. There are some ideas on how to improve the mobile system such like pushing one button to call for emergency report. 

Fire-Defence Agency officials say that about 20 percent which introduced the mobile emergency system at a fire fighting head office across Japan. It can be inconvenient for a Deaf person who goes out for travel or work outside the area of the fire fighting head office, unable to use the mobile emergency system. 

Japanese source:

Deaf university pitcher pitches well by first pitch of league series in spring

Hironaka (right) and Fukumori
May 15, 2017

There was a second game with two games, and a right-hand pitcher Hironaka Soma, senior of Osaka Sangyo University, achieved the first pitch of spring league series. He pitched hard twice without losing point, contributing to get a point.  

He started playing baseball when he was a third grader of elementary school, although his parents and a director of the team he belonged to at first. Because he loves baseball, he has never given up in the difficult situation.

Hironaka communicates with his teammates and friends through sign language, fingerspelling and gestures. The one who also supports Hironaka with lectures at the university as well as baseball is Fukumori, one of the teammates.

While there are nearly 180 teammates, Hironkaka has pitched in league series since he was a freshman in autumn, and pitches up to now ten games. Head coach Miyazaki Masashi has trusted him, too.

Hironaka says, "The strength of the heart is my advantage. Despite my deafness, I'd like to show that I can play baseball well." His dream is to become a professional baseball player".

Japanese source:

Notice: National high school sign language performance contest to be held in October

May 15, 2017  

The Fourth National High School Sign Language Performance Contest" will be held in Tottori-shi located in western Japan on October 1

Teams of high school students will compete for the performance using sign language in dance or drama.  

An application will be accepted after May 15.

Japanese Deaf tourist denied interpreting at Honolulu

May 12th 2017


A deaf tourist from Japan was illegally denied access to a sign language interpreter during hours of interrogation and detention at Honolulu International Airport and was subsequently handcuffed.

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Osaka, first prefecture to start sign language class for Deaf children in June

May 14, 2017

2011 when

The amended Disabled Persons' Fundamental Law was just carried out in 2011, which accepts sign language as a language for the first time in Japan.

Osaka Prefecture Office decided to secure an acquisition opportunity like other languages with a belief that sign language is also a language, establishing a regulation in March.

Osaka, the first prefecture across Japan to offer an opportunity for Deaf young children to acquire sign language, will start the "sign language class" for Deaf infants and their guardians in June, with assistance from the Prefecture Association of the Deaf. The cost will be served by Nippon Foundation. 

About the establishment of Osaka's Sign Language Regulation, Japanese Federation of the Deaf commented, "We hope that policy with the system performance spreads over the whole country. We also aim at the establishment of Sign Language Regulation by Government to secure acquisition of sign language." 

Since Tottori Prefecture first introduced the Sign Language Ordinance in 2013, 97 autonomous bodies established the similar regulation as of April 20, 2017. The prescriptive contents of the regulation differ among the autonomous bodies.

Japanese source:

Deaf and hearing children are in one at art event

May 14, 2017

An event for children was opened in Sendai-shi, Miyagi Prefecture on May 13, encouraging both children with hearing difficulties or developmental disability and hearing children deepen their understanding each other through art activities.

About 25 children 1-9 years old interchanged through drawing a picture  in a wall and a mat in their own way. (photo)

The non profit organization "Wonder Art Production" located in Tokyo, planned the event. The team "Art For Hope" has worked to support the area hit by disaster just after the earthquake in 2011 through creation of fine arts.

Japanese source: 

Florist's shop that employs person with disabilities opened

May 13, 2017

The florist's shop where people with disabilities work was opened on May 8 near Harajuku Station at Harajuku in Tokyo.

Ten staff with mental disorder or hearing difficulties are working in the shop that has a cafe.

When the shop manager Fukujyu Maki, 28, acquired a teacher's license for special support school in college days she learned there was few opportunity for the student with a disability to be employed is limited. She opened the shop to make the place for a person with disabilities to work happily.

According to Tokyo Metropolitan Office, the shop is a welfare service business to secure the minimum wages for a person with disability, which is uncommon by such business category.

Japanese source:

Expressing city name in sign language, it's Mickey Mouse!

May 11, 2017 

The sign language for "Urayasu-shi" in Chiba Prefecture next to Tokyo was introduced recently on the Internet. As it exactly looks like Mickey Mouse, it became the topic of conversation.

A local sign language club in Urayasu-shi explained about this sign (photo). The movement which indicates "Urayasu-shi" draws a rather big circle by both hands so that an ear may be grown on the head. It certainly looks like the ears of the main character of the popular theme park Tokyo Disney Resort in the city.

Disneyland started the business in Urayasu-shi in 1983, but the public relations of the Resort commented that they never have been involved in making such a sign.

An old sign for Urayasu-shi is still expressed, but the sign language club that started in 1980 says they doesn't know the history of the sign for Mickey or Disneyland clearly.

The cast given training as an interpreter is putting the round badge which drew Mickey's hand, guiding a Deaf visitor at Tokyo Disney Resort.

Japanese source:

Takahashi City Firemen and policemen learn sign language
May 11, 2017

Takahashi-shi in Okayama Prefecture, part of western Japan, carried out a Sign Language regulation for the first time in the prefecture in April, 2017. 

The city has started the sign language lecture for paramedics and firemen on May 10 (photo), aiming that they can communicate easily by sign language in doing first aid conveyance of persons with hearing impairments. Policemen participated and learned a basis of sign language, too.

The lecture is held by the pace of the twice a month at the city fire fighting head office in the city.

Japanese source:

Race Queen fluent in sign language
May 11, 2017

Miki Chisako (photo), 27, is a member of  "KOBELCOGIRLS" for the race car team "LEXUS TEAM SARD". She has been chosen as the "Race Queen of the Year  2015-16".

Miki tells about her daily life, races and others using sign language in the Instagram and Twitter.

"I'd like also to challenge the one such as  talking with sign language as well as acting and a song this year beside working as the model and the race queen."

Japanese source:

Entrepreneur taps Skype, tablets to offer sign language service across Japan


Imagine you’re a hearing impaired person who wants to hire a sign language interpreter. The process is antiquated and lengthy. You have to send a fax to a local municipal government to make a reservation two weeks in advance, and officials then look for an interpreter whose schedule matches yours. Once they find one, you’ll get a reply by fax.
Under this system, it is impossible to get an interpreter right away to deal with urgent matters.
But Junto Ohki (photo), a young entrepreneur, has not only relieved many people of such anxieties, but also helped change the widespread belief that sign language interpreting is something that should be provided by the public sector as welfare.

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