Friday, June 7, 2019

Perfect Timing? It would seem my article is current and relevant...

On the day my article went live, members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Japan went to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to present a proposal to help support deaf children (as reported in the following source):

難聴児のシームレスな支援を 自民党議連が文科相に提言 [The Liberal Democratic Party Parliamentarians propose to the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology the seamless support of deaf children] in 教育新聞 [Education Newspaper], June 6, 2019.

URL (article in Japanese):

Thanks to Soya Mori via Facebook for the heads-up on this.

These LDP members make up a group which can be translated in English as the "National Federation for the Prevention of Deafness." Their proposal included improving neonatal and early childhood hearing testing for all children (early screening). And for deaf children the proposal promotes better medical treatment, early implantation of cochlear implants, better support and training for speech therapists, better placement at special needs schools and the like.

As Mori noted in his comments there was nothing about promoting Japanese Sign Language and the focus was on medical aspects. There seemed to be no Deaf participation in this proposal.

Here it is again (still?). Hearing people are making decisions for the deaf, what I refer to "small-d deaf" orientations in the article. In the article I did not have the time to get into the academic and social welfare models of disability and deafness, namely the deficit/medical model ("small-d deaf") and the cultural/social model ("capital-D Deaf"). For an excellent discussion of these models, especially in the Japanese context I suggest Carolyn Steven's Disability in Japan (2013, Routledge).

So why I am disappointed (although not surprised) by this political development, I am happy with the timing. It would seem my research is current and relevant. I hope more people read my article.

Fedorowicz, Steven C. 2019. "Performance, Sign Language, and Deaf Identity in Japan." Anthropology News website, June 5, 2019. DOI: 10.1111/AN.1182

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