Presentation of the Feeling Arts Academy in Lahti made the elementary school pupils to draw angels. In its art the academy employs a unique technique of casting light on an abstract painting and combining it with music and natural sounds to enhance healing effects. After the show, pupils made drawings inspired by the presentation.
Mr. Yoshihiro Kitamura and Mr. Takayuki Yoshioka, President and Vice-President of the Feeling Arts Academy, attended Hanako’s autumn seminar in Lahti in November 2012. The party included also representatives of the University of Naragakuen, who followed the reactions to the artistic performance. Feeling Arts is going to be integrated into the teaching of the university.
Artist Kitamura has developed the concept of “feeling arts” for twenty years after he got an inspiration of combining earth, universe, life and celestial world in his art. The healing effects Mr. Kitamura experienced for the first time when her child was hospitalized. “I did a presentation for my child, but also other patients and hospital staff could follow it. Given that the presentation gave a good and emotional feeling, the doctors and nurses asked me to continue the presentations,” Kitamura told.
Since 2004, he has given nearly a thousand presentations in Asia, Europe and America. The therapy has gradually spread from the social and health care to other sectors of society. Feeling Arts has helped also victims of natural disasters. Kitamura’s presentations reflect the needs of his target groups. The show is always unique since he is doing a new abstract image for each presentation.
The beneficial effect of Feeling Arts have been monitored in various studies. Mr. Takayuki Yoshioka, Professor of Behavioural Science, points out that the effects depend on the target group. The pursued effects vary according to the group. “For example, people with dementia feel their memory refreshed. They do not remember only good things, but they feel also the bad memories touching. Feeling Arts has helped the victims of domestic violence to open up. Presentations have also been found to reduce anxiety,” Yoshioka stated.
Kitamura believes that although all forms of art have healing power, Feeling Arts is fundamentally different. “Feeling Arts does not reflect the creator’s message or story, but enables people to reflect their own feelings”.
Incorporating Feeling Arts into Education
According to Mr. Chikashi Nishikawa, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the University of Naragakuen, getting into contact with the Feeling Arts was a coincidence. “One of the teachers had seen the presentation and introduced the Feeling Arts to the university.”
Based on his experience of the Feeling Arts, Mr. Nishikawa is very interested in the integration of its therapy in the Naragakuen university education. However, he does not consider the task as an easy one. “What does the integration mean in practice is not yet clear. It could mean not only the teaching of the Feeling Arts method, but also its incorporation in the pedagogy. Students and staff could both benefit from the therapy”, Nishikawa pondered.
Participation in Hanako’s Network Feels Interesting
Both the University of Naragakuen and the Feeling Arts Academy expressed their interest in Hanako. Mr. Nishikawa wants to explore the Finnish education system.
As Mr. Nishikawa followed the reaction of pupils to the Feeling Arts presentation, he was surprised by their tranquillity and individuality of their drawings. “I am a layman in these matters, but looking at the illustrations, I realised that Finnish children show more individuality than the Japanese. Japanese children are more pattern oriented in my opinion.”
Mr. Nishikawa recalled that the characterisation of the Finnish education system by project manager Sirje Hassinen broadened his perspective. “Sirje summarised the values in three words: transparency, mutual trust and equality. These three words gave me some insight into the Finnish education system of which I hope to learn more in the future.”
Mr. Kitamura and Mr. Yoshioka would like to introduce the Feeling Arts in the Finnish social and health care institutions. Their vision of cooperation, however, extends even beyond this. “Our aim is to set up Feeling Arts offices in different countries. The focus is on Asia, but a permanent office in Finland is an attractive prospect.”