Itabashi-ku Komone Fukushien (welfare facility) “Remote Correspondence Theater: Komone-za ‘Yonkoma Biome’” Report


TURN Project Management Staff

Itabashi-ku Komone Fukushien (welfare facility) runs TURN LAND in collaboration with artists Kentaro Onishi and Atsushi Miyata.

“Remote Correspondence Theater: Komone-za ‘Yonkoma Biome’” was held on Wednesday, January 20th. For this event, participants were sent “Yonkoma (four-panel) manga” created by Komone Fukushien facility users who are members of the Komone-za project. On the day of the event, participants then added their own text and illustrations in four more panels to the mangas sent, creating a new story. Here we give a snapshot report from the day.

Participants presenting their mangas

First up project leader Takada introduced “Komone-za,” a collaborative project involving facility users, staff and artists. Miyata took the role of facilitator in the first half, conducting a warming-up exercise featuring his interactive book-style “build-a-story” concept “Bibuncho,” which involves folding pieces of paper in half and taking it in turns to write sentences on the four sides. When one person has written on the first four sides, a further four sides on a separate piece of paper are inserted between the first piece of folded paper, to which another person then adds new sentences, creating a connected story in book form.

For this event, participants created stories in pairs. They seemed to enjoy the way story content and perspective changed and was refreshed as one person created a storyline, and another person added to it.

After warming-up with the Bibuncho session, participants who were sent Yonkoma manga by Komone-za members (facility users) wrote / drew their responses in the form of four more Manga panels. This event, which participants experienced through the act of “written correspondence,” is dubbed “Correspondence Theater.”

To raise awareness among participants of the Komone-za project, a facility staff member first introduced the “Kirari-Good” initiative for recognizing and communicating to others the special moments when facility users and staff are animated / engaged or emotional about someone’s good points, something unforgettable, etc.

The kit sent out in advance from Komone Fukushien containing Yonkoma (four-panel) manga drawn by Komone-za members.

Participants then drew four new Manga panels, with due consideration to the Komone-za members (facility users) who had drawn the original four panels sent to them. With an occasional smile at the conversation of Komone-za members appearing onscreen, the participants got stuck into drawing and adding to the story, with great concentration.

The resulting eight-panel Manga showed great variety, with some that went in a completely different direction from the first four panels, including some scratch art created over the patterns of the works sent by members. One participant commented “I couldn’t decide what sort of panels I should add,” and “When I was drawing the new four-panel Manga I made an effort to use a style and colors close to the original four panels.”

Some finished eight-panel Mangas

Onishi brought the event to a close by saying that looking at the kind of imagination and ideas that had flowered in the homes of participants during the day’s event, he hoped to continue carefully cultivating the spread of imagination and ideas that would also flower from the Komone-za project.

The finished eight-panel Mangas were later sent to Komone Fukushien by participants and viewed by Komone-za members. We look forward to future developments of the Komone-za project.

© Arts Council Tokyo