Positive migrant/foreign/Japanese youth interaction and training, creative workshops and events, socially inclusive principles
Closest station: Takadanobaba
Kuriya is an interesting organisation working with immigrant/foreign youth and Japanese youth (ages 16-26) in Tokyo. Their goal is to connect the two communities by allowing them to explore each others perspective through creativity, while also building the self-esteem and life skills of all the youth. As a wider aim, they aim to show the strength of a multicultural Japanese society. This takes the form of participation in creative workshops and classes, anything from film to photography to dance. Creating work together displays the usefulness of diversity in idea creation, viewpoints and solving problems, with the participants learning about each other’s mode of thinking and cultural differences – in a positive and active way. Inviting Japanese youth allows them to experience diversity in a positive way at a young age. For the foreign (or foreign-background) youth working with Kuriya it allows them to build a portfolio for future work, whose work options can often be limited in current Japanese society.
Based in Takadanobaba, Kuriya has been around since 2009 (formerly known as the Shinjuku Art Project) and is a very international and friendly NPO which welcomes participation and collaboration from foreign residents in Tokyo. Funding used to come from the Japan Foundation who were based locally and wanted to support a local project. Now Kuriya is funded by the Arts Council Tokyo and the Toyota Foundation. The staff speaks English and are very open if you would like to contact them to know more.
Recently, a young Malaysian artist (Okui Lala) collaborated with Kuriya members to create a secret tour of Tokyo in which each member (of various nationalities) led the group on a small personal tour, the members took photos and later they gathered to re-experience the walk together by sharing each other’s different personal perspective through the photos. Another similar tour was led in the nearby diverse area of Shin-Okubo, where members had to decide which culture each subject in the photos belonged to – not so easy as you may first imagine.
You can check their bilingual website for more information and images/details of past works. If you think you would like to take part in some way send an email to talk with the staff. Ebihara-san (Shuko) is friendly and can reply to you. She is very active and eager to share her experience with Japan of the diversity she experienced as a teenager living in England. There are occasional day-to-day volunteers needed and open-calls for workshops, or pro-bono work is always appreciated.
A past project using music