Many smiles and cheers of joy of children overflow from inside the classroom of the certified children’s center. Before their very eyes is a bear marionette comically moving and dancing as though it were really alive.
Operating the doll is the marionettist Orangeparfait. In February 2017, Midori no Sato Certified Children’s Center got their own handmade marionette. It is said that to this very day fractures remain in the building after the center, located in Mifune, Kumamoto prefecture, suffered the April 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes.
The principal of Midori no Sato says, “Something different from normal could be seen here, different from the complaints of poor health and constant fighting, and the kids I worry a bit about too could see it as well, so I was happy to see all of the smiles today.” showing a smile of relief.
Orangeparfait has donated handmade dolls to approximately 40 facilities in Fukushima and Kumamoto to date. Last year he listened to a radio program surrounding the earthquake and thought “Is there something I can do?” With that chance thought began his activities and one year has passed.
Visiting the site that suffered from the Kumamoto disaster for the first time in May 2016 and seeing the extent of the disaster, it seems he thought, “I wonder if my idea will help.” Even so one year, from his continued efforts a single marionette was born and there were many smiles.
One by one, the dolls are handmade full of love and care by Orangeparfait. He says it takes two weeks to make one doll. Normally they sell for 40,000 yen but for the children Orangeparfait offers them at no charge. Furthermore he foots the bill for the delivery fee to Fukushima and Kumamoto from the Kanto region. The costs and labor weigh heavily on the single person carrying it out.
“If the kids can look forward to going to their kindergarten and nursery, even just a little bit, I think that’s a good thing” says Orangeparfait. For as long as the children want it, he will continue.