MORIOKA, IWATE PREF. – A work of calligraphy by a student from Morioka in disaster-hit Iwate Prefecture is on display at a site for an upcoming U.N. conference in Rio de Janeiro.
The bold brush-stroke work, which reads “Tohoku Forward,” is by Takuya Takahashi, 13, a second-year junior high school student. The Rio conference opening Wednesday will discuss sustainable development.
Takahashi said he spent six hours on the piece, envisioning the people of Tohoku thriving like the sun.
The work is prominently displayed on a wall near the entrance to a pavilion introducing Japan.
At the site, 50 groups including government agencies and private companies have set up booths to showcase reconstruction work and environmental technologies through Sunday. About 50,000 people are expected to take part in the conference and related events.
Takahashi started playing with a brush pen while still a baby and became the youngest grand-prize winner in an international art festival in Canada at age 3. He continued studying calligraphy on his own. He accepted the latest commission saying it would be a “good opportunity” to show his work to the world.
Takahashi, who lived in the tsunami-hit town of Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, until age 6, lost some relatives in the disaster. He said he was left “speechless” by the extent of the destruction when he visited the town.
Takahashi has also provided his work to a project to create key chains from the rubble generated in the disaster to support reconstruction.
“I want to do my best in what I can do,” he said.