Onkyo Braille Essay Contest - General Comment
“A Sign of Hope”
Novelist Kaoru Tamaoka

Since the time when I began to involve in the screening process of this contest, I have come to often notice persons using a white walking stick. Also, I have become able to get the courage to offer my seat to or guide them to the direction of their destination. Writings have such a power to move persons. All of the writings gathered here also had such a power. Regardless that they have lost their sense of sight, they have never given in to such a fate and never lost a sign of hope while being locked in darkness. That stance is venerable, and readers are moved a lot.

In the Adult Group, such writings competed with each other. Among them, sentences in “With the Cane of Angel” written by Yuki Kobayashi rung true to the heart. While losing own eyesight, what tastefulness it was to cherish scenes which she turned around to look at being supported by a white walking stick, saying that none of them are a matter of course. Regarding the one sentence described as “When one is bullied, one will be downhearted. If one is touched by tenderness, one will be cheered up and happy,” I really wished that people fighting each other around the Globe would read it.

There had been some debate over this essay and “ Braille Broadened My World” written by Bolot Kyzy Shirin till the last minute. In the first place, he came here from quite a faraway country called Kirgiz and he learned Japanese language as well as Braille, and he finished up an essay to that degree and everyone indeed admired that ability. He said, “Braille is a gift given by the god”, and behind such a casual expression, I felt accumulation of his enormous efforts stepped up by the person.

In the Student Group, “Thank you, Radio” written by Kazuki Matsumura which describes contacts arose after he courageously wrote to a radio program he always listened to attracted attention. Although details of messages he made were not in the sentences, from the wondrous contacts in voices only he made with the counterparties whose faces are also not known to him, we felt sensitivity particular to a youth.
For the special price in the Student Group, “Things I Learned from Harvesting Peas” written by Maho Kawamura was selected. Her observant eye is prominent, and there were voices to admire that she wrote so many with a subject of garden pears alone.

In the Supporting Group, “New Communication” written by Tsubasa Ootaka. Because he is a current student of high school department of a school for the blind, we thought we could include him in the Student Group. However, what were written were nothing but those in the Supporting Group. His essay describes abundantly his experience in which he learned finger braille so that he could communicate with other student of the school for the blind more smoothly while he himself was visually handicapped.

There was no argument as to giving prizes to any of them, and we finally decided to give the most excellent work prize to Ms. Kobayashi in all the Groups and the excellent work prize to Shirin in the Adult Group. We all very grateful to them for their giving us a new power again.


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