First group for the Deafblind formed in Yamanashi Prefecture

Deafblind members enjoy communication

The first group for the Deafblind was formed in Yamanashi Prefecture to offer the Deafblind the opportunity to share their life experience and problems to be solved.

It is not easy for them to get information unless they are provided with the interpreter and the helper; they tend to shut themselves in home. There is few chance for their social interaction.

Emi Ozawa (34), a Deaf counselor, and others concerned organized the group meeting to provide the Deafblind residents to meet one another. About 30 participated.

It is estimated there are 91 Deafblind persons in the prefecture according to the National Deafblind Society. Ozawa says, "There is little contact on side among them, and we don't know their actual state."

The first exchange program was held in the Yamanashi Information Service Center for the Deaf in Kofu City on July 28. The participating Deafblind members introduced by themselves, and talked about the recent situation and the worry by tactile sign language.

One of the members says, "I was happy to meet the new friends because I have always stayed alone at home. I want to join the group activities and enjoy cooking and shopping with them".

A regular session is planned to promote friendship among the members and the family. Moreover, taking the opportunity of the exchange program, the cooperation of the interpreter and the helper is to be strengthened, as well as securing of the interpreter and the helper be appealed to the prefecture administration.

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National Schools for the Deaf Track Meet to be held in Kyoto in October

Deaf high students who are track team members

The 46th National Schools for the Deaf Track Meet will take place in the athletic field in Kyoto City for three days from October 2, 2009. It will be sponsored by the National Schools for the Deaf Physical Education League.

The national meet will be held in Kyoto Prefecture for the first time in 40 years. The track team members of the high school department of the Kyoto Prefecture School for the Deaf has started power-strengthening last year.

They have participated in the intensive workout with hearing high school students and the record meeting, etc. in order to improve the skills and get accustomed to the atmosphere of the race.

The school officials say, "We hope these Deaf students foster the sense of independence, taking the opportunity of the local event with the support from many people".

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Deaf adults enjoy playing table tennis with larger ball

A sport course related to "table tennis with a larger ball" took place for a Deaf group at the elementary school gym in Kyoto Prefecture on July 26, 2009.

Eighteen members of the Deaf Association of Yamashiro region joined it.

They enjoyed a new kind of sports that used a ball bigger than the usual one for table tennis, with the guidance of hearing members from the regional sports club.

Yasunari Tanaka (32), one of the group leaders responsible for sports activities, proposed to have a course to offer the opportunity for the Deaf member to enjoy sports.

The hearing members of the sports club showed how to pat the ball, and checked the Deaf members working on the ball, giving them advice
through gestures.

The Deaf members who were poor at the ball at first were getting used to the ball, patting repeatedly for a long duration. Tanaka says, "From now on, I want to let them challenge other various sports".

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Interpreters study lay judges system with professional advice

The Kagoshima Prefecture Interpreters Association (15 members) held the workshop in Kagoshima City on July 26. They learnt important points when the Deaf individual were elected a lay judge

There are about 11,000 Deaf adults in the prefecture as of the end of March, 2009.

The lay judges law allows one to refuse to become a lay judge because of disability. In the case, due to the disability at the extent to degree that causes such a remarkable obstacle that he/she cannot perform the duty as a lay judge.

Toshiaki Manabe, Senior Secretary of the Kagoshima district court, explained the obligation to keep secrets, impartiality and neutrality imposed on the lay judge.

He also advised, "When the interpreter is not present in time, or defendant's testimony or terms of law are not understood, you may stop to confirm it and understand, because it is important to tell the fact accurately".

One of the interpreters said after the workshop, "This workshop gave us a clear picture of the lay judges system, and the effort of the court for a comprehensible trial was able to notice. We will communicate with each other closely while continuing independent study, and to make a better interpreting environment".

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Ready for Deaflympics! Girl volleyball team practices with hearing team

Deaf player (right) gets advice from hearing player (left)

The national girl volleyball team had a workout with a hearing team, a member of the V- Premier League for Girls, in the gym in Okayama City on July 20. The national team will compete in the Deaflympic Games in Taipei City in Taiwan in September.

The team has 12 players selected from high school students and workers across the whole country. They had training-camped for three days from July 18 in Okayama City, improving their skills used against foreign teams. The practice with the hearing team which has continued since 2005 was put in on the last day of the training camp.

After learning the techniques of the block, the serving and receiving through gestures, the Deaf players had the practice match with the hearing team.

One of the hearing players said, "The Deaf players don't use voices, instead they used a lot of the visual signal and concentration. We should learn that".

After the practice, the hearing players encouraged by sign language, "We hope you will win". The captain of the national team swore the good fight, saying that "We will work hard to get the gold medal".

Twelve countries are expected to participate in the girl volleyball games in the Deaflympic Games this time. Japan has acquired the silver medal last time.

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Government announces rate of captioning and sign language programs broadcasted

On July 15, 2009, the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications announced results about the caption and the sign language broadcasting that each television bureau provided for the Deaf and hard of hearing viewers in fiscal year 2008.

NHK (National Broadcasting Company: Nippon Hoso Kyokai) and nine private broadcasters located in Tokyo and Osaka provided more captioning in the total broadcasting time than the previous year.

The highest rate of captioning was 50.9% provided by Fuji Television Network (digital). The lowest was 33.9% by Yomiuri Television.

The rate of the sign language broadcasting was highest 2.5% by NHK Educational Program (analogue), and the average of the private broadcasters to provide the sign language programs remained in 0.1%.

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Documentary movie to be interpreted by Deaf actor in July

Yonaiyama, a deaf actor, interprets the movie.

Pamphlet on the documentary movie

A two-hour documentary movie, titled "The Lily Of Keeping Secret" was completed by Shohei Shibata, a director, spending 13 years.

"The Lily Of Keeping Secret" indicates "the young girls who had a misery experience in the tragic war in Okinawa near the end of WWII." They were mobilized as a nursing worker in the Okinawa Army Hospital.

Many movies, TV dramas and stages were produced on their experience. They say, however, "We will turn 70 years old soon, and don't know how long we will be alive. As a will, we want that our experience be recorded by means of the image."

The testimony by 22 of the survivors lasted 100 hours for 13 years since 1994. The keenness that they attempted to tell while they are alive hints an important message to us in a peaceful life.
The documentary movie will be showed in Kawasaki City at 10:00 am on July 26 and 28. Akihiro Yonaiyama, a Deaf actor of the Japan Deaf Theater, will interpret.

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DEAF NEWS (subscription)

Deaf photographer's works exhibited in Kanagawa Prefecture

A photograph exhibition titled "Looking For the wild birds: my second life" was the first one for a deaf man, Yuichi Ogiwara (71). It is open to the public during July 14-19 in Chigasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Ogiwara started taking a picture in full scale at time when he retired from the electric appliances manufacturer in Kamakura City in 1998. His 55 works in these ten years are currently displayed.

Subject is wild birds after which he has traveled around the country. He was moved with a wild bird's beauty as his wife Michiko (65) was in the wild birds watch group.

Ogiwara says, "The pleasure when the photograph of the bird that I aimed was able to be taken is special. A wild bird's movement is too quick to be taken a picture, you know".

He has made the best use of his computer skills cultivated in the company to produce the calendar of the wild bird every year, which are also displayed.

He earnestly says, "The photograph is something to live for. I want to go out in nature and to meet more birds even if I am deaf".

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Japanese Federation of the Deaf offers JSL students service via cellular phone

"The Japanese sign language can be checked anytime and anywhere".

The Japanese Federation of the Deaf started service from which vocabularies and examples of sentences in the sign language are seen in animation on a special site of the cellular phone, on July 3, 2009.

With the cooperation of Hitachi Ltd., software was developed to be used for learning the the sign language. They consider to offer the service on regular basis after the trial ends in June next year.

It will be possible to use the service free of charge for one year (packet communication fees are separately necessary).

When you get the special site on the cellular phone, the signed expression of the key word and the index that you want to know can be retrieved. The words and the sentence examples of 8,000 or more are put together such as "He has a lot of spunk", "Make a campaign speech", etc.

The feature is the movement of the sign language that can be seen three-dimensionally in animation. The animation viewed from the front and right and left diagonal is delivered.

A JFD spokesperson says, "Even if you don't carry a thick JSL dictionary around, you can learn easily online". (

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