12th 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 12th 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.
From this time, we established “Supporting Group” in Japanese Category. The aim is to widen the relationship between family of the visually challenged people, their schools, offices and regions.
I hope that feelings and life of the visually challenged people in Japan and overseas spread among the reader and we can feel the warm harmony for each other in society.
= Selection Results =
Japanese Category The number of entries: 170
|| Kanagawa Prefecture
||Yuko Yamamoto (45 years old; acupunctureandmasseur)
||Kazuko Nakamura (62; manager of massage clinic)
||Shoko Uechi (22; unemployed)
||Third-year high school student in the general course of the Tochigi Prefectural School for the blind
||Haruka Okubo (17)
||First-year high school student in the general course of the Hyogo City Special Needs Education School for the Visually Impaired
||Chizuko Ishii (16)
|Special Prize (awarded to elementary school and middle school students)
|| Third-year student of the middle school at the Osaka Prefectural School for the Visually Impaired
||Remi Tsujimoto (15)
| (Supporting Group)
||Rika Sekiba (48)
| Fine Work
|| Kei Nakayama (49)
| Special Prize
|| Osaka Prefecture
|| Chikako Kajikawa (55)
| Special Prize
|| Shizuoka Prefecture
|| Chiaki Shiba (65)
|Selection “The power of letters from their fingertips” Author Kaoru Tamaoka
(Asia-Pacific Region) The number of entries: 33 entries from 10 countries
Cooperation: WBUAP (World Blind Union Asia-Pacific)
(West Asia, Central Asia, Middle East Region) The number of entries: 29 entries from 9 countries
Cooperation: ABU (Asia Blind Union)
(European Region) The number of entries: 62 entries from 21 countries
Cooperation: EBU (European Blind Union)
(North America and Caribbean Region) The number of entries: 28 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 13 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.
The new world between Braille and people
Onkyo Corporation Honorary President
Japan Institute of Scientific Research for Education Chief Director
This year marked the 12th anniversary of the Onkyo International Braille Essay Contest. In order to boost this contest, we continuously provide various ideas to further enhance the decision “make a solid bridge between Braille and sound,” which is one of our purpose.
As part of this, from this year, we established “Supporting Prize” in Japanese Category as a new attempt, and invited essays from those who live in the various environments surrounding the visually challenged people. We feel delight to receive as many as 323 essays, the highest number since the foundation of this contest. The contents were also of great interest and we were surprised at the essays, which tell us the world we don’t know and bring fresh and endless surprises.
These essays were difficult to say which is better. Therefore, the selection of a prize winner was more difficult than usual year.
Among them, the essay by Yuko Yamamoto, winner of the Otsuki Award in the Japanese Category, is vividly expressed in her challenge included family to learn “writing with the hollow of the hand” or “finger Braille.”
I was touched by warm and strong family ties.
In addition, her essay was rated highly among the members of the Selection Committee because she minutely described the heartwarming story with her husband.
Elizabeth Yacova Maria Westling (New Zealand), winner of the WBU-AP Otsuki Award in the International Category, described in her essay that she gained the ability (echolocation) to recognize the surroundings by using audible sound (echo) and imaginations, although her eyes can’t see and introduced how to enjoy the art in movie theaters and theaters like sighted people with using speech guidance.
She now works actively to popularize the use of speech guidance. It is of great importance because many visually challenged people can experience the art by popularizing the use of speech guidance.
The essay by Tony Atallah (Lebanon), winner of the ABU Otsuki Award in the International Category was shocking to me. I was sad that visually challenged people face the harsh realities in spite of the fact that they are a member of our society like sighted people.
It was a powerful essay and I deeply thought about the importance of which we acknowledge each other and build the relationship, no matter how many different positions.
Anna Husz (Hungary), winner of the EBU Otsuki Award in the International Category, directly described in her essay that she is extremely grateful to her mother for giving strong affection from a child. I hope they continue to have a deep feeling each other.
Helen Kobec (U.S.A.), winner of the WBU-NAC Otsuki Award in the International Category, lost her sight when she was 9 years old, but she finally began to study Braille 51 years old. She strongly decided and continued to train, though she spent a hard and monotonous time. One day, she suddenly became able to understand Braille. I hope that she challenges new things by the great pleasure and vigorous investigation. It will become the secret of youth to challenge without regard to age.
Last but not least, I would like to thank all the participants who submitted emotional and wonderful essays to our contest this year.
And I would like to thank our co-sponsors, the Mainichi Newspapers and the Braille Mainichi, which have been supporting us for 12 years, ABU (Asia Blind Union), WBU-AP (World Blind Union Asia-Pacific), EBU (European Blind Union) and WBU-NAC (World Blind Union North America and Caribbean), which promoted application for participating countries and conducted judgments and ceremony, and all the supporters in various countries.
We live in the globalized modern society and must build the world where people with different positions can understand each other and live together for our future. I greatly hope this contest promote the use of Braille all over the world and increase the chance of intercultural communication more and more.
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