The Yomiuri Shimbun
More than 1,000 pages of line drawings have been sent to evacuees in the disaster-hit Tohoku region in the hope that coloring the drawings will help relieve their stress.
The drawings were sent to children and senior citizens by Nurie Nippon, a volunteer organization set up by students at the University of Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture, with the cooperation of a printing company.
Earlier this month, students from two primary schools devoted themselves to coloring pictures at Kesennuma Primary School in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture. The school is shared by students from Minami-Kesennuma Primary School, which was damaged in the March 11 disaster.
Ruka Goto, 8, a third-year student whose house was swept away in the tsunami, said with a smile, "It's fun to color a picture of a girl."
Instructor Mayumi Kumagai, 34, said, "Coloring pictures is a nice change [for the children]."
The volunteer activities are led by Ryohei Iijima, 21, and Naoki Tani, 20, who are majoring in art and design at the University of Tsukuba. They were on campus when the earthquake struck and they said they were terrified.
Believing that children in the Tohoku region must have been even more scared, the two students asked Kobe-based Daiwa Shuppan Printing Co. for cooperation in printing the pages. The printing company was severely damaged in the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake.
Students at Waseda University and Aoyama Gakuin University have joined the enterprise and many people have contributed drawings.
The students are helping children and elderly people color pictures at evacuation centers, child care centers and welfare facilities in and around Kesennuma.
"We'd like to show the children's pictures to the public in the future. We hope many people will view the pictures to increase support," Iijima said.
(Sep. 26, 2011)