Video work on signing private school wins excellent prize at documentary video festival

Itagaki views the documentary video
on Meisei Gakuen that won the prize.

The video work which introduces a private school for the Deaf, called Meisei Gakuen, located in Tokyo, won the prize at the first Japan Documentary Video Festival (the Nippon Foundation sponsoring) with the theme related to the dream and hope.

Meisei Gakuen opened last spring as the first school for the Deaf in Japan to educate the Deaf children in JSL.

The video work, titled "Our precious school made by the dream", is highly expected to promote understanding the meaning of sign language in education.

It was produced by the Bilingual-Bicultural Deaf Education Center in Tokyo consisted of the parents of the Deaf students.

It which runs for 4:45, shows the visual signals to tell when the class starts, classes taught in JSL, smiles of the Deaf children chatting during lunchtime, etc. There is no spoken words, and only caption.

In the end, the caption tells, "Those who attend the school are not Deaf children. They are the children who use JSL".

The video work implies to tell us that we must not see those children as wretched ones, but accept that they use JSL instead of Japanese.

Keiko Itagaki, secretary-general of the Center, says, "We hope more people to learn there is sign language as an option for the education of Deaf children".

The junior high school unit is planned for establishment next spring . The prize of 100,000 yen will be used to support to the school and the future activities.

Source in Japanese:

Publication of "Deaf Life Japan" to be launched in January, 2010

The Japanese magazine, called "Deaf Life Japan", will launch the publication in Japan under the license of "Deaf Life".

"Deaf Life" is an American magazine that has been popular in not only the Deaf community but also the hearing people for years.

"Deaf Life Japan" will be published bi-monthly to meet the needs of readers in Japan.

The new publishing group is pleased to invite persons concerned to attend their party on January 9, 2010, 17:00-20:00, in Tokyo.

"Deaf Life Japan" official website (English in part):

Source in Japanese:
DEAF-NEWS (subscription)

District court recognizes impossibility to sign due to accident as "speech disorder"

Kimie Oya attends the press conference after the lawsuit settlement. By the traffic accident, the left wrist is impossible to move smoothly and the little finger of the left hand, also, impossible to be bend easily, which has caused her stress when signing. (photo:

Kimie Oya, a sixties Deaf woman, a resident in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture, a central part of Japan, sued against the hearing man, claiming that she had been unable to sign as fluently as before due to the traffic accident since five years ago. She asked for about 26.2 million yen for the compensation.

On November 25, the Nagoya district court judge ordered the man to pay about 12.2 million yen for the linguistic damage, stating as "sign language was a means of communication", and treating as the residual disability to the language activity corresponded.

According to Hiroyuki Tahara, the lawyer representing Oya, "the decision that admits the residual disability of the signing function of the Deaf person as equal as the able-bodied person's speech disorder would be first in the country".

In the future it may influence the weight of the sequel that other person with disability owed due to the accident to be judged. The disability community welcome the new move.

Source in Japanese:

Play workshops by Britain Deaf director to take place in Saitama in December

Jenny Sealey, a Deaf performance expert, is visiting Japan.

There will be two workshops led by her, one for the general and another for the professionals, in December. Both the workshops require the full two-day participation.

Sealey serves as the artistic director of the Graeae Theatre Company in London, and is acknowledged for the performances featured the diversity of persons with disabilities.

JSL/BSL interpreting provided.

- Play workshop
Dates: December 5 and 6, 11:00-17:00
Venue: Saitama Art Theater Hall
Limit number of the participants: 16
Sponsored: Saitama Prefecture Disability Art Festival Organizing Committee

- Workshop for stage directors
December 2, 13:30-17:00
December 3, 10:00-18:00
Venue: British Council, Iidabashi in Tokyo
Limited numbers of participants: 15
Sponsored: Able Art Japan, Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co.
Co-sponsored: British Council

Source in Japanese:
DEAF-NEWS (subscription)

Deaf Judo expert teaches hearing children in Okinawa Prefecture

Judo expert Kiyoko Okamoto (right)
teaches hearing children

Kiyoko Okamoto (32), a Deaf woman from Tokyo, was in the second place in Judo at the world championships which took place in Taiwan last year prior to the Deaflympics.

She visited the martial arts house in Ishigaki City, Okinawa Prefecture, a southern part of Japan, on November 17 and taught the technique of the judo sports to hearing children.

All the children made eyes sparkle to the art of throwing with Okamoto's cutting, and gazed.

Okamoto met Tomoo Hori, who currently resides in the city, when she was 25 years old. Hori was an instructor with the judo club in the Tokyo area, making her start judo.

She had felt uneasy, unable to step forward despite of her eagerness to have a judo match.

As Hori knew sign language, she jumped into the world of the judo because both were able to communicate in sign language.

She practiced hard while working at the company every day. She did not come out the bud easily in the first three years, but she picked up stream remarkably when setting targets in "Deaflympic Games" held once in four years. Finally she won the second place in the world championships last year.

The fourth graders in the elementary school, who participated in the judo workshop, exclaimed, "I learned how to move my feet when throwing over my shoulder. I want to become a strong person like Okamoto", "Her quick movement is terrible. I learned how to throw over my shoulder. I will win everything at the upcoming game".

Okamoto said with a smile, "I have only learned, and am not good enough at teaching. I was very happy to practice judo with them today".

Source in Japanese:

Deaf hostess appointed to sightseeing ambassador for her home town, Aomori City

Rie Saito (25), a native from Aomori City who has overcome the inconvenience caused by deafness, currently working for the club at Ginza in Tokyo, has been appointed to the sightseeing ambassador No.1 for the city. The mayor handed her a letter of trust in Tokyo on November 18.

Saito was ready to accept the appointment, saying she would be happy to cooperate when she had visited the city office for the sale greeting of her recent book in October and had been asked by the mayor, according to the officials of the section of sightseeing in the city.

The Aomori City officials wants Saito to introduce the City at the promotional events in the metropolitan areas, etc. before the start of the Shinkansen New Aomori Station scheduled in December next year.

Saito said, "I was excited by the very important task. It seems that lots of people still don't realize the actual image of Aomori City. I will tell them about how attractive it is and help with the Aomori special product developments. I will work hard to connect Tokyo to Aomori like Shinkansen (the bullet train).

Source in Japanese:

Making drama based on true story, "The Hostess Talks in Writing", scheduled in January 2010

Keiko Kitagawa, a hearing actress,
who will play the role of the Deaf hostess

A book, titled "The Hostess Talks in Writing" which Rie Saito, a Deaf hostess, wrote about herself, will be made a special drama. She will be starred by Keiko Kitagawa (23). Broadcasting is scheduled in January, 2010.

The drama shows her life from the childhood to the present day. Saito lost hearing because of illness in the infanthood, being rebellious against the society and her mother and called "the most delinquent girl in Aomori Prefecture".

Later she worked in the bar at Tokyo, communicated with the guests with a pen and the pad, learning how to comfort people through the work and grew to live positively.

Also the drama brings up the feelings of her family including her brother. Moreover, there is a scene that Saito, the writer, actually serves by writing, too.

Related links:

Source in Japanese:

Group of Deaf teachers to hold workshop for sharing experiences and information, in Tokyo early December

The Kanto Social Group of the Deaf Teachers will sponsor the winter workshop in Tokyo on December 5th, Saturday, 14:00-18:00.

More schools for the Deaf have introduced sign language in the classroom, and they are highly expected to meet the issues related with communication modes, the acquisition of Japanese language, and academic performances of the students. A specialty expected of the deaf education is called for.

While sign language is recognized in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as a language, the partial amendment of the School Education Law in fiscal year 2007 caused the wave of the special support education affected most of the schools for the deaf. Various confusion has occurred on each school across Japan.

In such a situation, sign language is used for the instruction tool at the school for the deaf, this workshop aims to provide the participants with the opportunity for brainstorming and fruitful discussion on how Deaf children become fluent at Japanese language, which would lead to improve the professionalism in the Deaf education.

Opening remark and self introduction by each participant

The debriefing session on each past national meeting: the Osaka symposium on Deaf Education, the National Better Educational Discussion Forum, and the National Conference on Teachers of Deaf Children.

Exchange of information on instructional activities: guidance for teaching Deaf children Japanese language, materials and practices that will be useful, etc.

The get-together is scheduled at 18:30 after the workshop.

Source in Japanese:
DEAF-NEWS (subscription)

Event to promote understanding of sign language to take place at Kawasaki City in December

Sign language charity event held last year

The charity event that mainly Deaf groups sing songs and dance with the use of sign language is scheduled to be held in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture in the neighborhood of the metropolitan Tokyo area on December 5.

Singers and 14 dance groups who express lyrics in sign language will participate in the event.

This sixth event intends to deepen understanding of sign language at the same time as the Deaf and hearing persons enjoy it together. The proceeds will go to sign language circles of universities.

Source in Japanese:

Meeting on bilingual Deaf education in Hokkaido held in November

The group to promote a bilingual Deaf education in Hokkaido held the 2nd symposium in Sapporo City, Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan, on Saturday, November 14, 2009.

The superintendent of the Hokkaido education board has reported at the Hokkaido council, "The number of school staffs who teach in 'Japanese Sign Language (JSL)' will be increased", and this move has made the quality of the Deaf education in Hokkaido change in the process.

The theme of the meeting was "Let's learn JSL to be used in the bilingual deaf education".


Lecture: "What language is JSL?"

Lecture: "Natural approach used in teaching JSL"

Activities report:
Deaf free school called "We all are Deaf kids. All, come together!"

Source in Japanese:
DEAF-NEWS (subscription)

Japanese Deaf History Conference to take place in December in Fukuoka Prefecture

The 12th Japanese Deaf History Conference will take place for two days from December 19 at Hakata City, Fukuoka Prefecture.


- December 19
13:00 opening ceremony
13:30 Keynote lecture: "Deaf fisherman who confronts sea without sound"
15:00-18:30 research reports

- December 20
09:30 fieldwork workshop
11:00 Report on book on Fukuoka Deaf history completed
12:00 lunch time
13:00 Introduction of Fukuoka Deaf history
15:00 Plenary session/closing ceremony

Source in Japanese:
DEAF-NEWS (subscription)

Support center for Deaf in Hiroshima Prefecture starts anew

Director (left) with other members,
pleased with the opening of the center for the Deaf

The Fukuyama City activity-support center for the Deaf, which functions as the base of the life support activities of the Deaf, opened on November 1.

On the day the opening ceremony took place and parties concerned were pleased with the start of the activities.

The Fukuyama Society of the Deaf, Inc. (about 150 members) manages the center, with the members who works full-time. The center develops its activities related to the following projects.

-counseling on living and education
-information in emergency and welfare services
-lecture meetings on culture and health useful to Deaf persons
-workshops/training for interpreters and note-takers

When the society formed in 1947, there was no office. Some member had to directly go to the client's home to provide counseling.

Moreover, securing the place where the Deaf could gather, and the communication network to convey the information to the affected Deaf in a time of disaster have been he problems.

Source in Japanese:

Deaf association holds sign language festival in Aomori Prefecture

Participants learn
how to tell Deaf persons through gesture

The Aomori Prefecture Association of the Deaf, located in the northern part of the Mainland of Japan, held the "2009 Sign language festival" in the prefecture center for the Deaf on November 1 so that the local residents might get to know the Deaf more.

Those who came learned the method of taking communications with the Deaf persons. In the "Sign language classroom", a part of the festival, one of the board directors of the Association introduced sign language starting with easy greetings such as hello, good morning.

In addition, he advised, "The shape of object and behaviors can be expressed by gestures. Let's use imagination!". The participants thought about various poses when they were trying to find a good way of telling words such as the crab, mechanical pencils, and cellular phones in they own way.

A hearing woman (66), who recently has made friends with the deaf person, explained, "I see I can fairly convey my message through body language. It seems not to be more difficult than I think.".

In the hall, the lecture on the association activities and the captioned video screening were held, too, which those who came were enjoying.

Source in Japanese: