The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan



The Art of Love

By Omima M. Miki

From the mountain villages of Gifu Prefecture to the islands off Hiroshima, artists are gathering in Kobe on December 6 for a special night: the ACCJ Kansai Charity Art Auction Gala.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan’s Kansai Community Service Committee includes members who are passionate about bettering the local community. Each of the volunteers is also involved with community service projects as part of their careers, outside the scope of ongoing ACCJ activities.

Earlier this year, the committee faced the challenge of replacing an annual event—the ACCJ Kansai K.I.S.S. Charity Concert—with a different function that could serve the community of Kansai in an equally meaningful way.

A strong task force came together to brainstorm. Committee members believed that this was a good opportunity to push the boundaries of their efforts, and involve passionate individuals in the community who have contributed to the region through different media: artists.

The art communities in the Kansai area are expanding. With the growth of these neighborhood havens—filled with interesting artisans known for their brilliant techniques in art and design—comes added interest in their activities by businesses from all sectors.

Innovators in many fields are now seeking creative ways to integrate the best of architecture, food, and fashion within their organizations.

To support the Art Auction Gala, some of Kansai’s finest artisans will donate their work. Many of these people have recently become quite popular, their work sought by collectors and other individuals who are active in the art world.

Contemporary artist DAAS, and the owner of Osaka’s Gearhead Art Studio, Guido Saldana, are among those who have been finding new fame in the art world.

Moreover, award-winning celebrity artists in Japan, many of whom spawned a new artistic movement or trend, didn’t hesitate to participate in the charity gala. They are donating iconic pieces to the event.

Even artists residing overseas have reached out to support the ACCJ Kansai initiative. Terunobu Hirata, who now lives in Australia, sent some of his ceramic works for the cause.

Helping sick children
What exactly is the cause supported by this charity endeavor?

The event will support the Child Chemo House in Kobe, the first cancer treatment facility for children that allows families to stay with their afflicted loved ones during the entire treatment process.

This organization is run by two inspirational ladies, Masami Hagiwara and Emiko Hashimoto, both of whom lost their own children to cancer. At the time of their loss, there was no such facility as Child Chemo House.

The good-will institution is supported by the city of Kobe, and has numerous backers who make annual contributions to keep the center open year-round, and available for children with cancer.

ACCJ Kansai’s Community Service Committee is making great strides this year. The main focus of our work centers on the needs of the Kansai community at large, be they medical, academic, agricultural, or business-related. The overarching goal is to try and help improve the lives of all Kansai residents, with unconditional love.


Omima M. Miki is a member of the ACCJ Kansai Community Service Committee and a company owner at Osaka’s Aoi Taiyo NPO.