Tag Archives: Harukanaru Koshien

Cartoonist: Osamu Yamamoto, Harukanaru-Koshien(遥かなる甲子園)

22 4月

There was a deaf school that ran for just six years (1977-1983) in Okinawa; Japan.
The name of the school was the Kitashiro School for the Deaf.

The rubella children in Okinawa during 1960’s, as explained by Karen Nakamura  in her book “DEAF in JAPAN:Singing, Policies, and identities”, (Nakamura, K. (2006), 66-88 page) result from an epidemic called rubella which spreaded widely into the United States. At the same time, Okinawa had some cases, and recorded 300 babies with multiple disabilities from the Rubella virus may be (the cause for the symptoms: contract, deafness/hearing loss).

The Kitashiro School for the Deaf was established as a countermeasure by the Japanese government with the sudden increase in number of deaf children falling behind in academic competition at mainstream schools.

So that school just ran for six years.

The school became well-known as a model of the fictional school, named the Fukusato School for the Deaf by Osamu Yamamoto’s comic book, Harukanaru Koshien(遥かなる甲子園)

According to Nakamura (page:68) Harukana Koshien also means “roughly, Koshien[Stadium] ever so far away”,

A cartoonist, Osamu Yamamoto is also well known for an another of his cartoons called Wagayubino O-kesutora(我が指のオーケストラ)  Surprisingly, the books were already translated in French! http://minamiruruka.seesaa.net/article/99126205.html) and I could not find any original link for those books. To find the link, knowledge of French Language might be required.  Anyone interested in finding this info,  let me know?)

Anyway, the original story for the book, Harukana Koshien was written by Ryoya Tobe in 1980.

What made this story special?
Because deaf children from the rubella epidemic (風疹児) in the 1960’s entered the deaf school and aimed for the national summer baseball competition because most deaf players already played with hearing kids in mainstream schools.

As the text in the upper frame shows, deaf people weren’t allowed to play because of section 4 of the School Education Law, and people were strongly opposed to the deaf school attending the summer baseball competition, saying “its too dangerous”. Thus, deaf students had to give up their eligibility for the summer baseball competition.  It is what happened during the 1980s to 1990s.

In the website called deaf people in Manga(マンガの中の聴覚障害者) it explains that the cartoon writer, Osamu Yamamot himself appears on the book, and describes how he learned about this story, and he said

“This is not just a matter of playing baseball”

Yamamoto even wrote it in his book.

(The man on the swing is Osamu Yamamoto, telling his friend “This is not just a matter of playing baseball” from the 9 volume. 142 page by Osamu Yamamoto)