Japan Today

Tokyo artists set the table for Refugees International


Refugees International Japan (RIJ) will present a feast for the eyes at the 20th anniversary of its exhibition, "Art of Dining," on March 16 at The Westin Tokyo. Opened in previous years by Princess Hitachi, the exhibition will showcase imaginative and culturally-diverse table designs from over 20 designers from artistic, diplomatic, culinary and business circles.

Open to the public, guests can enjoy unique interior design on display, while helping to raise money and promote awareness of the plight of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs). This year’s group of designers hails from a range of disciplines, including TV producer Kyoko Spector co-presenting with Mayari Ishibashi, Futaba-ryu ikebana master Horiguchi Shoko, and renowned artist Misaki Ando, along with Colombian Ambassador Patricia Cardenas and representatives from the embassies of Afghanistan and Botswana.

The "Art of Dining" has raised more than 150 million yen since its inception for refugees around the world. A section of the event space will include information on the over 60 million displaced people worldwide.

“We are grateful to the designers who have volunteered their creative talent to draw over 1,000 guests each year. Their contributions help Refugees International Japan fund projects that allow those displaced by conflict to rebuild their lives, regain their self-respect and work towards a safer future - through education and dealing with social issues and environmental degradation. The event demonstrates the community spirit of so many people,” says Jane Best, CEO of RIJ.

For the 20th anniversary, commemorative calendars have been designed, featuring photos of past table designs by an array of Japanese and international designers, as well as examples of how money raised has helped refugees worldwide.

Tickets may be obtained at the door with a donation of 3,500 yen, or in advance from the RIJ office. This year viewing has been extended from 12 noon - 8:30 p.m. Attendees are eligible for exciting raffle prizes and tea and coffee will be available for purchase.

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This coming from a country with a DESPICABLE record on accepting refugees.


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I agree about the despicable record. I was just in tiny Launceston, Tasmania, Australia, population maybe 70,000. In the past year, they have accepted and resettled about 200 ethnic Nepalese refugees from Bhutan (with more family members coming). What could be a more different culture and setting? Yet no one makes a fuss over it, this in a country with its own problems of unemployment. This is more refugees than entire Japan accepts in a decade. And Japan sits and frets about its ageing shrinking population base

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