JRC poem and 100-word essay contest

The JRC* poem and 100-word essay contest has been held since FY 2006. Since FY 2011, the JRCS Fukushima Chapter has invited the students of JRC member schools to send poems and 100-word essays involving their experiences from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and the Fukushima Daiichi accident. The themes are: "What I became aware of"; "What I thought about"; and "What I turned or tried to turn into action" from the experiences. The poems and essays have been reviewed and excellent ones have been included in an anthology.

The purpose of the program is to help students to think positively about their future and to become independent by writing about their feelings and thoughts.

* Junior Red Cross

Program


FY 2011

■ Themes  Poem: Poem of life, poem of love

100-word essays: (1) A present of warm words

(2) My small volunteer service

(3) My friend’s good point

(4) What I became aware of

■ No. of applicant schools: 43

■ No. of poems and essays sent: 4,241

FY 2012

■ Themes  Poem: Poem of life, poem of love

100-word essays: (1) A present of warm words

(2) My volunteer activity

(3) My friend’s good point

(4) "What I became aware of"; "What I thought about"; and "What I turned or tried to turn into action" from the Great East Japan Earthquake experience.

■ No. of applicant schools: 76

■ No. of poems and essays sent: 4,739

Since FY 2012, JRCS President’s award and the Fukushima Chapter President’s award have been selected from the best poems and essays.

FY 2013

■ Themes  Poem: Poem of life, poem of love

100-word essays: (1) A present of warm words

(2) My dream and Fukushima’s future

(3) My friend’s good point

(4) "What I became aware of"; "What I thought about"; and "What I turned or tried to turn into action" from the Great East Japan Earthquake.

■ No. of applicant schools: 94

■ No. of poems and essays sent: 7,539

We received more poems and essays than the previous years.
Since FY 2013, the following awards have been added: award from the president of Fukushima Prefecture JRC leaders’ council; award from the president of Fukushima Prefecture retired JRC leaders’ volunteer corps; and encouragement award to schools who have continued to submit poems and essays since the first contest.

FY 2014


<Anthology for 2014>

■ Themes  Poem: Poem of life, poem of love

100-word essays: (1) A present of warm words

(2) My dream and Fukushima’s future

(3) My friend’s good point

(4) "What I became aware of"; "What I thought about"; and "What I turned or tried to turn into action" from the Great East Japan Earthquake.

■ No. of applicant schools: 66

■ No. of poems and essays sent: 7,220

Since FY 2014, school award has been granted to schools who submitted many excellent poems/essays. The award for the year went to three schools: Tomita East Elementary School (Koriyama City); Fukushima Daiichi Junior High School (Fukushima City); and Shirakawa Asahi High School (Fukushima Prefecture).

FY 2015

■ Themes  Poem: Poem of life, poem of love

100-word essays: (1) My volunteer activity

(2) What I hope to/can do for Fukushima, Japan and the world

(3) Words/events which moved me

■ No. of applicant schools: 70

■ No. of poems and essays sent: 5,441

The following schools won the school award for FY 2015: Niwasaka Elementary School (Fukushima City); Hiwada Elementary School (Koriyama City); Tomita East Elementary School (Koriyama City); Kusano Elementary School (Iwaki City); Fukushima Daiichi Junior High School (Fukushima City); and Shoryo Junior High School (Fukushima City).

Comments from some applicant schools


Teachers from several applicant schools for the 2015 JRC poem and 100-word essay contest gave comments about this contest and referred to how they led their students to writing the poems and essays.
Comments from teachers of applicant schools [PDF]

Comment by Fukushima Chapter staff


This program had been organized and held since before the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. After the earthquake, we have held the program as part of the recovery assistance programs. The poem/essay contest also aims to serve as psychological care for the children and encourage them to live their lives positively.

The original purpose of the contest was to encourage the children to join the Junior Red Cross activities more actively. This purpose had been achieved before the earthquake to a certain extent. After the earthquake, the Junior Red Cross member children have become interested more in health, safety and service because they were directly affected by the disaster or some of them are still living under evacuation conditions.

After the Fukushima Daiichi accident that followed the earthquake and tsunami, schools in areas with high radiation level were forced to evacuate. The children were also displaced to different locations with their families. They are living under evacuation conditions, which is not easy. The unfamiliar living environments and the changes in school life increased their stress, made them sick and led to poor academic performance and problematic behaviors. They also feel anxieties about changes in lifestyles of their families. The difficult situations still continue today.

If they are given time to think about their current lives, future prospects, their families and hometowns, it will be a great opportunity for them to reflect on their feelings or thoughts. We feel that this program has been able to give them such opportunity and time.

If you read the poems and essays that were submitted shortly after the earthquake and tsunami, you will notice that many of them were about life, love, hometown and future.

We have received more poems and essays written about value of life or people’s wonderful love. We can feel their resilience after the disaster and their efforts to defy the disaster. Their feelings are deeply conveyed to the readers. They often use the expressions such as “Thank you,” or ”Hang on!” There have been more poems and essays in which they care for each survivor’s environment. We feel the children’s profound compassion for others. After the onset of the earthquake, they experienced the disruption of infrastructure. From that experience, they have written more about electricity/water saving, which is a daily life-related matter. We have also received more poems and essays about smiles, caring for others, the importance of greeting, conversation with family, bond-valuing mind, aspirations of working to help the vulnerable in the future, and etc.

In FY 2014, we received about 1,500 poems and essays relating to the disaster. While reading them, we felt that the children were becoming much more positive. One poem drew our attention. We felt that it was written in a tone that encouraged the student’s hometown. This may show that both the child and the readers are recovering so that now they can give thoughts to not only themselves but also to the hometown. Ironically, the earthquake and the nuclear accident are turning the children’s eyes to health, safety and service which are goals of the Junior Red Cross activities. They are getting more conscious about living strongly because they are living under uneasy conditions or environments. We are glad about their growth. However, we feel that there is a need to provide them with more psychological care.

The FY 2015 marks the 10th anniversary of this program. The number of applicant schools and poems/essays submitted to us has increased compared to when it started. However, the number of applicant schools is still at around 10% of all JRC member schools of Fukushima Prefecture. We hope to have more member schools to apply for this program and to have more poems/essays by PR through the mass media or by asking the teachers to also use this program as teaching materials.