Group supports parents through sign language for Deaf child rearing

January 22, 2015
The participants learn sign language.

Hiratsuka-shi, Kanagawa-ken:

Once every month, the "Child Rearing Gathering" for Deaf/deaf preschoolers and their parents is opened at the city welfare hall in Kanazawa-ken near Tokyo. Such as the members are increased more than three times compared to the beginning, the group is supporting social welfare in the area at the grass-roots level.

Noma Shin (野間紳), 48, a former schoolteacher for Deaf children, organized a group to support child rearing. There is a gathering in almost all areas, but the gathering especially open for Deaf/deaf children and their parents is unusual. 

In 2012, Noma has begun to come into action with his former colleagues, volunteers who are college students and housewives, in order to offer the place where a Deaf/deaf child and the parent can communicate more with each other.

Various playground equipments such as crayons, folding paper, a ball, etc. are prepared for the children to play freely each time in the room. Noma explains, "This experience gives a Deaf/deaf child to concern an adult besides the family member and other children actively through play, which will give the Deaf/deaf child the opportunity to learn how to communicate verbally." 

Recently a Deaf staff teaches sign language to parents while lipreading them, in order for them to communicate with the Deaf/deaf children smoothly at home. One of the participants said, "As my child becomes older, sign language will be more necessary for training. I and my child are saved because we are learning sign language here besides the home."

Japanese source:

Social activity as exchange place for Deaf persons

January 22, 2015
The members talk about what they think of 
the game they joined in sign language.
Yugawara-machi, Kanagawa-ken:

The sign language club, named "Kokoro" meaning "heart" in Japanese, started in Yugawara-machi, a well-known place for spa, 27 years ago, having kept holding activities such as a class activity for hearing children, an exchange program for adults, etc.

Members are about 60, aged between teens and eighties (out of them about ten Deaf members). The club is a large-scale group only in the local area, Ashigarashimo-gun, including  Yugawara-machi, Hakone and Manatsuru-machi.

This club not only became the valuable place where Deaf persons socialize with other members, but also put the emphasis on the sign language spread in the other areas.

An exchange program was held at a town health center as part of day service projects by the Prefecture Association of the Deaf on January 20, which 22 people came together, including about 10 Deaf persons. They participated in a game played by a team competition.

Japanese source:

Online interpreting services to promote communication for Deaf residents

January 21, 2015

Tottori-shi, Tottori Prefecture 

The Tottori Prefecture Office is considering to introduce the "video relay service" using the video function of the tablet terminal in the fiscal year of 2015 in order to make communication go smoothly between the Deaf person and the hearing counterpart.

The service will be assumed for various situations of daily life, such as re-delivery request of a door-to-door delivery service, cancellation of hotel reservation, a question to a hospital, etc. 

Recently, the Prefectural Library in Tottori-shi has begun a video-remote-interpreting service using a tablet terminal. It is reportedly said that the introduction at a library is very rare nationwide.

The library that has offered a writing service installed the device in the center counter on the first floor, being easier to communicate with a Deaf/deaf visitor.

An interpreter is stationed at the Prefecture Association of the Deaf in Yonago-shi on weekdays, and at the "Plus Voice" in Sendai-shi, Miyagi-ken which supports communication of the Deaf the weekend or holiday.

A terminal similar to total of 8 places has been installed such as in the Prefectural Office, JR stations (Tottori, Kurayoshi and Yonago), etc. 

High school student learns how to protest people vulnerable to disaster

January 19, 2015

Kobe-shi, Hyogo-ken:

Maruoka Yusuke (丸岡佑亮), 17, a senior studying the environment protection against disasters at Hyogo prefectural Maiko High School in Kobe-shi, is involved in disaster prevention activity using sign language.

When he was a freshman, he heard disaster experience of the Great Hanshin Earthquake from his mother who was a clerical worker at a hospital in the city in 1995 then. He later participated in volunteer activities related to the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake in 2011, being interested in disaster prevention.

Maiko High School cooperates with four Special Support Schools in Hyogo-ken, including a school for the Deaf, is also working on a study how to support persons with disabilities at the time of a disaster. When he was a sophomore, Maruoka visited Kobe Special Support School for the Deaf, but he was not able to understand what Deaf students said. He said to himself then, "What can I help them when a disaster happens?"

He went to a sign language class in Kobe-shi for half year from March, 2014,  learned sign language in the beginner's course that one can explain a refuge process in case of emergency, etc. When he visited the school for the Deaf again for an exchange program on December 17, 2014, he introduced himself using sign language, and he was warmly welcomed by the Deaf students' smiles.

Maruoka said, "Deaf people sign too fast for me to follow, so I'd like to study more." Even he will specialize in the field related to the protection against disasters at a university.

Japanese source:

Deaf students’ works to be shown at "graduation exhibition"

January 19, 2015
The students are preparing with the work 
for the "graduation exhibition".

Ichikawa-shi, Chiba-ken

A graduation show of Tsukuba University's Special Support School for the Deaf in Ichikawa-shi has been held every year. This year it will be the 25th, scheduled to be held at Yoshizawa Garden Gallery in the city for three days from January 23 with about fifty works.

At the school, only the national school for the Deaf in Japan with a national university corporation, older than eighteen-year-old students study a two-year-long advanced vocational course after graduating from the high school department.

Out of those students, three will finish the course majoring in the creative arts and design in March, 2015, having been busy with preparations of their works for the exhibit. 

They will be stationed in the meeting place during the exhibition and explain or answer a visitor's question.

All of them will walk the separate way after graduation; two will get a job, and the rest aims at university entrance.

Japanese source:

Gathering held to celebrate Deaf persons who came of age

January 19, 2015
The Deaf young persons who became the adult 
tell their future goal using sign language.

Sendai-shi, Miyagi-ken:

A coming-of-age ceremony is held in the middle of January annually around in Japan. The gathering to celebrate the young Deaf persons for coming of age took place at a city welfare plaza in Sendai-shi on January 18. 

Five graduates of the prefecture's special support school for the Deaf who will be 20 years old this year participated in the event.

In front of about 100 people including parents and welfare persons concerned, they told about their dream or goal in sign language, such as "I would like to challenge variously through a sport," "my future dream is to become a beautician", etc.

A person representing the city association of the Deaf which sponsored the gathering event encouraged the young people, saying, "Great Hanshin Earthquake has occurred 20 years ago when you were born. We also have experienced with Great Eastern Japan Earthquake that hit the prefecture four years before. Yet we must go forward."

Entrance into higher education such as a university by Deaf alumni from the special support schools for the Deaf across Japan was 41.6% in fiscal year 2011 according to the white paper on  persons with disabilities published in 2013. Getting a job was 32.7%. The percentage of manufacture/the work which operates assembly was 21.8%, the highest in all the jobs.

Japanese source:

Local towns make agreement with prefecture for disaster support to Deaf persons  

January 16, 2015

Tsu-shi, Mie-ken:

To provide more support to Deaf/deaf persons at the time of a disaster, the Mie Prefecture Deaf  Support Center located in Tsu-shi concluded an agreement with four towns, including Tamaki,  Minami-Ise, on January 15.

The support target is the person registered beyond a third class of auditory difficulties who doesn't hear a shout from close range according to the agreement.

These four towns will offer information on the name, the address, the phone number and the degree of the disability of the Deaf/deaf person who agrees to an offer of personal information to the Center. On the other hand, the Center will check safety confirmation of a Deaf/deaf person, dispatch an interpreter to a shelter, distribute a battery of a hearing aid, etc.  at the time of occurrence of an earthquake, storm and flood damage.

The Center and Ise-shi are the first example of similar agreement made in the country in April, 2013, the recent action being the second one.

Japanese sources:

Advance by information processing service industry from Okinawa-ken 

January 16, 2015
Ichise Soya (right), managing director, explains 
the plot to caption immediately to the visitors, 
including the Mayor, on the opening day.

Wakasa-cho, Fukui-ken :

In an office room in a building in the Wakasa-cho, Fukui-ken in Northern Japan, the information processing service industry called "AISEKKU Japan" (アイセック・ジャパン) based in Uruma-shi, Okinawa-ken in Japan's southern island, opened the "e-Mimi Center Wakasa" on January 15.

The said company offers the service that captions spoken remarks or conversation in an instant with the use of the Internet, such as a lecture at a university, a communication tool for the Deaf, etc. Each assembly of Takeo-shi, Saga-ken and Nanjo-shi, Okinawa-ken has adopted the service for summary minutes.

"AISEKKU Japan" hurried to secure a new business base by all except for Okinawa-ken from the view of disaster prevention, which was welcomed by Wakasa-cho for more employment.

With 13 employees assigned to the center from headquarters and two people hired newly from Wakasa-cho, the business has begun from January 9.

Japanese source:

Disabilities soccer conference to be established by JFA for Tokyo Paralympics

January 15, 2015

Japan Football Association (JFA) held a board meeting for the first time in fiscal year 2015 in the JFA House on January 15 and decided to establish the "Disabilities Soccer Conference (tentative name)".

Seven disability soccer groups including the Japanese Deaf Soccer Association exist in Japan at present. JFA has considered support to various disability soccer groups as one of its projects to move forward. 

Because JFA failed in unifying these groups into one, it decided to start foundation of the integrated group called the "Disabilities Soccer Conference" for the purpose of incorporation of each group, leader training programs in all kinds' business, and information sharing among the various disability groups. 

The move is possibly conscious of Tokyo Paralympics scheduled for 2020, though FIFA doesn't consider the Disabilities Soccer under its control. 

Japanese source:

Application that visualizes the "sound" detected around and alarms

January 13, 2015

Deaf/deaf persons may often encounter the situation that is fearful if delayed to notice sound to sense danger.

The new application "Otosense" may support them. Some specific sound is detected around the user, who will be warned by a flash or a vibration.

For example detecting the tone registered with a library, such as the fire alarm, the sound of glass broken, after the application is installed, software starts, sends a visual alert to the user's smart phone or tablet real time.

The excellent point about "Otosense" is that it works even without the Internet connectivity environment.

"OtoSense" is currently applied to only Android, and later also to iOS soon. 

Japanese source:

Deaf player praised for university rugby championship

January 11, 2015

In the final game of the 51st National Collegiate Rugby Championship held in Tokyo on January 10, Teikyo University crushed its opponent the University of Tsukuba by 50-7.

Wing Otsuka Takayuki (大塚貴之), born hearing loss, laughed with joy in the circle of teammates' tossing.

Unable hear a call of his teammate nor a whistle of referee, he has dealt by watching a movement of other teammate's eyes and mouths. With his 167-cm body full of  bruises, he has applied himself to practice by the concentration exceedingly.

The captain of the Teikyo University team praised Otsuka, saying, "He never does cut corners at exercise or game." 

Japanese source:

Related blog:
University rugby championship almost close to Deaf player

Mediators to be placed at all schools to strengthen sign language learning

January 8, 2015
Sign language learning at school after the Prefecture 
Sign Language regulation enforced in 2014.

Tottori Prefecture:

The Tottori Prefectural Education Board is advancing the plan which arranges "sign language mediators" at all 237 schools in the prefecture starting in April, 2015.

Sign language learning has started at schools after the Sign Language regulation establishment, but there is a difference in degrees of enthusiasm in the schools because it isn't obligation.

The Education Board is to put a person in charge at each school in order to strengthen the sign language learning and arrange the environment that the children can learn sign language willingly.

One of the teaching staff at each school will be appointed to the post concurrently, who acts as a mediator and as the person in charge of the meeting with the other volunteers and the school for the deaf.

Japanese source:

Kobe city assembly to propose draft sign language ordinance as the first government ordinance city

January 7, 2015

Kobe-shi, Hyogo-ken:

It was announced that four assembly groups of Kobe city assembly will propose the draft "Sign Language for All Regulation" (tentative name) in the assembly in February. The draft places sign language as a language and arranges it for the daily use.

When the draft were concluded in March, Kobe-shi will be the first at a government ordinance designation city level. The assembly aims at e on April 1.

Tottori-ken established a Sign Language regulation for the first time nationwide in October, 2013. The Sasayama-shi assembly in the Hyogo Prefecture approved a similar ordinance in December, 2014.

Deaf woman introduces hearing dog through cartoon in YouTube

January 7, 2015  

Osaka-shi, Osaka-ken

Ando Miki (安藤美紀), 45, Director of the Non-Profit Organization called "MAMIE" (Yodogawa-ku, Osaka-shi) carrying on support activity of children with disabilities, produced the cartoon which introduces a life of a person with hearing loss and the role of a hearing dog, which runs on YouTube (

There are two stories which Ando spent a month to produce. One is about the childhood of Ando who was born deaf, titled "What does it mean by hearing loss?", and another is about her hearing dog Leon who lives together titled "What is a Hearing dog?"

Such as a dog touches the body of the author and informs her that her cellular phone rings for an incoming e-mail, the everyday form of the hearing dog is described in the cartoon, which received a public response already, "Clearly, the cartoon is also cute".

Ando says, "I also received an opinion from many people, such like 'I found a hearing dog is able to understand sign language for the first time.' I want a lot of people to know more about a Deaf/deaf person and hearing dog".

Cartoon on misunderstanding of deafness

January 4, 2015

A cartoon (right) about misunderstanding of deafness was retweeted more than 60,000 times .


Good morning! I am Deaf, so I always use sign language for communication.

I met my hearing friend after a long time. She had learned sign language when we were primary students.

When we chatted on the road in a city, a mother and her child were walking by.

The child said to mother, “The girls are moving their hands!”

Mother said, bringing her index finger to the mouth, “Don’t speak!”

She said further, “God took voice out of these girls because they have done something wrong. If you don’t behave well, your voice may be taken away.”

The kid said, “Oh, they are bad. What have they done, I wonder?” My hearing friend heard what they talked.

She said to herself, “it cannot be true, I know, but I am really shocked  to hear such a thing the ignorant child said …”

The cartoon can be viewed on the link in Japanese:

Youngest Deaf boy selected to national team for Deaf Basketball World Championship in Taiwan

January 5, 2015

Koriyama-shi, Fukushima-ken:

Echizen Yuuki (越前由喜), 15, a high school student of the Prefecture School for the Deaf in Koriyama-shi, Fukushima-ken, was chosen as a Japanese Deaf basketball team member. He will join the World Championship scheduled in Taiwan in July, 2015. He is the youngest player in the team historically.

Echizen had joined the local mini basketball club for boys when he was a fourth grader at an regular school. When admitted to the Prefecture School for the Deaf as a junior high school student in April, there were no basketball clubs in the school then.

In order to encourage his son disappointed, Father found a Deaf basketball team for grown-ups in Saitama-ken named "AIT'S", which Echizen joined in summer. He spends a dorm life at the school on weekdays and practices in Saitama every weekend.

He also played basketball on a meet, developing his skill rapidly. In summer, last year the Japanese Team head coach, Yoshitake Yoritaka (吉武頼飛), 34, watched the game which Echizen played and evaluated his play highly.

Echizen participated in the try-out training camp held in Osaka in September, and it was decided that he would be on the national team in December. There are only two teens in the team in which grown-up players are dominant.

Echizen says, "I play with the strong will that I'm defeated by no one as a Japanese team player, and I'd like to contribute to a victory. I'm looking forward to the upcoming world championship".

There are about 15 basketball teams in Japan that compete for the Japanese Deaf Basketball Tournament called "Mimi League" sponsored by the Japanese Deaf Basketball Association, etc.

Japanese source:

Japanese snowboard team lodges together for practice in Hokkaido  

Japanese snowboard team practices
at the Kamui Ski Links in Asahikawa.
December 30, 2014

The Japanese snowboard team, which will compete for the Winter Deaflympics in Russia in March, 2015, is doing a reinforcement training camp at the Kamui Ski Links on December 29 in Asahikawa-shi, Hokkaido, Japan's northern island. Ten teammates and coaches will stay until January 3.

Five snowboarders, including Harada Noboru (原田上), a two-time gold medalist, made sure of the state of the snow and repeatedly glided on steep slope.

Team captain Takashima Kouki (高嶋弘貴) who will compete for the two items including parallel giant slalom said, "We are on hard practice in order to win a medal at the Winter Deaflympics".

Japanese source:

Deaf school kitchen wins popularity by word-of-mouth

December 28, 2014
Deaf apprentice-students prepare
about 80 meals at the school kitchen.

A restaurant called "The Katsu Deaf Kitchen" at the Metropolitan Katsushika School for the Deaf in Katsushika-ku, Tokyo, is managed once a month by the apprentice-students in a meeting room in the school.

About 80 meals for lunch are prepared and sold out each time. The "Kitchen" is put up a poster at the neighboring council in the area, and it gains popularity by through word-of-mouth communication from the customers.

The school is the only one nationwide which established a licensed cook training course in 2005. The students are to finish all the food-concerned program in the advanced course which leads to acquire a cooking license by national examination exemption.

The school started the project "The Katsu Deaf Kitchen" in June, 2013, with the object to strengthen the communication with the local community and develop the student's communication ability.

The opening of the Kitchen will be the 16th anniversary on December 20. There is also sale of a snack in the afternoon on Thursday once a month in addition to the restaurant.

One of the customers said, "I live in the neighborhood and have checked a notice by chance. It's inexpensive and good, so when a schedule matches, I come. A menu is different each time, so all my family enjoy it".

Restaurant in the school meeting room
Meal prepared by the Deaf students

Japanese source:

Kanagawa-ken assembly approves "sign language regulation"

December 26, 2014
Deaf people are glad about formation of a sign 
language regulation, taking a ceremonial picture 
with members of the prefecture assembly in the gallery.


Kanagawa-ken assembly next to Tokyo approved the draft prefecture sign language ordinance which plans for the spread of sign language as "a cultural product with original language systems" by an unanimous vote by its regular meeting plenary session on December 25.

The ordinance will be carried out on April 1, 2015. For a Deaf person to secure the chance to use sign language for communication by the new regulation, as far as it's possible, the prefecture cooperates with towns and villages and advances the spread. 

This regulation asks an enterprise for the consideration when offering service to a Deaf person, employing, etc. as effort obligation, too.

The Prefecture Association of the Deaf had petitioned to establish a sign language ordinance, submitting 54,655 signatures to the  prefecture assembly.

Tottori-ken in western Japan carried out a similar regulation for the first time last year, and Kanagawa-ken is the second by the prefecture level.

More interpreters as goal in sign language promotion plan

December 26, 2014

Tottori-shi, Tottori-ken:

Tottori-ken sign language policy promotion meeting was held at the prefecture office on December 25.

The numerical target in detail has been decided, such as increasing the number of interpreters to 65  from currently 41 until March, 2024 in the "prefecture sign language policy promotion plan" which is being considered aiming at decision before March, 2015.

The number of interpreter dispatches to lectures and events aims at 1,400 cases a year which would be three times increase compared to the achievement in 2012 (461 cases a year). 

The number of participants in the sign language classes also is set to 2,500 a year almost as the same fiscal year 2013.

On the other hand, a target of "the percentage the prefecture's officials (administrative staff) who communicate in sign language was 10% at first stated in the plan. When pointed out that the effort to increase the staff percentage was more necessary, it was changed to 15%.

Japanese source: