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SEEDCap Japan

 

The Social Entrepreneur Enhanced Development Capital Program (SEEDCap Japan), supports nonprofit organizations in Japan carrying out innovative projects that can serve as models for broader application.


• 2008 Grantees

Total Health Care for Artists Japan (THCA Japan)

In comparison to Europe and the United States, Japan has a weak support system for working artists. In particular, it lags in addressing the healthcare needs of dancers and others artists whose bodies are pushed to the limits much like athletes’ bodies. THCA Japan is the first nonprofit organization to tackle the issue of providing health care support for artists, and its objective is to help the development and spread of the arts by improving access to healthcare for artists and by consolidating the health care support system for artistic efforts. THCA Japan holds healthcare seminars that bring together artists and healthcare experts such as doctors and trainers, and it also offers “healthcare grants” to help pay for the costs of recovery from an injury.

The SEEDCap grant was provided to enable THCA Japan to conduct a survey in order to develop high-quality programs that match the needs of artists, and will strengthen the organization’s publicity activities. By expanding and improving the seminars, which are an income-producing activity, THCA aims to increase its membership and increase the demand for its services. In addition, the organization will open an office in an area where artists gather, anticipating that this will help to strengthen its organizational base.

KOMPOSITION

KOMPOSITION is a Tokyo-based nonprofit organization that offers opportunities for young people to find ways to express themselves and develop their potential through art and sports in ways that will be appreciated by society. With corporate sponsorship and governmental commissions and funding, KOMPOSITION supports youth activities in the fields of art, basketball, and track and field.

The organization began its efforts with an innovative “Legal Wall Project” that provides graffiti artists with a wall of a building on which they can legally display their work. The Legal Wall Project has had a temporary or limited timeframe for artwork because it has been done as part of corporate PR campaigns or government art events, but SEEDCap funding was provided to enable KOMPOSTION to turn the project into an advertising program. The owners of wall space on buildings that are damaged by graffiti can enter into a contract with KOMPOSITION, which administers the wall as a “legal wall” and serves as an intermediary for advertisers who want to use the wall. KOMPOSITION will be able to earn revenue from the advertising, clean up unwanted graffiti, and channel youth’s energies and creativity by offering spaces where they can paint legally. This is designed to allow the Legal Wall Project to become a source of revenue for the organization and help KOMPOSITION expand its programming.

 

Kotoba no Atelier

In recent years in Japan, there has been an alarming number of youth, primarily teenage boys and young men, who withdraw from society and live as hikikomori, or “shut-ins,” rarely if ever leaving their rooms. Kotoba no Atelier, a Tokyo-based nonprofit works to draw hikimokori and other youth classified as “NEETs” (Not in Employment, Education or Training) back into societal contact and help them gain the skills they need to support themselves before their parents grow elderly. Operating on the philosophy that these young people can be better engaged in work in areas that they enjoy, Kotoba no Atelier offers support and training to hikikomori and NEETs who wish to pursue careers in creative fields as novelists, professional writers, and comic artists. Their activities include operating a training school for young writers, running an internet radio station, and operating a residential program in Tokyo for aspiring illlustrators. 

The second year SEEDCap grant was utilized as seed money to scale up the “Tokiwaso” housing and training program and for hikikomori and NEETs who wish to become manga (comic) illustrators. In 2007, the Tokiwaso project expanded to the current six homes and participation has grown from three young people to 33. This initiative is unique in Japan and it is being closely watched as a promising model by leaders from different sectors of society who have been grappling with this growing problem. Since the residents of the home are required to pay discounted rents, the program has the capacity to eventually become financially self-sustaining.

 

A Dream A Day in Tokyo/Heartful Holiday in Tokyo for Terminally Ill Children

A Dream A Day in Tokyo/Heartful Holiday offers terminally ill children and their parents a one-week stay in Tokyo to visit amusement parks and tourist sites in order to fulfill their dreams and allow the families to have happy memories of their time together.  Participants are not limited solely to Japanese nationals, and underprivileged children from throughout Asia are also invited as part of an effort to develop friendships with neighboring countries and to enrich the lives of the sick children. 

Although numerous organizations in Europe and the United States support terminally ill children at the final stages of intractable diseases, no other comparable organization exists in Japan.  There is high social demand for these services, but they are not covered by welfare agencies and existing nonprofit organizations.  The second year grant was provided to allow the organization to strengthen its institutional capacity and to scale up its operations.