11th Onkyo International Braille Essay Contest
Sponsored by Onkyo Corporation
Japan Institute of Scientific Research for Education
The Braille Mainichi, Mainichi Newspapers
Audiovisual manufacturer Onkyo Corporation, Japan Institute of Scientific Research for Education, and the Braille Mainichi, Mainichi Newspapers established the Onkyo Braille Essay Contest in 2003 to build a bridge to the world of the visually challenged people who very closely feel the warmth of the people. In 2004, the scope of the contest expended with the addition of the International Category; starting with the 9th contest held in 2011, the name of this annual event has been changed to the “Onkyo International Braille Essay Contest.”
The 11th contest held this year invited entries from Japan for the Japanese Category as well as entries from 108 countries for the International Category: 21 countries and regions in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) under World Blind Union Asia Pacific (WBU-AP), 21 countries in West Asia, Central Asia, and Middle East under Asian Blind Union (ABU), 45 countries in Europe under European Blind Union (EBU), and 21 countries in North America and the Caribbean under World Blind Union North America and Caribbean (WBU-NAC). As an international essay contest, the event promotes cross-cultural communication and serves as a bridge across an increasingly complex global community.
It is our hope that the reader learns about the lives and thoughts of visually challenged people around the world and together we can create a sound of harmony that resonates throughout our global society.
= Selection Results =
Japanese Category The number of entries: 75
||Tadayuki Sugimoto (46 years old; acupuncturist and masseur)
||Megumi Suzuki (49; theater actor)
||Miyuki Ara (24; university student)
||Batbayar Enkhmandakh (24; student of a senior course at a school for the visually impaired)
||Third-year student in the music course of the Special Needs Education School for the Visually Impaired at University of Tsukuba
||Second-year student in the general course of the Osaka City Special Needs Education School for the Visually Impaired
||Sayaka Nakamura (17)
|Special Prize (awarded to elementary school and middle school students)
||Third-year student of the middle school at the Fukuoka Special Needs Education School for the Visually Impaired
||Hiyo Nishimoto (15)
||First-year student of the elementary school at the Nagano Prefectural School for the Blind in Matsumoto
||Taichi Hirabayashi (7)
|Jury’s Review Light which Braille leads Mr. Toshizo Namba
(Asia-Pacific Region) The number of entries: 28 entries from 7 countries
Cooperation: WBU-AP (World Blind Union Asia-Pacific)
(West Asia/Central Asia/Middle East Region) The number of entries: 32 entries from 10 countries
Cooperation: ABU (Asian Blind Union)
(European Region) The number of entries: 41 entries from 16 countries
Cooperation: EBU (European Blind Union)
(North America and Caribbean Region) The number of entries: 20 entries from 2 countries
Cooperation: WBU-NAC (World Blind Union North America and Caribbean)
The award ceremony for the Japanese Category was held on November 15 at the Onkyo Headquarters in Chuo Ward, Osaka. An award certificate, cash prize of 200,000 yen, and a mini stereo system by Onkyo were presented to Otsuki Award winner Tadayuki Sugimoto on behalf of all award recipients. The winners in the International Category will receive their award certificates (in English), cash prizes, and additional gifts from their respective local office.
This brochure is donated by Onkyo Corporation and the Braille Mainichi, Mainichi Newspapers to public libraries, schools for the blind, braille libraries, and other relevant institutions across Japan for the purpose of widely conveying messages of the visually impaired to the public in Braille and writing.
This compilation of award-winning essays in Japanese Braille is also translated into English Braille and donated to organizations for the visually impaired in 180 countries around the world.
Courage to Always Take on Challenges with Positive Attitude
Onkyo Corporation Honorary President
Japan Institute of Scientific Research for Education Chief Director
Last year marked the 10th anniversary of the International Braille Essay Contest. With anything in life, I believe it is harder to continue than to start. I am pleased that we have successfully hosted the 11th contest, despite some major changes in the environment our company is in. It is particularly exciting that, once again this year, we have received more entries than the previous year. Including the entries from overseas, all the essays selected for awards convey the authors’ positive spirits; as I read them, I felt encouraged by the feelings the authors express in each story, new discoveries they describe, and the strength they demonstrate to overcome the fear of taking on challenges.
Mr. Sugimoto, winner of the Otsuki Award in the Japanese Category, has lost his sight due to a disease that struck him in mid life. Nevertheless, what is lively depicted in his essay is a story of how he continued to take on new challenges with the encouragement of his daughter, and managed to make new discoveries and gain excitement through the acquisition of a powerful tool, namely Braille.
The essay by Ho Ka Leung (Hong Kong), winner of the WBU-AP Otsuki Award in the International Category, left a strong impression on me with its highly imaginative story. By drawing an analogy between the real life of a visually impaired person and an animal living in a village, the author describes how much of a help Braille provides for the visually impaired, serving as the appropriate means of communication. Reading his essay, I felt so much hope from his strong message that he has the courage to dive into an unknown world as well as the determination to seize new opportunities.
Aliasghar Assadi (Iran), winner of the ABU Otsuki Award in the International Category, cites a number of specific cases in which social networking tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus offer great possibilities. The essay made me interested in the variety of benefits that those tools provide. I hope many will acquire IT skills and use them to gain new experiences.
Roobi Roobi (Italy), winner the EBU Otsuki Award in the International Category, met his role model for life in Italy after immigrating from Pakistan. The encounter with the person motivated him to earnestly try to learn Braille, toward which he previously felt reluctant; through his effort, he came to realize how useful and wonderful Braille is. And having realized that the truth also lies in what an eye cannot see, he told himself to accept who he is and does what he can; I felt greatly encouraged by his resolution.
Jerry Glenn McKee (U.S.A.), winner of the WBU-NAC Otsuki Award, mentions the inventor of the Braille system Louis Braille as the person he would choose if he were able to meet a historical figure. Mr. McKee discusses how much assistance Braille provides for him in a variety of situations in his daily life. I enjoyed reading this essay, which conveys the author’s appreciation for Louis Braille and excitement of being able to do so many things using Braille.
In closing, I would like to thank all the participants who submitted wonderful and heartwarming essays to our contest. I would also like to thank our co-sponsors, the Mainichi Newspapers and the Braille Mainichi, who have provided us with an immense support for more than a decade, as well as ABU (Asian Blind Union), WBU-AP (World Blind Union Asia-Pacific), EBU (European Blind Union), and WBU-NAC (World Blind Union North America and Caribbean), who helped us promote entries, select winners, and host award ceremonies in their respective regions. I would also like to extend my gratitude to those who have supported our contest in each country. Today we must strive to make our world a place where people in different circumstances can help each other and live in harmony. It is my sincere hope that this content contributes to the increased recognition of Braille around the world and to the further promotion of cross-cultural communication.
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