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'Braille Mainichi,' Japan's only newspaper for the visually impaired, celebrates 95 years

In this photo taken on Jan. 31, 2017, the Braille Mainichi is printed using a special rotary press for Braille at the Mainichi Shimbun Osaka Head Office in Osaka's Kita Ward. (Mainichi)

The Mainichi Newspapers' weekly "Braille Mainichi," Japan's only Braille newspaper that independently gathers news and information for the visually impaired, turned 95 on May 11.

    Since the paper was first published in 1922, it has continued to play a pioneering role in including those with visual impairments in society through news and information while also shining a light on achievements in the community.

    At the time of the launch of the Braille Mainichi, radio broadcasts had yet to come onto the scene, and the newspaper was an indispensable source of information for the blind. However, there were still few people in Japan who could read Braille. The first chief editor Kyotaro Nakamura and other staff from the newspaper held seminars and other activities all over Japan in a large campaign to popularize Braille, using the Braille Mainichi as a textbook. These efforts in part led to the recognition of Braille ballots in the General Election Law issued in 1925, which extended suffrage to all men over the age of 25. The Braille Mainichi also published a Braille textbook and sent them to schools for the blind.

    In addition, the paper established a national speech contest for students attending schools for the blind in 1928, created a Braille Mainichi culture award for achievements in the areas of culture, education and social work in 1964, along with other activities to recognize the accomplishments of the visually impaired. For its long-running efforts in supporting and increasing awareness of the community, the Braille Mainichi was awarded the 1963 Kikuchi Kan Prize and The Asahi Prize in 1968.

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