Hearing dog training school recruit new students

"Asunaro School", established by NPO Japanese Service Dog Society in May, 2008, has continued to recruit prospective students until March 19, 2010.

There are only 17 hearing dogs against about as many as 360,000 Deaf persons in the whole country.

The school offers a one-to-one training program that a student is trained with a dog in the residential facility, and a program to support the students to live and work independently through the business course, the internship, and the counseling, etc.

Documentary film on Deaf rock band scheduled for March in Nagoya

A documentary film on the activity of a Deaf rock band, titled "Jap the Rock Revolver", will be shown at night for two weeks from March 13 in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture.

The film features a Deaf rock band, called "BRIGHT EYES", who overcome the hardship of being take half a year to remember only one song, keep showing strong power in the stage, and do not easily give up the dream.

Preview website:

Poster on the Deaf band in English:

"Telephone Pocketbook" presented to school for the Deaf in Wakayama Prefecture

School for the Deaf on February 23. The NTT West Corp. Wakayama Branch presented 120 copies of the "Telephone Pocketbook" intended for the Deaf to the Prefectural Wakayama. The "Pocketbook" is a memo that helps the Deaf person ask the nearby person contact his family or friends when the emergency occurs while staying out, etc.

Moreover, the branch staff explained about the "Broadband Message Board for the Disaster (web171)". It will help you check the messages by using the Internet at a large-scale disaster. Family and acquaintances' safety can be found through the "Message Board" from the computer, the cellular phone, etc.

Deaf Vietnamese students visit private school for the Deaf in Tokyo

The eleven Deaf university students from Vietnam visited a private school for Deaf children in Tokyo on February 23, saying, "We want to use what we have observed educational facilities in Japan when we return to Vietnam".

In Vietnam, because Deaf children are usually taught mainly at a hearing school it is difficult for them to understand the classes. So, the Nippon Foundation located in Tokyo started an educational program with the use of sign language at junior and high school levels in 2000. Presently over 40 Deaf students have received the education.

These visiting students are the first group to receive the program and will be a primary teacher in their country in the future.

Related link:

Group of lawyers demand cause investigation regarding interpreting issue for Deaf lay judge candidate

The Kochi Bar Association submitted the statement to the Kochi district court on February 16, demanding the cause investigation and the relapse prevention.

It was about the court which neglected arrangements of the interpreting service upon the request from the Deaf lay judge candidate at the trial.

The statement appealed that on the unfortunate occasion "We indeed regret it from the viewpoint of the equality under the law defined by Article 14 of the Japanese Constitution, having an important concern as the Bar Association. It is indispensable that the person with disability can also participate in the procedure without difficulties for proper operation of the system".

Related links:



Japanese source:

National Japanese Chess Game for the Deaf held in Wakayama Prefecture

The 10th National Japanese Chess (Shogi*) Game was held for two days from February 20 at the hotel in Shirahama-cho, Wakayama Prefecture and 44 men and women participated from 13 prefectures. The Japanese Federation of the Deaf (JFD) sponsored it with the Mainichi Shimbun Wakayama Branch, etc.

The National Game has been held annually to offer the members a place for fellowship exchange. It was divided into two groups, and the preliminaries on the first day and the final tournament the next day.

Eiko Hohoku who came from Tokyo said, "I got interested while I was taking care of the participants in the past games, and started to play Japanese chess. It is difficult though I am in the eighth class now".

Moreover, Mr. Tsuyoshi Higa, a JFD board spoke, "The participants have trained in the gym in their home town to compete here today".


Japanese source:

Sign language interpreting service to be provided for emergency from April in Okayama Prefecture

Briefing at the city health center
(photo: www.sanyo.oni.co.jp)

A city and town in Okayama Prefecture, called Ibara City and Yakage-cho, will start a 24-hour service from April 1 to send the sign language interpreter to a medical facility where a Deaf patient is transported due to sudden illness, etc.

This service will be available only in Ibara City and Yakage-cho. The fire emergency union contacts the sign language interpreter in the Ibara Sign Language Circle and rushes to the medical institution or the patient's residence, after it receives a request from the Deaf by a special fax.

Prior application is necessary for the interpreting service though the request via the fax can be used at any time.

For the application to be submitted at the city or town, the emergency contact, the primary care physician, and case histories, etc. other than the person in question are requested to fill in on the form. The deadline is March 5.

There was a case that the rescue personnel and the doctor did not grasp a medical situation of the Deaf patient who was transported in the past. The Ibara branch of the Okayama Prefecture Association of the Deaf has demanded the interpreting service in medical emergency.

The briefing was held at the city health center on February 21. The officials asked the participants including the Deaf to send the application for use ahead, saying, "Even in case of emergency, the communication with the emergency staff including doctors will go more smooth".

Japanese source:

Deaf student passes national examination for the hazardous materials engineer

Toru Hiramatsu (right) and teacher Takahiro Goto
sit together with the certificate.
(photo: www.oita-press.co.jp)

Toru Hiramatsu (17), a high school student at the Prefectural School for the Deaf in Oita City in the southern island of Japan, studies the industrial crafts.

He passed the national qualifying examination for the hazardous materials engineer. He was the second student to pass the examination since several years ago.

Toru started preparing last May aiming at the examination as a means of finding employment in the future.

He has served as the student council president since the first term, and joined the badminton club, so he was busy with the after-school activities. He tried to study hard during the class hours and in the dormitory.

Toru's teacher Takahiro Goto (46) explained, "It was difficult for teaching him a technical term and its nuance in sign language. We invented a new sign for some technical word, and drew pictures to understand better".

This qualification is an indispensable national qualification for working with the gas station, chemical works, and painting, etc.

Toru took the examination in the city last November, passed (The ratio of successful applicants of the prefecture was about 27%) the next month and received the certificate this month.

Toru's dream is to get the job related to manufacturing the car. He says, "I want to take a lot of qualifications even before my graduation in 2011".

Teacher Goto says, "He is a diligent student. I am glad his effort bore fruit now. I hope he will work harder in the future".

Japanese source:

Old film on HoH children shown in Hiroshima Prefecture

The movie material was exhibited
in the lobby of the movie theater.

The movie, titled "The day when people laugh while crying", was shown in a movie theater in Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture on February 20.

The movie, directed by Zenzou Matsuyama, a hearing director, was about the education of hard of hearing children in the city*. The film shooting was done in October, 1976, and a lot of citizens acted an extra.

An original film was so deteriorated that the city social welfare council used DVD in which the film had been restored last year.

About 380 people came to see the movie on the first day. The movie with caption will be shown twice or three times until February 26.

*It was Fukuyama City where the first class for hard of hearing children was set up in a hearing school and the aural/oral training was emphasized.

Japanese source:

Signed traditional comic story telling to be held in Saitama Prefecture

A Deaf performs a traditional comic story telling
in sign language.
(photo: www.tobuyomiuri.co.jp)

The vaudeville theater is scheduled for February 28 in the municipal central public hall hall on the 20th anniversary establishment of "Waraikusa", a society of Comic Story Telling in JSL located in Soka City, Saitama Prefecture next to Tokyo.

The half is Deaf among 20 members of "Warakusa". It was formed in March, 1991, with a purpose that the Deaf and hearing members share the mutual understanding while enjoying themselves through various public entertainments including the signed traditional comic story telling.

They have been requested for the appearance from various places nationwide, and, up to now, made about 340 performances. Each member has a unique stage name. For examples, a member who works at a stationery factory is called "Stationery Teakettle", and other member who boasts to be a great eater is called "Large Satiety".

This time, ten Deaf persons will perform not only the signed traditional comic story telling, but also the comic mime, magic, and Japanese-styled drums.

A professional hearing comic storyteller, who used to be the adviser of the society since its inauguration, will be a guest speaker. He is currently a Sapporo municipal assemblyman in Hokkaido.

Japanese source:

Deaf painters enjoy working in the pottery of seven generations in Saga Prefecture

The Deaf persons have been hired as a painter at the traditional pottery that has lasted for seven generations in Imari City, Saga Prefecture in the southern island of Japan.

President Ogasawara says, "The persons with disability are resourceful if there is a place where they make their ability use fully". Even the hearing colleagues are making arrangements with the Deaf counterparts in simple sign language.

The painters with disability have been hired since 40 years ago when Ogasawara started to hire a young man who lost his arm due to the accident. There were six Deaf workers at most in the past.

Morooka (48), an old expert of 30 years, lost hearing at the age of two. He makes a rough drawing at a dash in the jar of the unglazed pottery. Maeta (39), born Deaf, works on coloring as his specialty.

Ogasawara communicates with them in sign language. He says, "If people learn sign language a little, it will make Deaf persons a contributing member of the society. Everyone is trained many times, and disability is not a matter".

Maeta says with a smile, "I am very happy to work here because I like it. I enjoy myself every day".

Japanese source:

Minister encourages Deaf paper artist in Niigata prefecture

Kiyokazu Okada (center) and his work

One of his work exhibited in the gallery

Yoshihito Senkoku, Minister in charge of the National Strategy, visited Niigata Prefecture on February 13 to observe the disability arts activities and the local industry. He encouraged Kiyokazu Okada (41), a Deaf professional artist who works with paper pictures (hari-e), in the Myoko City office.

Kiyokazu, a native of Myoko, is born Deaf, and has worked on the putting picture since the age of 20. His works exhibition has been held outside the prefecture. One of his works is also decorated in the minister's office room.

He said, "Kiyokazu's works have something like a power to comfort the person who sees. I want him to work more".

Japanese source:

Parking sections to open only for senior citizens, persons with disabilities, etc. this April in Wakayama City

The special parking section system for the aged, etc. will start simultaneously throughout the country on April 19.

The section is scheduled to be set up in three places in Wakayama City according to the Wakayama Prefecture Police Headquarters Traffic Regulation Section.

This is a system to especially help the aged easily pull up a car near government and municipal offices and the welfare facilities, etc. due to the increase in the number of senior citizens every year.

Eligible persons who receive a special mark for parking can park to the restriction section with the sign described, "Area for Exclusive Use of Parking".

A person in 70 years old or more who has acquired the license for ordinary vehicles, the Deaf and hard of hearing allowed to drive by the Road Traffic Law, a pregnant woman, etc. are eligible to apply at the Police Office Transport and Communications Division in the place of residence.

The person who doesn't have the special parking mark in the special parking section will be fined.

The police officials explained, "This system has been studied for the benefit of senior citizens, etc. to live easily. Because of the higher cost of penalties than usual illegal parking when able-bodied persons park, they will have to be careful not to parking in the section".

Japanese source:

Exercise invented by physical therapists, introduced in DVD with sign language

The members display the exercise DVD.
(photo: mytown.asahi.com)

The Regional Vision Committee that works on regional activities in Awajishima* wrote and composed a campaign song, titled "We Are Crazy for Awajishima!". Based on the song, physical therapists made exercise.

Over 100 pieces of the DVD were produced to promote the physical exercise in the island and distributed to all the elementary schools, etc.

There is an effect of activating the every part of the body by extending hands and feet and twisting one's body around in the tune of about two and a half minutes. It is possible to do with sitting on the chair, too.

The DVD included the explanation of the sign language by an interpreter, Kyoko Hashidume (42)(sitting at right in the photo) who works for the Awaji Association of the Deaf.

*Awajishima is a small island near Kobe in Hyogo Prefecture. It suffered the heavy damages from the mega earth quake in the Kobe area in January, 1995.

Japanese source:

"Deaf Life Japan", bimonthly magazine first published

The first issue of the "Deaf Life Japan"
published last month.

The first issue of an 87-page bimonthly magazine, titled "Deaf Life Japan", was published last month. The editing staff are all Deaf.

This issue features an interview with Nobuhiro Odate, a Deaf film director, who won the grand prix at the International Deaf Film & Arts Festival in 2006.

Also over 30 Japanese medalists who competed at the last Deaflympic Games in Taiwan, trivia on a Deaf hike poet, etc. were covered in the magazine.

The feature of the magazine is to lay out the photographs boldly.

Yasuko Sato (37), Editor in chief, says, "We want to not only tell the truth about the current state of the Deaf community, but also make the readers enjoy the magazine".

Two years ago she got acquaintance with Matthew Moore (51), the publisher of the American sister magazine "Deaf Life". They had agreed to launch out into the issue of a Japanese version with him as its publisher.

Japanese source:

Japanese air line starts telephone relay service for Deaf traveler

Since February 1, 2010, Deaf travelers are able to use the Internet chat and the video relay service with the All Nippon Airways (ANA) for the reservation or an inquiry.

The service will be offered through a company that provides a telephone relay service, the Plus Voice, free of charge.

The Deaf travelers also have options for various ways of communication such as the video relay service, the chat, e-mail, the fax, etc.

English links:


Plus Voice:

Book published to introduce the gap of Japanese words used by the Deaf and hearing persons

The newly published book
on the gap of signed words
(photo: osaka.yomiuri.co.jp)

It is likely that even the Deaf person and the hearing counterpart use the same Japanese word, they both interpret it in a different way.

The "Kansai Sign Language College" located in Osaka City Chuo Ward, a group that advances the spread of sign language, recently published a book that brought the differing examples together.

The members who edited say,"We hope this book will help you for a smooth communication with the Deaf".

Examples of the gap in the meaning of a Japanese word:

-A hearing person asks a group of the Deaf, "Please come to the meeting ten minutes before one o'clock tomorrow".

The Deaf people have not show up yet even if it was already past one o'clock. It was just a few minutes before 1:10 when they showed up.

-The sign language interpreter agreed to meet a Deaf person at 1:30 and came to the place 30 minutes earlier. The Deaf person told her that "she finally came", and she got angry because she came early enough. The Deaf meant to tell her that "it was nice to come".

Japanese source:

Meeting with Deaf students from Vietnam to be held in Tokyo

One of the Vietnam Deaf students will speak, titled "From the site of the Deaf education in Vietnam: A potentiality of the Deaf fostered through a sign language education"

Date: February 22, 2010, Monday, 18:30-20:00

Place: The World Bank Information Center (PIC Tokyo)

English official website:

World Bank Information Center (PIC Tokyo) and the Japanese Association
of NGO Network (JANNET)

The Nippon Foundation

There was no school for the Deaf where they could study in sign language in Vietnam.

The Nippon Foundation began to support the higher education for the Deaf in Vietnam in cooperation with the Vietnamese government and the university in 2000 so that the Deaf could be educated in sign language.

Currently there are 11 Deaf students enrolled in the university.

This time, the Deaf students will visit Japan to observe an educational case in Japan. On this occasion, this meeting will provide the opportunity to learn about the education in Vietnam and "Disability and Development".

Language used: Japanese and Japanese Sign Language

Japanese source:
DEAF-NEWS (subscription)

Skull session held on maintenance plan of special support schools in Ibaraki Prefectur

The meeting to discuss the maintenance plan of Ibaraki Prefectural special support schools was held in Tsukuba City in the prefecture on January 31.

The plan had been public at the end of last year. The teachers and the parents having children with disabilities exchanged opinions each other. There were also the opinions of various dissatisfaction and the demands for the plan.

Regarding the Deaf education in the plan, it is assumed that the use of hearing aid is basically encouraged by the Education Law. The Deaf man spoke out through the interpreter, "Sign language is convenient to tell the intention accurately. I am worried about no reference of sign language in the plan".

In the end, the facilitator said, "We hope to collect opinions in the future, and to put out the proposal paper to the prefecture administration sooner or later".

Japanese source:

City budget draft includes interpreting service for Deaf visitors

The Odaira City Council in the metropolitan Tokyo area decided to arrange the interpreting service twice a month in the city office in the new fiscal year starting this April so that the Deaf can easily advance procedures, etc.

The city responded to the request from the Deaf community in the city, being the first attempt in Tokyo.

The request for the interpreting service in the city office had reached the city officials, who started to allocate the interpreter in the city hall twice a week for about two months since March, 2009. As a result, 3.8 Deaf persons visited the city hall a day, and the officials concluded that the need should be met.

Nineteen interpreters registered under the city will be allocated, and the project expense is 288,000 yen (US$3,200) a year as the remuneration of the interpreters, etc.

Japanese source:

Sign language skit perfomred by hearing civil servants

Shigeki Tomura (right) and Fumiyasu Kimura
discuss their sign language skit
prior to the show.
(photo: mytown.asahi.com)

"We want all the audience to enjoy our skit show no matter Deaf or hearing".

The couple of civil servants, who have done their skit together since 10 years ago, did it the first time in front of general people in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture on February 6.

They are Shigeki Tomura (46), who works for the Sendai Tax Office, and Fumiyasu Kimura (41) who works for the Prefectural Government. Both are a certified sign language interpreter.

Up to now, they have demonstrated their performance in the events intended for the Deaf. However, they have volunteered as an interpreter for ten years or more, and planned the public show, saying "we want people to be more aware of sign language".

Shigeki learned sign language from his Deaf colleague, and gave himself up. For Fumiyasu, the sign language course of NHK (the Japanese Public Broadcaster) was a start.

They have the same desire: sign language expanded their world. It exists around you and they want you to feel it, too.

Japanese source:

Moot court for the Deaf conducted in Kagawa Prefecture

The moot court of lay judge trial
with interpreting and note taking

The moot court to examine what consideration was necessary for the Deaf/hard of hearing being elected a lay judge was held in the Prefecture Welfare Center for the Deaf located in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture on February 6.

It was a part of the training that the Takamatsu District Court and the Center have attempted to improve the use of interpreting and note taking at the lay judge trial since last June. About 60 people including the judge and Deaf/hard of hearing persons participated.

The trial body was composed of the five people in total: the judge, one hard of hearing person, one Deaf, and two hearing. The court staff acted as the public prosecutor, the lawyer, and the defendant. They all discussed the robbery case with little evidence in the crime site, which the defendant denied.

The Deaf lay judge asked the defendant in sign language, and the hard of hearing woman orally questioned him. They put together their thoughts hard on the cues from the defendant, the prosecutor, and the lawyer while seeing the sign language and textual messages.

Even amount of punishment was not possibly examined because of lack of time though the five-person trial body decided guiltiness by the common assent in the meeting.

After the mock court, both the Deaf man and hard of hearing woman who participated as a lay judge pointed out the problem such as "They spoke too fast", "It was possible neither the note taking on the screen nor the sign language interpreter at the same time".

Japanese source:

Deaf people watch government meeting on live TV with caption and interpreting nationwide

The Deaf viewers watch the live TV on the meeting
and exchange their opinions.
(photo: www.asahi.com)

The "System Reform Promotion for the Person with Disabilities Meeting" was held at the Cabinet Office in Tokyo on February 2. It was covered live on TV with interpreting and caption at about 60 facilities for the Deaf in whole country.

This live TV was carried out by request of disability groups, and about 1800 people viewed. It was the first time to cover such a program related to the government meeting live on TV. The broadcaster was the NPO corporation, "CS Broadcast Unified Scheme for the Deaf, located in Osaka City.

About 20 Deaf persons and staff gathered at the lobby of the Osaka Hall for the Deaf, one of the facilities for the Deaf as a meeting place. When the program started, interpreting was in half of right of the TV screen, and the meeting was on the upper left, and caption flowed at the bottom of the screen.

One of the Deaf viewers said, "Even if the Diet was reported live on TV, I was not interested in watching it. Today it seems very clear to me, and also the atmosphere of the meeting has been conveyed well".

The disability advocates will ask the Cabinet Office to continue the live broadcasting further.

Japanese source:

Portable caption system for the Deaf in theater

A portable caption system displays
the actors' dialogs, songs, etc. on the screen.

The caption system in the portable terminal is experimentally operated so that the Deaf enjoy a part of the performance, and is popular among them.

The "iPod touch" of the Apple Computer USA Co., which is lent at the theater, shows caption and effective sounds. Some of the users said they were glad to enjoy the play as they used to give up to watch it.

This system is called the "G-mark Portable", a product of the Earphone Guide Company located in Tokyo. It is well known for the simultaneous explanation at Kabuki (a Japanese traditional play), the lightning caption service for foreign performances such like the opera, etc.

Time and the cost were the problems in the past though there was a theatrical company that provided the real time caption service with the computer for the Deaf.

Though the new system also has a cost problem, they are studying a pay delivery to "iPod touch" or "iPhone" of the user via the system in the future.

Japanese source:

Toyota to invite Deaf children to visit the auto factory

Toyota Motor announced on February 2 that they would hold "The 37th Toyota Excursion for Deaf Children" in the company in cooperation with Nagoya Toyopet and the Nets Toyota Shizuhama on February 10 and 12.

The company has held the excursion as part of their social responsibility activities every year since 1973. Up to now, 3,000 children or more have been invited to visit the auto sector. This time 83 children from five schools for the deaf located in the Tokai region will be invited.

Moreover, there will be a program that Deaf children paint the designer's picture using his actual tools after they draw and send the rough sketch for a "Dream Car" beforehand.

In addition, 22 Deaf employees will accompany the group of Deaf children all day, explain the functions in the factory, and tell about their work in the auto company.

Japanese source:

Panasonic produces colorful hearing aids for women

"ONWA model JJ" series: colorful hearing aids
(photo: http://panasonic.co.jp/phi/products/onwa/jj.html)

According to the press release, the Panasonic Shikoku Electronics, located in Ehime Prefecture, will sell a new style of pocket-sized hearing aids.

In their "ONWA model JJ" series that has been sold since January, 2009, two new colorful models, pearl-like white and pink (red-marked on left in the photo), will be added in April, 2010.

More hearing aids are currently sold in the market for the aged, and the most models are for men. The manufacturer targets on the women for sales expansion of the hearing aids in stock

The hearing aids are on sales in the hearing aid store, the optical shop, etc. One hearing aid costs 79,000 yen ($US 880), fitting each hearing loss level.

The hearing aids of the "ONWA model JJ" series features a novel style like the digital music player.

Japanese source:

Wakayama Prefectural Governor holding informal meeting on welfare policy

The "welfare informal meeting with the governor" was held in Wakayama City, Wakayama Prefecture on January 27.

The meeting is held every year. This year about 25 members of the Prefectural Federation of Persons with Disabilities were invited. Governor Jinzaka listened the demand and the opinion of the welfare policy.

Some Federation members expressed their opinions such as:
- The interpreting skills are varied among the sign language interpreters. The Wakayama government starts training courses in the cities and towns in the prefecture to increase the certified interpreters under the Ministry of Health and Labor.
- The government prepares a soft side such as to recruit volunteers for the national disability sports meet after the National Sports Games.

The governor replied, "We will make efforts to train the interpreters; We will call the citizens for volunteers in the future, as well as train athletes even though no sports items planned".

Japanese source:

Parents making a move to stop establishing school for intellectual disabled at Deaf school

Collecting signatures in Kochi City to review
the realignment plan of the special support school.
(photo: osaka.yomiuri.co.jp)

The special support school reorganization plan of the Kochi Prefecture Education Board states on an idea to establish a branch school of the Hidaka School for the children with intellectual disability at the Kochi School for the Deaf.

The parents of the Deaf children and the Kochi Prefecture Association of the Deaf, etc. have worked on the signature collection in the city to review the plan. About 50 people passed out leaflets in the shopping streets in Kochi City and called for the support.

The set of 30,000 signatures is scheduled to be submitted to the Prefectural Assembly in the beginning of March.

The Board officials said that measures are necessary to be taken because the number of children with intellectual disability has been on the rise: it increased to about twice since ten years ago.

According to the plan, "the specialty of both educations will be secured as well as an increase of children will be dealt". On the other hand, the group of the parents with Deaf children are appealing, "A different educational environment is needed for the children respectively".

Narie Komatsu (42), president of the Prefectural Association of the Parents Having Hard of Hearing Children", has two Deaf daughters who attend the Kochi School for the Deaf.

She says, "The environment is needed to focus on the education of the Deaf children. Even if the school for the children with other disability were established at the School for the Deaf, and the children with different disabilities can mingle one another, anxiousness yet remains whether the school functions in right way as a place for learning".

Japanese source:

English articles on smoke alarm to wake the Deaf

Wasabi smoke alarm for the Deaf
(photo: asia.cnet.com)