Fire emergency report system for the Deaf through Internet on cellular phone

Recently, a fire and disaster prevention workshop was held at the fire station in Kyoto City. About 20 people including the Deaf participated.

The workshop aimed to offer them to learn how to use the disaster report system, called "Kyoto City Web119," with the use of cellular phone.

Deaf residents and commuters from outside the City are eligible to register for the "Web119" service at the website.

When they inform of a fire or the emergency accident, they use the display and the Internet function in the cellular phone. No voice is necessary.

You click the specific website, and inform the fire central office of the place where you stand. If you aren't familar with the place, you give more information through chat.

Currently 158 individuals have signed up for the "Kyoto City Web119" service as of May 19, 2009.

At the workshop also the visual fire alarm for the Deaf was introduced.

A Deaf woman (71) who participated said, "I can do it at once with the emergency web service. I have explained through gestures or body language up to now".

Source in Japanese:

"World from Deaf viewpoint", Deaf photographer's works exhibited in Toky

Ryoko Miyamoto

"A Pinwheel Of Light", one of her fantastic photographs
displayed at the photograph exhibition.

"Ryoko Miyamoto's Photograph Exhibition" has been held in Tokyo since May 29, 2009.

Born in 1981, she became deaf when she was two years old. She has spent most of life staying at home, rarely going out into town because of fear.

The turning point was five years ago when Miyamoto met a man named Taketa. He was a computer consultant for persons with disabilities. Under his guidance, she came to be interested in the world through a camera.

Miyamoto aimed at becoming a female photographer" since then. She has continued to work with a compact digital camera and the camera contained in the cellular phone with advice from Taketa by sign language

It is the first round photograph exhibition in Tokyo where her ten works related with "Light and Shadow" and "Water and Nature", are shown. Her concept is "a world from a Deaf viewpoint".

The postcards and the framed photographs, both based on her works, are sold at the exhibition.

Some of her works are on the websites:

Source in Japanese:

Tokyo Support Center for the DeafBlind established to encourage social participation


On May 27, 2009, the Tokyo Support Center for the DeafBlind was established in Taito Ward, Tokyo. It aims to support the persons unable to hear and see, for social participation.

In the center, training to read the character on the personal computer with an electronic equipment and to learn the fingering braille, fellowship gatherings, etc. will be provided.

Entrusted by the Tokyo government, an incorporated nonprofit organization, called the "Tokyo Friendship Society of the DeafBlind" operates the center.

The staff is enthusiastic, "We are eager to make the center that all problems faced by the DeafBlind and their families can be solved".

There are about 22,000 DeafBlind individuals nationwide, and it is estimated that Tokyo has about 2000 according to the Tokyo Friendship Society. However, as far as the Center understands there are only about 100 in the capital.

Last year Dr. Satoru Fukushima, a professor of the University of Tokyo Advanced Science and High Technology Research Center, appealed to Shintaro Ishihara, Tokyo governor for the distressful state of the DeafBlind.

Fukushima, an advisor to the Center, completely lost not only the sight but also hearing at the age of 18. He says he did not feel like communicating with his family for a time being.

"Mother invented the fingering braille that greatly helped me getting out of the dark. I want fellows to get back alive again and also acquire the communication skills at the center".

Source in Japan:

Deaf visitors rejected by cruise company on tour to ruined island near Nagasaki

The Warship Island (officially Hashi Island),
It is so called because it looks like the one!

Visitors landing on the deserted island

The rule says: "Any person with disability is not allowed to participate in cruising".

There is an island called the Warship Island (officially Hashi Island) apart Nagasaki City, far southern island of Japan. The Island has been devastated since 40 years ago when all the miners and their families moved out to the City or other places for economic reasons.

A marine transporter, called Yamasa Marin Transport that conducts an island trip since April, 2009, has a rule against the persons with disabilities including the Deaf.

Deaf individuals feel frustrated with the rule. The company explains, "Because this visit in the ruin is not safe, any person unable to walk or move alone is not expected to join".

A Deaf person thought that only a person in a wheelchair could not take the trip, and signed up through the Internet. Only he came to the port to find himself rejected.

Masahiro Date, president of the cruise company, Yamasa, says. "We have only six safety staff members with 200 visitors in the cruise. We are not sure if any Deaf customer will return immediately when emergency occurs".

Nagasaki City's Warship Island visit regulation has not installed the landing limitation. A city official stated, "It doesn't mean that any person with disability is discriminated, but anyone who gets dead drunk or puts on high-heeled shoes is not allowed to land, of course".

Currently the City and the cruise company are working on a new landing standard.

Source in Japanese:

Documentary film on Deaf rock band shown in theaters in Tokyo

"The Rock Revolver," a 90-minute documentary film on the activities of a signing rock band, called "THE BRIGHT EYES," was shown in a theater in Tokyo on May 16, 2009.

"THE BRIGHT EYES" which consists of four Deaf and one hearing members has celebrated the 20th anniversary of establishment last year.

Why was the band formed in spite of deafness?

It would take half a year to remember a song to sing perfectly.

Even finally the band was able to sing in the stage, it would be impossible to hear the audience's cheers and applause. Nor the sounds the band make and the singing voice.

However, the band's live concert would give the audience emotional movement. The members of the band might all have found pleasure for life and overwhelming solitude in power of rock'n'roll.

The documentary shows the musical activities of the signing band who keeps singing and dancing in the stage for freedom no matter how hard the real world is.

Sources in Japanese:

Deaf nightclub hostess writes autobiography, "The Hostess Talks In Writing"

Rie Saito with her new book

Rie Saito (25) wrote an autobiography titled "Hostess Talks In Writing," which was published on May 21, 2009.

She who became deaf when she was about two years old because of sickness, was the popular hostess at a nightclub in Ginza, a Tokyo downtown.

The book is about how she fought to reach the top as a bar hostess.

Excerpted from the interview with Rie Saito:

She was born and brought up by her strict parents in Aomori Prefectre, far northern part of the main land of Japan.

She was one of the worst girls in the prefecture later. So many troubles caused by being deaf forced her gradually drop from the normal life, drinking liquor, smoking and stealing things.

Finally what she found a job for living was in a nightclub in Ginza, Tokyo. She fought hard to become to one of the best hostesses only through writing.

She passed the trap in a lot of worlds of the night by skillfully using the note pad and the pen on hand. Some guests might feel comfortable in communicating with her.

She earned much more than other hostesses, and came to be called, "the hostess with the pad and pen".

As her future goal, she wants to go to study in Hawaii. "I want to study a course related to esthetics and beauty in an environment friendly to persons with disabilities".

Her eyes sparkled when she said about the future, "I want to save money and own a beauty shop".

Source in Japanese:

Deaf students rewarded for their haircut service at facility in Okayama

Deaf student giving a man a haircut at the facility;
Sachiko Hiraoka, a techer (far right)
(photo: )

It was decided that the haircut department in the advanced course of the Okayama School for the Deaf in Okayama Prefecture would receive the commendation from the Japanese Beneficence Association located in Tokyo for the haircut service in a welfare facility that has continued for 35 years.

The approach to make the best use of the skills the Deaf students had acquired to contribute in the local community was evaluated.

The students and the teacher are happy, so enthusiastic that they would work harder in the future.

The haircut service was started in May, 1974. The Deaf students visit the support facility for persons with disabilities in Okayama City once a month, and spend a few hours on haircuts for the facility residents.

Sachiko Hiraoka (59), a certified barber herself and teacher who has led since the beginning of the haircut service, said, "The Deaf students would usually think it natural that people around do everything for them until they started a volunteering activity.

They feel proud to serve other people through the haircut service, and their motivation for professionalism and independence develops, too".

Source in Japanese:

Deaf woman sues pension agency for not getting basic disability pension

A deaf-born woman (62) from Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture near Kyoto filed a case at the Kobe District Court against the Social Pension Agency under the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labor on May 18, 2009.

Because her hearing impairment was not able to prove when she was 20 years old, she was not eligible for the basic disability pension, which is unjustified, according to her claim.

She wants the government to cancel the order in order to get the pension.

The woman says that she has not known the pension system for 40 years due to her disability.

When she was applying, the diagnosis and treatment record at the time of 20 years old required by the national pension law, has been discarded.

Source in Japanese:

Deaf relay service CEO to speak about business in Tokyo

The Japanese Computer Society of the Deaf/HOH will hold its monthly meeting in the Tokyo Welfare Hall for the Disabled in the afternoon on May 16, 2009.

As part of the program, Makoto Sakakibara, a Deaf entrepreneur will lecture on the telecommunications relay service.

He is the chairman and CEO of the Japan Signers Services, LLC, a merger company that mainly focuses on telecommunications relay service, in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture near Tokyo.

When Sakakibara was 15 years old, his hobby was the cassette tape as the recording medium contained in the microcomputer.

Since then he studied the programming language by himself for years. Especially, when having worked at McDonald, he had been engaged around the network infrastructure.

He was shocked to observe Microsoft Net Meeting that appeared in around 1990. When he first visited the U.S.A. in 1999, he found TTY relay services available everywhere.

During his second visit to the U.S. in September, 2007 , he learned how to establish and operate the relay service from an American enterprise (Hands On Services, Inc) and started the company two months later.

Source in Japanese:
DEAF-NEWS (subscription)

Hearing dog working for Deaf beauty parlor owner in Nagasaki

The hearing dog named "Take" in Omura City, Nagasaki Prefecture was for the first time welcomed in Kyushu, the southern island of Japan.

He takes an active role as his master's "ear" in the beauty parlor "Hair Salon Teru" owened by Tsutomu Miyamoto (50).

Take, a male crossbreed dog, was born in 2006. He had a basic training such as following orders by sitting down or laying down, and later he was trained as a hearing dog at the end of 2008.

He was trained to walk into in public facilities and the commercial establishment, to touch the dog owner when something sounds.

Take took the qualifying examination as the assistance dog required by law in April, 2009, and passed successfully.

Miyamoto said, "Take and I didn't get along well at first. It took a few months to get used to each other.

Currently we are excellently doing. Take is liked as a mascot in my shop.

I would like people to know a hearing dog is needed for the Deaf".

Source in Japanese:

Hard of hearing guitarist to play solo at Nagoya City

Masaaki Kimura plays guitar

A "guitar concert" with a free invitation will be held on May 31, 2009 at Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture.

A guitar academy in Nagoya which operates five classrooms in Nagoya City and other cities, sponsors it.

Masaaki Kimura (39) from the Nagoya City, hard of hearing since four years old, will play the guitar solo in the concert. He is a company employee.

It is the fourth that Kimura stands in the concert hosted by the academy. He says that he can do the performance with zeal by counting on the sound of the bowstring transmitted directly to the body though he doesn't hear the sound of the guitar that he plays.

He says, "I had a hard time to learn how to move the fingers that strum the guitar while seeing the DVD. I would like to please many listeners at the upcoming concert".

Source in Japanese:

Nagoya Mayor vows to appoint persons with disabilities including the Deaf for better welfare services

Takashi Kawamura, Nagoya mayor
introduces himself in sign language

On May 10 Takashi Kawamura, Nagoya mayor who had been chosen by the election in April, 2009, spoke that he would appoint persons with disabilities as the executive members of the city so that their feedback or opinions might be reflected in the welfare administration.

City officials have already advanced choosing appropriate persons, and are studying whether they would be appointed to the executive post in the healthy welfare bureau or the part-time special government service on policy measures.

The sports event for persons with disabilities opened in Nagoya City. Mayor slowly greeted by sign language, "Good morning. I am Takashi Kawamura". He had practiced hard to sign. He said, "There are points often we don't understand easily without feedback from the persons concerned".

After his speech at the event, Kawamura cited to the reporters that the late Ronald Reagan, former U.S. President, appointed those advocates for the welfare of the disabled in the executive during his governorship in California. Kawamura says, "The persons concerned will be appointed to work at administrative level not only they explain their viewpoints".

One of Mayor's manifest is described clearly that as an umbrella organization under the persons with disabilities appointed, "the citizens conference composed by various individuals is installed". He has an aim of picking up the demands of persons with disabilities.

Source in Japanese:

Deaf Immigrants in Japan will hold first national meeting in Kyoto

The Society of Deaf Immigrants in Japan will hold the first national meeting in Kyoto City at 13:30 on Sunday, June 14, 2009.

Tentative program:
1. 40-minute movie that "Deaf Media", a Deaf Korean group, made.

2. Lecture titled "A foreign resident with disability in Japan who fought for pension trial"

A lot of Deaf foreign residents live in Japan. Some were born to a foreign family in Japan and grew up like Japanese; a lot of Deaf immigrants live in Japan after they came to Japan, too. Or, some of them become naturalized as Japaneses.

However, the life is not easy. Still there was no place for the Deaf immigrants in Japan to gather, discuss and solve such various problems up to now.

In 1995 the first gathering was held, after as many as 50 years had passed after the war.

The move that started in the Osaka area expanded little by little, and the place of a nationwide exchange came true in 2003.

The Society of Deaf Immigrants in Japan" was established in 2008 after such a move.

Source in Japanese:
DEAF-NEWS (subscription), 2009/05/07

First graduate school for deaf/HOH students to start in 2010

Tsukuba University of Technology, located in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture, which offers deaf/HOH students and visually impaired students respectively, announced on April 23, 2009 that it would start a graduate program next spring.

The authorization of the graduate program by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology will be reportedly expected in December, 2009.

According to the university officials, this kind of program will be the first in Japan, while in the United States there are already two universities that offer the graduate program to the deaf/HOH students.

In the new graduate program, four deaf/HOH students will be accepted to the industrial technology faculty, and three visual impaired students accepted to the health science faculty. The industrial technology faculty includes each course on mechanical engineering and electronic engineering.

The number of first-year undergraduate students is currently total of 90, and about 10 percent of them will be admitted to the graduate program. When once authorized, the first entrance exam will be administered at the beginning of next year.

Besides, the university is planning to set up a teacher-training course and a language learning center that teaches the Japanese braille and sign language to Korean and Chinese students who are deaf/HOH or visual impairment.

President Yoshinori Murakami said, "We intend to train these students to become a leader in the society in the future though the goal of the university has been social participation of persons with disabilities".

Source in Japanese:

"The Deaf Day 2009" to be held in Tokyo in July, 2009

D PRO, a JSL advocate group established in 1993, will held "The Deaf Day 2009" at Nakano Ward, Tokyo on July 18-19, 2009 since the last event 8 years ago.

As for the theme, it is planned to examine what D PRO has achieved for 18 years".

The following special keynote speeches are scheduled as part of the program.

1. "Deaf Movement in Japan"
Mr. Toshisaburo Ishino, vice president of the Japanese Federation of the Deaf

2. "Past and Future of the Deaf Community in Japan that I witnessed: Changes in 1994-2009"
Ms. Leslie C. Greer, ASL Department Chair, Mt. San Jacinto Community College, CA, USA

D Pro's English website:

Universal design for the Deaf in railroad station in Yamanashi Prefecture: visual information, etc

Discussing on universal design to be introduced
in the railroad station and library

The Yamanashi Universal Design Society and the Yamanashi Prefecture Volunteer Association held the discussion session on the ideal way of the universal design in the Japan Railroad Kofu Station and the new prefecture library at Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture on April 25, 2009.

About 50 Society members attended the meeting. Miyoshi Okamura, Associate professor of the Yamanashi University graduate school and a committee member of the library conference, introduced the outline of the new library maintenance plan, while the Kofu City official explained the station north exit redevelopment plan.

A member of the female department of the Prefecture Architects Association proposed that the universal design should be introduced in order to improve the amenity as the ideal way of the redevelopment of the station.

In the opinion exchange, there was the request from the Deaf group saying "we want you to take the measures such as making a part of the elevator door transparent for the Deaf and to install the text message billboard in the station".

The organizer said that the request and opinions at the meeting would be reported to the prefecture office and concerned organizations.

Source in Japanese: