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

Staff

Staff

Kanazawa Takayuki
Professor of the Gunma University Faculty of Education Special Needs Education Course
 As an undergraduate, I was assigned for my teaching practicum to what was then the only school for the deaf in Tokyo to use Japanese Sign Language (JSL) from early childhood. This brought to light doubts about the university’s educational stance that “you don’t need to learn sign language to be a teacher of deaf students,” making me wonder why sign language hadn’t always been used at schools for the deaf, and thus leading me to sociological research into education for the deaf and hard of hearing. While writing my master’s thesis on the positioning of sign language in schools for the deaf, I was regularly scolded by another graduate student, the first deaf person of my own age I had met: “You’re studying education for the deaf and you can’t even use sign language?”. Through my relationships with various deaf people, I came to learn JSL.
 Thereafter, I committed myself in addressing the university’s guarantee of information access to deaf students, in particular its response to the need for JSL interpretation, as part of my life work, prompted by the admission of a hearing-impaired student to the Gunma University Faculty of Education and, in the following year, the admission of a deaf student who requested JSL interpretation. The answer I came to, while working through these issues one by one, is that for the university to become truly inclusive for deaf students, it must not only request professionals to do JSL interpretation of its classes, but ultimately spread JSL throughout the university environment so that all the students learning together can have conversation in JSL.
 I hope everyone will join us, offering warm support as we watch the flowers of sign language bloom throughout the Gunma University.
PROFILE
Undergraduate and master’s degrees from Tokyo Gakugei University; partial completion of doctoral course at Tsukuba University Graduate School. Became Ministry of Education technical officer and adjunct at Tsukuba University; from April 2000, became lecturer for Special Needs Education Course in the Gunma University Faculty of Education. Currently a professor of the Gunma University. Ph.D. (in pedagogy, with the thesis, “Research on the Process of Introducing Sign Language into Deaf Education”) received in March 2013. Thereafter, actively contributing to the promotion of municipal sign language policies in and outside Gunma Prefecture, as a member (and acting chair) of Gunma Prefecture Sign Language Ordinance (Proposal) Study Group (FY2014), advisor to Maebashi City Sign Language Ordinance Formulation Study Group and member of Opinion Exchange Committee in the same group (FY2015), member (and vice-chair) of Gunma Prefecture Sign Language Policy Promotion Council (FY2015 on), etc. Administrative member of PEPNet-Japan (Postsecondary Education Programs Network of Japan) from its founding in 2004, working to organize nationwide support systems for students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Main publications
Editor/author: Ro kyoiku no datsu kochiku (Deconstructing Deaf Education), Akashi Shoten, 2001
Editor/author: Ippo susunda chokaku shogai gakusei shien: Soshiki de sasaeru (Advanced Support for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students: Supporting through Organizations), Seikatsu Shoin, 2010
Author: Shuwa no shakaigaku: Kyoiku genba e no shuwa donyu ni okeru tojishasei wo megutte (The Sociology of Sign Language: On Involved Participation in the Introduction of Sign Language to Educational Environments), Seikatsu Shoin, 2013
Nakano Satoko
Associate Professor of the Gunma University Faculty of Education Special Needs Education Course
 Having lost my hearing at age five, I attended mainstream schools from elementary school on, but I learned on my own and avoided communication with friends as much as I could. My life changed when I began to learn JSL after entering university. I was stunned to realize how empty the communication I had experienced in classes and daily life had been, far from what I had believed I could more or less understand via my hearing aids. In classes, friends from the sign language club interpreted in shifts for me as paid volunteers. Above all, through JSL I was able to interact and communicate with people and gain back my own humanity.
 In graduate school, the Duskin Disability Leadership Program enabled me to study in the US for a year, where I encountered role models and social environments which embodied the philosophy of “Deaf people can do anything except hear,” and gained confidence that in the right environment, there was nothing I couldn’t do as a deaf.
 Sign language is a constant presence in both my work and my life. In particular, JSL interpreters are my other halves at work, functioning like part of myself. However, while dealing with the education, research, and many other tasks required of me as a university instructor, I sometimes felt that the equivalence of JSL interpretation was not ensured. Taking up a position at a regional university became the impetus for me to work with coordinators from the prefectural JSL interpreters’ dispatch office and staff from JSL interpreters’ organizations, working our way to engaging in training for JSL interpreters in academic settings. Through these approaches, I am now analyzing the interpretative expressions used by JSL interpreters from the perspective of a client and discovering issues in sign language acquisition and interpreter education.
 I hope very much that this project will become a chance for deaf/HoH (hard-of-hearing) children and adults to realize inclusion through sign language, increasing the circle of supporters.
PROFILE
Undergraduate and graduate degrees from Tsukuba University College of Human Sciences, Faculty of Disability Sciences. Ph.D. (disability sciences). First deaf person in Japan to earn a Ph.D. in research on sign language cognition/language development.
Research at the University of Tokyo Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology on the development of assistive devices for disabled persons; engaged in support of disabled students at Hiroshima and Osaka Universities. Also involved in research on academic sign language interpreter education, with multiple papers published on the relevant topics. Planned and held trainings for JSL interpreters in the region.

Main publications
Co-author: Ro kyoiku no datsu kochiku (Deconstructing Deaf Education), Akashi Shoten, 2001
Author: Otona no shuwa, kodomo no shuwa: Shuwa ni miru kukan ninchi no hattatsu (Signing Adults, Signing Children: Spatial Perception Development as Seen in Sign Language), Akashi Shoten, 2002
Co-author: Shuwa ni yoru kyoyo daigaku no chosen: Rosha ga oshie, rosha ga manabu (Toward a Signing Liberal Arts College: Deaf Teachers, Deaf Students), Minerva Shobo, 2017
Online materials for academic sign language interpretation: https://sl-interpreting.org/ (released in June 2019)
Nomi Yukiko
Assistant Professor of the Gunma University Faculty of Education Special Needs Education Course
 I discovered sign language by chance, through a hearing-impaired classmate in college. It struck me as impressive and a lot of fun, and I ended up going to gatherings of deaf people in and out of Japan in order to experience more sign languages.
 At first, I just thought it was fun; after a while, however, I decided to enter the world of sign language interpretation. The trigger was a deaf person who said to me, “Hearing people can quit sign language any time, but we deaf people can’t live without interacting with hearing people.” I resolved to live with the deaf people, not just experiencing the fun parts, and I became more deeply involved with this world.
 Since becoming certified as an interpreter, I have gone wherever I am needed for JSL interpretation and note-taking. Supported by the kindness and severity of deaf people and fellow interpreters, which can be uniquely experienced from the interpreter’s position, I am constantly thrilled by how much more there is to learn.
 I like sign language. I like sign language interpreting. After some time away for maternity leave, I have plunged back into the world of sign language and JSL interpretation with the welcoming support of deaf people and fellow interpreters.
 Through this project, I hope to gradually and steadily expand the circles of people who share my enjoyment of sign language and interpreters who experience the same struggles and joys.
PROFILE
Undergraduate of Tsukuba University College of Human Sciences, ABD of Tsukuba University Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences. From graduate school on, support staff for Tsukuba City special needs education and JSL interpretation coordinator at Ibaraki Prefecture Yasuragi Center for the Welfare of the Deaf and HoH. Currently, assistant professor at Gunma University Cooperative Faculty of Education, adjunct lecturer at Nagano University Faculty of Social Welfare, and practical lecturer in election broadcast interpreting for the Japanese Association of Sign Language Interpreters. JSL interpreter, note-taker.
Specializes in ensuring information access in education; received the 7th Sumisei Woman Researcher Encouragement Prize (Child-Raising Project to Empower the Future). On this project, mainly in charge of instruction methods and materials development for JSL interpreter education as well as lesson practice and research.
Kawabata Shinya
Gunma University Organization for University Education and Student Support, Student Support Center Industry-Academia-Government Liaison Research Associate
 For hearing people to “discover” a world without sound must be like setting foot into an unknown world. It’s like outer space, or maybe another galaxy. It’s only a world of imagination, but it actually exists nearby. At the same time, through “discovering” this world, things which were previously invisible may come to light. I have lived in a world without sound since I was born. I still find it surprising and instructive to feel the world with sound that exists close by. What lies in the direction of the sound? Every time I find it, I feel as if I’ve opened Pandora’s box. Because people taught me about sound, I was able to open that box, and every time I do I sense the relationships among us.
 Sign language is silent, but it is a language. However, for a long time it was not considered a real language, facing various obstacles and prejudices. Even so, our deaf pioneers preserved and treasured it, enabling it finally to have been recognized as a real language. The “power of sign language,” coming to you from Gunma University! Together, we can nurture the “power of sign language” by learning JSL, Japan’s another language! You will find your worldview change: that’s just how amazing JSL is.
PROFILE
Graduate of Tsukuba International University, Faculty of Industry and Society, Department of Social Welfare (studied with Masuo Ueno). Master’s degree from Japan College of Social Work, Graduate School of Social Welfare; adjunct lecturer there. Currently, Industry-Academia-Government Liaison Research Associate at Student Support Center and adjunct lecturer at Gunma University. First in Japan to submit master’s thesis in JSL (video). Specializes in LBGTQ issues, social welfare, and JSL. At Gunma University, in charge of direct JSL instruction via deaf teachers.
Shimojima Kyoko
Gunma University Organization for University Education and Student Support, Student Support Center Industry-Academia-Government Liaison Research Associate
 When applying for entrance to the Graduate School at Gunma University, I requested guaranteed access to lectures via JSL, so that I would be able to enjoy the same right to learn as hearing students. The university arranged for JSL interpreters, enabling me to attend classes with highly simultaneous information access guaranteed in lectures and seminars. Fifteen years have passed since then, and more and more deaf and hard-of-hearing students are entering higher education, calling for lecture interpreters with specialized knowledge and interpretation skills able to handle academic vocabulary.
 The provision of interpreters able to support the learning environment for the deaf/HoH students who hope to acquire academic knowledge and develop their capacities at university is also an urgent issue for the realization of these students’ valuable potential.
 Hearing students will also encounter “deaf culture” as they study JSL as a language. I hope the acquisition of new perspectives through this cultural experience will lead everyone to observe and consider the state of our society together.
PROFILE
Graduated from Joshibi University of Art and Design. Counselor for deaf/HoH people at Gunma Prefecture Communication Plaza for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing; master’s degree from Gunma University Graduate School, Faculty of Education, Special Needs Education Course. Master’s thesis on “Teachers Addressing Deaf Children in JSL: Focusing on the Nodding Function.”
Established the Gunma Deaf Free School Kokoro for Deaf/HoH children. For two years, manager and child development support manager at Kira Kira, Gunma’s first afterschool day care specifically for deaf/HoH children.
Experienced adjunct lecturer at Maebashi International University, regional JSL support staff education lecturer, prefectural interpreter education course lecturer, PEPNet-Japan second project JSL interpretation analysis staff.
Futagami Reiko
Assistant Professor of the Gunma University Faculty of Education Special Needs Education Course
 Deaf people use Japanese Sign Language, a language distinct from spoken Japanese. However, hearing people may find themselves uncertain when first encountering the deaf, wishing they could have communicated better. Graduating from university and taking up a profession, they may find themselves with deaf students, customers, or patients. Should the services provided suffer because hearing people are unable to use JSL? Take this opportunity to learn JSL while in college, try out this project’s courses and learn JSL as a language. You will find that not only have you learned to understand JSL, the language of the deaf, but you have also developed understanding and respect for other people’s language and culture as well as grasping the excitement and importance of communication. Those who want to go further can also study JSL interpretation skills. Through the study and practice of JSL interpretation, you may find yourself becoming a bridge between the deaf and the hearing, the first step toward a society of multicultural coexistence with no discrimination between the two.
PROFILE
Graduated from Japan College of Social Work School of Social Welfare; master’s degree from Gunma University Graduate School, Faculty of Education; Ph.D (academics) from Ritsumeikan University Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences. School social worker for schools for the deaf, part of a team of experts at the Gunma Prefecture Board of Education. Social worker, JSL interpreter. Specialize in social welfare, deaf/HoH social work, policies for disabled people. Research on involved participation in the establishment process of sign language ordinances.
Kai Sarasa
Assistant Professor of the Gunma University Faculty of Education Special Needs Education Course
 I hope sign language will become a source of emotional strength for everyone, and that many people will take part in the improvement of sign language accessibility in various aspects.
 I myself am deaf (hard of hearing), having graduated from a school for the deaf (current special needs school for the deaf/HoH) and taken university courses with the aid of note-taking and JSL interpretation. In graduate school I encountered a professor fluent in JSL; being able to pursue my master’s and doctoral degrees through direct instruction in JSL, with “learning, discussing, talking in JSL” guaranteed, was a valuable academic experience. Based on this experience, I feel that for students with disabilities, higher education is a chance to enhance knowledge and thus to overcome the inequity and irrationality we face; thinking and talking create the strength to survive. This process is supported by direct sign language dialogue as well as sign language accessibility and reasonable accommodation through academic JSL interpretation.
 When I was a student, I encountered people who had a negative self-image related to sign language and their own inability to hear, and those who had struggled to develop emotionally because of the limits placed on their communication. Because the therapy and psychological assessment intended to address their terrible emotional wounds were mediated through sound, they were shut out from psychotherapy. Shocked at this, I became involved in enrollment management for the field of psychotherapy through sign language for their sakes. I have every hope that initiatives for learning in sign language, living in sign language, and working in sign language will spread more widely.
PROFILE
Graduated from Tama Art University Faculty of Art and Design. Master’s degree and Ph.D (school pedagogy) from Hyogo University of Teacher Education Graduate School. Currently at Gunma University after working as a coaching researcher at Kagoshima University Faculty of Education, a research fellow at the National Rehabilitation Center for Persons with Disabilities, a post-doctoral fellow at Ritsumeikan University Institute of Ars Vivendi, and a special assistant professor at Kyushu University Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Clinical psychologist, psychiatric social worker. Also a counselor at information access facilities for the deaf/HoH for 10 years and a school counselor at schools for the deaf for five years. Specialize in clinical psychology and support for deaf/HoH students. Main publications include Chokaku shogaiji no gakushu to shido: Hattatsu to shinrigakuteki kiso (Learning and Instruction of Deaf/HoH Children: Development and Psychological Basics) (co-authored, 2018), Chokaku shogai gakusei no ishi hyomei shien no tame ni: Goriteki hairyo ni tsunageru shien no arikata (Toward support for deaf/HoH students’ self-expression: Support working toward reasonable accommodation) (co-authored, 2017), Chokaku shogaisha no shinri rinsho 2 (Psychotherapy for the deaf/HoH 2) (co-authored, 2008), etc.
Shimoda Hironobu
Professor of the Gunma University Faculty of Education Special Needs Education Course
PROFILE
東京学芸大学を卒業、同大学教育学研究科を修了後、社会福祉法人雲柱社 賀川学園児童指導員、東京学芸大学附属特別支援学校教諭、文教大学教育学部講師、准教授を経て、2009年群馬大学教育学部に着任、2016年より同大学教授。公認心理師、学校心理士、ガイダンスカウンセラー。講義では、知的障害児の心理概論、発達障害教育概論、障害児発達診断法、特別支援教育コーディネーターの役割と課題等を担当。専門は障害児心理学、応用行動分析学。知的障害児ならび発達障害児に対する心理・行動特性に応じたコミュニケーション、学習、行動への支援をテーマに研究を行っている。
Nakamura Yasukazu
Associate Professor of the Gunma University Faculty of Education Special Needs Education Course
PROFILE
群馬大学を卒業、同大学大学院を修了後、東北大学大学院博士課程後期に編入学。2008年3月に博士号(教育学)を取得。
2007年から着任した福井大学教育地域科学部発達科学講座講師を経て、2011年4月に群馬大学教育学部障害児教育講座に准教授として着任する(現在に至る)。講義では主に重複障害教育総論や盲ろう教育総論などを担当。
専門は先天盲ろうおよび感覚障害を有する重度・重複障害の子どもの初期コミュニケーション。先天盲ろうに肢体不自由や知的障害、病弱等を併せ有する子どもたちとの係わり合いを通して、初期コミュニケーションや探索活動、学習をテーマとした研究を行っている。
Kimura Motoko
Associate Professor of the Gunma University Faculty of Education Special Needs Education Course
PROFILE
群馬大学を卒業、横浜国立大学大学院を修了後、筑波大学大学院博士五年一貫課程に入学。2011年、博士(障害科学)取得。
2007年より宮崎大学教育文化学部障害児教育講座講師、2012年、同特別支援教育講座准教授を経て、2016年より群馬大学教育学部障害児教育講座に准教授として着任。講義では、障害児教育学総論、知的障害児の教育課程、障害児教育授業づくり特論、特別ニーズ教育特論等を担当。
専門は、障害児教育学、聴覚障害教育学。米国における公立通学制ろう学校史研究のほか、近年は特別支援学校に在籍するろう重複障害児の在籍・支援に関する調査研究を行っている。
Takei Wataru
Visiting Professor
 担当授業:「聴覚障害指導法」
PROFILE
金沢大学 人間社会研究域学校教育系 教授
Shirasawa Mayumi
Visiting Professor
 担当授業:「聴覚障害教育演習C」
PROFILE
筑波技術大学 障害者高等教育研究支援センター 准教授
Maeda Akihide
Visiting Associate Professor
 担当授業:「聾重複障害児の教育概論Ⅰ・Ⅱ」
PROFILE
東京都盲ろう者支援センター長