Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hirosuke Ono in Hirakata-shi

Recently Hirosuke Ono, a teacher at Meisei Gakuen and NHK Sign Language News 8:45 newscaster, gave two lectures in Hirakata-shi, Osaka.

The first lecture was for 日本手話アトリエ (Japanese Sign Language Atolier). Ono discussed Meisei Gakuen and his job at NHK. Meisei Gakuen is the only Deaf school in Japan where Japanese Sign Language is used as the first language. Ono talked about the history of the school and its philosophy of biculturalism/bilingualism. Deaf identity and JSL are stressed but not at the exclusion of Japanese culture and Japanese language. Students have Deaf culture and Japanese culture. And they communicate in JSL and written Japanese. Ono also talked about his experiences as a NHK newscaster. To be honest, I haven't watched the sign language news for some time because of its use of Signed Japanese rather than JSL. However this has changed according to Ono - Deaf people seem to have much more input in the production than they did before. A nice change for sure. Ono also talked about his experience covering the 3/11 earthquake/tsunami/nuclear accident. NHK provided extended sign language news during this time.

The second lecture was for the newly formed Hirakata-shi Sign Language Interpreter Dispatch NPO. This lecture focused more on Meisei Gakuen and its bicultural/bilingual curriculum. Both lectures were very interesting and informative. These kinds of lectures and events are important for sharing information about the ever-changing Deaf situation in Japan. If you ever have a chance to attend Ono's lecture, please do so. And check out NHK Sign Language News 8:45 (NHK educational channel 12, Monday - Friday, 8:45-9:00 PM).

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