“Niimaru” is an acronym formed from the combination of “Nii” in Niigata, the location of our organization, and “Maru” from “Yui Maru,” which means “help each other” in the Okinawan dialect.
Can you hear exactly the same as what your neighbor can hear?
Is what you cannot hear the same as what your neighbor cannot hear?
As an NPO, we wish to organize a community space in Niigata where deaf people, people who are hard of hearing, and everyone else can meet, interact, and understand each other. We hope to spread our ideas about inclusive living across Japan, from Hokkaido to Okinawa.
This is what we wish to realize.
Greeting from the chairperson of the board
In recent years, the media have been increasingly focusing on topics of interest to and about deaf and hard of hearing people, particularly with respect to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games in 2020, as well as Deaflympics, the sign language verbal ordinance, the disqualification discrimination law, and other such matters.
Japan is gradually recognizing that sign language is a language, a distinct contrast to a time not too long ago when sign language was once subject to discrimination. However, there are still many difficulties for people with hearing impairments, who live in a society where spoken languages are the norm.
Since deaf people cannot perceive sound, many cannot understand TV, radio, and spoken conversations.
On the other hand, there are also people who are interested in sign language, which has a different grammar from spoken language. Some people are interested in learning about diverse values, perspectives, and ways of being in the same way that others desire to learn foreign languages and know different cultures.
Since its establishment seven years ago, this NPO has aimed to bridge the gap between hearing and deaf people. It has become a space not only for supporting the activities of people who use sign language, but also for the development of work environments that do not depend on spoken languages and represent diverse values.
From now, we will focus not only on employment support for deaf people but also on daily living support.
Additionally, by incorporating sign language daily life, we wish to create places of relaxation and refreshment that all citizens, those with and without disabilities, can access “anytime” and “always.”
July 2011, Formed a private association called “Niimaru”
February 2012, Obtained NPO status
April 2012, Started business with Niigata City Community Activity Support Center as Type III
December 2014, Migrated business with Continuation Employment Support Type B which is a Type 2 Social Welfare Project in Japan