Calendar promotes social awareness of sign language

With the calendar in the hand, Nakashima speaks, 
"I want people to have an interest in sign language."

December 17, 2015

Akita-shi, Akita:

Nakashima Netsuke, 40, a housewife in Akita-shi, northeastern Japan, has a Deaf daughter and communicates with her in sign language. 

Nakashima made a calendar for the year 2016 with an illustration of sign language.

About 600 copies of calendar will be put up in hospitals and public facilities in the city. Nakashima says, "I'd like to make sure that people think sign language is proper in the society."

Nakashima established a general social organization incorporated, The "Sign Language Akita Spread Center" in August, 2015 with her husband. The first activity project was calendar making. It is because a calendar is practical and it's possible to enjoy sign language through the year.

Japanese source:

Establishment of a Sign Language regulation by both prefecture and city is first in Japan

December 16, 2015

Maebashi-shi, Gunma:
A Maebashi City Sign Language Regulation proposed by a councilor was approved by an unanimous vote in a regular meeting plenary session of the Maebashi municipal assembly on December 15. The regulation will be carried out in April, next year (2016).

The Gunma Prefecture Assembly near Tokyo has also established a Sign Language Regulation, in April, 2015.  It is the first case that both a prefecture and a city establish and carry out a regulation related to Sing Language.

The sign language club which was set up in Maebashi-shi in 1968 was the first group to advance sign language interpreters training in the prefecture.

Japanese Source:

Business starts wedding ceremony in sign language


Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido:

The firm called "Grove Entertainment" which manages a wedding event at Sapporo-shi in Japan's northern island held the wedding reception for Deaf clients on December 13 in the city as the first company to provide the service.

Employee learned sign language intensively for half year, and also a caption system for a Deaf bridegroom and his invited guests was provided.

The company will offer the wedding ceremony service in Hakodate and Akita, too.


Imperial member speaks in sign language at Deaf event

Kiko (left) and her daughter Kako 
December 12, 2015


Kiko, the wife of Prince Akishinomiya who is the Crown Prince's younger brother, and her second daughter Princess Kako attended the event in Tokyo to promote information access to the Deaf community.

Kiko made a speech by sign language about the tool for a Deaf person to receive information, issues of information access at the time of an accident, etc.

The imperial members also dropped in at the section introducing the modern technology useful for advancement of the life of visually impaired and had the explanation about Deaflympic athletes (photo). 

Japanese source:

Subway drivers try to promote barrier free environment for the Deaf

The Mole Team explains the careful points when 
taking the subway, to Deaf children and students.
December 12, 2015  

Osaka-shi, Osaka:

The volunteer group of subway drivers called "The Mole Team" in Osaka-shi holds a monthly meeting to study how to make the subway barrier free in cooperattion with the nonprofit organization incorporated, "Deaf Support Osaka."

The team is trying to improve the current situation from a site, such as making the video which introduces a station name by sign language with the Deaf, asking for opinion from the Deaf community and proposing a measure for change. 

For example there is a communication board that can communicate smoothly with a Deaf passenger through pointing the "letter and/or picture" even if a word isn't understood. The board has been put at subway each station, but it found out that such an accommodation was unknown to the Deaf. The team asked the Bureau for improvement, and the communication board was just put at the place at all stations which everyone can notice.

Japanese source:

In wartime I didn't hear air alert warning: I made a weapon, too.

Kurosaki Tokiyasu (right) tells 
his wartime experience.
December 7, 2015

Sumoto-shi, Hyogo:

The Pacific War started on December 8, 74 years ago. Kurosaki Tokiyasu, an 86-aged Deaf man, has the memory which sticks to his mind now.

A big formation of B29 bombers of the U.S. forces raided in the sky of Osaka late at night and dropped countless incendiary bombs on March 13, 1945, 70 years ago; the town became a sea of the fire.

A 15-aged boy Kurosaki didn't hear an air alert warning then, but felt the rumble of the ground. While running around to escape, he arrived in an embankment in Yamato-gawa River and held his breath until morning.

His mother who kept being blamed by her husband, a carpenter, because of having a Deaf baby. A several years later, she was dead. Kurosaki thought he couldn't live with his father who used violence, and left his home. 

When he was putting himself under the protection of various places, it was Osaka Great Air Raid that he met. After that he got work to make fuse of a bomb at a munitions factory to survive.

During the wartime persons with disabilities worked for Japan  as "gear" under a slogan of "nation general mobilization", too. Kurosaki was said by people around him, too, that it was natural to work on national agenda in work, but he could not follow and left the factory. 

That was several months before the end of the war in August. He made all part rolling on after the war, getting the cost of living by stealing.

Kurosaki lives presently at the special elderly nursing home in Sumoto-shi near Osaka which accepts a Deaf senior. He tells the people who visit the home in a tour about his wartime experience; what kind of environment a Deaf person was put by a war.

Japanese source:

Mirrors to prevent collision effectively on hallway in Deaf school

December 11, 2015

Katsushika-ku, Tokyo:

The mirror manufacturing sales company which delivers a mirror for onboard to a worldwide airplane manufacturer installed 22 anticollision mirrors in the end of last year in the Tokyo Metropolitan Katsushika School for the Deaf for free of charge.

The school has about 200 children and students from preschool to high school. The school officials said they have told the children and students not to run through a hallway. However there was a lot of collision around the dining room and the teachers' room.

After about one month later since the mirror installation, the result of a questionnaire showed that collision between the children and with a staff decreased dramatically.

Japanese source:

Use of hearing aid allowed in driving license test next spring 

December 10, 2015  

The National Police Agency decided to amend he second-class license in the Road Traffic Law enforcement regulations for driving a taxi, a bus, etc. on December 10 to allow the use of a hearing aid in the hearing test. 

The regulations will be proclaimed at the middle of December and be carried out on April 1, 2016. It'll be a chance of business opportunity for a Deaf/deaf person.

When hoping for license acquisition, a Deaf/deaf person is able to attend a driving school before April, 2016.

Japanese source:

Related blog:
Use of hearing aid approved in driving bus and taxi

Deaf and hearing mothers enjoy gathering in local area

December 9, 2015  

Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa:

A monthly gathering by mothers, both Deaf and hearing, is held at a cafe in Yokohama-shi, next to Tokyo. Matsumoto Mari, 34, a Deaf mother with three hearing sons aged from two to five, started this project, which has popular currently.

She explained, "Regardless of disability I wanted to make the place where I feel easy, communicate and get in touch with other people in the area." 

Matsumoto has felt difficulty and irritation because of deafness through child rearing. She started a place for gathering in the cafe where she used to work as a staff, in September, 2014.

At the gathering, the participants, both Deaf and hearing, communicate through lipreading or mouthing as well sign language.

A Deaf mother says, "When coming to gather round, I can enjoy myself without hesitation." A hearing mother says, "I didn't know how to communicate with a Deaf mother first, and I am feeling easy after we became friends in spite of disability. "

Japanese source:

Cookie with sign language illustration for sale

The cookie with a sign illustration meaning
 "Thank you very much" (left).
February 7, 2015  

Akita-shi, Akita:

The general corporate organization called the "Sign Language Spread in Akita Center" in Akita-shi, northeastern Japan, sells the cookie with a sign illustration meaning "Thank you very much" (180 yen for one) and other snacks.

A Deaf woman made and distributed a snack with a sign language illustration in order to show gratitude to friends and parents when her daughter completed a kindergarten program this spring. 

The cookie was commercialize in order for a Deaf person to show a feeling. 

Japanese source:

Lecture by Deaflympic and Paralympic athletes

December 4, 2015
Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa:

Takada Yuji, a Deaflympian, and his wife Chiaki, an Asia-Paralympian who is visually impaired, were invited to a lecture meeting at a junior high school in Yokohama near Tokyo on December 3.
Takada spoke to all the students in the lecture. "If you come across the person in trouble regardless of disability, it is important for you to ask if you could help. 

The Olympics and Paralympics will be held in Tokyo in 2020. A lot of people are expected to gather from all over the world. If you see a person in trouble, I want you to speak to the person if help is needed, too."

Chiaki has been applying herself to training at present aiming at competition in the Rio Paralympics which will be held next year. She hopes eagerly that she gets a gold metal and puts it on her son. 

Japanese source:

Deaf medical student aiming at becoming doctor

Hattori Norishige
a deaf medical student

November 3, 2015

Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka:

Hattori Norishige, aged 22, who aims at becoming an
otolaryngologist, is a deaf student in Hamamatsu University School of Medicine in Hamamatsu-shi, eastern Japan. His dream is to support deaf person's health and mentality.

He, a medical school senior, wears a hearing aid in both ears since he was born because of hard of hearing. He understands what is told from lipreading, too. He concentrates on slides and material in the lecture, and when having a doubt, turns over a reference book.

He had the time when he felt despaired because of deafness in once in his life, but overcame it after encouraged by his former teachers. They told him, "There must be something only you can do. Change your disability to your power".

Hattori went to USA in May and participated in the health care worker's meeting. Not only doctors who were hard of hearing, but also specialists in law, sign language and technology gathered as well. Hattori was surprised at the size of the medical professionals, and then he wanted also to develop a Japanese system better".

There is a national group in Japan consisted of about 70 hard of hearing professionals in the filed of medicine, including 29 doctors, two dental doctors, and pharmacists, nurses and others. This group is independent allowing free admission according to the secretariat, so health care workers who are deaf should be a lot more. 

Japanese source:

Issue on interpreting in broadcast for national election

November 30, 2015

The only constituency election of an Upper House Election, one of the national elections, doesn't allowed interpreting for an election broadcast. Because there are not enough interpreters in local areas, it may imply that equity of election can't be kept as long as there are local areas which can't reserve interpreters enough.

In particular in Kyushu and Okinawa, there are not so many interpreters that the Deaf community are worried about "an information gap." 

They have decided by making reference to an election bulletin and a newspaper article up to now, but can't get information from the election broadcast without interpreting.

The high skill is asked for an interpreter in an election broadcast with a lot of difficult terminology. Therefore those who have taken the course offered by national groups of interpreters work on the election broadcast generally. Out of about 3,300 certified interpreters in the whole country, only about 1,300, less than 40%, took the course as of May, 2015. 

Japanese source:

English article: Deaf community hopes 2020 Olympics a ‘game-changer’ for better social inclusion

November 4, 2015 
Japanese students practice using American Sign Language during a course by the Japanese ASL Signers Society in August in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward.



Living in Japan as a foreigner who is deaf has revealed many challenges. Prosser, who works as a travel agent for the deaf, hopes 2020 will be a game-changer in a society where a lack of understanding of the deaf population leads to audism — or the notion that one is superior based on an ability to hear.

Read more:

English article: Same-sex partnership paper issued to sign language instructor

November 5, 2015

Setagaya Ward, Tokyo:

Eight couples in Tokyo were issued with certificates recognizing their same-sex partnerships as equivalent to marriage on the first day of the long-awaited policy change.

Although the papers are not legally binding, hospitals and businesses such as real estate firms are requested to treat certificate holders in the same way as married couples.

In Setagaya Ward, it was a day of celebration for Yumiko Takashima, 45, and Sachiko Takano, 44, a transgender male sign language instructor. The two have lived together for 17 years.

Read more:

Deaf female runner wins five successive championships in 1500 meters

October 26, 2015
Yasumoto Makiko shows powerful run by 1500 
meters for women with hearing impairment. 

A Deaf woman, Yasumoto Makiko from Shizuoka-shi, 28, won the first prize for 1500 meters, achieving five straight championships at the National Disability Sports Conference held in Wakayama Prefecture, western Japan in October. 

She also won the first prize for 800 meters, saying, "I was really tired after running for 800 meters, but I did my best, so, I felt a sense of fulfillment spread."

Yasumoto has competed in the Conference since eleven years ago, but it was the first time for her to run two races on the same day. 

Japanese source:

Use of hearing aid approved in driving bus and taxi

October 22, 2015

The National Police Agency developed a proposed amendment of the Road Traffic Law enforcement regulations on October 22 which approve use of a hearing aid in the second-class license test for driving a bus, taxi, etc.

Public opinion is called for from October 23 to November 21. The amended regulations is scheduled for enforcement on April 1,2016 .

Without using a hearing aid for the current test, it was one of the conditions of the driving license for a Deaf/deaf person to hear the tone of 90 decibels of horn at the place from 10 meters away, which will be changed by the proposed amendment.

The Japanese Federation of the Deaf welcomed the move, "The big one first step could be taken for more business chance for the Deaf."

Japanese source:

Popular cooking class through sign language 

October 17, 2015  
Ogata explains how to make 
pizza by sign language.

Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo:

The cooking class that a Deaf lecturer teaches by sign language is opened in Tokyo. It is carried out by two women;  Ogata Miwa, 44, the Deaf woman licensed as a cook  and Tanaka Hiroko, 42, the French lecturer who volunteers to teach sign language.

They achieved to start a cooking class after eight years, because they believed; 
"Even if interpreting provided in an ordinary cooking class, it isn't possible for a Deaf student to see  both an interpreter and a lecturer at the same time, so a Deaf person is left out."

The cooking class called "The Rainbow" was opened in Bunkyo-ku in August. It was the second time since June, this year. The Deaf woman who participated in the class said, "The lecturer used sign language, so, I understood how to make immediately."

Ogata lost hearing by an unknown cause suddenly when she was a high school student. Her dream was to become a cook or a dietitian, but was not allowed to enter a college. She was an office worker after graduating from high school. Yet she entered other college with a note taker in 2008. One year and a half later she finally was qualified to be a licensed cook.

Japanese source:

Japanese art by Deaf man wins prize at contemporary art exhibition

October 17, 2015

Fukuyama-shi, Hiroshima:

The domestic and abroad experts concerned of fine arts examined total of 231 domestic works exhibited at the National New Art Museum in Tokyo in August, and 13 works have won a prize.

One of the works was the Japanese painting titled "The Moonlight" that a Deaf barber owner Monden Ryoji, 71, a Fukuyama-shi resident in western Japan, drew the image of Mt. Fuji as a base material won the Paris International Salon Prize at "the 16th Japan-France Contemporary Art World Exhibition."

After graduating from the school for the deaf, Monden started a barber shop at the age of 21. he has kept facing canvas between work since about 40 years ago when getting off the ground to a good start. He communicates with the guest by means of sign language and writing.

Domestic and abroad, Monden, who had in his hand winning by first entry in the International Show where attention is attracted, said, "I thought winning the prize was difficult, so I'm very happy. I will continue painting for the best further."

Japanese source:

Beauty shop open to promote Deaf employment

October 16, 2015
Ogawa (center) begins the first work. 
A hearing staff (right) supports the 
communication between him and the guest. 

Sagamihara-shi, Kanagawa:

The barber/beauty shop called "Lupine Hair" where a person with disabilities and an able-bodied person work together equally opened in Sagamihara-shi near Tokyo on October 15. 

It is managed by a corporate organization, the "Japanese Barber/Beauty Lupine Society" in the city with an aim at promoting social independence of a person with disabilities through barber/beauty work as well as welcoming a visitor with disability to the store to enjoy dressing up. Such project is also unusual in the whole country according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

On the open first day ,Ogawa Toshio, a deaf staff, 35, welcomed the first hearing guest, asked him what kind of hair style while indicating a homemade hair styles list  by means of writing.

Ogawa fell ill and lost hearing about ten years ago when he was working at an ordinary beauty salon. He found the job-opening information and came to the new shop. He said with a smiling face, "It's very comfortable to work."

As the need arises, a hearing staff supports communication for the Deaf staff and the guest.

There used to be a barber/beauty training course in schools for the deaf across the whole country. After finishing it, the student acquired a national qualification before work, which would lead to an independent living. However, the needs on the side of employers decreased in recent years. There are only two schools, Hiratsuka School for the Deaf in Kanagawa next to Tokyo and Fukuoka School for the Deaf in southern Japan have offered a barber/beauty flirting presently.

Japanese source:

Popular comic "The Sound of Voice" to be filmed

October 14, 2015
"The Sound of Voice" 7th volume

According to the Weekly Boy Magazine" 46th issue published on October 14, Yamada Naoko will direct an animation film of "The Sound of Voice" based on the comic, an original work of Ohima Yoshitoki. Kyoto Cartoon Film will produce the film.

The cast and the details such as opening to the public time are uncertain.

Japanese source:

Related blog:

English article on why "no dogs allowed"

October 15, 2015        


Recently, 100 guide dog users were interviewed to assess the current situation. 52 stated that they had experienced denial of access at some time even after the passing of the Access Law for Service Dogs in 2002

Of those facilities that refused entry, restaurants ranked the highest at 32, followed by taxis, hotels (mainly Japanese-style inns), and privately owned hospitals…” 

Deaf man makes best to appeal he is Deaf while running

October 15, 2015
(top) Kurokawa checks a course for Kanazawa marathon.
(bottom) The best that he made personally (the back with 
a letter "Deaf" is shown)

The Deaf office worker Kurosawa Taiki, 26, who lives in Osaka, will participate in the Kanazawa marathon which will be held on November 15 in northeastern Japan.

He has enjoyed a marathon since twenty years old, experiencing the sport twenty-three times so far from 2009.

Kurosawa had the experience that he was knocked down in the side by the runner who accompanied a runner with visually impairment from behind suddenly at the Hokkaido marathon at Sapporo-shi, northern Japan in August, 2014. 

So Kurosawa made a best with a word "Deaf" on the back at his own cost, wishing the environment that everyone can run comfortably through Kanazawa in autumn.

There is a national sports event that a person with disabilities puts on the special best according to a specialist, but it is unusual that the Deaf person wears a best. There are a person who want to show that he has a disability meanwhile a person who doesn't want to, too, so wearing a special best is optional, but it may be certainly the effective means.

Japanese source:

English article: Deaf graduate student completes thesis in sign language

October 15, 2015


A graduate school student, born Deaf, has become the first person in Japan to undertake the challenge of completing a master’s degree thesis through Japanese sign language. 

Shinya Kawabata, 36, studying at the Japan College of Social Work in Kiyose, western Tokyo, has been video recording the sign-language thesis for presentation in DVD format to the graduate school. 

As the title of his master’s thesis, Kawabata has chosen "Support for the deaf LGBT by means of sign language."

Read more:

New book by Deaf Tokyo assembly woman who was former writing hostess

October 14, 2015  

The publisher, Corporation KADOKAWA in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo will sell a new book by Saito Rie, titled "Frankly - Note by writing assembly woman and her struggles" (1,300 yen + tax) on October 21, 2015.

After Saito was Ginza NO.1 as a hostess who communicated by means of writing, she wrote a book titled "The Writing Hostess," about her half a lifetime and experience was published. It was a best seller of 390,000 copies of total.

Saito was elected as one of the Kita-ku assembly members in Tokyo in April, 2015 winning the top 6,630 votes, the largest in Kita-ku history. She is active to achieve "the barrier free of the heart" for 2020 Tokyo Paralympics in at present.

In the book she relates frankly about a deep-rooted strife with her mother, child rearing and a confrontation with disability. 

Japanese source:

Related blog:

Japan comes out second best in soccer tournament, getting into Summer Deaflympics

October 12, 2015  
The Japanese national soccer team
achieved coming out second best

The final male soccer game in the tournament took place on October 11 as a part of the 8th Asian Pacific Deaf Sports Conference in Taiwan. 

Japan played against Iran, being defeated in 3-4 at the end of penalty shootout. It missed two straight victories, ending in the second prize. This game was combined with the Asian Pacific region preliminary for the 23rd Summer Deaflympics which will be held in Turkey in July, 2017, so Japan grasped the chance for Summer Deaflympics.

It was also a good game ahead of the third World Deaf Soccer Championships which will be held in Salerno, Italy in June, 2016.

Japanese source:
English article: Helen Keller’s letter written during 1937 Japan visit 

June 24, 2015


A letter written by the American deaf-blind activist Helen Keller (1880-1968) during her first visit to Japan has been discovered.

She traveled from New York to Yokohama in April 1937, her first of three visits to Japan, during which she met with the prime minister and officials of organizations representing the deaf and blind.

During Keller’s 1937 visit to Japan, The Asahi Shimbun sponsored her lectures and receptions and reported up-to-date news on her activities around the country.

The letter, addressed to the then president of The Asahi Shimbun and dated May 30, 1937, expresses her gratitude to the newspaper for “opening the people’s minds to the problems of the blind.”

Read more:

Support agreement at the time of disaster concluded with disabilities groups

October 9, 2015
Chairperson Iwai of the City Social Welfare Council (left) 
receives a written agreement with the volunteer groups. 

Oshu-shi, Iwate:

Oshu City Social Welfare Council located in northeastern Japan concluded the cooperation support agreement at the time of disaster with ten volunteers groups in the city at the Welfare Center on October 8.

Based on the agreement, volunteers, including guides with braille and spoken Japanese, sign language interpreter and note-taker, support those who are visually impaired and Deaf/deaf persons in cooperation in order to secure them  evacuation without any trouble.

Japanese source:

Deaf woman with hearing dog refused to enter coffee shops

October 9, 2015

Osaka-shi, Osaka:

The Deaf woman, 46, with a hearing dog was blocked to enter each coffee shop two times in the Hankyu Department Store Umeda Main Store in Osaka-shi on October 3. 

That happened just after she participated in a service dog awareness event held by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare at the main store.

The Access Law for Service Dogs of 2002 requires a service dog, such as guide dog, hearing dog and nursing-care dog, acceptance at a store, restaurant, etc., but the coffee shop staff didn't know the law.

Hankyu Department Store has started accepting a service dog at the store in 1999, working in forward way such as showing the sticker which indicates acceptance including a nursing-care dog. The store manager apologized to the Deaf woman and promised not to happen such a thing again.

The Deaf woman commented to the reporter through a supporter," I have experienced in entry refusal at a restaurant many times, but I was truly surprised it happened just  after the awareness event."

Japanese sources:

Aiming at providing "free telephone relay service"

October 9, 2015

Reportedly there are about 10,000 Deaf/deaf persons in Japan. Currently only Nippon Foundation has offered them a telephone service experimentally.

The non-profit organization, inc. called Information Gap Buster (IGB) in Yokohama-shi was established for the purpose of achieving the abundant society without "information gap" in 2011.

Ito Yoshihiro who started IGB is a deaf person himself. He got a job in a general enterprise after graduating from university. He was able to get the chance to play an active part through cooperation of his colleagues in a workplace, such as starting a new business.

IGB is appealing an online signature aiming at getting "the telephone relay service" free for Deaf/deaf people as public service, a target for about 1,000,000 signatures. 

They collect signatures by March, 2016 and appeal to the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications and communication firms on the importance of telephone relay service for the Deaf community.  

Ito comments on the importance of such a service, asking for cooperation from the public, "First we want people to know that it isn't proper that everyone is able to call. We ask you all to help us make it proper."

Japanese source:

National Deaf Education Conference held in Saga

October 8, 2015
The Japanese class with the third 
graders open to the public. 

Saga-shi, Saga:

The 49th National Deaf Education Conference aiming at substantiality of Deaf education took place at Saga Prefecture School for the Deaf and other places on October 8-9. 

With the theme of the effective teaching method appropriate to the needs of each Deaf child, through the open classes, a subcommittee meeting and  lectures.

Holding such a meeting in the prefecture was the first time. About 480 teachers participated from across the whole country. The School for the Deaf had each class from elementary, junior high school and high school open to the visitors.

Japanese source:

Coda group in Japan held meeting

October 8, 2015  

The codas attending a regular meeting.

About 90 percent of the child born to Deaf parents are hearing, called Coda, Children of Deaf Adults. 

At the middle of September, a meeting of the coda group called "J-CODA" was held in Tokyo. Codas who were an adult had a meeting for the first time in 1994, and "J-CODA" was formed in 1996.

The investigation by the University of Tokyo Barrier Free Support Office targeted at about 100 codas aged 13 and older found that a peculiar parent-child relationship stood out, such like 72% had the feeling that they must protect their parents since a small child; 61% believed they would not let people around do something disrespectful to their parents, etc.  Related studies also showed that as Coda grew they tend to have a complicated feeling toward their parents.

"J-CODA" is putting the effort into an exchange among the members. Murashita Yoshihide, 37, the leader, spoke, "As long as we are Coda, we can make a laugh of every kind of experience, and share an understanding with one another."

Japanese source: