Kumamoto earthquake: Interpreters across nation called for help in disaster area

April 25, 2016
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has decided that it would dispatch interpreters from across the nation by April 25 to support the life of the persons who are Deaf or sight impaired hit by Kumamoto earthquake. 

Not only interpreters but note takers, helpers using a braille  and Deaf counselors are recruited. They give necessary help at the shelters and the official facilities as the Deaf evacuees have not received daily life information sufficiently. 

About 150-200 interpreters throughout the nation applied for the 2011 Eastern Japan Great Earthquake.

Japanese source:

Non-profit organization supports Deaf community to enjoy theatergoing

April 23, 2016

Hirokawa Asako (photo), 43, an actress of the Nippon Theater of the Deaf, saw a musical called "Les Miserables" at London in 2009 during her study abroad for one year in the United Kingdom. She was also impressed with support to a person with disabilities enjoying the musical. 

In 2012 after returning home, Hirokawa established the non-profit corporation called "The Theater Accessibility Network" (TA-net) to support theatergoers regardless of disabilities. 

As the chief director of the organization, she involved herself in both consultation with a theatre group and a theater as well as with a person with disabilities. She also formed the search site on the support information collected for performances, such as caption and audio guide,  (http://ta-net.org/event/) in 2016.

Because of her prominent activity, Hirokawa won the Agency for Cultural Affairs Rookie of the Year award of selection and recommendation of art works in fiscal year 2015. Her theatergoer support activities are certainly continued backed by the new Law of the Elimination of Discrimination Against the Persons with Disabilities.

Japanese source:

Deaf group enjoy art workshop with interpreting at art museum

April 22, 2016

An art appreciation workshop was opened at Sakima Art Museum in Ginowan-shi, Okinawa in southern Japan on April 16. 

After Mashita Yayoi called in order to appreciate Yamashiro Kenshin exhibition held at the museum until May 9, total of 19 people who were sight-impaired or Deaf, gathered. They enjoyed Yamashiro's works in the 1940's (photo).

Mashita, a hearing lecturer of fine arts at a university in Tokyo, has held various workshops so that a person with disabilities can appreciate art mainly in the Metropolitan area, too.

A workshop was divided into two parts: the morning and the afternoon. Eleven Deaf persons participated in the morning workshop with interpretation. 

Japanese source:

Video remote interpreting and wheelchair introduced in airport in Tokyo

April 21, 2016

All Nippon Airway announced expansion of more than one universal service following the renewal in the departure counter of the Haneda Airport domestic flight terminal 2 in Tokyo on April 21, 2016.

The "Special Assistant Counter" for travelers who needs support was placed in the center. Video remote interpreting service (photo) and a wheelchair for onboard made of resin for which metal isn't used were introduced for the first time in Japan. 

The guide plate with an illustration and a character, easily understood by a foreign traveler, too was also installed.

Japanese source:

Kumamoto Earthquake: Easy use of smartphone for Deaf people at time of disaster

April 20, 2016

A support application of the smart phone "Koetora" for a Deaf person in a disaster area in Japan's southern island was introduced.

The application "Koetorar" is available for free of charge as a communication tool with a Deaf person in a disaster area.

The input from spoken Japanese language will be changed to text.

When installing "koetora" beforehand, even the place where you are not in internet environment, it is available.

Japanese source:

Video: How to use the app. "Koetora"

Local club for Deaf children after school starts

April 20, 2016

The child club for Deaf children after school, named "Shining," started at Maebashi-shi, Gunma Prefecture, north from Tokyo in April. The club after school specialized in Deaf children is the first in the prefecture, managed by a non-profit organization by parents.

The child club is located only hundreds of meters away from the Prefecture School for the Deaf. The Deaf children and their parents are happy because, they say, "The place where even all except for the school allows the children play using sign language together."

There is the only one school for the Deaf in the prefecture, and the service after school for a Deaf child was almost impossible. Therefore many parents had to quit the job or to find time to pick up their child.

Japanese source:

First research center on sign language established in Kwansei Gakuin University

April 19, 2016

Kwansei Gakuin University in Osaka established the "Sign Language Research  Center" on April 1, 2016, funded by The Nippon Foundation which helps the Center run a project in fiscal year 2016. The Center on sign language research is the first kind of establishment in a university nationwide.

The Center will focus  primarily on Sign Language scientifically and academically, placing sign language as a language and raising the linguistic awareness. Also hearing and Deaf persons cooperate in order to enrich promotion of all kinds of study related to the sign language as a theme, training researchers and promoting sign language education, and as well social enlightenment of sign language.

Celebrating its establishment, the Center will host a symposium in a hotel in Osaka-shi, Hilton Osaka, on June 19, 2016. A keynote speech by Yaneya Atsuko, Akashi assembly member who is Deaf and the report on the activities of eight years by the Japanese Sign Language Class in the Human Welfare Science Department are scheduled.

Japanese source:

Video on difficulties facing Deaf person at the time of accident published


When a Deaf/deaf person faces something like an accident, what kind of things are in trouble?

A Deaf/deaf person is unable to hear the tone of the siren not only in the daily life but also a disaster area, and there is also a possibility which leads to death. 

A video of the cartoon introduces those problems and gives a hint for solutions.

The author is Ando Miki. Read a story about her work:

English article: Accommodating disabilities, but only within reason

April 16, 2016
Asahi Shimbun reported last week on so-called help marks, the badges that individuals place on their persons or bags to indicate a disability that may not be apparent. Since these symbols are not unified from one city to another, they aren’t effective in creating a level of social awareness that makes assistance second nature.

Read more:

Related blog:
Marks related to disabilities ask for reasonable accommodation

Kumamoto earthquake: Deaf group visits shelter to help

April 19, 2016
Matsunaga (left) and staff put up 
a board in a shelter, appealing 
support to a Deaf person.

A series of earthquakes have occurred in Japan's southern island since April 14; Kumamoto and Oita Prefectures. A more powerful earthquake has rocked the southern Japanese city of Kumamoto in the middle of the night, a day after an earlier tremor killed nine people.

The Prefecture Welfare Association of the Deaf (membership: 365) and Prefecture Interpreting Issues Study Group bot located in Kumamoto-shi started activities responding the various problems in order to support the Deaf persons who suffered from Kumamoto earthquakes, such as visiting a shelter for interpreting, checking a home where a Deaf person lives, etc.

Matsunaga Akira, 78, the director of the Association, and other five people concerned visited six shelters including a gymnasium and looked for any Deaf person who evacuated, holding a writing board up in which a sentence, "Is there any Deaf person?" was written, on April 15 -17.

They also sent a letter to the Prefecture asking for the dispatch of interpreters, and to request all the evacuation facilities managers to provide a writing board for communication, text information and others.

The Association says they are afraid that there are many Deaf persons don't go to a shelter, but remain at home partly damaged by the disaster or in their car with their family or stay at friend's home. 

Deaf futsal festival welcomes local hearing players

April 18, 2016

The fourth "Deaf Futsal Festival 2016" was sponsored by the West Japan Deaf Soccer Association in Suzuka-shi, Mie Prefecture in western Japan on April 16, in which about 100 people participated.

In the event, a former Japanese team director gave a technical guidance, and then the participants divided into 13 teams played.  

In the exchange game, the National Deaf teams, both men and women, took on local soccer teams. All the hearing players of the home teams used ear plugs in the game.

Japanese source:

Deaf student challenges rugby at Waseda University


A Deaf student joined a rugby club at Waseda University in Tokyo, one of the most distinguished teams in the Kanto area university rugby match. He is FL Kishino Kaede (photo), 18, from the Gifu School for the Deaf located in western Japan.

It is the first time to welcome a Deaf teammate at Waseda University which takes pride in history of foundation for 98 years.  

Kishino has determined to wear traditional red black jersey. "I will get over my handicap and challenge getting a regular post.

He and 26 rookies have finished new face practice in the beginning of April. He has always kept himself in a top group running practice.  "It is important for me to stand on the starting line, doing my best now."

Yamashita Daigo, 35, the director who acceded this season, doesn't give any special treatment for Kishino, but he said that he felt Kishino's strong resolution."

Japanese source:

Related blog:
Deaf student to play for local high school rugby primary in Gifu Prefecture

Scope with caption provided for deaf visitors at old navy place

April 14, 2016
Saga Prefecture and Saga City prepared scope newly with the caption for Deaf/deaf people to show one of composition property, "the remains of Mietsu Navy Base," one of the Industrial Revolution Legacy in Meiji Japan" (the 1860's) as world-class cultural property. 

About ten Deaf/deaf people were invited to experience the new scope with caption there on April 13.

To stop degradation of the remains of the navy place, they were covered in the ground and it is known as "the world's cultural and natural heritage which is invisible". That is why the scope for a visitor is offered at a specific place. Through the scope you can see image picture in former navy place reproduced by computer graphics, with audio information.

Both the prefecture and the city provided scope with caption this time in response to the request from the Deaf community.

Japanese source:

Marks related to disabilities ask for reasonable accommodation

There are a lot of marks indicating the owner with disability (photo), but it doesn't seem that the correct meaning of each mark is well known.

The Law on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities went into effect this April. The law is asking public facilities and private enterprises for "reasonable accommodation" to meet the needs of the person with disabilities. It's first of all necessary to know what each mark means.

 A disability-concerned group, Government and an autonomous body are making a mark for a person with disabilities. A person concerned can put it on and ask other person around for reasonable accommodation. Also a hospital and an autonomous body display the mark in reception and provide reasonable accommodation according to the disability.

If you don't know the disability mark such as the four-leaved clover sign for the "driver with disabilities" or the butterfly sign for "Deaf/deaf driver," (two marks from the figure bottom) you ignore their needs, making pulling and interrupting a car with the mark on, which leads to a violation of the Road Traffic Law, 

Japanese source:

Junior college starts sign language as formal course

April 13, 2016
The students learn sign language.

Such as Obihiro-shi Sign Language Regulation is carried out in the current year, sign language has attracted attention.

Sign language is offered as one of formal courses at Obihiro Otani Junior College located in Hokkaido, Japan's northern island. The first lecture was on April 11.

Because many students had the great interest such as an event related to sign language last year, the sign language course was established with two credits for 15 lessons.  

Japanese source:

Former teacher of the Deaf, Akiyama Chieko, passes away

April 12, 2016

Akiyama Chieko (photo), 99, the critic who was a pioneer of a broadcast journalist, has died from pneumonia in Tokyo-to on April 6. 

She became a teacher at the National Tokyo School for the Deaf after graduating from Tokyo Women's Higher Normal School (present Ochanomizu University), and went to China after marriage. 

The long-lived program called "Akiyama Chieko's Lounge" which started in September, 1957, broadcasted at the TBS radio, etc.) continued for more than 40 years.

Japanese sources:

English article:

City holds sign language class, part of welfare promotion projec

April 12, 2016
The assembly members learn 
how to sign a greeting 

The 2016 Welfare Promotion Project that Tomakomai-shi located in Japan's northern island develops in fiscal year 2016 has started. 

The city is aiming at establishment of the sign language regulation which promotes the environmental development for sign language and understanding of the Deaf community according to the project.

The sign language workshop as the start was held at the city office on April 11, and 20 assembly members experienced sign language. They learned how to sign the respective words such as "welfare," "assembly," "councilor," in order to perform a self-introduction.

One of the assembly members who participated commented,  "I felt like learning foreign language and indeed learned very much. I hope to convey the gentleness of the heart through sign language."

Japanese source:

Subway staff introduce each station name on YouTube

April 12, 2016
One frame of the video 
by the Mole Team 

In the video (photo) titled "Sign Name for the Osaka Subway Station," Yokogawa (right), a hearing man, and Deaf man introduce each name on the Midosuji Line 8 station where Yokogawa works as a driver in Osaka Municipal Subway running in Osaka city.  

Four drivers and station employees of the group named "Mole Team" including Yokokawa, have worked on the video related to the station names of the subway and let it run through the Internet since January, 2015.  


Japanese source:

Related blog:
Subway drivers try to promote barrier free environment for the Deaf

Deaf organization produces video in sign language on new law on disability

April 1, 2016

The Cabinet Office has issued  a leaflet (plain edition) on "the Law on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities" which went into effect on April 1.

Tochigi Association of the Deaf north of Tokyo produced a sign language video based on the leaflet that explains for the Deaf community (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuUbs9YYFjI).

0:00 Introduction
1:05  What is the purpose of the law?
2:25 What is "discriminatory treatment"?
3:35 What does mean by the phrase saying "It isn't considered reasonable accommodations"?
5:45  Who is required to observe the law?

Government funds inclusive education program in Vietnam

April 12, 2016

Government held the signature ceremony of the funding contract in Japan consulate general in Ho-chi-min on March 3, which aims to develop the inclusion education training system project in elementary schools.

A specific non-profit activities corporation Asian Rainbow will conduct the project with the fund of 99,031 USD (about 11,000,000 yen).

The Asian Rainbow is also developing the said project mainly so far, and this time will be the 3rd year as the last stage.

Japanese source:

Hard of hearing student passes national examination for medical practitioner

April 10, 2016

Yoshida Sho, 31, a hard of hearing medical student of Saga University Medical School located in Japan's southern island, passed a national examination for medical practitioner (photo).

He will start working at the national hospital organization Saga Hospital in Saga-shi as a medical trainee in April.

The hospital will provide the software that shows texts from speech on the screen. Also when communicating with Yoshida who relies on lipreading, hearing doctors will remove a mask once for him, 

Yoshida hopes to work as an otolaryngologist or a pediatrician in the future.

He has continued to play volleyball since junior high school days, and was already chosen to the National Deaf Volleyball Team.

Japanese source:

Cartoon with focus on filming site of "FAKE" about faked musician

April 8, 2016
"A deserted one isn't only you." 
in the picture back of the cartoon 

Mori Tatsuya, a documentary director, appears on nonfiction cartoon titled "A deserted one isn't only you" in the 6th story by Yoshimoto Koji in the Big Comic Superior volume nine of sale on April 8.

The coverage to a Deaf person was the main character. In the story the comic writer develops a story of how Mori takes the movie titled "FAKE" approaching Samurakoshi Mamoru who became known by "ghostwriter turmoil" in 2014.

Japanese source:

Related blog:
Documentary movie on fake musician to open in June

Comic titled "The Sound of Voice": Promotion website of theater animation announced

April 8, 2016
The first version of a promotion 
website (teaser visual) of the theater 
edition animation of "The Sound of Voice"

"The Sound of Voice" was a cartoon about the Deaf girl and  hearing boy who touch each other by a heart was an original work of Oima Toshitoki. 

Kyoto cartoon film produced the first version teaser visual of the theater animation was opened on April 8. The theater edition animation is due to be exhibited on September 17.

The comic which vividly describes bullying to a Deaf girl also became the topic of conversation as the unique work, by which an opinion was divided into two exact halves in the editorial staff concerning carrying of the cartoon. 

Japanese source:

Related blog:
English: Manga comes to the rescue of a deaf schoolgirl

Ministry of Education to make disability guide book for universities

April 8, 2016

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology will make the guide based on gathered points that the university should consider with an entrance examination, classes, etc. for a college student with a disability.

As the Disabilities Discrimination Act was carried out in April, the ministry intends to support the university's efforts to provide reasonable accommodations to its student with a disability. 

The draft guide will be completed within the year after the academic professionals give feedback at a meeting, and then the ministry starts distribution to a university, a junior college and a technical college.

Japanese source:

Short sign language lecture at prefecture chief meeting

April 5, 2016
The sign language lecture has started 
with the bureau chief meeting.

The Nagano Prefecture Sign Language Regulation concluded in March was carried out in April.

The prefecture held a bureau chief meeting on April 4, and the staff of the Bureau of Person with Disabilities Support who can interpret served as a lecturer.

About 20 people including Governor Abe Morikazu, two lieutenant governors and bureau chiefs learned basic sign language such as "Hello," "Thank you very much".

They will learn necessary words used in administrative business, a person name and an expression of a place for about 10 minutes every month.

Governor showed sign language right away at a regular press conference after the meeting, "Everyone, hello." He said,  I'd like to make sure that I master sign language and use it." 

Japanese source:

Deaf American group enjoy dressing experience in Kyoto

April 3, 2016
The Americans enjoy an experience with 
kimono, a Japanese traditional dress.

An American group of ten Deaf people traveling Japan experienced dressing at the "Alissa House Museum" in Kyoto-shi on April 2.

They are former teachers aged over 70, visiting Tokyo and Hiroshima on a group for about two weeks.

The Japan Business Sign Language Association in the city, which teaches sign language to entertainment business persons, was requested by an American guide and served as an interpreter.

Japanese source:

Leaflet introduces sign languages used in international environment

The Bureau of Social Welfare and Public Health, Tokyo Metropolitan Government published the leaflet titled "Let's use sign language to communicate with a Deaf foreigner" for the purpose of the awareness of foreign sign languages for Tokyo Olympic Games and Paralympics scheduled for 2020 in Tokyo-to.

The leaflet introduces the feature of the Japanese Sign Language and the American Sign Language, and the International Sign Language which was made as a worldwide language used at an international conference as well. (http://www.fukushihoken.metro.tokyo.jp/shougai/koho/sekaiwotunagusyuwa.files/gaikokunosyuwa.pdf)

Japanese source:

Yokoo Yoshitomo (1893-1963), first Deaf village mayor

Yokoo Yoshitomo (1893-1963) was the eldest son of a rich landowner in Koguro Village (present Yasuzuka Ward, Joetsu-shi), Niigata Prefecture, a part of Japan's northeastern region. He was a first boy after eight sisters and was Deaf.

He entered Tokyo Institute for the Blind and Deaf-mute (present Deaf Special Support School with the University of Tsukuba) with one of the sisters who was Deaf in July, 1903 at the age of 9.

He graduated in March, 1908 and then at the age of 17, he returned to his hometown and learned a practical business affair under his father as landlord's heir. 

Five years later when father passed away, Yokoo inherited an estate and got married to a hearing woman Satoko in the next year. The marriage was arranged between the families, but she learned sign language from her husband, deepening mutual trust and affection with her husband.

Satoko supported various business undertaken by Yokoo such as establishment of an association to plan for farmer's economical stability; she gathered women as the chairperson of the Yasuzuka branch of a national defense women society during wartime.

When Yokoo was 40 years old, he became a village mayor in February 1934, serving for 12 years of three terms through November, 1946, working hard for development of the village.

To support Yokoo as a mayor, Satoko was the only person who knew sign language. She relayed what her husband said to the assembly immediately, and also relaying comments from the assembly member to Yokoo --- acting as an interpreter. 
However, after Japan lost a war on August 15, 1945, Yokoo was purged from public office by a GHQ directive. 

Later Yokoo concerned a start of a Deaf group and busied himself in order to establish a school for the deaf across the country. As an active Deaf leader, he established Hokuriku Region Federation of the Deaf and  became the first president. He was an honor advisor to the Japanese Federation of the Deaf as well as president of the Niigata Prefecture Association.

There is a memorial hall (photo) local people manage in order to preserve Yokoo's achievements for posterity. Using an old land tax depot in his old birthplace, a family tree of the Yokoos, his paintings and various articles on him are exhibited (http://joetsukankonavi.jp/spot.php?id=12).

Japanese source:

Related blog:

Vocational support facility for the Deaf opens

April 2, 2016  
The Deaf users and the persons 
concerned gathered in an opening.

The working continuation support B-type business establishment called "The Hands Village" opened in Wakayama-shi, Wakayama Prefecture, part of western Japan, on April 1. It offers a chance of starting working and practice to the Deaf.

The Prefecture Association of the Deaf established the facility and manages it - the first case to start working support facility by a Deaf group in the Prefecture.

"The Hands Village" has contracted with two private enterprises, by which the Deaf make a box and stick a sticker on an envelope.

The Deaf people aged 20-70 are using the program at present.

The Association has also established the first day service facility for the Deaf in December, 2015 in the prefecture.

Japanese source:

Communication support board made for use at dental clinic

April 2, 2016

The "Toyokawa Sign Language Club" (35 members) in Tokyokawa-shi, Aichi Prefecture located in western Japan has responded immediately to the new disability law.  

They developed the "communication support board on cavity" to be used at a dental clinic. The hand-made board shows a list of dentistry vocabularies illustrated (photo left).

The club proposed the use of the board to the local dental association.

Moreover, the speech recognition application on a microphone of smart phone is shown to a screen, which is also effective (photo right).

Japanese source:

Amended Disabilities Discrimination Act effective April 1

April 2, 2016
Participants march crying 
"Let's make the society 
which has no discrimination" 
in Utsunomiya-shi, Tochigi Prefecture.

The amended Disabilities Discrimination Act was carried out on April 1. It prohibits the discriminatory handling because of disability, requiring an autonomous body and an enterprise to provide "reasonable accommodations" to the person with disability.

Persons with disabilities, their families and others concerned commemorated the start of the Act and paraded a city in Gunma, Tochigi Prefectures, etc.

Japanese sources:

Japan Disability Soccer Federation established

April 2, 2016  
Chairperson Kitazawa (the back row center) 
with the members

The Japan Disability Soccer Federation was formed on April 1, and had interview at the JFA (Japan Football Association) House in Tokyo. 

The new national disability federation consists of seven groups such as Japan Amputee Football Association, Japan Cerebral Palsy Football Association, Japan Deaf Football Association, etc. 

Kitazawa Tsuyoshi, a former pro soccer player, was chosen as the first Chairperson. 

The policy of the Federation is to promote awareness of each member association in cooperation with Japan Football Association.

Japanese sources:

Deaf kick boxer comments on reason for his fight

March 30, 2016

A hard of hearing kick boxer will fight for the reservation match of the tournament called the "K-1 World GP 2016 in Japan- -60kg Japanese delegate selection tournament" which is planning to be held at the National Yoyogi Stadium Second Gymnasium in Tokyo on Sunday, April 24.

This time is the first entry for Gosyu Masanobu who belongs to K-1 Gym Head Office Pegasus Team. 

He made a comment:
"K-1 gave me a chance that I became interested in martial arts and also took martial arts seriously. I am really so excited to participate in K-1 this way." 

He explained the reason why he will play kickboxing for the event: "I had thought, 'Whatever I did, I felt it meaningless because I was unable to hear', but I realized later I had wasted time. So I'd like to show what I can do in spite of deafness."

Japanese source: