Persons with hearing loss enjoy the Christmas meeting through note taking in Gifu Prefecture

The staff members teach magic while projecting the note taking with a projector for the persons with hearing loss.

December 23, 2013

The non-profit organization called "Gifu Note-taking Bonfire" (ぎふ要約筆記かがり火) which supports a persons with hearing loss held the Christmas meeting in the Gifu Citizen Welfare-activities Center in Gifu-shi on December 22.

It is an event that has been continued for about ten years with other non-profit organization called "The Gifu Association of the Hard of hearing Persons" (ぎふ難聴者協会).

On the day, 35 persons with hearing loss aged 5-80 came to the event. There were a magic show by a volunteer and a performance of the hand bell played by persons with hearing loss, all of which were explained while projecting "the note taking" on the projector.

One of the participants, aged 77,  lost hearing in both the ears due to the illness when she was 45 years old. She said, "I enjoyed the magic show that I participated. I would like people to know that there are those who need the note taking since they don't understand sign language."

Japanese source:

Highest award to Deaf students at the support contest held in Gunma Prefecture

The students of the department of education, Gunma University shone with the highest award.

December 22, 2013

In the practice case contest about Deaf student support, five students of the department of education, Gunma University, won the highest award.

While the students from many universities put emphasis on the presentation related to how to support a Deaf/deaf student, the students of Gunma University were evaluated that they themselves expressed the thought as the party concerned.

The contest was held as one of the programs of "The Japanese Support to Deaf Students in Higher Education Symposium" in Gunma University on December 8.

A total of 18 universities/colleges and vocational schools exhibited the poster on which each practice was summarized. About 300 school staff and students who participated in the symposium cast their vote from viewpoints, such as "helpful", "promising", etc.

The student team of Gunma University introduced how they as a Deaf/deaf student tackled practice teaching. They explained the way, etc. which changes the method of communication according to the needs of a student or a child. For example, in the classroom, while the Deaf student had stationed two sign-language interpreters, he/she directly communicated with the hearing children in writing during the lunchtime or the time for recess.

The reaction from the participants from other universities was: "It is great that sign-language interpreting is flexibly used".

On the other hand, although a hard of hearing senior aged 20 used "the realtime computer captioning service" for the lecture in the university, he overcame the practice teaching in the elementary school only with the use of his hearing-aid. He said, "I have noticed myself that what is necessary is just to ask again when it is hard to hear clearly."

Special Support Education Professor Kanazawa Takayuki (金沢貴之) of  of Gumma University was pleased with the award. He said, "It is the result of the students tackling the difficult part of support in practice teaching squarely."

Japanese source:

Fukuyama-shi Assembly in Hiroshima Prefecture adopts the opinion to the Government, etc. on establishment of a "sign language law"

December 21, 2013

The Fukuyama-shi Assembly in Hiroshima Prefecture adopted the written opinion which asks the Government, etc. for establishment of a "sign language law" on December 20.

This was made after a few recent moves including Tottori Prefecture and Ishikari-shi, Hokkaido that have defined the ordinance with which positions sign language as the same as a spoken language.

Fukuyama-shi official website (Japanese):

English article: "Tottori - Deaf-mute wins one for sign language"

December 19, 2013

A Japan Times reporter interviewed a Deaf person from Tottori Prefecture about the recently enforced ordinance on sign language:


Daigo Ishibashi, 40, got a lump in his throat when the Tottori Prefectural Assembly passed a groundbreaking sign language promotion ordinance in early October, the first of its kind in Japan.

“I felt proud. It was a historic day,” Ishibashi, secretary-general of the Tottori association of organizations for deaf-mutes, said in an interview through a sign language interpreter.

Read more:

Evacuation drill with "sign language" at Deaf school in Hyogo Prefecture

The students in an emergency drill with directions by their teacher's sign language.

December 17, 2013 

The fire drill in preparation for a disaster was performed in the Kobe Special Needs Education School for the Deaf in Kobe-shi, Hyogo Prefecture on December 17.

A little more than 100 children and students aged 1-18 escaped outside the school building, directed by the teacher's sign language.

The school is advancing "the education of the life" that the students learn the importance of a life since last year, and an emergency drill is a part of the program.

The broadcast on an earthquake announced in the school around 10:30 a.m. The children who did not hear the audio announcement was told by the teacher in sign language to protect themselves under the desk (photo).

Then, they rolled the bandanna around their neck and run out of the classroom to the school yard. The bandanna is printed with a phrase such as  "I am Deaf" or "I can sign" so that Deaf persons may not be troubled even in a shelter.

A senior boy said, "I would like to keep writing materials and the bandanna for written communication. I thought I would need to check  safe places around my house, too."

Japanese source:

Ishikari-shi, Hokkaido approves a sign language ordinance proposal - the first in the municipal level in Japan

The persons concerned gathered for a  commemorative photography after ordinance establishment at the assembly hall.

December 16, 2013

The Ishikari-shi Assembly located in Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan, approved the "Basic Ordinance about Sign Language in Ishikari-shi" (石狩市手話に関する基本条例) on December 16. The ordinance defines a city duty to promote an understanding to sign language and develop environment for the citizens to use sign language at ease. 

Although the similar ordinance has been enacted in Tottori Prefecture in October for the first time in Japan, Ishikari-shi is the first in cities, towns and villages across Japan.

The city ordinance will be enforced in April 1, next year.

From now on, the short course for the children, the study session to the city personnel, etc. are examined for sign language spread.

The idea of a sign language ordinance had been expressed by Mayor Taoka Katsusuke (田岡克介) in September, 2012. The city administration has installed the investigative commission and advanced preparation.

Japanese sources:

Matsusaka-shi assembly in Mie Prefecture adopts a sign language ordinance petition for establishment

December 18, 2013

The Matsusaka-shi assembly in Mie Prefecture  adopted the petition on December 17 which asks for acceptance of sign language as  language and the establishment of "a Matsusaka-shi sign language ordinance (tentative name)" which aims at foundation of the environment where the Deaf person lives easily.

The city is planning to enact a city ordinance also in February, next year. They will put efforts into the sign language education for the personnel, and also set up the target, etc. aiming at sign language spread in and out of the city.

The move towards establishment of a sign language ordinance is the first in the Tokai district.

Fukagawa Seiko (深川誠子), president of the Mie Prefectural Association of the Deaf who issued the petition, said, "We would like to promote this movement all over the country. We will hire a Deaf person as the business person in charge next year and propose the substantial ordinance."

Japanese source:

Deaf people learn how to use heart-and-lungs revival, etc. for the preparation to a disaster in Toyama Prefecture

December 16, 2013

The disaster prevention workshop was held in the prefectural center for the Deaf in Toyama-shi on December 15. It was for the Deaf community to learn how to use cardiopulmonary resuscitation and an automated external defibrillator (AED) in preparation for a disaster.

The event was sponsored by the society that discusses medical treatment for the local Deaf community.

The visiting professor of the Toyama University graduate school Department of medicine pharmacy gave a lecture about the importance which the Deaf people increase building the neighborhood and human relations or that they try to do something more as an individual.

Then, nine personnel of Toyama-shi Fire Prevention and Control Center instructed the method of a check breathing, and how to use AED through the sign language interpreter. At the short course of AED, the Deaf
persons learned they might not need mechanical automated audio guidance while checking the procedure by the color of a lamp, or blink.

The society staff said, "Some Deaf persons do not understand explanation at a general meeting without interpreting, so they tend to avoid participation. But it was good to open a short course today. We hope they would use what they have learned."

Japanese source:

"Help Card" made for the Deaf in Hachioji-shi, Tokyo

Miyamoto (left) shows the Help Card used in Hachioji-shi, made from the paper which is strong in water and cannot be torn easily.

December 14, 2013

The "Help Card", which is shown what support is needed for the person who is disabled or has an incurable disease when asking for help, has been produced and distributed in each self-governing body.

A Hachioji Association of the Deaf president Miyamoto Ichiro (宮本一郎), 54, emphasizes the meaning of the Help Card distributed since November in the city. "If a Deaf person shows the card asking for help, it will tell at a glance that the person is Deaf or hard of hearing, or that sign-language interpreting or writing is required."

If a deaf passenger gets troubled without the ability to hear usually the spoken announcement in the cases, such as a trouble of a train, it is difficult for him/her to stop a station employee and explain the reason for the need of written communication in the confused situation.

There is a space in the card which the main physical features of the owner, required support, medicine, etc. are described as necessary minimum information given in the case of emergency.

Japanese source:

White shepherd active as the only seeing eye dog in Japan

Sakurai Yoko and the white shepherd as her seeing eye dog which just came out.

December 12, 2013

The two-year-old white shepherd completed training as a seeing eye dog in the Kanagawa Training Center located in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture under the Japan Guide Dog Association came out on December 12.

According to the association, the shepherd is the only seeing eye dog playing an active part in Japan. The shepherd was bought from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association in the U.S. in May, and had received training.

Sakurai Yoko (桜井洋子), 56, who also lost hearing, uses the shepherd as her seeing eye dog, says joyfully, "I was able to meet the one who will be my eyes and ear. I would like to go to meet an overseas friend together with my seeing eye dog since I love travel."

According to the Japan Guide Dog Association, although many seeing eye dogs used to be shepherds in Japan till the 1970s, Labrador Retrievers, etc. became poplar in use from their tender appearance.

Japanese source:

Video: Japanese manga 'Koe no Katachi' (The Sound of Voice) trailer

December 9, 2013

Can Tran, a Digital Journalist based in Winter Haven, FL, United States wrote an English article on the Japanese manga titled "Koe no Katachi" (The Sound of Voice).

A promotional trailer has been released for the ongoing manga called "Koe No Katachi" which focuses on a hearing impaired young girl trying to find acceptance among her peers.

Read more:
Related link:
A comic book titled "The Sound of Voice" first published

Tottori Prefecture to hold a sign language class for beginners for free

December 10, 2013

In accordance with the first sign language ordinance in Japan having been enforced in October, Tottori Prefecture will start a sign language class (beginning level) for people in the prefecture on December 18.

A Deaf person also will participate in the class and speaks about the experiences in everyday life, etc.

The class will be offered a total of 12 times till March, next year, and will not be a continuation one but independent.

A prior application is required although it is no charge.

A prefectural person in charge says, "People will feel close once they learn sign language a little. We hope as many people as possible to learn sign language."

Japanese source:

Nippon Foundation's project: Sign Language Program Changes the Lives of Deaf Students in Vietnam

November 21, 2013

Excerpted from the Nippon Foundation website:

In 2000, a new school offering instruction in Ho Chi Minh City Sign Language opened in Dong Nai Province, Vietnam, with the support of the Nippon Foundation. 
The school has had a profound impact not only on the students and their families but society at large.

The students, finally able to follow what is going on in class, have achieved new academic milestones and gained confidence in themselves.

One of the graduates became the first deaf person to gain admission to university.

Read more (English):

Nippon Foundation's project on sign language

November 20, 2013
The Nippon Foundation has been involved in its own project on sign language.
One of the pillars of the Foundation’s programs for deaf people is to promote instruction in their local sign language, supporting educational initiatives of the Deaf in the belief they will make a major step toward enabling deaf people themselves to give full play to their talents and abilities. 
In collaboration with the Foundation, Dr. James Woodward, a former professor at Gallaudet University in the United States and a leading authority on sign linguistics, has been involved in educational programs for the deaf and has achieved notable success in instituting programs to promote sign language in Thailand, Vietnam, and other countries. 

Tenth sign language performance show held in Kawasaki-shi

The stage, "D'LIVE", where variegated music and dance were performed.

December 10, 2013

The 10th "D'LIVE" (derived from "drive") was held in a live house "CLUB CITTA" (クラブチッタ) in Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture on December 7. The event is held every year in order that both hearing and Deaf/deaf persons enjoy themselves together.

At the event, 25 groups of performers unfolded hot performance, and
620 visitors, 70 percent of whom were hearing, enjoyed variegated music and dance as well as their performance at night.

This event was sponsored by the car driving school called the Koyama Driving School (コヤマドライビングスクール) based in Tokyo. It operates a driving school in Yokohama-shi and the Tokyo metropolitan area and also offers a driving lesson to Deaf/deaf persons.

The school staff began training for the Deaf/deaf students in sign language towards license acquisition since 2000. 0ver 120 staff now have mastered sign language.

The live event is held with the thought that "everyone shares the pleasure of expressing in sign language" irrespective of the disability. 

About 60 groups of unit total, such as a dance group, a "sign language song" group, etc., in which many Deaf/deaf persons are active, for these ten years.

Each sign language circle of 19 universities in the metropolitan area also cooperates in the live show management. The driving school persons concerned says, "There is an ardent love of a performer, a student volunteer and the persons concerned, which has made the annual event possible. We would like to continue it."

Japanese source:

Tottori Prefecture broadcasts CM related to its sign language ordinance

December 10, 2013

Tottori Prefecture, which is the first prefecture in Japan to enact the "sign language ordinance", broadcasts CM to appeal that the society in which both a Deaf person and a hearing counterpart live easily will be developed.

A young TV star Matsushima Wakana appears in it, using Japanese Sign Language. In CM, she says she has started learning JSL in making an effort to overcome the communication barrier.

To see CM, click:

Disaster radio with text display device on gratis loan to the Deaf in Miyagi Prefecture

December 08, 2013

Ofunato-shi in Miyagi Prefecture will provide the disaster prevention administration radio door-to-door receiver with a text display device to the household which has a deafness person in the city for the gratis loan, of which the necessity was pointed out by the Deaf community after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

The text contents will cover weather-related cautions such as a typhoon and heavy rain, etc, besides an earthquake early warning, a tsunami alarm, and national protection information including a missile attack or terrorism.

According to the city association of the  persons with disabilities, 42 of 1,742 disability registration notebook possessors lost their lives or were missing by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

At the round-table conference which the association and municipal assembly educational welfare standing committee held last summer, a provision of disaster prevention administration radio with a text display function, etc. was demanded by the Prefectural Deaf Association Kesen Branch.

According to the city, 141 households are eligible for application of the device. It is said that the device would be installed one by one from February to March, next year.

Japanese source:


Deaf persons modeled at the fashion show held in Osaka

Deaf models show the hand-waves at the fashion show.

December 7, 2013

The fashion show which was held in the hall in Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi on December 7, where each Deaf/deaf model was wrapped up him/herself in a gorgeous dress.

There was the big applause from about 150 spectators whenever a model stopped for a pause dignifiedly as if a real one.

The Deaf group planned the event in order that a Deaf/deaf person would have the joy and pleasure expressing him/herself. They and their parents recruited the Deaf/deaf persons through "Facebook," etc. About 50 men and women aged 5-55 stood on the stage.

Japanese source:

Related link:
Deaf Fashion Show to take place in Osaka early December

Tottori Prefecture: "Sign Language Handbook" sample completed

The introductory edition of "The Sign Language Handbook" introduces one word/glossary in the spread.

December 7, 2013

At the sign language learning materials development committee on December 6, the Tottori prefecture board of education presented the model of the sign language learning material called, "The Sign Language Handbook: introductory edition" (A5-sized, 68 pages).

The book will be used in the primary schools and junior and senior high schools, a special support school, etc. in Tottori Prefecture from the third term that starts in January, next year.

The book covers every day greetings, the composition of the children of the Prefectural Tottori School for the Deaf, etc. to promote the mutual communication between the Deaf community and hearing citizens. 

Japanese source:

Japanese sign language selected as "indispensable language" in university in Hyogo Prefecture

The Japanese sign language course is set up as a special subject

December 5, 2013

Japanese sign language has been introduced as one of indispensable language arts, besides English as indispensable, French, German, Chinese, etc., in the Human Welfare Faculty at Kwansei Gakuin University located in Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo Prefecture.

Although the introduction of JSL is almost unparalleled as a university, together with an idea called the "comprehensiveness" and the "diversity" as the policies of the faculty, it was backed up by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that positions sign language as language.

Moreover, when JSL and "Deaf culture" were taken up as a special subject in the department of sociology and social welfare before the Human Welfare Faculty which was formed in 2008, these subjects were so popular among the students that many of them were positive to introduction of the JSL course.

Professor Matsuoka Katsuhisa (松岡克尚) of the current faculty who is Deaf emphasizes, "I expect each student to learn by studying sign language that rich diversity is there rather as this Japanese society has never dyed in a single lifestyle, culture, and world knowledge."

The formation of a teaching team was an issue in the JSL introduction class. Although it was an ideal form of the "Deaf" person as a lecturer skilled in a JSL teaching method, combining with the "hearing" person who studied JSL specially, it was not easy to find such people suitable to such conditions.

Fortunately, due to the support of the people concerned, a sign language interpreter and a "Deaf" (native signer) lecturer were hired, and their zeal prepared the JSL course as scheduled.

As a ripple effect to the students, Prof. Matsuoka is looking in this way. "In various scenes, each student tells that their view broadens. The respectful attitude toward JSL, Deaf people and Deaf culture will expand more on equal terms with the right knowledge.

"I would like to regard the JSL course offered in this faculty would be greatly significant when the planted seed of the JSL course "blooms" in society."

How do the students utilize JSL in future? Since the JSL course is only good for as short as two years, there is surely a limit. However, some students wish to still continue the study of sign language further, some also aim at becoming a sign language interpreter in the future, some wish to get training as a social worker at an "institution" for the Deaf and persons with multiple handicaps , etc., or some want to take up the occupation in connection with sign language in a certain form.

Japanese source:

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognized unanimously in the House of Councilors

December 4, 2013

137 nations have ratified now the "Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities" adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2006.

Although Japan signed the Convention in 2007, since the domestic law was not fixed, it did not ratify.

The government at last submitted the recognition proposal of the Convention to the present Diet (Parliament), in response to the fact that the law for abolishing the discrimination against the person with disability was enacted in June this year.

NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) reported that the proposal for the UN CRPD was unanimously approved at the Upper House plenary session on December 4.

The government will decide the instrument of ratification of the CRPD with the Cabinet members early next year, and then submit it to the United Nations.

Japanese source:

Deaf adult class celebrates 50th anniversary of foundation, holding a commemorative ceremony in Tottori Prefecture

Nishio Sadao (西尾貞男), 71, who has attended the adult class for years and studied very enthusiastically, conveys the gratitude to the persons concerned in sign language on behalf of the class students.

December 2, 2013

The 50th anniversary ceremony of foundation of the Tottori Deaf Adult Class was held in Tottori-shi, Tottori Prefecture on December 1.

The importance of the lifelong learning for a Deaf person was realized again after commendation to persons supporting management of a class and recognized for rendering their distinguished service, a keynote speech, etc.

The head of the class management committee gave a speech: "Tottori Prefecture recently enacted the sign language ordinance. From now on, we must strive for spread of sign language."

The class was formed in 1963, the oldest as a social education organization for the Deaf adult in Japan, continuing activity for a long time.

Japanese source:

Hearing man in Saitama Prefecture aims at becoming an expert on hearing dog training

Akiba Keitaro walks with a PR dog for a hearing dog.
December 2, 2013

After Akiba Keitaro (秋葉圭太郎), 31,  graduated from the university four years ago, he found a job at the advertising agency in the Ginza, Tokyo. He worked till late every night and dealt with a poster of the company, or the advertising poster hung in a car of the train. His own income was also enough.

However, he felt that there must have been something that he wanted to do truly. "I would like to work deeply concerned with someone's lives." Akiba decided to quit the job, and when looking for work related to welfare, he got to know the Non-Profit Organization called the "Hearing Dog Promotion Association" in Fujimino-shi, Saitama Prefecture which was looking for the trainee at the time.

Through the training for one year, Akiba became the staff at the age of 28, and currently works as a hearing dog trainer and also in charge of public-relations.

It will take about two year for a dog to become a hearing dog. Although there is no restriction in dog species, it is said about three of ten dogs to become a hearing dog.

Although Akiba took charge of four dogs until now, neither has become a hearing dog. He said, "There is a difference of skills with senior trainer. I will need to have more experience and try to understand how a dog feels."

There are 51 hearing dogs in Japan. Compared with a seeing eye dog, a hearing dog is less recognized: it is sometimes refused to enter in a restaurant, a store, etc., nor people try to touch the hearing dog under work.

Japanese source:

Works by Deaf photographer exhibited in Tokyo

The 30-year-old photographer Saito Harumichi (齋藤陽道), who is Deaf, exhibits his works titled "Treasure/Harumichi Saito Photography" in WATARI-UM Museum in Tokyo from November 30, 2013 through March 16, 2014. It is the first large-scale exhibition for him.

Saito has worked on the photograph since around 2008 and won the prize of the Photograph New Century for his excellent work in 2010.

At the exhibition, 160 photograph prints are shown with along about 200 photographs by the slide show through the projector in the hall.

Some of his works can be seen at the following sites.


Ishikari mayor explains the basic ordinance proposal including sign language at regular municipal assembly in Hokkaido

Mayor Taoka Katsusuke explains "the basic ordinance proposal on sign language" with a sign language interpreter (right).

November 30, 2013

The 4th regular Ishikari municipal assembly was opened in Hokkaido, Japan's northern island, on November 29. Mayor Taoka Katsusuke (田岡克介) introduced 60 bills, such as "a basic ordinance proposal on sign language", and a current year general account supplementary budget.

Mayor Taoka explained the reason for a proposal of the basic ordinance on sign language, which was interpreted. "While recognizing sign language as a different language from Japanese which is a spoken language, the proposal aims at realization of the community which extends social understanding and makes those who use sign language feel comfortable to live."

According to the municipal assembly secretariat, the assembly had sign language interpreters for the first time in a plenary session.

The mayor also expressed the idea to invite a national convention of the Deaf, such as a sports meet, in the 2015 fiscal year.

Japanese source:

Related link:
Ishikari-shi in Hokkaido submits an ordinance proposal in order to make the city accessible in sign language

Ishikari-shi in Hokkaido submits an ordinance proposal in order to make the city accessible in sign language

Shintoku-cho Mayor Hamada Masatoshi explains at the expert meeting.
November 30, 2013
Aiming at more social understanding of sign language and supporting the Deaf community, Ishikari-shi, Hokkaido submitted the "Basic Ordinance on Sign Language" proposal to the regular municipal assembly on November 29. If it passed, the city will be the second case in Japan after Tottori Prefecture.

According to the city, the draft ordinance states sign language is regarded as the "language" that forms culture like Japanese similarly, and it also specifies improvement of the environment so that a Deaf person should easily participate in society.

An ordinance proposal is expected to be approved on December 16, the final day of the municipal assembly. The city aims at the ordinance enforcement in April, next year.

In Hokkaido again, Shintoku-cho established the examination committee consisting of experts on November 8, and is advancing decision of the ordinance proposal.

Japanese sources:

Deaf persons acquire official qualification as a dog trimmer after training

Dog trimming course at the "Biwako-mimi-no-sato" in Shiga Prefecture
December 1, 2013

The pet dog organization called the "Japan Kennel Club" (headquarters in Tokyo, JKC) has published five kinds of officially recognized qualification for a dog-trimmer according to technique and an experience level.

The welfare work facility named the "Biwako-mimi-no-sato" (びわこみみの里) located in Moriyama-shi, Shiga Prefecture, which offers working training for the Deaf, considered relation of the dog and a Deaf person was as important from the time of establishment in 2007. The facility provides a training course to become a "trimmer" for the dog.

The facility is the only trimmer training organization for a person with disability in Japan. Besides training of a hearing dog, management of a dog cafe, etc., the facility set trimmer training on the enterprise pillar.

Since the facility is not officially recognized by JKC, a Deaf trainee is required to take the certifying examination while learning at the facility. Six persons have acquired official qualification until now. Among these, several persons are employed as a trimmer.

Presently, five Deaf women are taking the training course for a trimmer. For their technical improvement, the order of dog trimming is accepted from a keeper: there is a request of about 70 pets in one month.

Japanese source:

More TV commercials with caption broadcast

Panasonic's commercial on the cooking household appliance with caption.

September 13, 2013

Commercials with caption have begun to be successively broadcast on television. This trend is welcomed by Deaf persons and elderly people.

Panasonic's captioned commercial on the household appliance (photograph) is broadcast every Saturday in the TV program since the end of August. Big enterprises such as Kao, Lion, Canon, etc. also broadcast their own commercial with caption.

The program with caption is increasing in news or a drama, too. The investigation as of the 2011 fiscal year by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications shows that in the NHK General TV 61% of the total broadcasting hours are captioned, while 46% for the Tokyo key commercial TV stations.

On the other hand, commercials with caption spread slowely because of a few technical issues -- there is a possibility that caption may hide the performer and a brand name in a commercial. Also, the commercial with caption in a TV program is restricted by "only one company sponsoring,"  etc.

Japanese source:

Deaf college student challenges radio DJ

November 29, 2013

A Deaf college student Tomijima Kenta (富島健太), 18, will challenge DJ of radio for an hour from 3:00 p.m. on November 29. He is a freshman of the Okinawa International University.

He will tell about the Deaf world, and the students will interpret for him. 

The University Welfare and Volunteer Support Office and the students planned the program, which was realized by collaboration with FM program "Yomitan" (FMよみたん).

Japanese source:

Deaf Fashion Show to take place in Osaka early December

Oshiro Saki tells about the Deaf Fashion Show in Osaka at Naha Airport.
November 30, 2013

The fashion show which will be held in Osaka on December 7 is all planned and participated as a model by the Deaf.

About 50 Deaf persons who gather from the whole country will walk on the stage.

The Deaf woman involved in talent model business, named Oshiro Saki, (大城早貴),  26, from Tomigusuku-shi, Okinawa Prefecture will work as a general director and producer as well.

She says, "I would like to show to the world that a Deaf person is able to do in society like a hearing person."

Japanese source:

Organization publishes collection of examples on discrimination against persons with disabilities in Ibaraki Prefecture

November 29, 2013

The organization, called the "group to develop the disability rights ordinance in Ibaraki" which consists of main 19 disability organizations in Ibaraki Prefecture published "the collection of discriminating examples" in order to enhance the ordinance establishment.

The group insisted that they wanted people to get to know a concrete example of discrimination and to know the present condition that a person with disability is hard to live.

The group interviewed the discriminating example experienced from about 30 persons with disabilities, as well as they asked for more examples through e-mail in October.

Summarizing a total of 180 examples gathered, the group submitted the collection of their work to the major political party of the prefectural assembly, the "Ibaraki Liberal Democratic Party" (「いばらき自民党」).

The collection of examples is currently online (Japanese):

"Group to develop the disability rights ordinance in Ibaraki" official website (Japanese):

Japanese source:

Teaching materials for deaf education exhibited through a flash type teaching-materials project

埋め込み画像 1 
At Kumamoto School for the Deaf (left)  Flashcard for fingerspelling (right) (photos:

 November 29, 2013

The flash type teaching-materials practice use project, which a company called "CHieru" plays a role as a secretariat, supports the activity of the "deaf school network construction program" at Kumamoto prefectural Kumamoto School for the Deaf, and exhibited flash type teaching materials for Deaf education in the website "eTeachers," the materials download site.

The project started in 2007 to utilize the flash type teaching materials widely at schools.

The "seminar on the practical use of flash type teaching materials" was held 40 times all over the country, and a little more than 2,800 persons participated. The website "eTeachers," which collects and offers flashcards for teaching materials, is developed and shown online.

The teaching materials dedicated to "eTeachers" go up to 13,000 cases, and are utilized widely at schools all over the country.

CHieru official website (English):

Highest award to Deaf student from Ehime Prefecture for National Deaf Students Art Show

Hirao Kaede and his watercolor painting titled "The God of Thunder"

 November 29, 2013

Hirao Kaede (平尾楓), 14, in the 9th grade class of the Ehime Prefectural Matsuyama School for the Deaf, won the highest award, the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology prize for the 18th National Deaf Students Art Show. The show took place in Kochi Prefecture on October 17-18.

Hirao said happily, "I am truly surprised to be chosen for a splendid prize."

The Deaf Education and Welfare Association sponsors an art show for the purpose of deepening social understanding and concern while it enhances a Deaf child's power of expression.

There was an application of 569 works this year by Deaf students aged 3-18 from 29 School for the Deaf across Japan.

Hirao's work, "The God of Thunder," is the colorful watercolor painting of the god of thunder that looks sinewy as the theme treated against the background of Mt. Fuji recently registered into world heritage, a tower called Tokyo Skytree, etc. which he visited last summer.

Hirao belongs to a table tennis club at school, and said he was not good at painting. He won the prize for an excellent work last year and the highest one again this year, which apparently gave him a confidence.

Japanese source:

Deaf Turkish man teaches a cooking class in Nagoya-shi

Toprak Hasan (left) teaches how to cook. Kim is at  right end.

 November 27, 2013 

The Deaf Turkish man, Toprak Hasan, 52, who currently lives in Nagoya-shi, Aichi Prefecture, studied Japanese Sign Language, and acted as a lecturer in the cooking class for the Deaf residents in the city early in November.

Hasan worked for the Japanese automaker in Germany, and got married with the Vietnamese deaf woman who lives in Japan after he got to like her through TV phone.

He visited Japan in April, this year, only to face a difficult life due to a different culture and language.

Through the job placement office, Hasan attended a Japanese Sign Language class 3 times a week from June at the non-profit organization called the  "Nagoya International Center for the Deaf" located in the city which supports a Deaf foreigner.

Hasan had an opportunity to show his cooking skill at the foreign cooking class with the use of the sign language at the center aiming at a Deaf international exchange. He used to work as a cook for about 20 years in the Turkey restaurant which his parents operated.

Hasan works in the same workshop as his wife, and he says that he continues learning reading and writing in Japanese in order to get a job in the automaker in Aichi Prefecture, which he has dreamed.

The Nagoya International Center for the Deaf was founded by Kim Nahm Yoon, 45, in December, last year. She who has an experience of sign-language interpreting in South Korea visited Japan at the time of marriage with a Korean resident in Japan.

With three personnel and seven volunteers, the center offers a Japanese sign language class as well as a Japanese one for a Deaf foreigner, and helps with businesslike procedure.

According to the Japanese Federation of the Deaf, the organization which takes juridical personality and works focusing on support to a Deaf foreigner is nationally new.

Japanese source:

YouTube: Tottori Prefecture introduces tourist sites, partly using sign language

Governor Hirai (center) expresses some words by sign language and dances together with  tourists in Tottori sand dunes, one of the tourist attractions. 

November 28, 2013

The music video which local persons dance at the tourist sites, etc. in Tottori Prefecture with a popular idol group's "AKB48" hit song "Fortune Cookie for Love" has been completed. It is shown to the public on "YouTube" since November 27.

As it also intends promotion of "The National Disability Art and Cultural Festival" which will be held in the prefecture in 2014, persons with disabilities also appear dancing in the YouTube.

Because of being the first sign language ordinance enacted in Japan, Governor Hirai signed some words in a song.


Tottori Prefecture official website (Japanese):

Session meeting on sign language's legal promotion held in Tokyo

Tottori Governor Hirai reports on the prefecture sign language ordinance.

November 25, 2013 

A session about the nationwide motion of the establishment of an ordinance or law that advances spread by making sign language into a language was held in Akihabara UDX in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo on November 22.

The Japanese Federation of the Deaf which aims at establishment of "a sign language law (tentative name)" sponsored the event. About 330 deaf persons and persons concerned all over the country gathered in the hall.

Mayor Taoka Katsusuke (田岡克介) of Ishikari-shi, Hokkaido in Japan's northern island reported the progress of an ordinance on sign language as a language. Its enforcement first in Hokkaido will be scheduled for April, next year.

He looked back upon the process that establishment of an ordinance when discussed, and mentioned, "There was also an argument whether to distinguish rather only a Deaf person from a person with physical disability."

The mayor indicated, "The ordinance is not concerned with whether you are disabled or not, but it is for all the citizens."

"If an ordinance or a law can be done and there will be a society with a new sense of values, persons other than a Deaf person will also come to use a language called sign language. We rather hopefully will not need this ordinance as soon as possible."

Then, Tottori Governor Hirai Shinji (平井伸治) explained in sign language the circumstances until the Tottori Prefecture sign language ordinance was enacted. "Although Tottori Prefecture is a very small prefecture, by stepping forward together. we can change this country. Your cooperation is requested."

After the reports, panel discussion was held also. Edano Yukio (枝野幸男), a Democratic Party member of the House of Representatives, and others participated.

Edano revealed having come to get interested in sign language when he was told that his new-born son might have a hearing problem. 

He introduced sign-language interpreting at the press conference of the prime minister and the Chief Cabinet Secretary at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, while acting as the Chief Cabinet Secretary by the Democratic Party Administration.

Also when Disabled Persons' Fundamental Law was revised, Section 1 with "language (sign language is included)" was incorporated in the article.

Edano said, "It is good that planted seeds are shooting out the bud in various places, but last must make a flower bloom in the form of law."

Japanese sources:

Deaf disaster victim proposes about disaster prevention support based on his experience

Sasaki tells in sign language while the situation of those days which suffered a great deal of damage is shown in a photo slide.

November 25, 2013 

The disaster prevention lecture meeting took place in Nagoya-shi, Aichi Prefecture on November 24, aiming at considering measures, support method for the Deaf, etc. in case of the large-scale earthquake.

A Deaf office worker Sasaki Katsuhiko (佐々木克彦), 46, of Sendai-shi, Miyagi Prefecture stricken by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, presented a lecture entitled "Remember the Day when the Earthquake hit northeastern Japan".

He told his own experience, etc., and appealed for the preparation to the seismic hazard.

He is from Ishinomaki-shi, Miyagi Prefecture. The office where he was hired in Sendai inland located about 800 meters from the seashore was attacked by tsunami. Although he was safe, he lost not only his coworkers and acquaintances, but also his parents who lived in Ishinomaki-shi.

Sasaki currently advocates and lectures for support to the Deaf disaster victims. He spoke about the fear of tsunami that rolled in, the bodies of his parents found three months later, etc.

Scholars recently have pointed out the possible occurrence of the Nankai Trough massive earthquake in the Tokai district where Nagoya-shi is located. "If a Deaf person has mingled with neighboring people, they will help you," insisted he, "human relationship in the area where you are is vital."

The organizing committee consisted of sign language interpreters and the volunteers of the sign language circles held the lecture meeting for the first time. About 220 persons were present at the event.

Japanese source:

Opinion: Charge of video remote interpreting should be shared by all the telephone users

November 22, 2013

Excerpted from the post by Sasagawa Yohei (笹川陽平), president of Nippon Foundation, a public incorporated foundation.

The UN Convention on Rights of People with Disabilities adopted in 2006 requests for the measure to secure the opportunity for a person with disability to use a telecommunications service.

Also the revised Disabled Persons' Fundamental Law in Japan has appealed for improvement of convenience for a person with disability in smooth communication with others.

After the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, Nippon Foundation started a video remote interpreting service as an experiment, tackling a telephone relay service mainly in the earthquake-hit prefectures including Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.

As a result, 302 persons registered for the service with 5,700 cases for two years by September, this year.

One person used nearly an average of 20 times; the urgent inquiry to the emergency contact to the school or hospital due to a child's illness and an injury, the consumer credit company at the time of card loss, etc. The daily situation where a Deaf person needed a telephone actually increased; the needs of the telephone was very high.

About three companies are currently working on a VRI service. Such a service will cost more than 300 yen the charge for interpreting per time.

The universal service system in Japan collects three yen one time regardless of fixation or a cellular phone for maintenance of a public telephone and an emergency telephone. When the system started in 2006, it was 7 yen one time, and later 8 yen. However, reduction in a public telephone, etc. caused less than half of the peak now. 

Telecommunications Business Law prescribes the institutional meaning "Offer should be secured universally in Japan as a whole." Yet, it is a view of a public office that "universally" means an area, and that it is difficult to apply to specific groups, such as persons with disability.

Japanese source:

National School for the Deaf in Chiba Prefecture wins the fourth victory at national deaf school athletic convention


November 21, 2013

The 50th anniversary National Deaf School Athletic Convention was held in the Komazawa Olympic Park Athletic Field in Tokyo on November 7-9. About 1,000 officials and spectators participated and 280 athletes from 45 schools for the Deaf across Japan competed.

The high school track team of the University of Tsukuba School for the Deaf in Ichikawa-shi, Chiba Prefecture won the fourth straight championship: both the championships for boys and girls, and the men's and women's relays.

Also many of the teammates took out the personal best record, and they demonstrated the best result of daily practice. The team was also overjoyed with the highly achieved results of the championships.

Japanese sources:


Deaf-friendly coffee shop in Osaka Prefecture

November 17, 2013

The coffee shop, "Deaf Cafe: Enjoy Sign Language," in Osaka-shi in the prefecture, is managed by the non-profit organization "Deaf Support Osaka", which tackles support of Deaf persons, such as life counseling, dispatching interpreters, etc.

The organization opened the cafe in 2006 in response to the request of the Deaf person who wanted to be engaged in service trade in spite of being Deaf.

In the space back in the cafe shop, there is a place for Deaf fourth to sixth graders to enjoy learning the arithmetic, the language, etc. twice every month. Moreover, a sign language lesson of 500 yen once is offered.

A hearing person is also welcome to the cafe shop. Those who do not know how to sign can order a menu by pointing.

Business hours: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Closed on Sunday, Monday, and a national holiday.

Japanese source:

Official website (Japanese):

Tottori Prefecture launches new sign language channel

November 19, 2013

In Tottori Prefecture, the "sign language ordinance" was enacted for the first time in Japan in October, 2013.

The ordinance defines that the prefecture is obligated to promote the environmental management which makes everyone easy to use sign language, such as offering more opportunity for the people in the prefecture to learn sign language, the information dissemination in sign language, etc. 

In response to the ordinance, the website page designed only for sign language called "Sign Language Channel" was newly added in the prefecture official network called "Tottori Video Channel."

The "Sign Language Channel" also has an audio guide for a person with visual impairment, the elderly people, and children who are unable to read caption online as well as caption for a hard of hearing person.

Japanese source:

Sign Language Channel:
First sign language lesson for the prefecture personnel

Event to learn different sign languages held in Tottori Prefecture

November 15, 2013

An event for Deaf persons from Japan and South Korea was opened in Yonago-shi, Tottori Prefecture. They learned mutually sign language which is different in both countries. About 30 Japanese Deaf persons gathered.

This event was held when five members of a Deaf theater group from South Korea visited Japan to participate in a signed theater with a Japanese counterpart.

After all the participants in both countries learned that sign language is varied with countries, etc. from the lecturer, one of the South Koreans explained that, as for South Korean sign language, the form of the Hankul alphabet was origin, etc.

Then, they were divided into a group of 2 persons and introduced themselves each other by using sign language and gestures.

Japanese source:

College for the blind and Deaf to set up new MA course on information accessibility next year

November 16, 2013

The Tsukuba University of Technology in Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki Prefecture which offers various education program to the Blind and Deaf students respectively, announced that it will introduce an "information accessibility" course as a two-year major in the graduate program in April, 2014.

The course is to train a professional to support social participation of the Blind and Deaf in obtaining more accessible information, and to research and develop of a device to support learning of sign language and activities.

Although Tsukuba University of Technology  (formerly Tsukuba College of Technology) has educated only for students with disabilities since the establishment in 1987, it will accept a hearing person also for the first time in the new MA course.

Five persons will be admitted. When completing the course, a job will be available such as a school staff or researcher in support of persons with disabilities.

Japanese source:

A comic book titled "The Sound of Voice" first published

November 15, 2013

The first volume of a comic book titled "The Sound of Voice" (「聲の形」) by Ohima Yoshitoki (大今良時) was put on the market on November 15. (Kodansha Publisher: 450 yen)

"The Sound of Voice" is a story of the Deaf girl named Shoko, and the hearing boy Masaya who bullied her.

The complete version printed in Kodansha's the weekly boy magazine has attracted attention, and is serialized in the magazine now.

With the series version, it begins from where the two people who grew up to be a high school student meet again, and Masaya faces a conflict.

The special edition of the serialized comic and the author Oima was broadcast in the NHK program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing recently.

Japanese source:

Related link:
New comic series titled "The Sound of Voice" to start in August

Deaf children first slide on fallen leaves in Aichi Prefecture

The children enjoy skiing on the fallen-leaves slope.

November 15, 2013 

The opening ceremony of the "fallen-leaves skiing area," covered with the pine needle instead of snow, was held on the hill at the back of the Okazaki municipal Eda elementary school on November 14. The children did the first slide, getting down from the slope with smile.

It is a routine program which continues since 1957, and the children of the Prefectural Okazaki School for the Deaf also have participated since about 30 years ago.

Guardians carried about 4-ton pine needle from the nearby golf course, and covered and prepared three courses (30 meters, 35 meters, and 45 meters).

The fallen-leaves skiing area is used for the PE lesson, etc. till February, next year.

Japanese source:

Metal of honor to the sign language circle for social service activity in Kanagawa Prefecture

The sign language class held by the circle.

November 15, 2013

The sign language service organization called "the Atsugi-shi sign language circle Ayu" (厚木市手話サークルあゆの会) in Kanagawa Prefecture next to Tokyo was awarded with a medal of honor, the Medal with Green Ribbon,  for the season of autumn.

The distinguished services of the energetic social service activity were evaluated; the circle opens a sign language course for elementary and junior high school students in the city every year, and participates  positively in the event such as a parent-and-child sign language classroom, a disability athletic meet and a public event by the city, or the social welfare council, and exchange with the local association of the Deaf.

The circle, formed in 1977, has about 100 members now, working in the welfare center at night on Tuesday and the daytime on Wednesday.

The circle will prepare for a disaster, etc., such as the members grasp a neighboring Deaf/deaf person, make a disaster prevention map, and offers assistance when a disaster occurs.

Japanese source:

Deaf student of Yamagata Prefecture commended in a message contest

November 13, 2013

Saito Kyoka (斎藤京香), 12, a junior high school first-year student of the Yamagata Prefectural Sakata School for the Deaf located in Sakata-shi, won the Mainichi Newspaper Co. prize in the 2nd "Message Contest" (Mainichi Newspaper Co. sponsorship), which presents a message to support the friend who does his/her best in extracurricular activities, a committee, etc. of a school.

Saito began swimming at the swimming class in the city when she was a first-grade elementary student. She swims six days a week currently. After becoming a junior high school student, Saito likes to swim the 800-meter freestyle, recommended by her instructor.

This summer she competed also in the northeast junior high school convention held in Akita-shi, Akita Prefecture in August after the Yamagata prefectural convention, ranked 14th in the good time which exceeds her personal best record for 8 seconds, which gave her confidence.

Saito worked for the message contest as homework during the summer vacation. "I have already decided whom I would write a message. I thought of the swimming teams across Japan."

Saito said at the contest, "I have a dream." It is her dream to complete in the Olympic Games to be opened in seven years later in Tokyo.

There were 6,888 pieces of applications for the contest from the whole country.

Japanese source:

Deaf student joins a school speech contest for the first time in Tottori Prefecture

A Deaf student Maeda Mana discusses in sign language at the speech contest.

November 13, 2013

The 42nd Tottori Junior High School Championship Speech Contest was held in Tottori-shi, Tottori Prefecture on November 12.

The chosen students from 25 junior high schools in the eastern part of the  prefecture showed the fervent speech by each theme such as relation by friendship or a family, club activity, etc.

In the contest, Maeda Mana (前田真那), a senior of the Tottori School for the Deaf presented discussion in sign language for the first time.

She told about a frank thought entitled "Overcome now." that she wanted to tell people what is like to be Deaf.

Japanese source:

New exchange base for the Deaf elder in Hiroshima Prefecture opens

The users and the staff join the exchange program using sign language at the new facility in Fukuyama-shi.

November 13, 2013

A Non-Profit Organization, the Bingo Welfare Association of the Deaf based in Fukuyama-shi, Hiroshima Prefecture opened the exchange base for the elderly people called "Smile-Bingo" in the city early November.

The opening ceremony was attended by a total of 13 persons with disability and 21 staff members.

Two full-time residence personnel and volunteers have planned recreation activities, such as handicraft and physical exercise.

A fee is 800 yen per day. A meal will be served for 500 yen. Bathing will be available with a helper's care for 200 yen.

Open hours: 10:00 a.m. - 15:30 p.m.
Closed on Tuesdays, 2nd and 4 Sundays.

Japanese source:

Related article:
Day care center for Deaf senior to be established in Hiroshima Prefecture

Disaster prevention DVD for the Deaf produced in Osaka Prefecture

Members of the sign-language interpreting association discuss the preparation to a disaster while looking at DVD.

November 12, 2013 
The Nonprofit Organization The "Hirakata Sign-Language Interpreting Association" which holds the sign language lecture, etc. in Hirakata-shi, Osaka Prefecture produced a DVD which explains disaster prevention information in sign language and caption for the Deaf.

Yamada Tomoko (山田智子), a 53-year-old president of the association, explained, "It is as difficult for the Deaf person who lives on sign language ever since the childhood as a foreigner to understand a Chinese character and a text. The way things stand, it will be involved in a disaster."

The Association increased a sense of crisis and started the project since last autumn. Fifteen association members including Deaf persons, whose viewpoint is incorporated in the DVD production, performed, filmed and edited. They also raised funds at the Deaf-related events.

The DVD is made not only by sign language and a caption for explanation, but making a part into a drama cut to make the Deaf viewer understand it easily. The DVD production completed at the end of October.

One Deaf person who participated in the production team said, "The text of a disaster prevention map published by the city is so difficult that I hardly read it. As I don't have much about the knowledge of disaster prevention, I got to know for the first time in many cases while working on  the DVD".

Japanese source: