Kinutani Koji

I am pleased to have the opportunity to judge the International Environmental Children's Drawing Contest again this year. It comes around once a year, and I am always moved by the broad range of sensibilities that the children show.

When we judge this competition, we first look for pictures that strike a chord with us. We don't necessarily just pick the pictures we like, but we pick ones that touch our heartstrings because they express the feeling of the artist. From that point of view we select pictures based on our own feelings. This year, again, there were many very strong pieces submitted, and all the entries were wonderful in their own way. It was a very difficult task for us to pick the winners.

Children's art is a kind of letter written from the heart. Drawing facilitates children in putting what they think and feel down on paper, and the works become a kind of mirror of their souls. Although their technique can be still immature, providing they draw honestly and stick to the theme, and put their feelings into it, then even children in countries that lack good art resources can draw things that help us realize something new, and express their own country, locality and situation beautifully. This year, there were many submissions that had a strong message.

We often talk about "color", saying "this is a great use of color", but in fact, we are told, there is no such thing as "color". We see color because of the way our brains interpret the sun's rays. The fact that children use so much color is surely a reflection of their rich emotions, and the fact that they see life under the sun in so many different colors.

The works in this contest will be shown in various exhibitions, so I hope you will get a chance to come and see them somewhere. If you do see them, I am sure they will teach you many things. I hope that you will understand the message in each one.

Kinutani Koji
Chairman of the judging Committee,
PainterEJapan Art Academy Membership
Professor, Osaka University of Arts

Kunihiko Chris Hirabayashi

I am so fortunate to see many children took part in this year's children drawing contest and to be given a precious opportunity to see lots of beautiful and colorful paintings filled with children's dreams and hopes through this contest which we have jointly run over the past several years.
On behalf of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), I would like to express our deepest and sincere appreciation to the organizers for giving this opportunity of participation to the children.
I was dully touched by all the paintings which expressed children's strong passion in order to protect the earth.

The earth called "The star of Miracle" has various global issues such as air pollution, global warming and the destruction of an ecosystem. Also, there are still a lot of children suffering from poverty, preventable disease, and natural disasters left behind which we, human beings can prevent from coming about in this global world. UNICEF is the world's lead agency for protecting children and their rights, active in over 190 countries through programs supported in over 150 countries and territories.

As you are fully aware, each of you has an important role, infinite potentials and capacities to protect the earth as well as to create a better world, and save and protect the most vulnerable children in the world. I strongly believe that we can implement this global issues by listening children's voice in a passionate way and building collaboration with children beyond any borders.

Kunihiko Chris Hirabayashi
UNICEF Tokyo Office

Endo Yasuhiro

Towards the Harmonious Coexistence of Humans, Nature and Cities

Given the theme of "Voices of the Earth", children around the world passionately expressed that environmentally damaging developments are causing grave pain to the Earth. Children also indicated that they hear the voices of living things in their surrounding environments, and that those sounds stir up melodies in their hearts, making them desire the coexistence with all living things. One drawing was impressive in which a girl conducts an orchestra performing "global symphony", hoping that the Earth will sustain and develop as a planet on which life resonates.

Among the entries that came in from Japan, there was one piece drawn from a completely original and unique perspective, proposing that cities should be built from wood. Although the explanation was along those lines, the picture itself showed forests being cut down, with cities featuring construction using hard, artificial materials. If timber produced from forest thinning could be used in cities, it would increase the biodiversity of forests and allow them to return to life. If this timber were used in urban construction, both in the interior and exterior of buildings and on roads, etc., then both forests and towns would be regenerated at the same time. I hope that there will be more submissions on this theme in the future.

I look forward to seeing how this contest progresses, as the children of the world express their imagination in terms of developing a relationship of harmonious coexistence between human beings, nature and cities.

Endoh Yasuhiro
ArchitectEChief Manager of NPO,
Troop for Nurturing Community Engawa

Tatsumi Kikuko

First, I would like to thank the many children from 85 countries around the world, who entered the International Environmental Children's Drawing Contest. I am always amazed by the strange power of children's pictures, every time I am involved with this contest. Every picture, even those that did not make it into the last round of judging, had this wonderful power; simply imagining it now gives me great hope that there may be answers to some of our global environmental problems.

This year's theme was "Voices of the Earth". These pictures have been born as the children engage with the Earth and create their wonderful stories in conversation with one another. When we adults look at these pictures, we can be quite moved by the strength of their perspective and emotion, and I imagine that they will bring a smile to the face of anyone who sees them. Looking around at my fellow judges and their happy faces, and hearing the emotional comments that they made, caused me to feel even more deeply. This process was a joy to me in many ways. I feel very privileged to have this opportunity each year.

Many pictures were delivered to us from countries that I have never visited. Children are not able to choose the environment in which they live. Trying to imagine what the children who drew these pictures must be thinking, and imagining them drawing the pictures, gave me a great sense of connection. I hope that many people throughout Japan will see these drawings and be able to share the emotional journey that I have been on.

Tatsumi Kikuko
Environment Committee,
Nippon Association of Consumer Specialists