Gallery Hibiya : Japanese journalist killed by ISIS, Kenji Goto’s artwork on display

As common citizen of 21st century, the various social events in the global village deeply affect each one of us. Not all are brave enough to go make a change like Kenji Goto who thought to make a difference in Syria by his efforts to aid people living in conflict zones. These are the people who matter and are the personalities whom we look up to for inspiration. Their sheer determination to make a difference and be at the forefront is so motivating and moving.

Kenji Goto is one of the two Japanese killed by Islamic State extremists in January 2015. An exhibition by the nonprofit Japan-Iraq Medical Network (JIM-NET) which organized the “Flowers of Lives” exhibition at the Gallery Hibiya in Tokyo’s Yurakucho district which also features artistic work by slain Japanese hostage Kenji Goto is on display.

The piece, titled “Broken Boy,” is from a 2010 collaboration between Goto and graphic designer Nakaba Kozu.

The collage features the face of a dead boy being buried, seen in a star-studded universe, set in a book-shaped frame filled with colored pencils. Goto snapped the photo during a visit to Liberia in West Africa.

Kenji Goto Painting

Hibiya Gallery is close to the Yurakucho Station and the exhibition runs up to tomorrow 19:00 at the Gallery Hibiya.
Gallery HibiyaThe “Flowers of Lives” showcases snaps from Syria taken by many Japanese in the “peaceful times”. Just look at the hope in the eyes of the kid below.
Syria peaceful girlWith all the complexities of the war, and what is right and what is wrong, the fact remains that Syria was once a peaceful nation with bright hopes for its children.
peaceful SyriaThe nearly demolished city of Aleppo now, was a historical city standing even in 2010. Its sad that its been reduced to a rubble now.
Aleppo peaceful timesThe exhibition brings to the fore the problem of landmines which have maimed so many children in Syria and Iraq, left overs of the war which is still ongoing and hope is fading with every passing day.
landminesThe exhibition also has a special floor where drawings by Iraqi children presently fighting cancer in the war-torn city are also prominently covered. Below is Sabreen Abdulzahara who has made a Anime like drawing fighting her blood cancer at such a tender age of 14.
cancer kids in iraqThe work shown just beneath the piece is a pencil drawing by a 12-year-old Iraqi girl who died of leukemia in 2003 which Kenji Goto has drawn along with Maki Sato,the secretary-general of JIM-NET. Sato, who also works in conflict areas, did not have colored pencils with him at the time. Sato said he promised the 12 year old Iraqi girl that he would bring colored pencils with him next time, but she died before he could return.Even though it was just before her death, the girl was talking about her dream of becoming a teacher and made some drawings one which is displayed below Goto’s drawing. We pamper our kids here in Japan with unlimited stationary, while it is very heartening that there are areas in the world where financing a pencil is a huge effort….

kenji goto drawingIn Kenji Goto’s words “Add a bit of these events to your own story, believing each of us is not at all powerless even though our ability is limited.”
broken boy kenji gotoWith a heavy heart as we stepped out of the Gallery Hibiya, we saw the beautiful rabbits displaying love and affection and just hoped if there will be a utopian world with no wars and children suffering… well human imagination can only hope hope and hope which Kenji Goto wrote as “Hope is almost vanishing into darkness, but still clearly exists.”
rabbits gallery hibiya


  1. Janette


    Nice article and insightful. Sad that Kenji Goto could not return and hope for lasting peace in the world in the future.

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