Previous to 1991, Japan did not have a lot of contact to the international community. In 1991 we hosted the WFD Congress: the world came to us. Japanese deaf people saw the variety of sign languages.
In 1994 the Japanase Deaf Association (JDA) established a deaf leadership programme for Asian Deaf people. In 1995 the Japanese government gave funding to establish JICA. More people could not come in to provide this training to more people. People from other regions would come and stay for one month to Japan.
Deaf people in Japan were not so good in international sign. So we trained them first in international sign before teaching them the leadership course.
Web and Supalla (1994) published a study which looked at international sign and discussed if IS was a real language and compared IS used by Europeans and North Americans.
Deaf people from the Asian region came to Japan and did not know IS. They learned it by socializing and also through training. There was also little or no knowledge of English, and the IS was therefore not influenced by English.
In Europe there are many sign languages and many different cultures. So it was quite challenging when all came together in 1991 for the WFD congress, and to accomodate all of these language needs in one IS. For example, non manual markers are very different in Asia Sign Languages than in the European or North American Sign languages.The presenter then showed an international sign interpretation by a Japanese deaf person, which showed increased indexing than occurs in other versions of IS. There is also less fingerspelling in Asian IS.
In the analysis I found in the comparisson between the Asia Pacific IS and the Euro IS version. In the Asia Pacific IS:
- More pointing or indexing used
- the sign order follows the structure of JSL
- Facial expression and non manual markers are different
- More classifiers are used