As mentioned in a previous post, Japan has its own form of sign language that draws from Chinese characters and Japanese culture. The Japanese Imperial Family has close ties to sign language as Princes Kiko is a strong advocate.
Recently, Princess Kako – the 20-year-old second daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko – gave a speech in sign language at the opening ceremony Tuesday of a national high school sign language performance contest held in Yonago in Tottori Prefecture. She said “she hopes the event will contribute to deepening the public’s understanding of people with hearing impairments and give participants wonderful memories” and that she is looking forward to the performances.
It is great to see such important public figures increasing public awareness of disabilities and Japanese sign language. Here is a news report about the event.