MY BEST FRIEND

AT THE HOSPITAL

For  NPO Shine On !  Kids

Planning, Graphic Design 

In 2016, Konoe was in charge of a project to plan and produce a photo book as part of an awareness campaign to spread the word about facility dogs for Shine On Kids, a certified NPO.

近衞忠大 ファシリティードッグ

Facility dogs are dogs that are professionally trained to give love and comfort to stressed people.


They patrol the wards of the hospital and give people the opportunity to touch them, play with them, and sometimes even sleep with them. They provide the kind of "emotional care" that only dogs can provide. Children, in particular, love to hug animals, and studies have proven that this skin-to-skin contact can help relieve stress and cheer up children. For example, children don't cry when they are with a facility dog, or they are happy to walk into the operating room for surgery.

 

Facility dogs originated in the U.S., and many had already been introduced, but at the time of the project, there were only two facility dogs in Japan, Bailey and Yogi.

ファシリティドッグ.jpg

出版を記念して行われたトークショー。司会はラジオパーソナリティーのレイチェル・チャンさん。

Shine On! Kids has been promoting the awareness and effectiveness of Facility Dogs and fundraising for their introduction. Kids has been fundraising to promote the awareness and benefits of facility dogs and to introduce them to the public. As it was the 10th anniversary of the project, a plan to make a "photo book" of facility dogs was proposed and the production costs were raised through crowdfunding.

 

When the request for direction came, Konoe who is a dog lover and has participated in many charity activities in the past, accepted the offer. However, it was very difficult to make a photo book with only two dogs and the same breed.

 

So I came up with the idea of having the children in the pediatric ward take pictures of the facility dogs. However, since these children are seriously ill and hospitalized for a long period of time, it is a very delicate issue, not only for the children themselves, but also for their families and the possibility of them being in the photo. Fortunately, Shine On! Kids and the handlers were sincere in explaining the project, and we were able to get the approval of the families.

 

The next question was, could we make a photo book with only the children's photos? It would be great if the photos were cute and child-like, but some of the children are in wheelchairs or have difficulty even holding a camera. However, some children are in wheelchairs or have difficulty even holding a camera. Also, cute pictures of facility dogs are not enough to convey the message. The reality of the pediatric ward and the children who are desperately trying to hold up a camera in the midst of it are also necessary to emphasize the need for facility dogs.

The first person who came to mind in Konoe was photographer Roland Kirishima. Mr. Kirishima is a like-minded colleague who has participated in symposiums and other activities with Konoe for the preservation of traditional Japanese culture. When I asked him for a photo shoot, he readily agreed.

 

In addition, one of the biggest dog lovers around Konoe is the playwright Mr. Fumio Fujisawa. Since Konoe served as the artistic director of Mr. Fujisawa's stage, we had consultations with him from the planning stage. The photo book was designed by Kumiko Hitomi. Ms. Kumiko Hitomi designed the pamphlet of the Fujisawa Reading Theater together with Konoe.

ファシリティドッグ 近衛忠大 藤沢文翁

The shooting took place at two different hospitals and ten children participated.

They were very excited to have their first SLR camera in their hands. Some children had difficulty supporting the weight of the camera and had to be carried on chairs to take pictures, while others liked the continuous shooting function so much that they kept pressing the shutter button....

Among the more than 1,000 photos taken, there were so many unexpected and wonderful pictures that my initial fears were completely gone.


The title was decided to be "MY BEST FRIEND AT THE HOSPITAL" because to the children, facility dogs are not just "dogs" but friends who fight diseases together.

近衞忠大 NPO法人シャイン・オン!キッズ
人見久美子 写真集
ファシリティドッグ ベストフレンド

The proceeds from this project will be used to introduce Facility Dogs to Shine On! Kids' activities. Bailey, who appears in the photo book, retired in 2018 after serving eight years at Kanagawa Children's Medical Center. Annie took her place. Yogi, who appeared in the photo book, is continuing to work at Shizuoka Children's Hospital. And in 2019, the Tokyo Metropolitan Children's Medical Center decided to introduce a facility dog for the third time in Japan, and Ivy also took over.

 

Shine on Kids is a Japanese non-profit organization founded in 2006 by an American couple living in Tokyo who lost their two-year-old son Tyler to pediatric cancer. The organization provides support to children battling pediatric cancer and other serious illnesses and their families.

All of us at Chikamori sincerely hope that the smiles on children's faces will increase, their families will be healed, and the need for facility dogs will be understood by more hospitals.

ファシリティドッグ 桐島ローランド

Photo: Children at Shizuoka Children's Hospital & Kanagawa Children's Medical Center,  Rawland Kirishima & Tadahiro Konoe

Photography Instructor: Kodomo Nakamura

Text: Bun-oh Fujisawa

Art Direction & Graphic Design: Kumiko Hitomi

Creative Director: Tadahiro Konoe

Production Manager: Shinichi Kochiyama

Client: Shine On! Kids - http://sokids.org/ja/