The joy of drawing crosses borders in Lithuania Vol.2


I long for the former consulate, overflowing with the “joy of living” of the thousands of Jewish refugees whom Chiune Sugihara saved with his “life-saving visas,” and for the beautiful city of Kaunas.

And I’m proud of Chiune Sugihara as a fellow Japanese, and I respect and appreciate him.

I sent an email with a proposal filled with these feelings to Ambassador Ozaki of the Japanese Embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania, in June last year.

It’s been about a year since we received a happy reply in an online meeting saying, “Let’s do it!”

With the cooperation of Tsuruga Museum in Fukui Prefecture and the Yaotsu Town Board of Education in Gifu Prefecture, a wonderful… so beautiful that I’m at a loss for words… “Bridge of Friendship” between Japanese and Lithuanian children has been completed!

The project at “Japan Days in Kaunas WA” was wonderful, and it became a shining page in our activities in the past and future.
~・~・~From an article from the Embassy of Japan in Lithuania~・~・~・~・~・~

During the Japan Days in Kaunas WA festival, Tae Baba and Masako Ochi, representatives of NPO GOFAR BANK, who organized the Bridge Project, visited Lithuania to participate in the opening of the exhibition of the Bridge of Friendship, which was created by children from both Japan and Lithuania.
This project was realized based on Baba’s desire to connect the hearts of children around the world with the power of art, which does not need language barriers or borders, as she grew up as an artist from an early age. Two types of bridges, a large one and a small one, were created.
First, the Japanese children drew the left side of the bridge, and then the Lithuanian children drew the right side, completing the bridge. On May 8, the opening of the Small Bridge exhibition was held at the Kaunas Educational Innovation Center, a partner of this project, and the Kaunas children who drew half of the bridge also participated, surrounded by many wonderful works. The opening of the large bridge exhibition took place at Sugihara House, one of the reasons why Mr. Baba felt a connection with Lithuania, and was attended by the students of Antanas Martinaitis Art School, who painted half of the bridge.

In his speech, Ambassador Ozaki expressed his admiration for this wonderful Friendship Bridge, and his gratitude to Mr. Baba for choosing Kaunas, Lithuania for this project and for building a bridge of friendship between the children of the two countries. He also expressed his gratitude and respect for the cooperation of the director of the Kaunas Educational Innovation Center, Rasa, who was essential to the realization of this project, as well as the people involved in each school and the children who painted the bridge. In his speech, Mr. Baba expressed his joy at seeing the Friendship Bridge completed by the children of both countries, and said that he believes that the world will become a more beautiful place with the children’s honest thoughts, overflowing smiles, and friendship that transcends borders.
Also on the 10th, Baba held a balloon art workshop at the Kaunas Educational Innovation Center, which was attended by many children from Kaunas. Following Baba’s explanation that art is freedom, the children were engrossed in making balloons with their own character of choice, resulting in many cute and original balloons. At the end of the event, message cards and Japanese sweets made by the Japanese children were presented to the Kaunas children as a token of friendship. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all those involved in the city of Kaunas who provided their tremendous cooperation and support in making this project a reality. For photos and information about the event, please see the following link. Please visit the Japan Days Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/JapanDaysWA/posts/462946316301253 https://www.facebook.com/JapanDaysWA/posts/462950312967520



With sincere gratitude to the Embassy of Japan in Lithuania, Director Rasa of Kaunas Educational Innovation Center, Kaunas Antanas Martinaitis School of Art, the children of Kaunas, the children of GOFAR’S Atelier, the children of Tsuruga City, and the children of Yaotsu Town.


Organized by: NPO GOFAR BANK

Co-organized by: Tsuruga Museum, Port of Humanity / Yaotsu Town Board of Education

Cooperated by: Sugihara House, Kaunas, Lithuania / Kaunas Educational Innovation Center

Sponsored by: Embassy of Japan in Lithuania / Kansai Japan-Finland Society

Neyagawa City / Neyagawa City Board of Education