New Disability Discrimination Dissolution Bill passed with future issue

 June 19, 2013

The Disability Discrimination Dissolution Bill which forbids the unjust discriminatory acts for reasons of disability passed on June 19.

Unless it became a too heavy burden to the public institution and the private business, the new law requires "reasonable accommodation" according to the state of a person with disability such as sex, age, and a kind of disability.

However, there is no concrete definition of discrimination in the new law, and the guideline which each ministry agency defines will affect everyday life greatly for three years.

The law will be reexamined three years later after the enforcement, and "efforts duty" by the private business may be highly redefined also.

Japanese source:

Countermeasures-against-calamities questionnaire conducted for the Deaf in Miyazaki Prefecture

June 19, 2013

The Miyazaki Association of the Deaf in Japan's southern island carried out the countermeasures-against-calamities questionnaire for its 366 members, out of about 1500 Deaf/deaf residents in the prefecture, by a visit or mailing from January through March.

There were 250 responses. It turned out that about twenty percent of the respondents said that they are afraid there is no method of getting to know a disaster instantly, and that 60 percent or more say they feel uneasiness about evacuation.

The association appeals for a daily preparation to the Deaf community, and is asking the surrounding people for an understanding and support to Deaf people.

The Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 showed a problem clearly about the difficulties in access to information and communication; many Deaf people were unaware of a tsunami warning, and so behind in evacuation. The same issue was brought to the Deaf community in the prefecture.

Japanese source:

English article: Japan to create world’s first Bible for deaf

June 20, 2013


Japan Deaf Evangel Mission (JDEM), a Nippon organization, is trying to change that by creating the first full-text sign language Bible using video-recorded Scriptures.

The organization’s mission, as they describe it, is to “translate the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures into Japanese Sign Language (JSL) and produce them on visual media, placing these Bible tapes for sale in bookstores throughout Japan.”

Read more (English):

University hospital to hold "a medical lecture meeting on deafness" in Tokyo

June 17, 2013

Showa University Hospital in Tokyo will hold the 10th citizen public seminar on Saturday, June 29 which a Deaf/deaf person can also participate with the use of sign-language interpreting, note taking, or a magnetic loop (hearing-aid support system).

Hayase* Kumi* (早瀬久美), the first Deaf pharmacist nationally licensed, will give a lecture. She works at the hospital as a pharmacist.

Showa University Hospital established a space for the Deaf/deaf outpatients in March, 2007, which was the first in the whole country as a university hospital in order that a Deaf/deaf patient and a medical staff may take effective communication as a motto for safe and sufficient medical treatment.

Japanese source:

*Note: The Japanese name is usually in order: one's last name comes first, and then the first name comes next.  

Sign language group of Kyoto celebrates 50th anniversary of establishment

Members practice in sign language for the special event.

June 20, 2013

The sign language group named "Horned Owl" in Kyoto-shi, Kyoto Prefecture celebrated the 50th anniversary of foundation. It is the oldest in the existing sign language circles across the whole country.

The group will hold a commemorative ceremony in Kyoto-shi on June 23, and all the past chairmen will give a talk to look back upon five decades there.

Nakajima* Chiyomi* (中島千代美) who was a nurse of the Red Cross' Second Hospital of Kyoto started the sign language group in 1963. There was hardly a sign language interpreter those days, and it was a motive that communication was not effective between a Deaf patient and a doctor.

Nakajima called to Mukono* Kaichi* (向野嘉一), 85, who is a sign-language interpreting expert, and twelve members began to learn sign language.

They had a goal to "become a Deaf's good friend", and have appealed for the discrimination abolition and the improvement in a Deaf's life in cooperation with the Kyoto City Association of the Deaf.

A branch is located in each division of the city now, and about 400 members learn sign language once a week, or plan an exchange event with the Deaf community.

Japanese source:

*Note: The Japanese name is usually in order: one's last name comes first, and then the first name comes next. 

Myanmar government employees visit Kawagoe-shi to study sign-language interpreting support


June 18, 2013

The government employees from Myanmar who aim at expansion of the sign-language interpreting support for Deaf persons visited Kawagoe-shi, Saitama Prefecture on June 17, and explanation was given to them about the city's sign language interpreter dispatch enterprise (photo).

The city has employed the sign language interpreter as the personnel, and also registers 12 interpreters who passed the certifying examination successfully as a part-time-service special staff. The sign language interpreter is dispatched as a city enterprise.

The Myanmar visitors were the assistant of the social welfare bureau, the social welfare ministry, and the teacher from the national school of the Deaf. They were concerned in the project of the independent administrative agency Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which has cooperated in sign-language interpreting training in Myanmar since 2007.

Japanese source:

Experiment on translation through tablet in public offices to start in Okinawa Prefecture

The image of "e-mimi at one-touch"
June 15, 2013 

ISCEC JAPAN, a company involved in information handling services located in Uruma-shi, Okinawa Prefecture, will launch the positive proof experiment of a service called "e-mimi at one-touch" after the end of June to support smooth communication for a Deaf/deaf person or elderly people.

In the service system, the tablet computer connected with the company's call center will be installed in a store and a public office, etc. for the communication access.  

Such a service on demand style for translation in text whenever necessary is reportedly the first kind in the whole country.

ISCEC JAPAN and Interactive Laboratory Okinawa developed software together based on the result of a research of Tsukuba University of Technology.

When a Deaf customer comes to the counter of a store and pushes the start button of the tablet computer screen, it will be connected to the call center by wireless LAN.

The interpreter at the center hears what the hearing person at the counter says, and translates into text, which instantly displays on the terminal.

Although the audio was caught via a smart phone until now, sounds and text are processed in one way with a tablet computer to allow the smooth flow from connection to service.

Japanese source:

Deaf school shows lessons to parents and residents in Kagawa Prefecture

June 16, 2013

There was a "school opening day" in the Prefecture School for the Deaf in Takamatsu-shi, Kagawa Prefecture on June 15 to offer parents and local residents the opportunity to know the situation of a Deaf student's school life.

The school has a total of 39 students from preschool through high school.

About 90 visitors observed ten elementary children expressed a motion of an animal with the body in the lesson of the gymnastics. Moreover, in the English class for  junior high school students, visual aids, such as a card, were used abundantly.

A tennis ball was attached to the portions of the chair or the leg of a desk in each classroom. The principal who showed around explained, "It is a kind of the sound proof for a child with a hearing aid when a desk or chair and the floor rub to sound offensively."

Japanese source:

Application venture business for smart phones which supports a deaf person established

An indoor signal apparatus using an Android terminal.

June 14, 2013

Entrusted by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) beginning in the 2011 fiscal year as a research development theme, Iwate Prefecture University developed the Android application for smart phones which offers Deaf/deaf persons support by the "advanced registration type household-noises discernment system using an Android terminal".

Based on this result, interested members invested, establishing an incorporated company called "Clear Fix" on May 23, 2013.

The product, an indoor signal apparatus, which supports a Deaf/deaf person is equipment which changes household noises, such as a chime of the door, a FAX ringer tone, and a fire alarm, into light or sound and tells the Deaf/deaf user.

This time the research team enabled the product to identify sounds even in a noisy place with original acoustic treatment technology in real time with a smart phone.

Japanese source:

New "start" equipment tested at Deaf school sports meet in Gumma Prefecture

June 15, 2013

The Deaf sprinter had to see the smoke of a pistol, etc., raising a face at the time of a start before rushing out.

Teachers of the Deaf in Tokyo and others concerned developed the new equipment which tells a start in cooperation with the maker.

The lamp of LED placed at a sprinter's feet changes from a "position" by red, "preparation" at yellow and then a "start" by green.

The start lamp was used in a tentative way in the Kanto Region Deaf School Track and Field Convention held in Maebashi, Gumma Prefecture on June 15.

Japanese source:

Software developed for smooth communication between Deaf and hearing persons

Better communication access: A deaf person (left) writes a text on his smart phone that is translated into spoken language. A hearing person (left) replies vocally to her smart phone, which is changed in text at once.

June 14, 2013

The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) under a research institution of Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications developed the software which interprets the text into speech, and displays instantly what is spoken in the text through the smart phone or the tablet computer.

The software, which can be download for free in the "App Store," is the first kind that changes both with a text and spoken words, featured that a Deaf person and a hearing counterpart are able to communicate without sign language or writing.

Such a software attracts attention as technology which supports the aged who have difficulties in learning sign language.

Japanese source:

English article: Sign-language service via iPads tested by JR East

JR East starts a trial visual remote interpreting service in Tokyo.

June 19, 2013

The Japan Times reports on East Japan Railway Company's trial on a visual remote interpreting service.


"East Japan Railway Co. began testing a sign-language interpretation service in Tokyo on Monday using a videophone application on an Apple iPad tablet for the hearing-impaired.

"The application allows passengers at information booths to use sign language and ask questions to a call-center operator via the iPad. The operator then orally relays the questions to a JR information guide before using sign language to return the guide’s answers to the passenger."

Click the following link for more information (English):

Deaf woman may lose life due to house fire in Aichi Prefecture

June 13, 2013

Because of an outbreak of fire, the two-story wooden home of Sekido* Yoshiko* (関戸芳子), 82, was completely burned down in Kasugai-shi, Aichi Prefecture around 10:45 p.m. on June 12.

The dead body was found from the burnt remains. It was not possible to contact with the eldest daughter, Katsumi (勝美), 49. The Prefecture Police Kasugai station is advancing the identity check.

Sekido inhaled smoke and her throat was burned.

The police station said that both the women were deaf and lived together . 

Nearby residents noticed the fire and made an emergency call to the fire station.

Japanese source:

*Note: The Japanese name is usually in order: one's last name comes first, and then the first name comes next. 

English article: Deaf bartender raises game to thrive in Ginza

Dai Igarashi, the Deaf manager of a bar "Bell Sign" in Tokyo.

June 13, 2013

The new bar "Bell Sign" that Dai Igarashi, a Deaf man, manages was opened in Ginza, Tokyo in April, 2013.

The Japan Times recently reports on it.


Dai Igarashi is a bartender in Tokyo’s glitzy Ginza entertainment district, attending to customers like any barkeep but with one difference — he is totally deaf.

As the manager of Bell Sign, which caters to hearing-impaired people, Igarashi communicates in sign language. 

Click the link to read more (English) :

New current-events terms translated into sign language for making broadcast of political views and a speech intelligible

Director Takada shows how to sign a new term, "plus 0 minus 5," related to the upcoming election.

June 07, 2013

With the Upper House election near at hand in summer, 49 current-events terms, such as "Abenomics", "plus 0 minus 5", "public assistance bashing", etc., were newly decided as  "signed terms in connection with an election."

The Japan Institute for  Sign Language Studies located in Kyoto studied not only the appearance of written words of a term but also the meaning contained in it, and announced new expression in sign language so that it might be easier for a Deaf individual to understand broadcast of political views and a candidate's speech.

The institute is striving to decide and spread newly signed terms for national unification in response to commission of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

It has been the 5th time since the 2009 Lower House election that the institute made the signed terms related to the election.

Director Takada* Eiichi* (高田英一)explained, "A consideration is needed when a meaning differs from the appearance of written words. We have many still unclear spoken terms."

The animation of 49 signed terms can be viewed on the institute website (Japanese):

Japanese source:

The Japanese name is usually in order: one's last name comes first, and then the first name next.

Deaf children and students feel music with the touch at music concert

A music concert held in the Fukushima Prefecture School for the Deaf. Students touched the piano to feel the sounds. (photo:

 June 7, 2013

The concert was held in the Prefecture School for the Deaf located in Koriyama-shi, Fukushima Prefecture on June 6, where the pianist, the soprano, and the percussionist performed.

The Deaf children and students touched by hand Steinway's grand piano brought from Tokyo and the singer's body, and felt the professional sounds.

The concert was held for the second time by Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance Company's support project for the earthquake stricken area, following last year.

Japanese source:

Tsukuba University of Technology signs for mutual exchange with Gallaudet University

Presidents Murakami (left) and Hurwitz shook hands after signing the memorandum in the signing ceremony.

June 11, 2013

Tsukuba University of Technology (NTUT) and Gallaudet University (GU) held the signing ceremony to renew the university exchange agreement on June 7.

NTUT in Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki Prefecture is the only national university to serve visually impaired students and deaf/hard of hearing students in Japan.

GU, founded in 1864 in Washington, D.C., is the oldest higher education institution to educate Deaf/deaf student from around the world.

Both the universities concluded the sister school agreement in 2007, aiming at development of education and research until now through exchange of a school staff or students, sharing of education and research information, participation of symposium, etc.

Japanese sources:

Deaf woman works as a sign language researcher in UK

Sagara Keiko
June 7, 2013

Sagara Keiko currently works as a sign language researcher and is a student of linguistics at the University of Central Lancaster in UK. 

Recently she was interviewed by the Deaf Unity.


"I am a Japanese deaf woman and have been a sign language researcher at iSLanDS (International Institute for Sign Languages and Deaf Studies) since I moved to the UK three years ago.

I am enjoying my new life here in the UK and have learned about a lot of fascinating things such as BSL, British culture, foods and fantastic people."

Read more (English):

City in Aichi Prefecture to distribute free badge to show ability to sign

The sign language badge which Toyohashi-shi made.
June 7, 2013

Toyohashi-shi, Aichi Prefecture located in the central part of Japan made 700 "sign language badges" so that a Deaf person find someone who can sign at a glance.

According to the city, this attempt might be the first in self-governing bodies within the prefecture.

The Toyohashi-shi Association of the Deaf took charge of a design and manufacture of the badge.

The round-shaped badge with 3.8 cm in diameter has the illustration of "sign language" in Japanese, "Toyohashi" in Roman alphabets and a sign which means "I love you" on its surface.

The Tokai Region Deaf Athletic Meet will be held in the city on June 22, where sign-language interpreting volunteers will use the badge.

The badge is due to be distributed also to the hospital which places those who can sign, a post office, and a supermarket.


Deaf preps visit vocational training course for the Deaf in Chiba Prefecture

The students work on tree-planting with seeds.

June 8, 2013

On June 7, the program was offered for the Deaf prep students to visit the occupation course in the high school department of Tateyama Branch School for the Deaf in Awa Special Support School located in Chiba Prefecture which was opened in April, this year.

About 50 visitors including guardians, local school officials and 13 junior high school students participated in the program. They observed a group of students planting the seedling of a flower and facilities.

One of the participants who has a Deaf student said, "Although I did not know this school at all until now, I felt the same bright atmosphere as an ordinary school."

Japanese source:

Japanese golfer blogged by the World Deaf Golf Federation

 Chikara Mishina (left)

June 7, 2013

The World Deaf Golf Federation has blogged a Japanese hearing man, entitled "Profile: Chikara Mishna"(*).

He is well known in the world of Deaf Golf because he made a great contribution as the Tournament Director of the 2012 World Deaf Golf Championships (WDGC) held in Japan.

For more details, click the following link (English):

(*) The name is misspelled. It should be "Chikara Mishina."

Deafblind organization to be established in Kagoshima Prefecture

Hayashi* Miki* (林美喜子), chairmen of the board of directors (next to a male in white shirt), discusses supported by a sign language interpreter.

June 6, 2013

The deafblind persons who live in Kagoshima Prefecture formed the non-profit organization (NPO) "Kagoshima Prefecture Society of the DeafBlind" in the prefecture, a part of Japan's southern island.

They will hold an establishment commemoration convention in the hotel in Kagoshima-shi on July 14.

The members intend to appeal for many more participation and to advance improvement in a living environment, and social participation.

According to the investigation of the prefecture and Kagoshima-shi, there are about 590 deafblind residents.

The organizing committee was formed in 2009, and the founding of the group was approved as an NPO at the end of March, this year. About 20 members in total, including the group concerned, supporters, and family members.


The Japanese name is usually in order: one's last name comes first, and then the first name comes next.

Public broadcasting station to broadcast political views with caption for the Upper House election

June 8, 2013

In order to broadcast political views intelligibly for the Deaf/deaf community, Nippon Hoso Kyokai (Japan Broadcasting Corporation: NHK) will broadcast political views of proportional candidates for the Upper House election in summer with caption.

Broadcast of political views with caption has been strongly requested from organizations of the Deaf/deaf, about which  NHK has inquired with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications since 1998.

With equipment and a system ready in the broadcast center in Tokyo, NHK decided to carry out only for the Upper House election proportional candidates taped in the center.


English article: Deaf gangsters arrested for extorting Deaf man in Tokyo

June 5, 2013

Tokyo Metropolitan Police announced the arrest of two Deaf organized crime members for blackmailing a Deaf man, 75, in Tokyo.

See the following link for more details.

English article:

Japan Railways (JR) to introduce the remote sign-language interpreting service using a tablet computer in Tokyo

Operator (left), Deaf person and staff (right)

June 4, 2013

According to the Press Releases of JR East Japan, the remote sign-language interpreting service using a tablet computer will be carried out as an experiment.

With the use of the TV phone function of an "iPad," the remote interpreting will be performed.

When the Deaf person who wants to ask a question comes, the JR East Japan staff connects iPad to a call center.

When the Deaf person asks a question in sign language toward a screen, an operator will interpret it for the staff.

And then what the staff answers will be interpreted by the operator for the Deaf person.

The service will be provided at an information center, a general guide counter, etc. at train stations on Yamanote Line which runs in Tokyo, starting on June 17, 2013 through March 31, 2014. The operation hours: 9:00-17:00.

Japanese source:

Research on Japanese Sign Language Online

Two researches on Japanese Sign Language are currently online as follows:

1. "Japanese Sign Language Linguistic Map" (trial version)

The first one is relevant to regional difference analyzed by researchers of Tsukuba University of Technology which was funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science in the academic year 2008-2009.

A part of result of the research was made public, as titled "the Japanese Sign Language Linguistic Map (trial version)" with 30 glossaries chosen from the research.

Glossaries: dog, cat, monkey, hen, egg, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, dormitory, attending school, gymnastics, Japanese language, travel, Japan, France, grandfather, grandmother, east, west, south, north, brown, pink, 100 yen, 300 yen, 1000 yen

Target age group: the 30s and the 70s

Japanese source:

2. "Corpus Project in Colloquial Japanese Sign Language"

The second linguistic research website on Japanese Sign Language was developed in May 2013, called the "Corpus Project in Colloquial Japanese Sign Language," aiming to finding how JSL differs across Japan.

English version:

Deaf high school student to challenge Deaflympics in Bulgaria

Kubo is an enthusiastic swimmer for the international convention of the Deaf this summer.

May 30, 2013

Chunichi Shimbun reported that Kubo* Minami* (久保南), 16, a high school junior of the Aichi Prefectural Okazaki School for the Deaf located in Okazaki-shi, was chosen for the national swimming team, which will participate in the Deaflympics in Sophia, Bulgaria.

She, the youngest among the six teammates, is eager to compete at the upcoming convention, saying, "I would like to certainly win a prize, hopefully a medal."

Kubo participated in the swimming race of the Asia-Pacific Deaf Sports Meet held in South Korea last year. A good breaststroker, she won a gold medal with the new national record of 2:51:33 for 200m, and finished second with 36:41 for 50m. Moreover, she won a gold medal for 100m.

Kubo began swimming at the age of 3, moved to the higher-level swimming school when she was a fifth grader, improving swimming.

Although she once wanted to stop swimming because of hard practice, she did not give up. "I would like to become stronger in order to compete at the Deaflympics."

Japanese source:

The Japanese name is usually in order: one's last name comes first, and then the first name next.