message of Canada-Tohoku-Japan Cloth Letters

message from Canada










This Travelling Cloth Letter is dedicated to the KIDS in JAPAN from the KIDS in CANADA

In March 2011, as details of the earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan unfolded before our eyes on this side of the Pacific, a feeling of such deep sadness filled us all.

Promises of money and aid started to pour in from all over the world, but some of us worried about the spirits and hearts of the people, especially the children. The earthquake hit mid-afternoon Japan-time, when children were in school and kindergarten, and so many were separated from their families and homes.

A day after the earthquake, I dreamt of helping the young people and letting them know that there are other young people in the world who care and think about them. This is how the Kids for Kids quilt project begins.

The idea was to have children and youth share their feelings and thoughts by drawing, painting, and embroidering on cloth. Cloth because it is more durable to travel. Embroidery and fabric paint because it makes the drawing colourful and more permanent . No one needed to know Japanese or English. Everyone could share their feelings through images.

Before I knew it, young people across Canada were making hundreds of cloth letters. Someone suggested 'joining' all of them together, by sewing the cloth squares into 'big cloth letter' quilts. These became the 'Canada cloth letters'.

The 'Canada cloth letters' were delivered to the young people affected by the tsunami/earthquake in Tohoku, Japan. These young people began to paint their own cloth letters and these became the 'Tohoku cloth letters'.

Since October 13, 2011 the 'Canada-Tohoku cloth letters' have been on an exhibition tour, beginning with a 2 month exhibition at the Canadian Embassy's Prince Takamado Gallery in Tokyo. As these cloth letters are seen by young people all over Japan, they are also making their cloth letters. These are the 'Japan cloth letters'.

Together they have become the inspiring and moving 'Canada-Tohoku-Japan Cloth Letters'.

This is what this project is all about. Joining together to express care for each other and the world we share.

Linda Ohama