Japan Category

Award Winners

Otsuki Prize 200,000 yen prize money and user-friendly Onkyo stereo system

"Braille Changed Me" Mr.Katsutoshi Takahashi (55),Niigata Prefecture

Runner-up 100,000 yen prize money and user-friendly Onkyo stereo system

"My Challenge" Ms.Etsuko Kobayashi (44),Akita Prefecture

Highly Commended 50,000 yen prize money and 20,000 yen in CD tokens

"Braille Changed Me" Mr.Osamu Okawa (67),Aichi Prefecture

"To My Mother Who Gave Me this Illness" Mr.Hyoma Kataoka (19),Shizuoka Prefecture

"My Challenge" Ms.Yoko Kanbayashi (58),Niigata Prefecture

Please click on the title to see the essay.

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Onkyo awarded Mr.Takahashi and Mrs.Kobayashi the Onkyo FR-S9GX(D) stereo system as a supplementary prize.

Judging Committee

Judge's Comments

Mr.Giichi Fujimoto,Chairman of the Judging Committee

Thank You for Your Moving Experiences

This was my second time as a judge in this competition.The first time,I was surprised to hear that not so many people had entered.When I thought about it,I realized that maybe this was because we were asking too much of the writers.We were asking them to distill their whole life experience into one short essay.I proposed that from the next competition,we should expand the range of themes to include,say,the experiences of one day or the author's feelings on a given day.I feel this may allow them to convey their reality and truth in a powerful way.

This year there were again some really fine pieces on each theme,including some refreshingly eloquent entries from overseas.We can see that the appeal of this year's competition is widening compared with the first competition.

In his essay "Braille Changed Me," Mr.Takahashi describes how he fought for ten years to get his life on track after losing his sight in his 40s.Deprived of the pleasure of reading the printed word,he resisted the use of the white cane that would help him to get out and about.While attending a center for the visually impaired,he eventually began the struggle to learn Braille and to interpret information from his white cane.The story of how his hard work opened up a new and unknown world to him should be food for thought for people who may lose their sight in the future.The fleeting appearances of Mr.Takahashi's wife in the essay show just how deep their love for each other is.

Etsuko Kobayashi's "My Challenge" gives us a bright,breezy and candid sketch of her family and how her son accompanies her in a "cafe lunch" cooking contest.She succeeds in conveying her understandable sense of tension and excitement in her short essay.Her writing has the strength to convey the sense that a person's happiness can come from overcoming obstacles.

Mr.Okawa tells us of his encounter with classical music in "Braille Changed Me." Mrs.Kanbayashi writes about her guide dog and mountain climbing.Young Hyoma describes the bonds between his mother and himself.All these essays give us a deeper appreciation of life,and they show us a common element?enthusiasm for life?that the writers use to give their future's meaning.

A friend of mine suddenly lost his sight at the age of 70.He was profoundly distressed for about six months,but from the second year on,he looked at peace with himself.As he put it,"I can see things now that I could never see before." This spirit is what gives him the strength to carry on.

The results were published in the Braille Mainichi Shimbun newspaper (October 3) printed edition as well as the regular Mainichi Shimbun newspaper (October 9).The prize-winning essays were published as a series in the Braille Mainichi Shimbun newspaper.Collected editions of the prize-winning essays will be donated to schools for the blind and other community groups.

User-friendly features are provided by the Onkyo Rakuraku Kit.This kit is provided free of charge.Please visit the Onkyo Barrier Free site Rakuraku-kan for more details here.

The Technol Eight Group helps to promote barrier-free access to information through its Braille printers.Click here for more information.

Click here to access the award-winning essays from the 1st Onkyo Braille Essay Contest.

For further information,please contact Mr.Ogura or Mr.Miyahara at the following address.

Onkyo Corporation
Strategic Management Dept.
2-1 Nisshin-cho,
Osaka 572-8540
Ph: 81-72-831-8008

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