Japan’s Merry Project brings smiles to the world

12/20/2011
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The project at Times Square in New York, 2011 Photo by Hiroko Masuike

TOKYO (majirox news) — The Merry Project seeks to spread a wave of happiness through the theme of smiling as a universal language.

The project has collected over 30,000 photographs of smiling faces of people around the world together with their handwritten messages of what happiness means to them. Each person who participates becomes part of a large network linking happiness across global borders.

In some of the pictures, umbrellas are displayed with the smiling faces of children from Banda Aceh (Indonesia), Sichuan (China), Kobe, Tohoku, and other places that have experienced natural disasters. Other photos show smiling faces in New York after the terrorists’ attack, as well as in Moscow and African nations.

The NPO Merry Project was created in 1999 by Koji Mizutani, an art director, graphic designer and winner of numerous awards for his work. His particular focus is on children’s smiles because he says they are the light shining over the future of the Earth.

“When we see a large number of smiling faces, we are awed at the mysterious power of a face — a human’s ultimate tool of expression,” Mizutani said. “As we continue staring at it in its entirety, we feel as if electricity is generated in our brains.”

He learned that the smiles of the children who live in the severest environments are brightest because they relish the happiness of living “now.”

Newscaster Testuya Tsukushi agrees. “I believe it is our wisdom and fortitude that allows us to cheerfully accept hardships, no matter how difficult they are. When you smile, the whole world smiles back at you.”

Itaru Hirano, curator of the Museum of Modern Art in Saitama prefecture, says, “Mizutani takes photographs of peoples’ smiles to create posters with their handwritten dreams and hopes. The posters present ordinary smiles of ordinary people, which include their personal messages, rather than using celebrities or models. You can’t find commercial posters filled with such a natural and open atmosphere.”

The project’s goal is to meet all 7 billion people of the Earth and fill the planet with their merry smiles.
The project in Beijing
The project at Hiroshima
The project in Okinawa
In Banda Aceh (Indonesia)

For more information about Merry Project click http://www.merryproject.com/

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