Friday, March 27, 2015

Tashiro Furukawa’s 170th Birthday Google Doodle

Text borrowed from Olivia Huynh at Google Doodle.

To celebrate Tashiro Furukawa’s 170th birthday, students sign “Google” in both his original sign language, and the modern fingerspelling it evolved into.

Tashiro Furukawa was a pioneer in blind and deaf education in Japan. He was a schoolteacher whose many contributions to education included opening the Blind and Deaf School in 1878, which is still opened to students to this day.

For this doodle I wanted to focus on his accomplishments in educational field. I explored the idea of showing him in the classroom teaching or interacting with students.

One of my first thoughts was that it could be fun and engaging to animate hands signing. There were very few references online for the original sign language, but we were lucky to receive a lot of help and information from researcher Kishi Hiromi at the Kyoto Prefectural School for the Visually Impaired.

To help differentiate them, the hands showing the original signs are wearing kimonos as students originally did, and the modern signs are wearing modern uniforms. Also included are the wooden plates Furukawa created, as a tool for educating the blind.

We decided on this idea not only because it was more engaging, but because it references the history of deaf and blind education, which started about 170 years ago.


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