Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, at the opening of Miru Cafe ©TOKYO METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT

With less than two years to go, everything is already in motion. The Tokyo 2025 Deaflympics, dedicated to deaf athletes, are now a reality after the opening ceremony of Miru Cafe on 14 November.

The Deaflympics will be held for the first time in Japan from 15 to 26 November 2025, two years from now. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) held the opening ceremony at 'Miru Cafe', which will be open for a limited time from 15 to 26 November as an initiative to commemorate the two years leading up to the Deaflympics. The world 'Miru' means 'to see' in Japanese.

The ceremony also served as an opportunity to introduce the three appointed ambassadors for the Tokyo 2025 Deaflympics, Neru Nagahama, Ikumi Kawamata and Kiki. It is an event born with a vision of continuity and a focus on striving for inclusivity and equality, not only in sport but also in society.

Yamada Maki (athletics) and Ogura Ryo (karate), who are both expected to excel at the Tokyo 2025 Deaflympics, took part in a talk to share their excitement about the upcoming competition in two years' time.

Photo from the official opening of 'Miru Café' in Tokyo. ©TOKYO METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT
Photo from the official opening of 'Miru Café' in Tokyo. ©TOKYO METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT

Tokyo Governor, Yuriko Koike, stated: "The Tokyo 2025 Deaflympics will take place in two years' time and will make a significant contribution to creating an inclusive society where people with and without disabilities can respect each other's differences. By hosting the Deaflympics, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government aims to promote universal communication in society and create a city where people can connect with anyone, anytime, anywhere."  

"Through the use of digital technology, we hope that people with and without hearing disabilities will be able to experience smooth communication. To this end, we are opening "Miru Cafe" here in Harajuku, a new cultural centre. In this cafe, hearing staff and deaf staff work together. By interacting with the staff using digital technology, you will be able to experience a new way of communicating," he added.  

"We hope that through this hands-on experience, you will deepen your understanding of the hearing impairment and the Deaflympics. We also hope that everyone will visit the 'Miru Cafe' as often as possible and that this wonderful cafe will become a place where we can work together to create an inclusive Tokyo where everyone can shine", concluded Koike.

Deaflympic gold medallist Maki Yamada commented. "The Japan Deaf Athletics Championships were held on Saturday and Sunday two weeks ago. It was also held as a demonstration event for the upcoming 'Deaflympics' to be held in Tokyo. If this 'Miru Cafe' had opened earlier, I would have liked to show it to foreign people. I believe that the latest technology using AI to break down barriers to hearing, regardless of whether you have a difficulty or not, is something that can only be done in Tokyo".

'Miru Café' is a reality two years after the Tokyo 2025 Deaflympics. ©TOKYO METROPOLITAN
'Miru Café' is a reality two years after the Tokyo 2025 Deaflympics. ©TOKYO METROPOLITAN

"As a world leader and model of the latest technology, I hope the Tokyo Games will show people how amazing Tokyo is and how advanced the technology is. As an athlete, I was able to win a medal at the 2017 Samsun Games in Turkey, but unfortunately, I was unable to win a medal in Brazil. So I really hope to get revenge for my gold medal at the Tokyo Games, and I will do my best," Yamada added.

Ryo Ogura, another Deaflympic champion, said: "I hope that the Deaflympics will actually attract more attention in the run-up to the Tokyo 2025 Deaflympics, as the awareness of the Deaflympics is currently quite low in Japan. I think it is important for us to achieve good results in this really important event. We want to contribute to the Deaflympics so that more and more people will know about the Deaflympics."

About Miru Cafe: Miru Cafe is a conceptual café that aims to create an environment where everyone can communicate comfortably, whether they can hear or not, using technologies that convert different forms of language, such as voice, into words and make them "visible. It promotes the understanding of an inclusive society through this experience. In the café, you can use digital technologies from entering the shop to ordering, interacting with the staff, and paying the bill. This enables smooth communication with staff members who have hearing difficulties.