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The Ehon Project Promotes Levity and Literacy in Northern Japan

By: Omar Yusuf - Published: Oct 13, 2011 • References: ehonproject.org and japantrends
As Japan's ravaged Tohoku region scrambles to deliver a sense of normalcy back to its beleaguered citizens, eye-opening social efforts have been launched, including The Ehon Book Project. The project hopes to return the majesty of fiction to the children who lost so much.

Chieko Suemori, the editor of the children's publisher Suemori Books, first launched the Ehon (Japanese for picture) Book Project in the months following the devastating quake. After an initial investment, Suemori retrofitted a fleet of vans, filling them to the brim with children's novellas and illustrated works. So instead of merely mailing books to relief camps in bulk, the kids can personally select which novels they're interested in and grab them! Over 50,000 hard copies have already been collected and a volunteer staff of dozens intends to ensure that each one reaches the hands of an eager child.

I've always upheld the idea that crises lead to innovative, often altruistic change -- the Ehon Book Project ostensibly proves the logic.