Grant Programs by the Nippon Foundation “Establishment of a Remote Sign Language Education System Intended to Develop Supporters for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing”
Office of Sign Language Supporter Development Project

Human Resource Development

Student Voices

Department of Education(Graduates)
Hashimoto Akane

I decided to take courses with the Sign Language Supporter Development Project Office because I wanted to increase my JSL vocabulary and develop a range of expression. These courses enabled me to study living sign language, which I could never have learned just from books or texts. We also learned about deaf culture in addition to sign language, providing the opportunity to think about expressions that would be clearer to deaf people. Practice of interpreting sign language to Japanese also gave me a lot to think about usage of spoken Japanese that would be clearer to hearing people. Encounters with developmentally disabled deaf people and deaf-blind people also helped me learn how to interact with and support them.
I currently work at a special needs education school for the developmentally disabled, making use of the things I learned, such as focusing on expressions and using clear and simple wording. I also continue to feel strongly about helping hearing and deaf people communicate with one another in their own words.

Department of Education(Graduates)
Kamizuka Kasumi

I took a Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing Education D/E (Support for the Deaf-Blind) course. I joined this course since, while taking part in training as an individual in the US, I had met a deaf-blind person and developed an interest in support for the deaf-blind.
Through the very thorough course, I learned the basics about the deaf-blind and related systems, as well as meeting actual deaf-blind people and participating in an exterior practicum.
Not only completing this course, I hope to use what I’ve learned in real life, participating in regional deaf-blind organization events and acquiring further knowledge.

Department of Education(Graduates)
Takehana Otoha

I first encountered sign language after entering university. As a novice, I was nervous that it would be too difficult, but while practicing with the teacher and my classmates, I discovered how much fun sign language is, and what a joy communication can be.
In courses on sign language interpretation and teaching methods using sign language from my second through fourth years, I worked on various assignments such as interpretation practice in actual classes. It wasn’t easy, but the courses were highly fulfilling, enabling me to acquire various skills needed for sign language interpretation and for teaching deaf/HoH children. I hope to make use of what I learned in my involvement with deaf/HoH children hereafter.
As well, in my fourth-year class on support for the deaf-blind, I learned about finger Braille and movement support, spoke with actual deaf-blind people using tactile sign language and finger Braille, and shared experiences like taking a bus and going shopping. I plan to be active in this area in the future as well, such as taking part in Tsuru no Kai events.
When I become a teacher, I hope to share the joy and importance of communication which I have learned over these four years through sign language with all the children I teach, regardless of disability status.

Department of Education
Mayuzumi Misaki

I studied sign language from my first through third years, learning grammar, practicing everyday conversation, and studying interpretation. At first, I could hardly say anything at all, but through my studies on sign language I was able to talk a lot with my deaf teachers and enjoy it. As well, I was able to converse just a little with deaf customers at my part-time job. I hope to become a special needs education teacher, so if I’m assigned to a school for the deaf, I plan to make the most of the sign language skills I’ve learned to communicate with the students there.

Department of Education
Yoshida Momoka

As “sign language is a language,” we began by learning grammar. Because I was taking the course along with my classmates, we often conversed in sign language outside class as well. I frequently found myself unconsciously using sign language in daily conversation.
I plan to keep on studying, aiming toward being able to enjoy conversation with deaf people while eventually mastering interpretation.

Department of Education
Iinuma Yu

The sign language courses made learning fun, as we studied on a practical basis while conversing with the Deaf teacher in sign language, which also helped me understand the depth of sign language as a language. In the future, I plan to use what I have learned here as a special needs education teacher to contribute through sign language to students’ growth.

Department of Education
Shimada Rena

When I first started learning sign language, I just thought of it as fun. However, I came to strongly realize that it was a unique language when I discovered how its grammar and rhythm differ from those of spoken Japanese and how difficult it is to express oneself using it. In the future, I hope to become a person who can communicate and understand others’ feelings through sign language.

Cooperative Faculty of Education
Saitoh Genshi

Japanese Sign Language, unlike spoken Japanese, is a language which uses not only hand movements but also facial expressions to make sentences. I especially remember throwing myself into the part of a character in the “Momotaro” fairy tale. I hope to use sign language in a variety of contexts, such as interacting with students as a teacher and conversing with people from the region.

Faculty of Science and Engineering
Aoyama Hayato

The sign language taught at the university is Japanese Sign Language, a different language from the “signed Japanese” I mainly use, so it was very interesting for me to study. JSL uses not only hand movements but also face positioning and expressions as important grammatical elements, making it very interesting and giving me a feeling of pride as a deaf person. As well, thanks to the opportunities created for me to converse with my hearing classmates in sign language, I was able to make friends with a lot of signing hearing people.

Special Needs Education School for the Deaf Incumbent Teacher
Nakamura Estuko

I could learn various things beginning from the basics, such as learning sign vocabulary and interpreting short audio and sign language sentences, to specialized contents such as NM (non-manual) expressions and nodding. In each class, we shadowed various sentences and checked on the good points in one another’s sign language expressions, learning from one another. We were also assigned to read the deaf teacher’s signing, with ample practical study.
Since returning to the school where I teach, my communication with my students has become smoother through mastering pointing and spatial expressions, as well as learning the importance of reading expressions and whole-body actions as well as sign language per se. I have also come to have more chances to interpret in the workplace, making use of what I learned at the university and further improving my sign language skills.