"On Earth Day, April 22, 2021, I began work on the Tree of Hope project, my first collaboration with TOKYO SKYTREE. During the half-year since it began, 13,000 W1SH RIBBONS have been tied to the monument. I would like to thank all of you for your support.
“Thirty years have passed since I came to Japan as a photographer, and this past year has been one that has made me think more deeply about diversity than ever in my whole life. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, opportunities to produce connections between people have increased, and as I have continued my activities, it has been my great honor to be able at last to participate as a Producer in this project with TOKYO SKYTREE, the world's tallest tower. And yet, our journey has only just begun.
“I am greatly pleased that this year's 2021 Olympic and Paralympic Games provided an opportunity for people not just from Japan but from overseas as well, including athletes and other stakeholders, to participate to some degree in the TOKYO SKYTREE project, even amid the restrictions of the COVID-19 era. I hope that during 2022, those who have not yet visited TOKYO SKYTREE will come with their families and with their friends to the Tree of Hope on the TEMBO DECK, and that everyone will continue to write down their wishes as this project linking so many dreams is advanced further and further.
“As I advance my own life's work on diversity in a variety of ways during 2022, I hope to be able to meet all of you along the way. Please be sure to continue supporting the W1SH RIBBON project at TOKYO SKYTREE, the world's tallest tower."
Establishing the Tree of Hope global campaign has linked together many diverse people all over the world despite the COVID-19 pandemic, making possible invaluable experiences that would ordinarily be impossible. While I did equivocate about undertaking the implementation of this kind of plan in a time of ongoing difficulties, the rewards of having done so have exceeded my expectations. I feel that a major benefit has been the experience of advancing the project together with top athletes and Paralympians, and those who are working for a diverse society whom I would not otherwise have had a chance to meet.
Andrew Parsons, President of the International Paralympic Committee, which is advancing the "WeThe15" project in which TOKYO SKYTREE is also participating, made the following comment in a previous interview: "The W1SH RIBBON campaign is a wonderful idea that combines art and aesthetics. We have the same objective of hoping for a more inclusive world, and we love the concept, the exciting visuals, and the message that we must include all people in a better, more beautiful world. Having people express their wishes, and in so doing become a part of something larger, is a perfect match with the objective of WeThe15."
Within the company, I feel that this project has actually increased awareness of diversity, advanced concrete efforts toward the SDGs, and increased awareness of global issues. Through this experience, I am confident that when the COVID-19 situation eases and we begin welcoming more guests from overseas, we will be able to offer an upgraded level of hospitality that cannot be found anywhere else.