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Friendship through art—bringing people together

The Joshibi High School of Art and Design is engaged in a range of initiatives designed to contribute to art education in society, including friendship and exchanges through art, workshops to promote interest in art, support for disaster-affected regions through art, and gifts of artwork to children in developing countries. We feel and hope that this spirit transcends the boundaries of art education, using art as a vehicle for creating a link to social contribution.

The Nike Exhibition

Launched in 1996, the Nike Exhibition for Junior and Senior High School Students is designed to promote friendship and exchanges among students through the medium of art. The exhibition is open to junior and senior high school students primarily from the Kanto region and neighboring prefectures in Japan. Every year, the entrance gallery is filled with a variety of colorful and interesting artworks, which are enjoyed by many visitors. In recent years, the exhibition has also attracted an increasing number of entries from schools in the United States, Australia and China. In this way, the medium of art has helped to create an international friendship movement that transcends borders.

Bijutsu no Hiroba: Passion and enthusiasm are the starting point for creation—Workshops to promote interest in art

Launched in 2013, the workshop is an annual two-day event held on the 6th and 7th of August at the Joshibi High School of Art and Design, for elementary and junior high school students with an interest in art, as well as their parents and art teachers. The aim of the workshop is to provide new experiences and a wide variety of workshops. The workshop provides fun programs for elementary school students and their parents, with more challenging practical activities for the junior high school students. There are also special presentations from Joshibi University of Art and Design instructors as well as exchange meetings for the benefit of art teachers. The primary aim is to instill a sense of enthusiasm and passion about the creative process.

Support for rebuilding after the Great East Japan Earthquake

Isoyama Church Reconstruction Project at Shinchimachi, Fukushima Prefecture

Shinchimachi is a town close to the coast in Soma-gun, a part of Fukushima Prefecture that suffered extensive tsunami damage during the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011. Located on a hill near the sea, the Isoyama church managed to escape the full force of the tsunami, but it suffered extensive damage in the initial earthquake so it had to be torn down and rebuilt.

Ken Saitoh, an emeritus professor at the Joshibi University of Art and Design who was born in Shinchimachi and still lives there today, asked Joshibi students to lend their creative skills to the rebuilding efforts in the town, including the Isoyama Baptist Church. The school agreed to help by soliciting submissions for a project based on the concept of bringing renewed hope to the people of Shinchimachi and helping to make it a center of culture, centered on the Isoyama church. The winning plans were developed by a junior high school student and four senior high school students. The students visited Shinchimachi during the 2013 summer vacation, where they were involved in presentations, exchanges and observation activities. The reconstruction project is currently underway based on the plans submitted by these Joshibi High School of Art and Design students.

Student-led initiative—The gift of art for children in Laos

The Joshibi High School of Art and Design hosts a variety of special guest lecturers in a range of fields. As part of our "Beauty in the soul" component—which is one of the core educational principles at the Joshibi High School of Art and Design, second year senior high school students had the opportunity to hear a presentation from Toru Mori, director of the NPO Action with Lao Children, about the current conditions for children in Laos and the environment in which they live.

This presentation prompted the students to set up a volunteer committee to explore ways in which they could contribute to the cause. The committee resolved that all second-year students should plan and produce gifts for children in Laos, as a form of international exchange through the medium of art.

These gifts, which are for children with limited access to toys, included plastic kites with distinctly Japanese pop-art designs and Japanese pellet drums (Den-den daiko) that produce a pleasing sound. Other types of gifts included handmade soap bars with capsule toys embedded so as to encourage children to wash their hands by introducing an element of fun, and beautiful yet hygienic Japanese-style stencil-dyed hand cloths that will quickly dry after children have used them. All of the students were involved in producing these gifts, in line with the principle of beauty in the soul.

The Joshibi High School of Art and Design students were also thoughtful enough to produce instructions, including illustrations, in the Lao language for the benefit of children who had never seen such toys before, and these were shipped to Laos together with the gifts. In Laos, the gifts were warmly received and they have helped to brighten the days of the children there.