We collaborated with Human Rights Watch, Japan to organize an EGAKU session to reflect on human rights on the theme, “What makes me human?” 

Although the protection of human rights is a deeply personal and important issue to those working in this field, it is an issue which is poorly understood by many ordinary Japanese people who struggle to identify with it on a personal level.   Our objective was to try to create the opportunity to transcend our psychological and emotional  barriers, and reflect on things happening around the world as issues that concern all of us.  

First, participants explored the question, “What makes me human?” As they deepened their inner dialogue through the act of painting, participants reflected deeply on questions such as “What is a human being?”  “What are human rights?”  

We had a diverse group of participants from different backgrounds: leaders in human rights activism, international researchers, interns and supporters.  It was a meaningful session in which participants acknowledged their differences whilst communicating with each other with in the spirit of being stakeholders.   

A human rights activist from Ethiopia will be visiting Japan in April, and we plan to organize another session with him to create an opportunity to bring about communication that transcends language through painting.  

Theme:  What makes me human?
Program details: EGAKU Program
Participants: 7 adults
Venue: White Ship, Inc. - Hinoki-cho Studio
Host institution: White Ship, Inc.
Instructor: Kunihiko Yazawa
Facilitator: Kimi Hasebe
※ This program was run by White Ship’s non-profit arm, ELAB.