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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Deaf rugby player aims at playing regularly
May 5, 2017

A rugby fixed period competition of Waseda University and University of Tokyo took place at Waseda University ground in Tokyo on April 15. 

Although the Waseda University team was leveled as the third class, the game was  traditional one as a regular season game.

FL Kishino Kaede, a Deaf sophomore of Waseda University, played in the game. (photo) He is probably the first Deaf player in the rugby team in Waseda University's 99 year history. He usually puts on a hearing aid, but removes it during practice or a game.

KIshino made up with image making for the game more carefully than his hearing teammates and also burst into breakdown (ball scramble after a tackle) daringly. He held a ball tightly, playing until the second half for 30 minutes, contributing to an easy victory of 55-3.

Kishino commented, "My goal this year is to get a regular position at a match in autumn. I'd like to be a member of my team aiming at the best one in Japan".

Japanese source:

Related blog:

Deaf film director brings fresh perspective with silent film

May 7, 2017 

A deaf film director who was unhappy about the lack of films made from the perspective of those with hearing loss has taken a step to address the situation, by completing a silent film featuring those who can't hear.

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City starts sign language exchange activity for Deaf and hearing persons in Kato-shi
May 2, 2017

Kato City Office in Hyogo Prefecture next to Osaka formed a first Sign Language Regulation among  autonomous bodies in Kinki area in 2014.

The city started the activity, "Kato Cherry Tree Room", at a social welfare center on May 1. 

Deaf and hearing persons will work on lifelong learning while communicating through sign language. The room opens in the morning every Monday.

On the first day, 12 Deaf and 15 hearing persons gathered, communicating each other about a hobby and others. (photo)

Japanese source:

Animation film "The Sound of Voice" nominated for international festival in France
April 25, 2017

The two animation films, "In the Corner of this World" and "The Sound of Voice" were nominated for the full-length film competition category of the Annecy International Animation Film Festival (Festival International du Film d'Animation d'Annecy), which will be held on June 12-17 in France.  

The animation film on Blu-ray/DVD based on the original cartoon "The Sound of Voice" by Ohima Yoshitoki will be on sale May 17. (photo) The story is about a young couple, a hearing boy and a Deaf girl, since their school days.

Japanese source:

Deaf soccer player aims at being Japanese Leaguer
May 1, 2017

Nishi Daisuke, 18, who is Deaf,  has joined Verusupa Oita, a soccer team belonging to the Japanese Football League this season. (photo: center)

Since unable to hear around during a game, he remembers movements and ways of teammates to make up. Nishi has practiced hard aiming at play in the League.

 Born in Tokushima-shi, part of western Japan, Nishi has been Deaf since then. When he was a first grader, he joined a local soccer club. Nishi eyes following a teammate's movement patiently in soccer.

He persevered in school life exceedingly. He attended a hearing school later, but there was hardly a companion at school because there was no one who use sign language. So Nishi mastered oral communication when he was at a junior high school.

His skill to play soccer was also improved. When he was a junior high school student, he belonged to the youth group of Tokushima Verusupa, a local professional soccer team. Nishi was a high school student, leading d his team to the Tokushima Prefecture high school soccer tournament as a starting member. 

Nishi participated in test practice by Verusupa Oita in August , 2016. Coach Sano noticed Nishi running after a ball desperately with former leaguers, and decided to admit him to the team. JFL officials says they have never heard about a Deaf person admitted to JFL.

Nishi works at a camera component facility from 6:00am to 2:00pm before going to practice.

Japanese source:

"With the Animal That Helps" published
April 30, 2017

The book titled "With the Animal That Helps" which tells about the animal that works for a person with disabilities was published.

Kanai Maki, 43, an essayist in Tokyo, wrote the book including  an illustration. (photo)

The book introduces five stories such as the dog which sends a monkey away that 
eats farm produce untidily, a guide dog which supports a Deafblind person and others. 

Among these, the story about the Deafblind man, Kadogawa Shinichiro, 52, and his guide dog that lives with him in Osaka-shi is touching. 

Japanese sources:

Deaf soccer player leads experience class for hearing club members

Matsumoto Takumi (center) uses gestures teaching 
how to play soccer without hearing. 
April 30, 2017

To spread more awareness on Deaf soccer, Matsumoto Takumi, 27, who represents the national Deaf soccer team, held an experience class at a park in Miyazaki-shi located in Japan's southern island on April 29.

35 junior high school students who belong to the soccer club, "Asahi Sports FC", in the city, put an ear plug and without raising a voice, playing and experienced difficulty in the play and the pleasure.

Japanese source:

Annual Deaf soccer league event held in Tokyo

photo 1

Photo 2
Photo 3

April 28, 2017

The Japan Deaf  Soccer Association (JDFA) held the 16th JDFA Deaf League meeting in Tokyo on April 22-23, which attracted about 300 people.

With the theme, "Let's enjoy ourselves together," 130 Deaf and hearing players aged 14-61. They were divided into two age groups; under aged 34 and over 36, and four teams played. (photo 1)

On the second day, 48 children from  kindergartners through junior high school first year enjoyed soccer with experienced players and the Japan Deaf Soccer Team players. (photo 2)

With an international referee who was invited, a panel discussion was held under the theme, "What differs between Deaf soccer and Pro soccer: on communication", and a referee technique experience were performed. (photo 3)

Japanese source:

Prefecture honors Deaf local athlete

April 27, 2017

Yoshida Sho (photo), who works in the National Hospital Organization Saga Hospital in Saga Prefecture located in Japan's southern island, is an amateur sports player at a world level. 

He was selected by the Prefecture Office as the best athlete on April 26.

Yoshida has been unofficially selected to the national men volleyball team for the Deaflympics in Turkey in July. 

He commented, "I'd like to do my best at the Deafympics  in order to make a good report". 

Japanese source:

Related blog:

City subway staff ignore request from Deaf man for written communication 

April 25, 2017

When a Deaf man, 62, a Kyoto City resident, who wanted to know the IC railroad ticket in details, asked two clerks of the City Transportation Authority for  explanation at the municipal subway station on April 10 three times, showing the disabilities card. 

He wanted a conversation by means of writing. But on April 24, it was found out that the clerks kept explaining to him orally.

The Elimination of the Disabilities Discrimination Act requires an administrative agency necessary consideration for a person with disabilities, and the City Transportation Authority apologized to the Deaf man.

Japanese source:

Deaf pro storyteller performs in public in Tottori
April 24, 2017

Deafee Ippuku, 59, is known as he  became a professional storyteller for the first time as a Deaf person.

He performed in public in Tottori-shi, Tottori Prefecture in western Japan on April 23.

Ippuku performed classical Rakugo. His  skillful art of storytelling invited audience's laugh.

Japanese source:

City assembly meeting report meeting provided with interpretation

April 23, 2017

Sanda City Assembly in Hyogo Prefecture next to Kyoto held a activity report meeting at a town center with interpretation on April 22. (photo)

It has being held every year since 2013 in order for a citizen to know the City's activity. Since the Sign Language regulation carried out this month was effective, interpreting was provided at the report meeting as the first try.

The budget in fiscal year 2017 of the city is a theme, and a report meeting will be held at three places included Sanda City. 

At the Sanda City meeting, 25 citizens participated and seven out of them were Deaf.

Japanese source:

Prefecture publishes booklet on reasonable accommodations for the person with disabilities

The sample booklet on the environmental 
development for a person with disabilities to live
April 22, 2017

Okayama Prefecture Office in western Japan made 3,000 copies of the booklet that introduces samples for enterprises and local offices to provide reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities living in the prefecture as an 
example to respond the Act on the Elimination of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities enacted in April, 2016 (A4 size: 30 pages).

The samples booklet introduces about 100 examples reported by local firms and schools, such as communication through writing with a person who is hard/hard of hearing, setting a ramp for a person in wheelchair.

The booklet will be used in a workshop related to disabilities support and others. It can be seen on the website of the Prefecture Disability Welfare Division.

Japanese source:

Town office uses social networking service to spread sign language

April 22, 2017
Nakagawa-machi in Fukuoka Prefecture located in Japan's southern island   continues the work to spread sign language through social networking service (SNS).

While more interpreters are getting aged, the town office aims to raises the interest in sign language among the young generation. The Japanese Federation of the Deaf says, "Their work using SNS is unusual."

The town office has uploaded the 15-20 second animation titled "Everyone Signs in Our Town" weekly on Facebook and Instagram since September last year.

The welfare department in the town office started using sign language in a morning meeting in order to be able to communicate with Deaf clients about two years ago.

The Deaf visitors say, "We are glad to see more persons greet by sign language."

Japanese source:

Bandannas produced to support Deaf community in emergency

 (photo 1)

(photo 2)

April 21, 2017

The Ota City Office in Gunma Prefecture north of Tokyo made a bandanna for the purpose of immediate support to the Deaf community in emergency such as a disaster, etc. and distributed it to Deaf persons. (photo 2) 

The city disability welfare department says It is for the first time that such a bandanna was made by the autonomous body in the prefecture.

Also at the same time, the Asaka City Office in Saitama Prefecture next to Tokyo made 24 bandannas that meet the needs of the Deaf community in support during  emergency such as disaster immediately, distributing them to interpreters and sign language club members in the city. (photo 1) 

Both the bandannas were designed in order to be folded half when to use, with the large-printed phrases "I am Deaf," or "Interpreting Available".

Jaoabese sources:

"Sign Language" taught as subject at hearing high school

Deaf instructor (left)
April 21, 2017 

In 2014, Ishikari-shi, Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan, was the first city/town/village to carry out a sign language regulation in the country.

Ishikari Shoyo High School in the city has begun introduced "Sign Language" as a subject equal to Japanese on April 20.

The second-year students who select the subject as an elective course that a Deaf person teaches. The Hokkaido Prefecture Board of Education says it is a leading move even in the country.

Sixteen students have signed for the elective course the current year.

Japanese source:

Deaf school children experience the world of kabuki

photo 1

photo 2

November 25, 2016

A kabuki class was provided by the Non Profit Organization called "The Traditional Culture Class" in Tokyo, which works on the spread of kabuki, on November 24 at the Prefectural Matsue School for the Deaf located in Matsue-shi, Shimane Prefecture, part of western Japan. 

About 50 students from the preschool, elementary through high school participated (photo 1). They experienced the world of kabuki, such as challenging a peculiar make-up "kumadori" (photo 2), and others.

Fujitsu's Ontenna could be a big deal for the deaf

Oct 3, 2016 


Among the robots, big screens and fast computers of Japan's Ceatec electronics show, a small prototype being shown off by Fujitsu is probably one of the lowest tech gadgets on the show floor, but it could be one of the most important.

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Animated film "A Silent Voice" as second at box offices
December 3, 2016


The 2016 Japanese anime Koe no Katachi movie (A Silent Voice) might be the next Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name) after its successful release on September 17.
Naoko Yamada’s Koe No Katachi made it as second at box offices in Japan. 
This anime school drama film’s story focuses on friendship between former classmates Shoya Ishida and Shoko Nishimiya. Ishida is a delinquent who bullied his elementary deaf classmate, Nishimiya.

Video (English subtitles):

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Prime Minister’s wife visits Gallaudet University

February 12, 2017

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's wife, Akie Abe 


On Friday, February 10, as part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the U.S., his wife Akie visited Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. accompanied by D.C. Police’s deaf liaison unit.

Before heading with her husband to Florida to meet President Trump and his wife, Akie toured the school.

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Deaf Film Festival held in Tokyo attracts 1,500 people

Symposium in the Tokyo Deaf Film Festival 

April 16, 2017

For three days from April 7, the first film festival related to the Deaf community as its theme was held in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo.

Mainly twelve documentaries by Deaf persons as an actor or a director were shown, attracting about 1,500 audience.

Besides, the French short film that introduces the works of a Japanese Deaf photographer named Inoue Koji, the comedy titled "Still Here" played by British Deaf  actors and others were introduced. Also Inoue's photograph exhibition and workshop were held.

The Film Festival was organized by two Deaf women. They said that they hoped to held such an event regularly in future and also to provide the place to train the Deaf persons who aim at movie making.

Japanese source: