Carving works with lacquer by Deaf artist exhibited in Chiba Prefecture in May

Shinya Sasaki and his works exhibit

In the museum in Urayasu City, Chiba Prefecture, Shinya Sasaki (68), a Deaf lacquer relief maker held the first one-man show with a motif of nature in Japan in May.

He has worked on the production of the lacquer relief that he paints the lacquer on works of woodwork and the wood carving, etc. for 30 years.

In the exhibit hall, 37 works were exhibited including the large-scaled masterpieces to small articles such as the plate, the flower bowl, etc. Sasaki made up his mind to show his works before reaching the age of 70, saying "I want many people to see my works that I have done for so many years".

When he was a little boy, he used to play with the chips like the toy in the nearby factory of a cabinetmaker. He learned woodwork and the wood carving in the School for the Deaf in the prefecture, and made a living by making the picture frame after he graduated. He lost the job in the aftereffect of the first oil crisis in 1973.

Sasaki met Takehiro Takeda, a hearing lacquer handicrafts artist who became his mentor. Takeda advised him, "It will be a good work if you put the lacquer on your wood carving". Sasaki decided to work on lacquer handicrafts when he was about 40 years old. He studied hard how to paint the lacquer on his work every day while doing the wood carving.

Now he strongly feels that it is important to carry out the Japanese traditional culture that values the wood carving and the lacquer paint.

Special intensive course for sign language interpreter examination to be held in Osaka

A sign language group in Osaka, called The Kansai Sign Language College, will start the annual intensive course for interpreters almost every week from June through September.

It is customarily called "The Second Examination Measures Special and Intensive Courses for the National Interpreter Examination". The examination will take place in Tokyo, Osaka and Kumamoto in October, 2010.

The ratio of successful applicants, who attended even only one class of 4 hours, is high because they forged in the special course to pass the national interpreter examination.

Deaf history seminar to take place in Kyoto in July

The Japanese Society of Deaf History has announced that it would hold the Deaf History Seminar for two days from July 24 in Kyoto after an interval of six years.

Tentative Program:
- Saturday, July 24
Lecture: "Why do we learn Deaf history? - Basic knowledge"
by Hiroshi Suzumura (Deaf teacher of Gifu Prefecture Gifu School for the Deaf)

- Sunday, July 25
Panel discussion based on the lecture
Hiroshi Suzumura
(Deaf teacher of Gifu Prefecture Gifu School for the Deaf)
Tsuyoshi Sakurai
(President of the Japanese Society of Deaf History)
Shinnichi Nakane
(Vice President of the Japanese Society of Deaf History)

Lecture meeting on Deaf communities in developing countries to be held in Tokyo

A group called "Peace Village for Deaf" will held the lecture meeting on Deaf communities in developing countries in Tokyo on Saturday, May 29, 2010, 18:00-20:45.

Peggy Lynn Prosser will lecture (picture).

Born in Indiana in 1963. After she graduated from the Indiana School for the Deaf, she majored in business at Gallaudet University. Moved to Japan in 1991 after graduation. Taught at all the schools for the deaf in Tokyo, Tsukuba University of Technology, the International Christianity University, etc. For two years from 2007, she studied "International Development" at Gallaudet University Graduate School. Currently teaching at Rochester University and Gallaudet University Graduate School. A Deaf interpreter. Good at JSL.

During the lecture, she will sign in JSL with some interpreting. No spoken language interpreting nor note taking.

Friendship of runners with disabilities encouraging each other

Hisashi Nagai (front) is massaged at the treatment clinic

Hisashi Nagai (54), a Deaf man, and Masahito Shinno (53), a man visually impaired, are rivals in Shizuoka Prefecture. Both the men participate in a lot of running meets and have the record with less than three hours for the full length marathon.

Hisashi has the experience of winning the championship in the marathon in all of the 47 prefectures in Japan while Masahito has participated in the Beijing Paralympic Games.

They have known each other for seven years. They first met at the National Sports Meet for Persons with Disability in November, 2003. It was a start when Hisashi had consulted Masahito, who holds a licensed masseur's qualification, about how to improve the tiredness of the feet.

Hisashi receives treatment once a month at Masahito's treatment clinic. When the treatment is over, they exchange information on marathon rallies in various places, a practice method, etc.

Hisashi's goal is to break Masahito's best record faster than him by five minutes in the fifties. He says, "I can work harder to make a good record because we care for each other". Masahito also mentions, "The person with disability tends to become lonely by all means. The rival's existence supports me as the runner".

Related link:

Support hard of hearing lay judge through note taking

The backup lay judge with hearing loss was first elected to the lay judge trial on the rape case that has started on May 18 in the Nara district court.

The district court provided the real-time caption service in court to meet her needs.

According to the Nara district court, she asked for note taking if selected in responding by the questionnaire that they have sent in March.

She responded to the questions from the chief judge, etc through note taking on May 18 morning for the selection procedure, and was finally selected as one of the backup lay judges.

In the public trial, she was able to read the opening statement of the prosecutor and the defense lawyer, etc. through real-time caption system. Also the loop system for the hearing aids was provided to hear the judges' remarks.

There was a trouble that the Kochi district court overlooked the Deaf woman's request for interpreting at the selection procedure beforehand in January.

Deaf high school table tennis team to complete at high school sports meet in June

Table tennis club members vow to
fight thoroughly at the high school sports meet.

The prefecture high school sports meet will be held in Tokushima Prefecture on June 4. The men's table tennis team in the high school of the Tokushima School for the Deaf will participate in the Prefecture High School Sports Meet for the first time in 15 years.

Two students were admitted to the high school this spring which made up four players to meet the requirement for the participation. They have enthusiastically practiced, saying "We want to win even one game with a good teamwork".

The men's table tennis club has a brilliant history of winning successive victories at the National School Table Tennis Championships for the Deaf in 1994 and 1995. At that time there were six club members, who won through to third round at the Prefecture High School Sports Meet.

The team is earnestly working on the practice for the upcoming sports meet in June.

Volunteering sign language interpreter course starts in Saitama Prefecture

Participants in the sign language course

The "volunteering sign language interpreter course" intended for the new comers started on May 18 in the healthy welfare hall in Misato City, Saitama Prefecture next to Tokyo.

This course includes an introductory part and a basic part in the sign language textbook commonly used in the whole country. It will continue until March next year. The first two-hour class welcomed 31 hearing people including five men in 20 capacity.

Two Deaf persons including Hiroko Suzuki, a president of the Misato City Association of the Deaf were the lecturers with the city hall staff as an interpreter.

At the beginning of the class, the lecturers explained to the new students, "Pointing with the finger at someone may be rude to hearing persons, but it is natural for the Deaf. We hope you will become used to Deaf culture".

Note-takers absent from 13 towns and villages in Iwate Prefecture

The investigation in fiscal year 2006 by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare showed that the communication means which about 340,000 Deaf/hard of hearing persons in Japan use are the sign language (18.9%) and note taking (30.2%).

In Iwate Prefecture, a northern part of Japan, the training and the activities for note takers have not advanced so far. About 170 note takers are registered, and most of them reside in Morioka City, the capitol in the prefecture. And only 30% of them are actually active.

The Iwate Prefecture Information Center for the Visual Impaired and Deaf will start the 5th annual training program for note takers on May 15, commissioned by the prefecture. However, only of 27 people per 40 capacity have applied.

The staff of the Center showed concern, saying, "We hope many more people will be interested in note taking, though it might be a quite job".

Porposed JSL signs for "twitter", "follow," and "follower"

A Deaf blogger has proposed some JSL signs for "twitter", "follow," and "follower" in the following YouTube.

I wonder how you would sign for these terms?

Deaf regional conference scheduled for July in Chiba Prefecture

The 33rd Kanto Regional Conference for the Deaf is scheduled to be held on July 3-4 in Chiba Prefecture. The Kanto Region includes the following prefectures; Tokyo, Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa, Gumma, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Yamanashi.

Tentative Program:
July 3: sessions
Female groups:
- "Problems in home, education"
- "Happy life after retirement"
- "Woman activity and labor issues"

Young group:
-Lecture: "The youth activities in the past"
-Panel discussion
"Current situation and issues of the youth activities and the future"

-Japanese chess tournament
-Gate ball tournament

July 4: plenary session
-Attraction: skits, short movie, talk show.

Deaf rugby team training in preparation for international championships

The national Deaf rugby team at training camp

The international Deaf rugby games will be held in August, 2011 in Fiji. Four teams from Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, and Japan will compete.

There was a camp training in Shizuoka Prefecture, a mecca for rugby, on May 1-2, which 17 Deaf teammates, from the high school students to adults, came together from across Japan.

With Wataru Murata, a head coach of the national rugby team as a special coach, the team repeatedly practiced skills such as passing, defenses, and tackles.

Because the Deaf teammates gather from various places throughout Japan, they have only one time in a few months for the intensive training.

Also the degree of the hearing loss and the experience with rugby are also varied with each teammate. The training always requires a lot of time in order to communicate smoothly with the use of gestures during the game.

Work by Deaf craft man selected at arts contest in Tokyo

A wood carving work, titled "The Rusted Whale" by Sakuzo Tsuchiya (61) was selected for the first time to "The 84th Country Exhibition" held early May in the National New Museum in Minato Ward, Tokyo.

The stick was pierced to the belly of the whale of the length about three meters made with the wooden patches. The shadow of the work shakes when the visitor moves it and the pieces of decoration inside, and reflects with shakes on the white wall in the back as well. This is a novel work in the exhibit hall where the disclaimer with "Don't touch " is shown.

Sakuzo, a born Deaf man, studied the art in the school for the deaf, and had been working for 35 years as a painting master at the company of the cloisonne ware in Tokyo. However, he had to retire early due to the recession. He later learned woodwork for one year in the vocational school and produced wooden chairs, etc. in the loan atelier. He has started the wood carving since two years ago.

Sakuzo said, "I want you to feel the importance of the global environment from the movement of my big whale and small pieces of decoration. I will keep making something related to the nature as the theme in the future".

Deaf social workers to hold regular conference in Yokohama in June

The Japanese Deaf Social Workers Society has worked on the research project for a year, funded by the Welfare and Medical Organization in 2009, and completed the final project report in March, 2010.

The society will hold the 4th conference on June 26-27 in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture for the review and discussion based on the report.

Lecture meeting on interpreting issues to take place in Tokyo

The lecture meeting concerning the difference of the sign language interpreter in the United States and Japan is scheduled for May 29, Saturday, 14:00-16:30 in Tokyo.

Kozo Kasuga will speak about the "gap of the meaning of JSL and spoken Japanese", "Is a conversational JSL expression possible to be interpreted in a legal term?", etc.

Kozo who once attended Gallaudet University, has especially studied the differences in the meaning of the word expressed by the Deaf person and the hearing counterpart.

He said that the expressed words produced by either of the party are exchanged or interpreted without recognizing the difference, misunderstanding will occur at times.

*No spoken interpreting.

Kansai Japanese Sign Language Society to hold lecture meeting on Deaf education in Scandinavian countries

The Kansai Japanese Sign Language Society will hold the lecture meeting on the Deaf education in the Scandinavian countries at the Kwansei Gakuin University Umeda campus on May 29, Saturday, 2010, 13:00-16:30 in Osaka City.

The Scandinavian countries have pioneered bilingual education for the Deaf (the sign language as the first language and the written form of the spoken language as the second language) with the great result. Meanwhile the number of Deaf children with cochlear implant has currently increased.

The lecturer will be Dr. Takashi Torigoe, a professor of Hyogo University of Education Graduate School Education Research Department/Hyogo University of Education Special Support Education Program, and a researcher for the National Sign Language Training Center Japanese Institute of Sign Language Studies.

Sign language interpreting will be provided.

Cultural lecture meeting for Deaf to take place in Nagoya City in June

The 7th Nagoya City Cultural Lecture Meeting is scheduled for June 27, Sunday, 2010, 13:30-16:00.

Hirofumi Baba will talk about his experience in Brazil.

Born on March 11, 1976 in Wakayama Prefecture. Graduated from the Wakayama School for the Deaf.

Went to Brazil alone at the age of 20. Had a hard time to get familiar with the local life, having a lonesome life. Gradually meeting new friends. Encountered the road burglars with the gun as many as 12 times in total while staying in nine months.

Took an adventure in the slums in Brazil, living in the third country with the world of darkness, especially the gangsters. And, met various friends, learned Portuguese sign language.

Joined a Deaf soccer team in Osaka Prefecture after returning home. Formally chosen to the Japanese soccer team to play at the Deaflympic Games in Melbourne in 2005.

Later wandered again for interesting photographs in Asia, China, and Nepal.

And then back to Japan, studied for the qualification acquisition. Had various jobs. Currently working on movie production that focuses on sign language as a director.

Has learned three sign languages: Portuguese, Chinese, and ASL. Resides in Osaka City.

Center of Independent Living for Deaf to be established in June

A new group called the "Independent Living Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing" (ILCDH) will be formed in Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture on June 1st.

The following event in commemoration of the establishment of the center is scheduled for June 5, Saturday, 2010 in the ILCDH Office.

Establishment ceremony

Keynote lecture: "Independence and social participation of the Deaf"
Lecturer: Kumiko Usui (Deaf)
Secretary-general of the advocate group for revision of disqualification clauses against persons with disabilities

Celebration Party

Journalist who has covered Deafblind professor to lecture in Fukui Prefecture

Professor Satoru Fukushima communicates

The lecture meeting that focuses on human rights and living through the life of Dr. Satoru Fukushima, a Deafblind professor of The University of Tokyo will be held in Fukui City, Fukui Prefecture on May 29.

The lecturer will be Kumiko Ikui, a reporter for Asahi Shimbun newspaper who has covered Satoru for years. Sponsoring is an advocate group for the human rights of senior citizens.

Satoru became visually impaired at the age of nine, and lost hearing at the age of 18. It was "Finger Braille" to save him from the solitary and fears in the world without sight and the sound.

His mother invented "Finger Braille". Six total of the index finger, the middle finger, and the ring finger of both hands are combined when to communicate with the other party.

Satoru who has been a professor since 2008 is full of humour that overflows. However, he was once diagnosed from the stress as "adjustment disorder", caused by living without sight and sounds.

Kumiko said she has thought what living meant from her journalistic works with Satoru.

New book on former principal who defended sign language published

Yoriko Kawabuchi, the author, says
"I was able to be dutiful to my late father".

The new book, titled "Kiyoshi Takahashi and Osaka Municipal School for Deaf and Mute: The educators who defended sign language" (A5 size and 306 pages), introduces the struggle of the former principal Kiyoshi Takahashi (1890-1958). He endeavored in Deaf education in sign language early the 1900's at the school (currently the Osaka Municipal Special Support School for the Deaf).

The author, Yoriko Kawabuchi (86) from Otsu City, Mie Prefecture, is Takahashi's adopted daughter and an active interpreter. She says, "I had wanted to put down his achievements as a prominent educator to commemorate his 120th anniversary birthday".

"Oral training" was a main current in the deaf education in early the 1900's, and sign language was rejected or prohibited. However, Takahashi believed that "Sign language is the mother tongue of the Deaf", objected the instruction on oralism by Minister of Education Hatoyama Ichiro* at that time, and continued the education in sign language.

*He was the grandfather of Yukio Hatoyama, the Prime Minister.

Hearing interpreter training at moot court with foreigner defendant

The Deaf woman (right) testifies as the witness
in sign language, interpreted through the court
interpreters in the moot court.

As a part of interpreter training, the moot court with a foreigner defendant in need of the court interpreter at the lay judge trial was conducted at the university in Hiroshima City on May 8.

Spoken Interpreting skills at the lay judge trial have become an issue. The court interpreters society in the Japan Federation of Bar Association's legal affairs research foundation held the first training in the Chugoku region.

It was about the case that a French man was accused of arson. When the Deaf woman as the witness testified in sign language, the testimony was interpreted into sign language and French, respectively. Both the languages were interpreted into the spoken Japanese language.

The statistics of the supreme court shows that spoken interpreter candidates are about 4,000 in the whole country. It goes down to 76 in Hiroshima Prefecture, and some of them are selected for each case according to the Hiroshima district court.

Neither the national credentialing examination nor the continuous training are conducted according to the society. The spoken language interpreting capability has been dependent on the effort of the individual.

Former Bulgarian teacher of deaf children visits school for the Deaf in Saga Prefecture

Violetta Kirirov (center) enjoys
meeting with Deaf children.

Violetta Kirirov (64), a former teacher of the school for the deaf in Sofia, Bulgaria, visited the Prefecture School for the Deaf in Saga City on May 6. She has wanted to learn about the welfare and education in Japan.

She came to Japan for the first time. Her eldest son (39) is working on the industry-university joint research at Saga University.

She introduced the Bulgarian school for the Deaf with the photographs after visiting the elementary class, and presented all the children a bottle of the perfume of the rose from Bulgaria. The classroom was wrapped in a sweet smell like soap.

Violetta communicated with the children by sign language, learning the differences of two sign languages; Japanese and Bulgarian.

After the visit, she said with a smile, " It has been my dream to visit a school for the Deaf in Japan. There are a lot of discoveries which I indeed enjoyed".

Sign language circle publishes 30th anniversary booklet

Murakami (right) looks at the booklet,
recalling the history of the circle activity
with Tamasato, the circle leader (left).

The sign language circle "Takami" in Onomichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture produced a booklet (A4 size 35 pages) on commemoration for the 30 years of activity. They will make 60 copies to distribute to local schools and volunteer groups.

The circle was formed by the students who completed the sign language course held by the city in 1980.

Nowadays 19 members continue to to learn sign language weekly with a Deaf teacher, Tsumoru Murakami (61), and to teach hearing pupils and students sign language in local elementary and junior high schools.

The booklet includes not only memories with Murakami and Deaf people, the past record on the interpreting activity, etc. but also the essays of hearing pupils and students who had participated in the sign language class.

Sign language speech contest for hearing high school students held in Oita Prefecture

The sign language speech contest was held in Yoshikan High School in the Oita City, Oita Prefecture, a part of the southern island of Japan. The contest has been held every year for 18 years at the school.

Eight students majoring in welfare course made a speech in sign language about what they felt in daily life as a theme, for six minutes per student. The check point of the contest is sign language skills and facial expressions, etc.

Three students with highest points in order will be chosen to compete at the annual national sign language speech contest. It will be held in Tokyo this August.