The National Congress of the Deaf is held every June and attracts nearly 2,000 – 3,000 people from all across Japan. The congress goals are to enhance the social self-reliance and status of the Deaf in Japan, to improve social welfare services for the Deaf, to offer information on important issues related to the Deaf, and to strengthen mutual ties. The General Assembly, which is held during the National Congress, adopts resolutions and policies for the current year related to such issues as welfare, education, labor, etc.

Exhibits, performances, and meetings are held concurrently with the congress such as: the Deaf Research Subcommittee Meetings, National Deaf Art Exhibit, National Deaf Photography Contest Exhibit, National Deaf Theater Performances, Exhibit of Newsletters of Member Deaf Associations.


The National Games for the Deaf are held every summer and winter. The aim of the games and competitions is to build up physical and mental strength, to promote social participation of the Deaf, and increase social awareness toward the Deaf.

There are baseball, table tennis, track and field, volleyball, football, tennis, gateball, bowling, badminton, softball, and basketball games in summer, and alpine ski (slalom, giant slalom and super giant slalom), technical ski and snowboard ( slalom, giant slalom) in winter.


JFD holds the following training seminars for effective handling of Deaf issues:

  1. National Organizational Leadership Training Seminar
    This seminar is held every year for the organizational leaders of JFD.

  2. National Seminar for Full-Time Employees
    This seminar is held every year in order to raise the quality of the full-time staff of JFD.

  3. National Training Seminar for Counselors for the Deaf
    This seminar is held every year in order to raise the quality and professional skills of the counselors for the Deaf hired by local governments.

  4. Training Seminar for Sign Language Interpreters in Job Placement Offices
    This seminar is held every year for officers in charge of disabled persons and Sign Language interpreters working in governmental job placement offices, and the members of local Deaf associations who are responsible for labor issues. The seminar is held for training and exchange of information.

  5. National Senior Deaf Conference/ National Deaf Women’s Conference/ National Deaf Youth Debates
    JFD’s Senior Section, Women’s Section and Youth Section meet annually for training and mutual exchange.


  1. (Terminated) Projects commissioned by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA):
    The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has commissioned JFD to conduct a 6-week program for “Leadership Training of Asian and Oceanian Deaf Persons”.


  1. National Sign Language Interpretation Training Seminar
    These seminars are held jointly by JFD and the National Study Association for Sign Language Interpretation twice each year, in summer and winter, to discuss issues relevant to Sign Language interpreters and thereby contribute to the development of Sign Language interpreter services.

  2. High School Student Sign Language Speech Contest
    This contest is held every August for high school students studying Sign Language. It is cosponsored by the Asahi Newspaper Welfare and Cultural Projects Fund.

  3. Future of Deaf Education Study Group
    This Study Group meets every summer to discuss issues related to Deaf education, pedagogy, increased employment of Deaf teachers, and the introduction of Sign Language into the classrooms.


JFD is involved in a number of publication projects designed to help educate people interested in Sign Language and to inform the general public about Sign Language and issues facing the Deaf community.

“Our Sign Language” (Watashitachi no Shuwa) is a very popular Japanese Sign Language (JSL) textbook that JFD first published in 1969. JFD is solely responsible for the research, editing, and publication of this series which now consists of: 10 basic vocabulary volumes, 3 conversational textbooks, 3 textbooks on new signs, 1 on sports terms; and 1 supplementary volume.

JFD also publishes textbooks for local Sign Language courses in accordance with the curriculum implemented by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare for the training of Sign Language interpreters and volunteers.

Japanese Publications:

  • Japanese – Japanese Sign Language Dictionary
  • Wisdom of Japanese Sign Language (Shuwa no Chie)
  • Image of Recent Deaf People in Japan (Atarashii Chokakushogaisha Zou wo Motomete)
  • Our 50-Year History and Future (book/pamphlet)
  • Together with Deaf Children (Kikoenai Kodomo to Tomoni)
  • Others

English Publications:


JFD has been publishing a monthly paper called the Japanese Deaf News since 1948 to give reports and coverage of news and topics related to the Deaf, and to promote recognition and awareness of the Deaf. The archive edition of the News is published once in 5-6 years.

Mimi Quarterly is another JFD publication, which introduces news, featured articles, serial topics, interviews, etc.


World Federation of the Deaf
The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) is an international, non-governmental central organization of the Deaf established in 1951. It cooperates with the United Nations and other international organizations and professional groups in matters related to Deafness. JFD joined the WFD in 1960. The first delegates from Japan attended the 5th World Congress of the Deaf in 1967 and delegates have been sent every year from the 7th World Congress. JFD hosted the 11th World Congress in 1991 in Tokyo, and attracted 7,000 participants from 54 countries. The General Assembly elected Mr. Eiichi Takada as the first Japanese board member of WFD.
– World Federation of the Deaf Regional Secretariat in Asia/Pacific (WFD RS A/P)
At the 9th World Congress held in Palermo, Italy in 1983, WFD asked JFD to open a regional secretariat office in Japan. JFD decided to comply with the request. WFD RS A/P holds a Representative Meeting every year, hosted in turn by the member countries, to improve welfare for the Deaf in Asia and the Pacific region.
Asian Deaf Friendship Aid Project
In celebration of its 50th anniversary, JFD established an Asian Deaf Friendship Fund in 1996. The Fund is based on the concepts of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons 1993-2002, and is aimed to achieve full participation and equality of the Deaf throughout Asia. JFD conducts fund-raising activities in all parts of the country to support the National Deaf Associations in Asian countries. The name was changed into “Asian Deaf Friendship Aid Project” alongside JFD’s organizational transition in 2013.


– Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies (JISLS)
JFD’s organization includes JISLS, to conduct research on Sign Language. JISLS publishes the “Sign Language Communication Studies” 4 times a year. It also holds seminars for Sign Language studies and compiles books such as the Sign Language Dictionary.