Our site uses cookies and other technologies to give you the best possible experience. By using this site you are consenting to their use and accept our policies. Learn more...


Little Chairs, Big Hopes: 12 Years of the “Kimi No Isu” Project

VOD for this program is no longer available.

Aired: June 22, 2018 (UTC)


In Higashikawa, a town in Hokkaido, each baby born has been receiving a handmade wooden chair, called “Kimi No Isu” – or “your chair.” The design and materials of the chairs may change year by year, but the idea behind this project remains the same. Each chair is a way for the whole town to express gratitude for the birth of a child, and to celebrate their arrival into the world. For the children, the chairs are their own special possession and own special place.
104 of the chairs were also sent to children born on March 11, 2011 in areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on that day.
These chairs also symbolize a desire to recover a lost sense of community. We take a close look at 12 heartwarming years of the Kimi No Isu Project.


How to reach Higashikawa, Hokkaido

To reach the town of Higashikawa, take an hour and a half flight from Tokyo to Asahikawa Airport in Hokkaido. The town is around fifteen minutes by car from the airport.

Popular sightseeing spots

Higashikawa is at the entrance of the Daisetsuzan National Park, the largest natural park in Japan. It is also where the tallest mountain in Hokkaido, Mt. Asahi, is located. Visitors can enjoy views of seasonal landscape and relax at hot spring resorts in the park, such as the Asahidake Hot Springs and Tenninkyo Hot Springs.

Daisetsuzan National Park
Mt. Asahi
Asahidake Hot Springs
Tenninkyo Hot Springs

Director’s note

Atsushi Tanaka

Director, Hokkaido Broadcasting Co., Ltd.

Tsumugi Iizuka is one of the first children to receive a Kimi no Isu chair 12 years ago. I used to see her photo when she was one year old in galleries by the Kimi no Isu project. So I was looking forward to meeting her for the program’s coverage. She was in the fifth grade and has grown tall and slender at 158 cm.
I think some people may consider the chair only as a thing a child can use in their early years. But for Tsumugi, it is an irreplaceable symbol of her childhood that’s been nurtured and loved by her family. I have met other families who share the same sentiment.
After the program’s broadcast, we received good news. Katsurao Village in Fukushima Pref. is participating in the Kimi no Isu project. The village had to be entirely evacuated in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake. 80% of its residents are still unable to return to their homes.
The chairs will be given to newborns of evacuee families. A new mission, to keep the connection of the residents and their hometown, has been entrusted to the Kimi no Isu.

More Videos To Explore

Our Series

Catch Japan Explore a colorful variety of modern Japan’s most popular topics, including food, technology, ecology and regional promotions, with a focus on the innovative ideas and passionate effort from the people behind it all.
Washoku World Challenge The series will follow the regional qualifying tournaments and the final tournament of the sixth “Washoku World Challenge,” a cooking contest in which non-Japanese Washoku chefs from throughout Europe, North America, Asia and Japan will pit their skills against one another, as they strive in earnest to inherit, pass on and cultivate their Washoku cooking skills.
A documentary series that features remarkable industries in Japan. The program introduces the history and wisdom behind Japan’s technological strength and specialties, which are helping to revitalize regional areas of the country.
The Next 100 Years Iconic Japanese company Panasonic is celebrating 100 years in business.What is this leading Japanese enterprise doing to ensure the company thrives for the next 100 years? One key strategy is to take a fresh look at the potential of the people who form the backbone of the company and another key challenge is to create new value.
Future Highway Express As globalization rapidly accelerates, truck logistics routes that connect various countries are playing a key role in supporting each national economy. These are the Future Highways that are creating the path into the future. Seen through the eyes of the truck drivers, this two-part series program depicts the landscapes and places of interest in each region.
ASEAN Now and the Future -Connectivity and Economic Corridors- 2017 is ASEAN’s 50th anniversary. This series was produced as a joint project to commemorate the anniversary with the TV stations of four ASEAN countries,Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam – by examining their cooperative relations with Japan and the impact of the East-West and Southern Economic Corridors on the economies and ways of life of the Indochina Peninsula.
The Road to Recovery The coastal areas of Japan’s Tohoku Region suffered unprecedented damage in the Great East Japan Earthquake.This series shines a spotlight on the efforts of people from Iwate Prefecture, Miyagi Prefecture and Fukushima Prefecture, who are now working hard toward achieving “Recovery of Industry,” “Recovery of Tourism” and “Food Safety & Peace of Mind.” What are the underpinnings of their ongoing hope?
Check Other Series