Yasashii Hankachi: Gentle Heart Project / Handkerchiefs for Tohoku Children, at the Daiwa Foundation Japan House galleries, is a creative response by children and collaborative designers in Japan to the devastation left by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku (northeast) area of Japan, in which more than 18,000 people lost their lives and many more faced the difficulties of being relocated, leaving a strong impact on local communities.
The exhibition centres on handkerchiefs created by children and graphic designers working in collaboration in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima. The beautiful handkerchief have been exhibited elsewhere and sold, and the proceeds have been donated to schools in the area to enable children to realise their reconstruction projects. Nearly 300 of the handkerchiefs will be displayed in the exhibition 17 – 26 March 2014.
The Japan Graphic Designers Association (JAGDA) in the past three years has been raising awareness and funding to help children in the disaster area to rebuild their lives. This project is now in its third phase and has made a big difference to all the children involved, as it has allowed them to have a voice and collaborate actively.
Yasashii Hankachi is organised by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation in association with the Japan Graphic Designers Association. The exhibition, which has toured around Japan and Singapore, is a way to thank the British public, especially children, for their support in the time of hardship.
Japan Graphic Designers Association Inc. (JAGDA) was established in 1978 as the sole national association for graphic designers in Japan. JAGDA currently has 2,900 members, and its activities range from almanac publication, exhibitions and seminars, community development, public design creation to copyright protection. JAGDA website, handkerchiefs.
Given the focus of this exhibition, on only some of the many hundreds of affected children, it’s possible to imagine that Yasashii Hankachi is just one of numerous stories emerging from the destruction wrought on that part of Japan. SR
Yasashii Hankachi. 17 – 26 March 2014. Daiwa Foundation Japan House, 13/14 Cornwall Terrace, Outer Circle, London, NW1 4QP MAP. Free Admission. Monday – Friday, 9:30am-5pm