8th Onkyo Braille Essay Contest
The Braille Mainichi (The Mainichi Newspapers)
Onkyo Corporation, an audio, computer and visual equipment maker, and the Braille Mainichi (The Mainichi Newspapers) created the “Onkyo Braille Essay Contest” in 2003, and it has been held annually since then. Through this contest, we hope to build a bridge between Braille and sound for the visually disabled who are extremely sensitive to the warmth that connects all people.
Now in its 8th year, the 2010 contest received entries from 108 countries in the International Category, which includes the Asia-Pacific region (21 countries and regions, not including Japan), the West Asia/Central Asia/Mideast region (21 countries), the European region (45 countries), and the North America and Caribbean region (21 countries) in addition to the Japanese Category. As an international essay contest, we are expanding the circle of cross-cultural communications and serving as a bridge across an increasingly complex global community.
We hope that the lives and thoughts of the visually disabled both at home and overseas will reach readers’ hearts and the harmony we create together will resonate throughout society.
= Selection Results =
Japanese Category 70 entries were received in total
||Okayama Prefecture Masahiko Takeuchi (65, Part-time teacher at a school for the blind)
||Tokyo Hiroki Kubo (35, Company employee)
||Fukuoka City Kenji Fujii (79, Retired minister)
Toyama Prefecture Shingo Morii (27, Graduate student)
||Kobe School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, 11th Grade (High School) Misato Watanabe (17)
||Aomori School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, 11th Grade (High School) Yukari Narita (17)
|Special Prize (For Elementary and Middle School Students)
||Osaka Special Needs Education School for the Visually Impaired, 6th Grade (Elementary School) Yuuki Kudoh (12)
||Saga School for the Blind, 9th Grade (Junior High School) Miki Kawahara (14)
(Asia-Pacific Region) 26 entries were received from 7 organizations across 6 countries Cooperation: WBU-AP(World Blind Union Asia-Pacific)
(West Asia/Central Asia/Mideast region) 35 entries from 7 countries were received Cooperation: ABU (Asian Blind Union)
(European Region) 63 entries from 20 countries were received Cooperation: EBU (European Blind Union)
(North America and Caribbean Region) 42 entries from 2 countries were received Cooperation: WBU-NAC (World Blind Union North America and Caribbean)
"Braille and Music As Communication Tools"
Mr. Naoto Otsuki
November 1, 1890: This is the date when Japanese Braille was first officially employed, thus November 1 has been celebrated has “Braille Day” ever since. Braille was introduced to Japan from overseas in the 1880s, about 130 years ago. Kuraji Ishikawa, a teacher at a school for the visually disabled, continued to modify it for a period of about 10 years, and his modified Braille was officially recognized as Japanese Braille in 1890.
This year marks the 120th anniversary of Japanese Braille, as well as the 8th Onkyo Braille Essay Contest. Again this year, many entries teeming with affection were received from all over the world, spreading the joy of connecting to others through Braille. I hope from the bottom of my heart that this contest continues to be an opportunity to share feelings with people around the world through music and Braille.
Japan Otsuki Award winner Masahiko Takeuchi’s essay is about his experience with a high school exam. When he asked about a one-point deduction on his test, his teacher told him his answer sheet had too many correction marks. He could have complained, but instead he interpreted his teacher’s message as, “you can do it”, and this changed his life. I think it is truly wonderful that he remembered this after becoming a teacher himself and was resolved to educate his own students in this way. The scene where he met his teacher again as he was reaching his retirement age is also heartwarming and gives us insights into the personalities of Takeuchi and his teacher.
From the essay by Jenni Heryani (Indonesia), winner of the Otsuki Award in the WBU-AP region, I can only imagine how difficult it was for her not only to study Braille, but also to overcome a language barrier at the same time. With God’s help, her prayers were answered and she found great happiness because she always knew that “passion and sincerity are the keys to solve any problem.” I wish her all the best in realizing her dream of becoming a German teacher.
The entry by Babooja Ranjan Choudhury (India), winner of the Otsuki Award in the ABU region, is a well-organized paper about the current condition of environmental problems and his thoughts on the matter. Now that such problems are becoming more severe, businesses such as ours must lead the way for individuals to take action one step at a time. Mr. Choudhury reminded me of this important truth.
The essay by Ann Jonsson (Sweden), winner of the Otsuki Award in the EBU region, reminds me that it is very important to have self-confidence to live a fulfilling life. However, along with self-confidence, one must also make an effort and practice until perfect. I can feel these strong beliefs conveyed in her essay. The world of Braille and that of regular writing: She who knows both worlds can be a bridge between the two.
Nijat Ashrafzada Worle (USA) is the winner of the Otsuki Award in the WBU-NAC region. I can picture a future full of hope from his attitude to expand his world through Braille, which was depicted in this essay so well. I am sure he will continue to broaden his horizons, and I hope he will continue down this spiritual path with the “liberty and independence” he achieved thanks to Braille.
Last but not least, I would like to thank everyone who submitted his or her wonderful essay to this contest. I am deeply grateful also to our co-sponsors, the Braille Mainichi (The Mainichi Newspapers) and, for the considerable efforts of the ABU, WBU-AP, EBU, and WBU-NAC who oversaw operations including advertising, judging and prizes in their respective regions. I am grateful to everyone who supported the contest in each country.
In the world we live in today, we must build a future in which we can all live side-by-side and help each other regardless of our backgrounds. I hope this contest continues to be an opportunity to promote enhanced cross-cultural communication and introduce Braille to all corners of the globe
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