Designing a More
Diverse and Inclusive Society
- Introduction -
As the world becomes more and more globalized, it is rapidly more frequent to meet people of different nationalities, religions, cultures, ages, sexual orientations, or values, with or without disabilities.
In 2018, more than 31 million foreign tourists visited Japan, and it has been projected that in 2020, the number will grow into some 40 million. Also, 2.7 million foreigners reside in Japan, and 1 out of 29 new-born babies in Japan has at least one parent that is a foreign national.
In 2015, the LGBTQ community has attracted such an unprecedented level of attention, that a few of Japan's local authorities have enacted ordinance on same-sex partnerships for the first time in the history of the country. In 2016, the Law to Eliminate Discrimination against People with Disabilities took effect, aiming at creating a more inclusive society where every person, with or without disabilities, thrives.
Now, more than ever, the concept of “Diversity & Inclusion” is expanding into our daily lives, and therefore more and more actors are joining to build a new form of social collaboration which values our mutual understanding and inclusiveness.
InternaSHOKUnal always aims to achieve “Diversity & Inclusion” as its mission, through the use of “Inclusive Design” which facilitates communication to overcome individual and cultural differences and “Education on Diversity” which encourages people to understand other cultures and backgrounds to promote interaction beyond these differences.
- Projects -
THE JAPAN QUEST
How can we ensure that all people, with or without dietary restrictions, food allergies and/or religious restrictions can enjoy their meals in total peace of mind and safety?
FOODPICT (standardized food pictograms) was developed in accordance with the principles of Universal Design defined by ISO (International Organization for Standardization), JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard) and CUD (Color Universal Design) and tested through an international survey carried out with 1500 people all over the world.
It is a world-class ingredient indication tool, consisting of guidelines and rules for proper usage. We established FOOPICT in close collaboration with experts and relevant organizations in order to guarantee comprehensibility for all beyond language and cultural barriers. With visibility that supports people with color blindness, cataract or glaucoma, and a wide coverage of items that responds to the increasing variety of dietary restrictions.
As a new infrastructure for food indication, FOODPICT has been widely adopted in more than 1300 locations in the world, including important global conventions such as the Sapporo Asian Winter Games 2017, G7 Summit Japan 2016 and Expo Milan 2015, the two biggest airports in Japan, Narita International Airport and Kansai International Airport, hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, educational institutions and emergency shelters, etc.
In January 2017, FOODPICT lnc. was established to provide license for design use, stickers and other ingredient indication items, a new web-service to help people find restaurants and their menus with pictograms, education programs on dietary restrictions, and consultations for the correct application of the tools.
When a large-scale natural disaster strikes us, people from very different backgrounds, from those who don't understand Japanese to people with disabilities, gather together in evacuation shelters.
However, what's been repeatedly reported is that the victims with special needs tend to have difficulties in evacuating to emergency shelters and living there with others. As a result, these victims are more likely to leave shelters in a matter of days and become isolated, falling outside the public support system.
How can we clear out the barrier of "being different", especially in the event of a disaster, make information accessible for everyone and promptly become aware of specific needs? What can we do to prevent troubles and isolations and support each other better?
A communication card for evacuations was created to support the vital communication needed in guiding people to evacuation points and for the initial operation of shelters. Conducting hearings with 243 victims and disaster relief workers of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake and the Great East Japan Earthquake made a major contribution for us to understand the accidents and troubles that were previously experienced.
COMMUNICAID is made of a brochure, where you can find shelter locations, transportations and other key information necessary for a smooth evacuation, and 3 cards which correspond to "Food", "Medical" and "Help Out" respectively for day-to-day communication once you are in the shelter. We work with local governments and public organizations to optimize the contents to best meet the needs of each region and distribute them to local shelters, schools, public transportations and accommodations.
We also designed the Japanese government's official "Evacuee Registration Card", using pictograms and multiple languages, in collaboration with the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations. We are now working on the nation-wide distribution of this card to all shelters in Japan through local authorities in each of the 47 prefectures.
What if we view "FOOD" as an opportunity to have fun and learn diverse cultures and lifestyles around the world to realize the importance of communication and caring for others?
WORLD SHOKU-IKU is a special classroom experience, where we combine food education with intercultural understanding. Snacks from all over the world and their packages will replace the textbooks!
In this program, participants will enjoy learning the diversity that exists in the world making full use of their five senses. We have quizzes related to intercultural understanding and multicultural co-living, a game to find marks and icons in foreign labels and guess what they mean, and enjoy samples of delicious snacks and juices that are unfamiliar in Japan.
As we introduce various food marks used in other countries and how FOODPICT serves for better communication, curiosity arising from participants leads them to empathizes with those who are different from them. As a result, participants learn different means of communication and how to solve problems across cultures.
WORLD SHOKU-IKU Program is designed for ages 10 and up. It has been implemented in elementary schools as a part of their food education and intercultural education, in training for members of international associations and for host families, and also at seminars for intercultural understanding where university students and adults participated. We have held 145 classes with 9878 participants in total (as of Dec. 31st, 2016). The number keeps growing!
THE JAPAN QUEST
THE JAPAN QUEST is all about bringing different perspectives together while exploring a neighborhood with your fellow questers and taking pictures of "what each of you think is the attraction of the area".
You will make a whole new local guide map together, taking all the different points of view and inspirations in to discover highlights and hidden gems of the town.
This fun activity enables participants to interact with people they don't usually hang out with and identify commonalities and differences among them, which naturally deepens their understanding toward diversity. What's exciting for us to observe is how participants make friends in this program and turn their friendships into new communities, interactions, and events over time.
Meeting local business owners and people who live in the area is surely another great source of surprises and new perspectives that happen in a spontaneous manner.
THE JAPAN QUEST Program has been co-hosted by different types of local organizations, such as local tourism associations, shopping street associations, universities, international associations, corporations, etc.