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Japanese and N. Korean children give peace a chance

Joint art project takes young Japanese to Pyongyang

Japanese and N. Korean children give peace a chance

Picture: Japan Times

Natsume Watanabe for Japan Times

October 11, 2013

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Despite the troubled relations between their countries, children in Japan and North Korea are joining hands again to promote peace using drawings.

Relief Campaign Committee for Children, Japan, a Tokyo-based nongovernmental organization, has been organizing exhibitions since 2001 featuring pictures drawn by children from Japan, North Korea and South Korea.

The 13th such event is slated to start in November.

“Repeated exchanges have led people in North Korea to speak to us about peace, a subject which they had avoided talking about,” said Shinji Yoneda, a representative of the exhibition’s organizing committee and director of the National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan, which supports the event.

At the end of August, 11-year-old An Inoue, a fifth-grader from Chuo Ward, Tokyo, visited Rungra Elementary School in central Pyongyang along with several students from pro-North Korean schools in Japan and members of the organization.

For the upcoming art exhibition, Inoue and a 10-year-old girl in the fourth grade at the Pyongyang school together drew a picture of a girl making a heart shape with her hands.

“Although we didn’t understand each other’s language, she helped me a lot and we were able to enjoy painting,” Inoue said.

Inoue and the girl smiled at each other and expressed a willingness to meet again.

During the visit, local students also made speeches about what they thought of a picture book about peace written by a Japanese author.

“I believe peace is something that enables all of us to have enough food and I want to join the Korean People’s Army to maintain peace,” said a 9-year-old boy in the third grade.

Yoneda stressed the importance of such exchanges.

“I want people to know that there are children who simply wish to become friends,” he said.


Full Story: Kids take artful approach to peace-building 

Source: Japan Times


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