Tokyo helps visually impaired to watch films
INITIATIVES in Japan to
enable visually impaired people to enjoy movies
in cinemas are growing.
Thai film The Teacher's Diary, recently shown
in Tokyo, Chiba, Aichi
and other prefectures,
had Japanese subtitles.
Visually impaired audience members could listen to an audio guide that included Japanese dubbing of the lines, descriptions of the scenery and explanations of the characters' expressions and actions.
Users listened via earphones plugged into a smartphone or other device on which they had downloaded an app.
Creating the guide cost about 1.7 million yen (S$23,000), according to movie distributor Moviola.
"We want as many people with disabilities
as possible to be able to experience the enjoyment
of watching movies at the cinema," said its president Miyuki Takei.
The app was put on trial for six movies last year.
The most common way to help those with impaired hearing is to add subtitles.
Toho did so for all its 30 Japanese movies last year.
But movies with subtitles are shown only for a certain period, limiting the screenings that can be enjoyed by those with hearing impairments.
Recently, a device resembling glasses that allows only the wearer
to see subtitles has been introduced. However,
they are expensive and
not yet in widespread use.
A survey by the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry in 2015 found that 54 per cent
of people with visual impairments and 85 per cent of those with hearing difficulties had wanted to watch a Japanese movie at the cinema but gave up.
"People with disabilities want to watch hit movies with those close to them and discuss their reactions together, just like everyone else," said Takako Matsuda of Palabra, which produces audio guides.
THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN/
ASIA NEWS NETWORK