Supporting Group - Fine Work (Japan)
Wakayama Prefecture Mihoko Misato (35 years old・female)
To be honest, until I actually had contact with, I was not interested in or had no knowledge, either.
I was a mere struggling actor and was better known for my pen name on pro-wrestling magazine I contributed as my hobby.
I was an outrageous fellow answering “... How could we?” even when my actor friend asked me “How do you think to convey the fun of pro-wrestling to the visually impaired people?” From that friend, I was told “Aren’t you interested in doing a voice-over for a foreign movie? No guarantee, though.” I visited the place, thinking that this might be a good experience, and it was the first time for me to learn that even visually impaired people saw movies.
That is, it was an activity to enable even visually impaired people to enjoy movies by dubbing foreign movies with only explanatory titles into Japanese. Even on this stage, I had interest of a level of “Uh, well, I will do what I can do as an actor.” And when I dropped by a get-together for watching the work in which I appeared on for the first time, the visually impaired participants told me “You did a good job,” “I could easily understand dialogue,” or others, and I for the first time looked back at those people in surprise.
In reality, contrary to expectation, responses to what an actor did got delayed or were not delivered. To say nothing of “I like” or “I don’t like,” opinions like “it was useful” were scarcely heard, and I was aware of my funny duty as an actor.
Though I became aware of but I never thought that thereafter I would work for an “audio guide,” who interprets screens on the occasion of moviegoing for the visually impaired. Of course, at first, I was doing an audio guide in sloppy smattering. I do not know “What the visually impaired people cannot understand” when they see the image product.
This problem was resolved by “Audio Guide Training Manual.”
It was precisely to live with Megumi Mitsuki, visually impaired actress, my current wife. It is frequently said that to master English, get acquainted with people from English-speaking countries. At all event, it would be the best to get used to.
Not only TVs or movies, information I could see while I am walking with my wife is chosen and verbalized (if I am reluctant to verbalize, my wife would get mad at me), I could spontaneously become a skillful movie interpreter.
In addition to this, originally, as an actor, I was a “man of dialog and voice.” I used to study under Takashi Taguchi, who won the name of “a man who delivers his lines most minutely in the actors’ world,” and I place more emphasis on how I should convey the meaning of the word, rather than acting performance itself. In that sense, I might be a rare existence in theater people of my age.
As a result, it was coincidence but I think I was suited for doing something in front of visually impaired people. This should be asked to the people who listen to my movie interpretation.
It was an unbelievable change for me to work as a guide helper at one time, making the best of the experience of walking with my wife. You know, I was not at all interested in these things.
While I continued to walk together with visually impaired people awkwardly and in no hurry, dramas I produce have been changed. Plays handling impairments including visual impairment are played, and contrivances are made in such a manner that people with information troubles such as vision, hearing, etc. could easily understand.
I wonder about it because I myself create the audio guide, but plays of my theater group “Theater Association Bakkari Bakkari” are best featured by “plays everybody can enjoy even without any audio guide.” For hearing-impaired people, superimposed titles of speech balloon are reflected on the screen behind actors.
And finally, I had an opportunity of addressing to assignments to “interpret Pro-wrestling to visually impaired people,” which first opened up my involvement with this work. With my senior colleague who happens to be the same actor and is an enthusiast of pro-wrestling, I formed a unit called “DD Brothers.”
We come out with the visually impaired people to the venue of games of Pro-Wrestler Organization of Antonio Inoki or “HERO” to which hearing-impaired wrestlers belong and to offer commentary on site through FM radio such as how efficiently the techniques work, who attacks whom now, and others.
To be honest, I who was presumptuous enough to say that I was supporting and “katakoto (smattered)” am allowed to learn how to be considerate while walking awkwardly with my wife and allowed to continue growing.
By the way, I have learned these days that when I write a mail to the visually impaired people, it would be better to write “kata” and “koto” in hiragana so that the computer correctly reads, rather than being complexed to read the letter “方” as “kata” or “ho” or the letter “事” as “koto” or “ji.” (“katakoto” in Japanese corresponds to “smatter” in English and an onomatopoeia of “clop, clop” in English.)