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Japan: Deaf Community

  • By: Soya Mori
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)
Early Phases of Deaf Community Development

In the Edo era, which is the last era of feudalism in Japan, some temple schools, Terakoya, were reported to have a few deaf children. However, the number of deaf children was small, and the first Japanese Deaf community evolved formally in the Meiji era.

There was no general public education system in Japan until 1872, even after the Meiji Restoration of imperial power. However, children with disabilities were not required to go to regular schools. Although the central government was supposed to establish a special school for children with disabilities, this did not happen for a while. The education of deaf children began in 1879, through Tashiro Furukawa’s efforts in Kyoto. Later, the local governor recognized Furukawa’s private school for ...

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