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The Role of the Arts in Our Aging Societies

Web Page Objectives

The objective of this web site dedicated to The Role of the Arts in Our Aging Societies is to help disseminate as widely as possible the results of current research and surveys about the ways that the arts are being used to improve the Quality of Life of our elderly citizens. Our elders should not be treated as extra baggage, but rather should be encouraged to live active and healthy lives. In fact, when we look around we see there are really cool seniors. Some are members of jazz trios, some climb mountains, other make movies. In the arts and crafts and traditional performing arts we call them “masters,” and those we choose to teach the younger generation are often over 70 years old. They love what they are doing and live vibrant lives. Their interaction with the younger people gives birth to a mutual understanding between the generations. On the other hand, many elders are spending their days in welfare and medical facilities; the lives they lead are in fact far for giving them a sense of well-being. What can we do to enable these people to spend their days more enjoyably? One approach that is now being tried world-wide is introducing art into old age homes and medical facilities. Today art is playing a positive role in a wide variety of homes for the aged, hospitals, hospices, studios for people with handicaps. Whether in Japan or abroad, those directly involved in this advocacy of the arts express again and again their certainty that the arts have a most effective and beneficial contribution to make for enhancing the QOL of the elderly. They have seen for themselves the healthful role the arts can play. Hence, the possibilities for an ever increasing role of the arts in healthcare certainly exists. Hopefully, this site will lend a hand of support to those already hard at work at this endeavor, and at the same time encourage others to participate in this important effort.

Web Page Administrator Profile

My academic discipline is art history; my field of concentration is Japanese medieval religious art. For ten years before I retired as a professor at Kyushu University of Health and Welfare I studied and taught about the role of the arts in healthcare. I conducted an international survey of the role the arts are playing in healthcare in Europe and America, and included a selection of model cases in Japan. I also introduced the importance of this movement to townspeople by sponsoring public lectures and carrying out other activities. I am continuing these activities through my Art and Our Aging Society Research Lab and as a founding member of the Art Meets Care Society. I am also continuing my research on William Morris who so inspired the arts and crafts movement and who believed so strongly that the arts were essential for the realization of a just society. I want to join with you to promote the role of the arts in realizing a higher quality of life for all members of our aging societies.

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