Junto Ohki

Ashoka Fellow
Tokyo, Japan
Fellow Since 2012


This profile was prepared when Junto Ohki was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
Junto is the co-founder and president of ShuR Group, the company behind a technology that combines aspects of social media and social enterprise to create the first sign language dictionary in the world, called SLinto, a Wikipedia for signs. He is starting with 101 words but aspires to eventually include 126 languages in the dictionary. Junto has developed a keyboard which has simplified how to look up a word or sign while making it possible to directly translate from one language’s sign to another. Junto has also developed an online website which can capture the world’s 126 sign languages while providing links between the languages that never existed before.

This idea is systems-changing in the way that it facilitates the evolution of sign language while it also incorporates the deaf community it seeks to benefit as part of the decision-making process. Junto has created a crowdsourcing platform where deaf users can vote on the usage of certain words and based on the response, create a user-generated dictionary that standardizes Japanese Sign Language. This not only involves the deaf community and grants them direct responsibility in normalizing the language, it doubles as a data mining tool that allows interested parties to better understand the words that are commonly used by deaf people, specifically technical terms such as health, mechanical, or other specialized vernacular.

Junto not only wants to standardize Japanese Sign Language through his technology, but he hopes to provide efficient access to services and information that enable the deaf community to become full participants in society. He is addressing the issue of access by providing new forms of entertainment, travel documentaries, emergency web-based translation services, and social services.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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