Nihon Shuwa - The Japanese Sign Language

There are thousands of sign languages spread around the world, each country has its own version. And in today's article we’ll get to know details about Japanese Sign Language.

The Japanese sign language is known as 日本手話 (nihon shuwa), was once known as temane, and is known worldwide with acronyms JSL - Japanese Sign Language.

The Japanese sign language has a different vocabulary and grammar than spoken Japanese. It is somewhat similar to the Taiwanese and Korean sign languages. Japanese sign language does not only use the hands and arms, it also uses the eyes, eyebrows and jaw.

Curiosities about nihon shuwa

More than one 95% of the deaf community in Japan understands Japanese sign language, approximately 80% understands the typing alphabet and television. There are more than 100 schools for the deaf, the first of which was founded in Kyoto in 1878. 

In Japan the middle finger is used in sign language to make the brother sign. Despite westernization, the middle finger is not usually used for insult in Japan. 

Kanji is used more than hiragana alphabet in sign language. Sign language also changes according to the province and region of the country. 

There are some works such as anime and dramas that make use of sign language like gangsta, Orange Days, Babel and others.

Hearing impaired people should use a special sticker on the vehicle as was mentioned in in this other article.

Differences between the sign language of Japan and Brazil 

The video below shows some differences between the sign language of Brazil and Japan.

Japanese alphabet in signs

Below you can learn the Japanese alphabet in signs.

Nihon Shuwa - Japanese Sign Language

If you want to find Japanese sign language media, we recommend the following sites:

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