13th 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 13th 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.
Additionally, from this year, we have established “Lyric Award” in the Japanese Category to promote fusion with music. Along with the “Supporting Group” established last year to draw more interest of visually challenged people’s families, schools, working places, and communities, we have set it with the aim to spread awareness. We hope that the minds and ways of life of the visually challenged people in Japan and overseas will reach the hearts of the readers, and that it will lead to a warm society where all people live together in harmony.
= Selection Results = (honorific titles are omitted)
Japanese Category The number of entries: 181
(Asia-Pacific Region) The number of entries: 30 entries from 8 countries
Cooperation: WBUAP (World Blind Union Asia-Pacific)
(West Asia, Central Asia, Middle East Region) The number of entries: 27 entries from 9 countries
Cooperation: ABU (Asia Blind Union)
(European Region) The number of entries: 44 entries from 14 countries
Cooperation: EBU (European Blind Union)
(North America and Caribbean Region) The number of entries: 30 entries from 2 countries
Cooperation: WBU-NAC (World Blind Union North America and Caribbean)
The award ceremony for the Japanese Category will be held on November 9 at the Onkyo Yaesu Building in Chuo City, Tokyo. On behalf of all recipients, cash prize of 200,000 yen will be presented to the Otsuki Award winner, Michiko Yamamoto and 50,000 yen to Lyric Award winner, Satoe Fujimori, along with an award certificate and a mini stereo system by Onkyo for each winner. 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.
Newly Born Powers and Bonds
Onkyo Corporation Honorary President
Japan Institute of Scientific Research for Education Chief Director
It is the 13th year of Onkyo International Braille Essay Contest, and we have received a variety of works more than ever. All of them were superb, making it very hard for us to choose. Also, since we have newly established “Lyric Award” additional to the “Supporting Group” established last year, I am happy that we are able to experience another new world.
Among them, Michiko Yamamoto’s essay which won the Otsuki Award was a very moving piece about the heartfelt communication with her friend evolving into a song titled “The Golden Harmonica.”
David Kovacic (Australia), winner of the WBU-AP (World Blind Union Asia Pacific) Otsuki Award in the International Category, described his challenges positively throughout his essay without showing any troubles even though he lost his eyesight after surviving a deadly illness. When I read it, it lightened my heart. He takes his sharpened sense of smell as a lucky bonus for losing his sight, and with feelings of gratitude to his family and volunteers, he is challenging everything he can and is enjoying. I guess his life has only just begun! R.S.N. Karunaratne (Sri Lanka), the winner of ABU (Asian Blind Union) Otsuki Award in the International Category, wrote about the use and usefulness of social media as a communication tool for the visually challenged, but also pointed out the importance of social ties in the real world and how social media should be used to create these ties. It made me realize that we must value real life more than anything. When I read the essay written by Ivanov Vladislav (Russia), the winner of EBU (European Blind Union) Otsuki Award in the International Category, I imagined that her feeling of despair must have been beyond imagination when she lost her eyesight, since reading and gaining knowledge from books was most valuable to her. But by learning Braille, she is now able to read books again, which seems to have opened doors to more possibilities and restored her hope. I hope she encounter many books in the future and lead an even more prosperous life.
The essay by Danielle Burton (U.S.A.), the winner of WBU-NAC (World Blind Union North America and Caribbean) Otsuki Award of the International Category, was about tactile graphics, which was a topic never submitted before. Braille is for reading, but by touching raised lines and shapes, one can understand maps and pictures. Danielle who was afraid of feeling by touching avoided using tactile graphics, but she realized that in order to acquire more knowledge, both Braille and tactile graphics are important. By taking a new step, I think her world has opened up. I hope she keeps challenging new things with courage.
And for the selection of “Lyric Award,” we asked Yuriko Matsumura, a poet and author of children’s stories, for support. “Yellow Line” written by Satoe Fujimori, the winner of Best Lyric Award, is a heartfelt poem expressing Braille blocks as yellow line, which reminds us the importance of its deep involvement with people’s life.
Finally, I would like to thank all the participants who have submitted inspirational and wonderful works to our contest this year. And I wish to thank our co-sponsors, the Mainichi Newspaper and the Braille Mainichi who have been enormously supporting this contest for many years, members of WBU-AP, ABU, EBU, WBU-NAC who helped us promote entries, select winners, and host award ceremonies in their respective countries, and everyone who have supported our contest in each country.
For the future, as people living in this increasingly globalized world, we must strive to create a world where people of different circumstances understand each other and live in harmony. I sincerely hope that this contest contributes to the increased recognition of Braille in the world and to further promote cross-cultural communication.
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