WAKAZO hosted the inochi Mirai Pre-summit
On August 20, 2023, WAKAZO hosted the inochi Mirai Pre-summit, which brought together approximately 100 participants, including middle and high school students from the nationwide inochi Gakusei innovators’ program (i-GIP) and students from UWC ISAK JAPAN. The purpose of the event was to reflect on perspectives about life and death to explore the theme of “Shining Future Society” which is also a key theme of the upcoming Osaka-Kansai Expo 2025.
At the beginning of the event, Dr. Yoshiki Sawa, Chairman of the inochi Mirai Project and Director of Osaka Police Hospital, and Mr. Sacko Oussouby, former President of Kyoto Seika University and Vice president of the Expo Association, delivered opening remarks. A panel discussion was then followed, featuring Dr. Sawa, Mr. Oussouby, Ms. Rin Yamabe from Wellesley College, and Ms. Miki Kawamura from WAKAZO. They engaged in a discussion centered around the theme “Designing our Future Society from the Perspectives on Life and Death.” The conversation began with personal experiences of confronting mortality and expanded to consider one’s purpose in the context of their own life framed by the concept of death, thus how to live with that understanding.
Subsequently, middle and high school students from across the country formed groups either in person or online to engage in dialogues about their perspectives on life and death. They used dialogue cards called “414 Cards” to discuss topics such as “Things I want to value while considering death” and “LAST WORDS (Words I want to leave behind before I die.)” Many students who had not previously contemplated the theme of death initially struggled to find words, but they were able to articulate their thoughts by drawing inspiration from the panel discussion and considering others’ opinions. University students from the inochi WAKAZO Project acted as facilitators for each group, creating an environment conducive to open conversation.
Finally, student representatives from i-GIP regions in Kansai, Kanto, Hokuriku, Kyushu, and UWC shared their reflections on the event and discussed the ideal society they want to achieve in the future.
In the end, we have received positive comments from our participants:
When I heard ‘perspectives on life and death,’ I felt it was about preparing for death. However, now I see death as something that can bring brightness to my current life, and I can think of it as something that exists beyond life. I’ve developed a more positive outlook.”
“I realized that my life is not only about me, but I want to design my life in a way that makes death meaningful for both myself and others.”
“I used to associate death with negativity. For example, it’s easier to talk about the birth of a new life, but discussing the death of a family member is challenging. Through this event, I realized that people generally share similar perceptions about death, and it made me think about topics I hadn’t considered before. If we can have more open discussions about death, it might change our perception of life.”
“I used to believe that perfection in everything was crucial. I thought I had to accomplish something and be of use to others. However, I now understand that my value comes from simply being alive. I want to continue creating opportunities to discuss perspectives on life and death, learn about various viewpoints, and share my own perspective.”
“Even though we don’t know when we’ll die, this event prompted me to think about death, something I normally wouldn’t consider in my daily life.”
“I used to associate everything about death with negativity, but now I realize that positive thoughts are also possible.”
WAKAZO intends to continue organizing various initiatives leading up to the Osaka-Kansai Expo.
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