Japanese Category Review
Naoto Otsuki

Otsuki Award
Going to School by Bus” Keigo Nagai

I felt the urge to stand up and do something right now as I read Keigo Nagai’s essay and realized his independent idea that he wants to remember thanking others who talk to them and wants to have the courage to do whatever he can alone. It takes a lot of courage to say no to those who offer you help. However, you need to have a strong will to stand on your own without too much depending on others. I am very much moved by his determination. If you say that to a person with a feeling of thankfulness, I am sure that person must feel also happily refreshed. I can vividly see how he interacts with others on his way to school, and that warms my heart. I am sure he must have felt lonely when he started going to school alone. He gradually felt confident about his independent commuting while using the help of others now and then. The reader can see the process of his growth and feel him okay. I hope he will continue to feel thankful to others and have strong determination and take on challenging tasks in the future. I sincerely hope he will expand his world through interaction with the outer world and lead a rich life.

Adult Group
Excellent Work “Making Friends with Sounds” Junko Sugimoto
When the Gion Festival starts, we have no end of fun things to do, including visiting many stands and enjoying gorgeously decorated festive floats. One of the festive pleasures is “sound.” When you hear the sound of instrumental musicians of the Gion Festival and the refreshing sound of geta wooden footgear, then you feel the scenery. Junko Sugimoto must have had such an experience because of her strong wish to enjoy the festival. The world that remains in her memory is spreading as she hears a variety of sound, and she feels so much moved by that mental experience. We can vividly feel how she felt as we read her essay. I think making friends with many sounds means you have more fun things to do in your life. Ms. Sugimoto, not to mention festivals, wherever you go, listen to the sound around you. Sound must give you a richer life.

Fine Work “Conveying the Voices of Hibakushas with Six Studs” by Tsai Yun
71 years passed since the end of the Pacific War. The number of opportunities to vividly hear the misery of war and atomic bombs is decreasing. I feel that under these circumstances, the completed braille translation into Chinese by Tsai is very significant because it not only lets the people in the world know what happened in Japan but also helps us, beyond national borders, recognize anew the value and pricelessness of peace and life. Words and phrases spoken directly by the hibakushas themselves and particularly the memoirs translated in braille can convey the misery and tragedy of the atomic bomb damage and the true message of hibakushas more than the documents and materials conventionally available about atomic bombing. I believe letting people not only in Japan but also in other countries including China know the immeasurable damage by war will allow Japan to move out of the victim’s consciousness and connect to the world for a better future and a more peaceful society. It is the great contribution Tsai’s braille essay can make in this respect. I sincerely hope that her notes will be read by many Chinese people as they are written and help create a peaceful world.

Student Group 
Excellent Work “What Music Gave Me” Madoka Yasome
The connections music gives to us are very wonderful. As you feel so uneasy and feel confined to yourself, you may find peace in singing alone or performing a musical instrument alone. You will have a greater joy in playing together with many others rather than doing it alone, and that will help you find friends you can connect with through music and find a much greater joy. You will have many friends together with music, and that world is gradually expanding. All these processes are written in her essay, and that very much moved me.
I am sure she will have a brighter future in her life from now on through interaction with music and communication with many new friends. I hope she will treasure the presence of the people around her who give her courage to move a step farther as she does her beloved music.

Special Prize “Encounter” by Yuka Hirose
It takes quite a lot of courage to decide to leave the world you have lived in and jump to a whole new world in order to do what you like.
 I am sure there will be many moments in her life that she feels like stepping into a new world. In those moments, I hope she will remember the experience described in her essay that she was accepted by the chorus members and found a very important place to stay. Stepping forward without fear must serve as a valuable asset for her to lead a life only she can live. I strongly wish that a wonderful encounter will visit as many people with disabilities as possible and that a society that allows them never to give us what they want to do will come.

Supporting Group 
Excellent Work “I Want to Become a Chestnut” by Ayano Watanabe
I felt very moved by a heart-warming story of strong “bond” between a parent and a child. The dream of the father who comes up with a story as he eats a chestnut is superb. The dream of the Chestnut Library must express the spiritual bond of the two. Even in the face of difficulties, they can carry them over with their strong bond, and they are leading a happy life. Those scenes are vividly seen in my mind as I read the essay. Shifting to positive thinking makes us forward-looking. I believe that is very important. As expressed in the title, I hope Ms. Watanabe treasure the feeling of wanting to be an existence resembling the “chestnut.” I also hope that the entire world will be so kind.

Fine Work “Impressive Braille” Mihoko Misato
While it is easy to imagine that the writer has so many difficulties in her daily life as her parents are totally blind, the description of her home that never hints such negative aspect but is filled with humor and smiles is clearly visible as I read her essay. I read them with smiles. She also mentions the relationship between daily commodities such as shampoo and CD and braille and expresses that “braille is wonderful as it gives the people without disabilities new findings and emotional happiness.” I strongly hope her essay will be read by many people to let them have a chance to meet with and feel braille.

Lyrics Award
If I Am Not Who I Am” Hiromoto Tasaki

  Among all, his depiction of beautiful scenery is most impressive. Red cars, hairs flowing in the wind, shaking cosmos, and the sea with the setting sun. All those daily familiar scenes are expressed with colorful and dynamic descriptions. But these scenes are only imaginary ones created in his mind’s eye and never come true to him, which is all the more heart-moving for its sadness. The feeling of sorrow is enhanced because of the affections for the people unforgettable. At the same time, accepting who he is provides a sense of peacefulness and eventually covers the entire essay with a mellow and comfortable feeling. This lyric makes me strongly look forward to listening to it together with the music.


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