All profit from the sales of this tee ($5 if you’re in Australia, elsewhere depends on the exchange rate) will go to the Australian Red Cross Japan and Pacific Disaster Appeal 2011
It’s been over a month since Japan was hit by the three disasters of the earthquake, tsunami, and damage to the nuclear plants. Thousands of people have died, thousands more are still missing and there are more than 150,000 people who have been displaced. These numbers are too big for my brain to comprehend, and I wanted to do something to help.
Also available as a print if that’s more your thing.
Let me tell you something about my relationship with Japan. Japanese art and aesthetics have influenced my work since before I knew what it was. Although I came to Buddhism through Mahayana, Zen Buddhism appeals to me more for a number of reasons. I study and now teach Japanese swordsmanship. I can’t put into words how much that has influenced my thinking, or how beneficial it has been.
In 2007 I travelled around Japan with my dojo. Without exception, every person we met there was kind, accommodating, and very forgiving of my horrible Nihongo. At one point an elderly gentleman walking past stopped to help us find our Ryokan, and actually walked us a few blocks to find it. I have not felt so welcomed anywhere else I have ever visited.
We visited Miyagi prefecture during our travels.. it’s hard to imagine how it looks now. Like I said, the numbers of people, the damage.. it’s incomprehensible. Photos of the damage now more than anything else remind me of the photos we saw in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. That city recovered though, and I have faith in the resourcefulness of the Japanese people.
This design is based on the Japanese National flag. Koi often represent friendship, although they also have a particular special meaning for me. Japan was born from twin gods Izanagi and Izanami, so it seemed fitting to have the two.
That’s more of an explanation than most of my work gets, but I hope it gives you some idea about my motivations behind creating this.