The Sumitomo Group Public Affairs Committee recently supported The 82nd Speech Contest of The Schools for the Blind (hosted by Mainichi Newspaper Co., Ltd. Tenji Mainichi) held on Oct. 4th, 2013 at the Miyagi Prefectural Special Needs Education School for the Visually Impaired.
This year, again, nine blind student representatives ranging in age from 14 to 59 emerged from districts from all over Japan, after winning their respective elimination contests. They spoke with passion on how they felt when they had overcome conflicts in their minds and the important experiences they had through dealing with their family or friends.
The impressive winner of this year‘s contest was Ryoga Yamaguchi, the delegate from the Ibaragi Prefectural School for the Blind, with his speech, titled “Smile”.
Ryoga started to lose his sight little by little in the spring of his third year of junior high school and was unable to continue playing baseball which he really loved. He spoke of his feeling helpless and lost. However, through the support from his friends, he found a way to laugh and to have hope. He talked about those experiences with popular slang and youthful exuberance which brought laughter from the audience. How he spoke and with his big smile during his speech, was a sustaining memory from the day.
At the end of the ceremony, the chief juror, Yonhon Shin summarized the day, "Because this competition was so close with all of the competitors doing great, it was a shame there could be only one winner with the difference only due to some competitors losing points for exceeding the time limitation”. He also recognized the tremendous guidance that was provided to the competitors by their teachers over their time as students.
The Sumitomo Group Public Affairs Committee has supported this competition for the 11th time over the years with our group message, "Passing important values from people to people". We hope we can contribute to the development of this “The Speech Contest of the Schools for the Blind” which is sending “The power of living” to our society through the powerful words of these inspirational people.