Jam, Baby Muslin /ジャム、ベビーモスリン

One day after the Great East Japan Earthquake, Ken Sato witnessed how mothers were suffering and troubled without milk and diapers for their children. He then started a voluntary organization based in Kesennuma that was in charge of doing needs assessment of mothers on the ground and of delivering disaster relief supplies. This organization later became Peace Jam as they currently focus on building communities across various sectors, and also provide support for employment of mothers living in the region.

Two designers- Rozy from Philippines and Jay from Taiwan, together with an interpreter, spent a few days with Peace Jam. Dive into their stories and find out about their motivations for joining, experiences during this program, and thoughts after participation.





What I thought was a short few days in another country turned out to be one of my most humbling experience so far as a designer. In Door to Asia, I was able to meet people from different backgrounds. Towards the end, regardless of our differences especially in language and experiences, we found ourselves working towards the same goal of making our small communities a better place.

参加する前は、ただ外国で数日間過ごすだけだと思っていたのですが、デザイナーとしての人生において最も印象に残る経験になりました。DOOR to ASIAに参加することで、異なる背景の方々にお会いすることができました。私たちは、言語や経験は違うのですが、小さな町をより良くするという同じ目標に向けて活動しました。

The designers were distributed to different local businesses, and I was assigned to a non-profit called Peace Jam together with Jay from Taiwan. Our objective is to come up with communication design solutions for these businesses. I was very excited to be assigned to Peace Jam because I’ve been working with so many social enterprises in the Philippines and I’ve always been a fan of community-based enterprises. To see something like Peace Jam, which responds to the specific needs of the people in Kesennuma in Tohoku, amazes me. They have a different context compared to the Philippines but in the same way, it is responding to what the community needs. I’m reminded of how much we can do because of how much we care.


Ken-san, a music lover and owner of a bar, created Peace Jam after the Tohoku Earthquake, seeing that there is a need to support mothers and their children during the tragedy. Initially, he was only thinking about taking care of his daughter, however, he saw how many people needed the same kind of care and support. So he did a lot of emergency relief. He knew he needed to do something more and that’s why he built Peace Jam to create something more sustainable and long term. I guess my favorite part here is that the children get to see their hardworking mother, and the mothers get to see their kids play and grow. Both mothers and kids are happy.


After staying in their homes and experiencing their day to day lives, including the other designers
who were assigned to the other businesses, we’ve become friends, family, and nakama 仲間
(meaning comrades working towards the same goal, a word we learned from Gook and Jeff used for their campaign.)


Jay-san and I worked on design solutions that allowed the brand essence to come out. In Works of Heart, we always focus on brand integrity – to find the balance between the community’s identity and how it should be communicated effectively to an audience. It’s much more difficult than just working on a client’s brief, since the output you create should be something the community (the mothers in this case), should be able to identify with and call their own. Another challenge is because Peace Jam is both an NPO and an enterprise by selling jam and baby muslin that the mothers prepared, we have to properly communicate these messages and ensure clarity.

私とJayは、ブランドの本質が見えるデザイン制作に取り組みました。私が働いているWorks of Heartでは、ブランドの一貫性を重視していて、コミュニティのアイデンティティと、対象となるお客様への伝え方とのバランスを探ることが大切だと考えています。いつもと違うのは、今回の場合のお客様は、この町と、ここに住んでいるお母さんの皆さんです。このコミュニティのアイデンティティをどう作るかという難問があります。また、ピースジャムはNPOであると同時に、ジャムやベビーモスリンを売る会社でもあるので、様々なメッセージを正確に届けることが重要だと思いました。

When we stayed with the whole team of Peace Jam for three days. We learned to love the space
and community that provides jobs to mothers allowing them to bring their babies so they can take care of them as well. It’s a community that supports each other.
We asked them a lot of question and all of them, including the two other core members Miyuki-san and Mitsu-san, said the same thing about what mattered to them most – the environment that they are building for the mothers and their kids. With this, both Jay-san and I worked on branding, hoping that more people would know about Peace Jam’s story and provide support in their own way. More than that, other people can even replicate what they are doing in their own communities. The possibilities are endless for Peace Jam.. but it can only happen if they know the story first.



It was a great opportunity to work with Peace Jam, but more than that, what I will really keep with me would be the time spent together. I’ve been to Japan for several times already but always as a tourist. Through Door to Asia, for the first time I was a friend, a “mother”, and part of a family. I have nothing but gratitude for everyone who allowed me to listen and be part of their stories.

ピースジャムと一緒にお仕事ができて、そして一緒に楽しい時間を過ごすことができてとても良かったです。日本には何回か行ったことがあったのですが、今までは観光客でした。DOOR to ASIAのおかげで、今回は友達として、「母」として、そして家族の一員として日本で時間を過ごせました。皆さんの物語を聞かせていただいて、そして物語の一部になることができて感謝の言葉もありません。




Go to Tohoku
First of all, I want to say thank you to Miki san for his invitation so that I can have the opportunity to participate in the DOOR to Asia 2017 program. Before that, I had visited Japan several times, but all were big cities like Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, etc. Visiting Tohoku, which is a country area, made me feel nervous, not to mention the challenge we had to face in those two weeks. To me, making a creative / design proposal for a local business during such a short time is not easy. At the same time, however, I was also quite looking forward to it. I think such a cooperation can bring a whole new experience for both parties and even create results beyond our expectations.

まず、2017年のDOOR to ASIAに参加することができたことに心より御礼を申し上げます。何度か日本には訪れたことがあったのですが、東京や京都、大阪などの大都会ばかりを見てきました。東北という都会以外の地域に行くことはドキドキしましたし、言うまでもなくこの2週間はチャンレジそのものでした。ある地元の事業者のためにクリエイティブ/デザインの提案を短期間で作り上げることは決して簡単なことではありません。しかし、それと同時にわくわく楽しみにしている自分もいたのです。このようなプログラムは、事業者とデザイナーの双方にとって新たな経験になり、私たちの想像を超えた思いもよらない結果を生み出すのだろうと感じています。

Rikuzentakata’s tough vitality
Rikuzentakata is the area most affected by the tsunami; the whole town was destroyed in the disaster. What is striking is the speed with which local residents (or Japanese) perform post-disaster reconstruction. Their review of the impact of disasters and the redevelopment plan are quite efficient and complete. I think this is a bit similar to Taiwanese, because there are similar disasters (earthquakes, typhoons, landslides, etc.) in Taiwan, so the speed of reconstruction is also fast.


Perhaps because the Japanese people often face formidable challenges to the natural environment, so they constantly think about how to survive and therefore can handle it better next time. I think this is very practical, and it’s also one of the most important reasons of being able to create a good product or design. It is these challenges that have shaped Japan’s high standards in various industries (not just design).


Communication beyond language limit
The most impressive thing of this trip was the three days home stay at Peace Jam employee Mr. Mitsu’s house. During these three days, we lived in his traditional Japanese house, which was located in the mountains, and enjoyed authentic Japanese cuisine with his family. Although the language was different, we still talked a lot to Mr. Mitsu and his family through the translation of Miss Grace’s help. Mr. Mitsu provided many information and ideas about Peace Jam, as well as stories about himself and his family. I think that was a very precious experience and it’s quite hard for me to have similar one in the future.


Learning from designers from other countries
Another important part of this journey was to work with designers from other countries. Although each person used a different language, the discussion of design was not affected, and everyone still shared his/her thoughts unselfishly. During the last three days of doing design work, I saw how other people work. Some people carried out design very quickly and others spent more time on thinking about concept. In addition, I could feel that every designer wants to propose the best solution to their companies. I think emotions like that do not need to be conveyed through language but can be felt in the finished art work. Therefore, the quality of final design work presented by each group was really really good. As a designer or as a person who participated in the last briefing, I learned a lot from it.


Process (Problem & Solution)
Peace Jam, a NPO organization founded by Ken san, hires local housewives in Kesennuma to make handmade jams and Baby Muslin, and then assists them with sales revenue. However, as a newly formed NPO organization, we observed that they faced some problems. The first problem is the identity system confusion, people cannot easily identify the logo or visual identity. The second problem is the website lacks information in other languages, so foreigners cannot understand the content. The third problem is that Peace Jam’s brand name and product name make people feel a bit confusing. The fourth issue is they are not yet clear about the strategy of overseas promotion.


Design Approach
In response to those issues, we have made some adjustments to the original logo, and proposed a new identity system. We tried to integrate Peace Jam’s image with the system which includes business cards, product packaging, website, product name, etc. At the same time, we also recommended them to adopt an overseas-authorized strategy, so Peace Jam system can operate in other countries and be known by more and more people.


Peace Jam is a surprising place. I used to think it was a simple jam factory, but I did not expect it to be a small community combining nursery and factory. The system and spirit of it influenced me and let me think about my work and life. After this trip finished, I become more willing to help other people (in different ways). I think this is the most important thing I learned from this trip. Thank you for bringing me this kind of experience.

ピースジャムはサプライズの多い場所です。最初は、単にジャムを作る工場だと思っていましたが、保育園と工場が組み合わさった小さなコミュニティスペースだと知ったときには驚きしました。この働き方とみなさんの心は、私の仕事や人生に大きな影響を与えたといっても過言ではありません。今回のプログラムを経て、もっと誰かの手助けをする仕事がしたいと思いました。これが恐らく今回のDOOR to ASIAでの一番の収穫であり、こんな素敵な体験をさせていただいたことに感謝の一言に尽きます。

In addition, I also want to say “Thank you so much” to Ken san. Not only introduced the story of Peace Jam, but also took us to seeing around in Kesennuma. In just a few days of time to get along, I can feel his thoughts and enthusiasm about Peace Jam. I think it’s not hard to do something right, but the moment that you are determined to do it is difficult. So whether Ken san or the entire Peace Jam team (staffs, mothers and children), I hope you will uphold the faith and let it continue.


During this journey, I met a lot of new people, including designers from various countries, staffs of DTA and people from Peace Jam. I was so nervous at the beginning, because I was not sure if I can make friends with them. But after first day of the journey, I felt quite relaxed because people here were friendly and easy going. Thank you, every designer; it’s my pleasure to meet you. Thank you, DOOR to Asia staff; you guys help a lot and let me have precious memories that I will never forget. : )

今回のプログラムを通して、ピースジャムのみなさん、DOOR to ASIAのスタッフのみなさん、そして各国のデザイナーなど、様々な人と出会いました。最初は、皆さんと仲良くなれるか不安でしたが、プログラムが開始して3日目、見事なまでにみなさんと仲良くなりました。デザイナーの一人一人にお会いできて光栄でした。そして、DOOR to ASIAの皆さん、一生忘れられない経験をさせていただきありがとうございました。