We are living in a very convenient era with internet and smartphones where anyone can send out information and people can access all sorts of information.
It is a time where if you have a good command of social media, you can obtain anything from information and social connections to necessary funds for your business.
It is a very convenient era.
However, sometimes, when I stop to think, I feel uncertain about things that I thought were the truth.
The “truth” becomes something that’s real but unclear, like a mirage.
I analyze every piece of information that I have accumulated by asking myself “Is this really true?” and “what does this mean exactly?” Through doing this, I realize that there are many things that I don’t actually understand even though I felt like I did at first.
“Many people are still suffering in areas affected by the earthquake disaster”
“The economic gap is widening and children are suffering from extreme poverty”
“Innocent citizens are becoming casualties in disputed areas”
We read the news that pops up on TV or on our smartphones and we develop images in our heads. Every time we
we witness serious news like this, we get a stirring feeling inside that makes us feel like we have to do something. But more often than not, we don’t take action. We get sad or upset from the news and that’s it.
By no means are we taking the news lightly. But when we ask ourselves questions like
“Who are most of these people that are suffering in the areas affected by earthquake disasters?”, “What kind of situations are the children who are suffering from poverty in?”, and
“In disputed areas, who is killing each other for what?”
we do not know the answers. And this frustrates us a lot.
I felt shame in realizing that I had always only treated the daily news as something to read and had never confronted this frustration that I feel.
This was not my intention, though. I was not taking the news lightly or mocking it.
How can we generate actions , like providing support, spreading info, thinking of ideas, and starting discussions, instead of just reading and digesting the news?
I stopped to think of the answer.
It was a difficult question, but upon thinking about it, I realized something.
I realized that “areas affected by the earthquake disasters”, “children”, and “disputed areas” were all too big and vague to be regarded as subjects.
“Areas affected by the earthquake disaster” can mean many different regions. As is apparent by the aftermath of The Great East Japan Earthquake and incidents regarding nuclear plants, the kind of support that is necessary differs from region to region.
It is the same with “children” and “disputed areas”.
I realized that “big subjects” like these seem important but really are just vague images.
The opposite of “big subject” is “small subject”.
Take the phrase “areas affected by earthquake disasters” for example. After I broke it down, things started to become clear.
Areas affected by earthquake disasters > The Tohoku Area > Fukushima Prefecture > Hamadori Street > Naraha Town > A shopping district in Naraha Town > Mr. ○○, the owner of a shop in this shopping district
I wonder how Mr. ○○ is doing currently?
Let me do some research.
He still lives in temporary housing but is planning on re-opening his store in a different location.
What can I do to support him?
I should go visit him at his store when it re-opens.
I believe that these “small subjects” can cause actions. The moment I realized this, the frustration inside of me vanished and transformed into conviction.
I think the news should focus more on these “small subjects”.
I also think that there should be a media with which we can support the small subjects and people can share their ideas on how to help them improve their situation.
I started GARDEN with my team because I longed for a media where together we can take a “seed” and water it, give it fertilizer, help it flower, and help it fruit.
While I was looking for these “seeds” in various places,
I realized that there are people who were more active and compassionate than me, with more courage and wisdom, who were already working very hard to grow these seeds.
These people were creating NPOs, NGOS, and volunteer groups to confront societal problems and were fighting to help those who are in need of help.I was moved by the work that they were doing. They were working to support society with limited funds and limited people.
I witnessed places, societal issues, efforts, and ideas that I didn’t know about, that were all part of the struggle to help the “small subjects”.
GARDEN is a project that supports the communication of public enterprises that are helping “small subjects” .
The water mark stands for “the desire to support”. Grow the seed by donating the necessary funds.
The camera mark stands for the “desire to gather news”. Grow the seed by sending out and spreading information to many people.
The flower mark stands for the “desire to participate”. Grow the seed by participating in volunteer work and events.
And lastly, the sun mark stands for “empathy”. Grow the seed with compassion.
These are the 4 marks.
There will also be “GARDEN journalists” who will support communication while enlisting the cooperation of people who are good at speaking to large audiences.
We hope to offer a type of journalism where everyone can participate in their own way and we can all work together to protect and grow these “tiny seeds”.
We could really use your help! We await you!
Sincerely, the GARDEN team
(in a season when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom)