Nagano City High School

We ran the EGAKU Program at Nagano City High School.
The program was delivered in collaboration with non-profit Seishun Kichi, as part of the activities of iLAB, which supports students’ inquiry-based learning within the school. Participants included students, teachers and local university students.
Each of the participants deeply engaged with the theme, “What I Value the Most”- and created unique, beautiful and powerful artworks. During the dynamic session, the high school students and adults both had the opportunity to discover new parts of themselves, and inspired and energized each other.
Here are some of the participants’ reflections on their experience:

  • "I was somehow able to experience conveying my vague feelings into words. Going forward I want to make an effort to communicate myself and my thoughts to others."
  • "I was able to understand my feelings and going forward I think I’ll be able to engage more, at a much deeper level."
  • "As I reflected on the things that I value most, I encountered powerful feelings that I couldn’t find the words for."
  • "In my day to day life, whenever I come across an opinion which differs from mine it annoys me, but just as I experienced today, I want to be able to think 'Well, I guess there are different ways of thinking.' "
  • "At first I couldn’t get into flow, but I’m glad that I had the chance to engage in self-examination through this program. It was also fun."
  • "I’ve always thought I wasn’t good at drawing and didn’t have the confidence, so I’ve always avoided expressing myself through pictures but through today’s EGAKU, I realized that I actually like drawing."
  • "It occurred to me that drawing the state of your heart/mind, is almost like an act which frees your heart/mind. I think I’ll be able to carry what I learnt today into the way I live going forward."



This program was supported by a grant from the Mitsubishi Memorial Foundation for Educational Excellence, as part of their program to spark young people’s passion - fostering individuals’ determination and ability to find and pursue challenges and seek solutions on their own. 

Program details: EGAKU the Future Program Experience
Participants: 16 high school students, university students, teachers
Program organizers: Nagano City High School iLAB
Supporters: Mitsubishi Memorial Foundation for Educational Excellence
Facilitator: Kimi Hasebe
(Due to the spread of COVID-19, the program was facilitated remotely) 


ELAB featured in 'The Monthly Mitsubishi'- the Mitsubishi Group’s monthly magazine

The Mitsubishi Memorial Foundation for Educational Excellence which supports 'EGAKU the Future' program for high school students run by ELAB, has been featured in The Monthly Mitsubishi—the Mitsubishi Group’s monthly magazine.

The print edition of the magazine features an interview with the president of the foundation, Nobuyuki Hirano, and also features the EGAKU the Future Program as one of category 2 education programs supported by the foundation.

Read the interview with Nobuyuki Hirano here >> (Japanese only)



EGAKU the Future Program 2020 for Fukushima High School Students has started

This year’s EGAKU the Future Program for high school students in Fukushima – created and delivered in collaboration with Bridge for Fukushima - has kicked off.
During the four-month program, which combines four EGAKU sessions with elements of active learning, students will experience a deep style of learning based on dialogue which is designed to nurture non-cognitive skills of self awareness, self validation, acceptance of diversity and dialogue, as well as creative confidence.
This is the second year we are running the EGAKU the Future Program in Fukushima. This year we are running two programs in parallel in Fukushima City and Aizuwakamatsu City for 18 high school students from six prefectural high schools. In the first session, students unleashed their thoughts and creative energy to make distinctive and vibrant artworks on the theme “What I value the most.”

Program details: EGAKU the Future Program
Participants: 18 high school students from Fukushima Prefecture
Program organizers: Bridge for Fukushima, ELAB
Supporters: The Mitsubishi Memorial Foundation for Educational Excellence, Fukushima Prefectural Board of Education
Facilitator: Kimi Hasebe
Staff: Hiromi Ito



We ran the EGAKU Program for VENTURE FOR JAPAN, a program supporting young aspiring entrepreneurs.
VENTURE FOR JAPAN is a program which gives new and recent graduates the opportunity to work at startups and SMEs in local regions in Japan as the owner or founder’s “right-hand person” for two years, in order to gain experience of forging their own path and develop their abilities as social change-makers.
The session was run in a combined online and off-line format with 1st and 2nd year program participants gathered in Sendai connected with Tokyo-based supporters online. The unique artworks that emerged from the session seemed to convey a sense of strength as well as the struggles of those challenging themselves daily in environments characterized by diversity, reflecting a sense of deep personal introspection as well as a deep engagement with others.
Here are some of the participants’ reflections from their experience of making and seeing art:

  • "There’s a part of me that wants to do my best to accept diversity whilst living a life that is true to who I am, then there’s another part of me that feels like I don't want to be encroached on by others: I want to value both parts of me." 
  • "What I value in my work: to grow as a person whilst achieving my goals, and to understand others’ hearts and minds whilst sticking to my own beliefs. When I think about when I’ve been able to deliver real results, it’s when people around me understand the objective and cooperate with me."
  • "People are different and that’s fine. When all kinds of different people come together, things get really interesting and something new emerges. I want to value both keeping a cool head as well as a bubbling passion."
  • "I realized that I’m an open-minded and fun person after all. I think I tend more towards thinking in terms of 'Wouldn’t it be nice if...' rather than thinking that things have to be a certain way. Amidst all the diversity, I wonder whether I’ll be able to choose the values that will truly become my own."


Theme: What I value most in my work
Program details: EGAKU Program / online EGAKU Program
Participants: 10 participants – first and second year participants of VENTURE FOR JAPAN (new and recent graduates), supporters
Host institution: Asuenokibou
Facilitator: Kimi Hasebe
Staff: Hiromi Ito


Tokyo Tech Academy for Leadership

Every year we host the EGAKU Program for the Tokyo Tech Academy of Leadership (ToTAL) - this year we held the session online.  
Although this was the first time we ran a multilingual EGAKU session online, the interpretation feature on Zoom enabled students of different nationalities and backgrounds to share and acknowledge each others’ thoughts, feelings and experiences, creating a dynamic experience.
Participant’s report on this year's session (Japanese only) >>
2019 report (Japanese only) >>
2018 report (Japanese only) >>
Below are some of the students’ reflections on the program: 

  • “It’s easy to label people based on differences in abilities or job titles, but at first glance it’s hard to understand differences in character or ways of thinking that have been shaped by a person’s experiences.  The EGAKU Program makes us aware of these fundamental differences and makes superficial differences like race or gender look trivial.  I felt that it can help us get rid of our unconscious biases.”
  • “You don’t have to be good at painting in order to paint - I want to keep that in mind.  I think if I simply let go of the limiting belief that I need to be good at something in order to do it, perhaps there are a lot of things I can do.  Never hesitate to take up the challenge and do the things I want to do - I don’t want to forget that.” 

Theme: Things That Drive You
Program details: online EGAKU Program
Participants: 20 participants - graduate students
Host institution: Tokyo Tech Academy for Leadership (ToTAL)
Facilitator: Kimi Hasebe
Staff: Hiromi Ito, Ryoko Nakamura


ELAB awarded grant by the Mitsubishi Memorial Foundation for Educational Excellence

‘EGAKU the Future Program’ - a program for high school students launched in 2019 - has been awarded a grant by the Mitsubishi Memorial Foundation for Educational Excellence  (Japanese only) 2020 funding program. As an initiative to support educational programs for children and the young, the torchbearers for a greater tomorrow, the foundation sought out programs which would foster individuals’ determination and ability to find and pursue challenges and seek solutions on their own.
‘EGAKU the Future Program’ is an art-based learning program which combines the practice of dialogue, discovery and expression through the art experience - seeing art and painting a picture - as encapsulated in the EGAKU Program, with elements of design thinking and active learning. The program nurtures a deep and dialogue-oriented approach to learning while also enhancing students’ creative confidence (the ability be self-directed and act with the confidence in one’s innate creative abilities) which lies at the heart of enquiry-based learning.
Not only is nurturing one’s creative confidence a critical life skill empowering individuals to live a rich and creative life in times of great uncertainty and create a flourishing society - it also incorporates the process of experiencing and developing one’s non-cognitive abilities (self-awareness, ability to embrace diversity, ability to engage in dialogue, discovery/curiosity).
This grant will be used to fund the development and verification of art-based learning in public schools across Japan encompassing a range of activities including direct program implementation in public schools, collaborations with organisations implementing active learning initiatives in public schools, developing programs for educators and developing online learning resources.
By designing, implementing and verifying programs rooted in Japan’s unique local culture and social issues, we hope to create a new approach to creative learning made in Japan to share with the world. We believe that sharing our work, and engaging and contributing to a global dialogue will also contribute towards re-energising education in Japan.


EGAKU the Future Program for Fukushima High School Students - 2019 Program comes to a close 

The 2019 EGAKU the Future Program for the next generation of leaders empowered to create the future - a program organised and implemented in partnership with nonprofit Bridge for Fukushima has come to a close. The program curriculum incorporated 4 EGAKU sessions.
Throughout the six month program, the high school students engaged deeply with their thoughts, feelings, values; they questioned their own and others’ beliefs about the world; In the process we witnessed a heightened creative confidence, and self-confidence - the critical foundation to active learning and their lives going forward.
Due to COVID-19, the fourth and final EGAKU session was conducted online - a first for ELAB.  All the participants painted their pictures on the theme 'The Future You Want to Create' at their respective homes. Although they shared their works with one another virtually, the deep dialogues and sense of connection which emerged transcended the physical distance that separated them.

EGAKU the Future Program for Fukushima High School Students 2019 (September 2019 - February 2020)
Participants: 23 high school students from Fukushima
Joint program organizer: Bridge for Fukushima
Supporters: Fukushima Prefectural Board of Education, Noevir Green Foundation 



Musashino University Senior High School - EGAKU the Future Program 2nd Semester (2019) - has finished 

The second semester of the ten-part EGAKU the Future Program for Musashino University High School has come to a close.
22 first grade senior high school students participated in the program experiencing the excitement of expressing themselves through themes such as 'Pleasure', 'Fear', 'Challenge'.  In the process they discovered a new side to themselves and thoughts and ideas they hadn’t been aware of previously. By encountering their friends’ different ways of experiencing the world and diverse modes of self-expression, they became aware of their own deeply held beliefs.
Below are some of the participants’ reflections on the experience:

  • “I learnt how difficult it is to create something with your own hands from scratch. But I also learnt that if you give expression to that very feeling instead of giving up, you actually discover something new - new thoughts and ideas you hadn’t been aware of until that point.”
  • “At first I was surprised that even though we were all addressing the same theme, the things we thought of, the things we painted, the colours we used were completely different. But as I painted many pictures, I felt in my heart that this was because we had different ways of thinking and different values and that they’re all valid.”

After completion of the program, participants shared their experiences with the rest of the school at a student presentation. Without any external prompting, the students took the initiative to come up with an ingenuous plan to figure out the best way to get their message across. Watching the students present their key learnings and thoughts to the audience by engaging them interactively through an art appreciation exercise and a series of quizzes, we could feel their incredible energy and we realized just how much they had grown.
Musashino University Senior High School ‘EGAKU the Future Program’ 2nd Semester 2019 (October 2019 - February 2020)
Participants: 22 grade 1 senior high school students
Host institution: Musashino University Senior High School, Liberal Arts of Musashino