A story about discovering the preciousness of life set in Okinawa, in which an old woman explains to a young boy, “If you removed even one of your ancestors, you never would have been born.” Sales of the first 3 books in the series total over 300,000 copies. Adopted for use as a supplementary reader for elementary school morality classes, it has been translated into English, Chinese and Korean.
KUSABA Kazuhisa (Takeo City), the author of the picture book “Festival of Life” that became an exceptional bestseller, has produced a DVD about the preciousness of life and child rearing. “Festival of Life: The Earth is a Classroom” is a collection of scenes from elementary school classes and interviews with experts. Last winter at screenings held all over Kyushu it repeatedly received feedback such as, “I want to use it in our morality classes”, and this year screenings are planned for all over the country.
On the DVD is a scene from the summer of last year in a “Life Class” at Fukuoka Municipal Genyo Elementary School (Nishi-ku). Mr. Kusaba films the scene in documentary style of teacher Mayumi Kabamura explaining to a third-grade boy who lost his father in a traffic accident how precious it is that he has inherited his father’s life. We see the boy able to smile again.
Mr. Kusaba hails from Saga in Kyushu. He is also a Tosaiga ceramic painting artist, an art form that involves the repeated painting and firing of a ceramic sheet to produce brilliantly colorful paintings.
An incident in Nagasaki City in 2003 in which a junior high school student killed a young child had a deep impact on him, and in 2004 he published a picture book. The magnitude of the response it received surprised him and at the same time made him realize, “There are a lot of adults who are unable to convey the importance of life to children.”
Although he has continued to conduct lecture activities on the subject since then, there has been no end to lives lost due to child abuse and bullying.
The idea of producing a DVD came to him when he was asked to address the PTA Conference of the Kyushu Block held in Saga City in October of last year and thought, “It might help communicate more widely the importance of life in the community and at home.”
The DVD features 6 educators whom he met in the course of his lecture activities. In interviews with Mr. Kusaba, Professor Emeritus Kiyoshi Iguchi of Kyushu University explains discipline and other subjects from the perspective of brain science. Doctor of Literature Hideko Suzuki, former professor of University of the Sacred Heart, sends a message to parents worried about child rearing that “your primary task is to live comfortably”.
About 300 DVDs were sold at the PTA conference, and some teachers who were deeply impressed held their own screenings. Mr. Kusaba was inundated with over 200 requests for screenings from 38 prefectures. He says, “I want this to be an impetus for people to feel the connection of life which has continued uninterrupted.” The DVD runs for about one hour and sells for \4,800. For inquiries please contact Mr. Kusaba’s office at +81-954-45-2248.
“Festival of Life”: A story about discovering the preciousness of life set in Okinawa, in which an old woman explains to a young boy, “If you removed even one of your ancestors, you never would have been born.” Sales of the first 3 books in the series total over 300,000 copies. Adopted for use as a supplementary reader for elementary school morality classes, it has been translated into English, Chinese and Korean. (from the Yomiuri Shimbun, January 13, 2013)