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'Braille Mainichi,' Japan's only newspaper for the visually impaired, wins global award

The cover of the 5,000th issue of the Mainichi Newspapers' weekly "Braille Mainichi," which was published on July 26, 2020, is seen in this photo taken in Osaka's Kita Ward on July 21, 2020. (Mainichi/Satoshi Hishida)

The Mainichi Newspapers' weekly "Braille Mainichi" publication, Japan's only braille newspaper that independently gathers news and information for the visually impaired, has received the Silver Award in the communication design category of the 2020 International Design Awards sponsored by the International Association for Universal Design (IAUD).

    The IAUD International Design Awards are presented to groups and individuals that have performed remarkably in helping to achieve a society in which everyone can live comfortably. The Braille Mainichi was selected for the award for publishing its 5,000th issue this summer amid the coronavirus pandemic as Japan's only braille newspaper. An online award ceremony was held on Dec. 18. It is the first time for a newspaper company in Japan to receive the award.

    The cover of the first May 11, 1922 edition of the "Braille Osaka Mainichi," the predecessor of the "Braille Mainichi," is seen in this photo taken in Osaka's Kita Ward on July 16, 2020. (Mainichi/Satoshi Hishida)

    The Braille Mainichi, a 60-page A4-size paper published every Sunday, is headed by editor-in-chief Tetsuya Endo. It is not merely a braille transcription of Mainichi Shimbun articles, but conducts independent reporting and editing. The paper was first published in 1922, and continued during World War II and the many natural disasters of the Heisei era (1989-2019). From this spring when the coronavirus began to spread, the weekly paper reported on the living conditions of individuals with visual and hearing impairments who need to use "finger braille," or a system of tactile communication, in their day-to-day lives, along with changes in the lives of blind students. The 5,000th issue was published on July 26, 2020.

    The jury, headed by Roger Coleman, professor emeritus of the Royal College of Art in London, saluted the accomplishment as "evidence of a decades-long commitment to the vision-impaired community of Japan" and "a truly impressive achievement."

    (Mainichi)

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