Facing myself

I am Yoshida, president of Yamada Shusei Ltd., a professional apparel garment repair group in Nagaoka City, Niigata Prefecture.


On the afternoon of February 11, I watched a rerun of the second part of the drama "Deaf Voices: Sign Language Interpreter in Court" starring Tsuyoshi Kusanagi. As I myself have been deaf in one ear since childhood, I may have been extraordinarily emotionally involved.


I had never heard of some of these words before, so I looked them up after I finished watching the drama.


One is the word "Deaf Voice”.

This is derived from the English word "Deaf Voice," which in Japanese means "the voice of the Deaf. I also learned that this drama title also means the voice of not only Deaf people but also social minorities who have difficulty speaking up in front of the majority.


One is the term "Children of Deaf Adults (CODA)”

Children whose parents or both parents are deaf or hard of hearing, but who can hear themselves, are called "CODA. I learned that there are an estimated 22,000 CODAs in Japan.


One is the existence of "Kikoro," a community of people with hearing loss in one ear

Kikoro" is the first organization of people with hearing loss in one ear in Japan, and they started their activities in January 2019 with the hope of creating a society that is kind to the diversity of hearing and tolerant of the diversity of people.


 A condition in which one ear has severe hearing loss is called "unilateral deafness" (unilateral hearing loss). Although it may not sound like a familiar name, it is actually said to occur at a relatively high frequency of 1 in 500 to 1 in 1,000 people.


The other ear can hear normally, so the symptoms are not noticeable, and because one ear can hear normally and is not always troubled, it does not basically fall under the criteria for "physically disabled persons" as defined by the Physical Disability Welfare Law, and most public support cannot be received. It is one of the most difficult disabilities to be understood.


When I look back on my own life, I feel that my hearing loss in one ear has greatly affected my personality, my relationships with others, and my career choices.However, I did not know that there are many people in the same situation and that there are opportunities to interact with them.


After turning 50 years old, I have become aware of hearing loss in my remaining right ear and have started to try hearing aids.I don't want to be taken as an exaggeration because it is not directly related to life or death, but watching this drama made me realize anew that I myself have always had a certain amount of difficulty and anxiety in living.


Facing myself is at the same time facing my family, company management, and society.


In order to move toward a more positive life and a more positive company management and social contribution, I decided to challenge myself to interact with people who are in similar circumstances, although it is a small step.