Letters of empathy

Translate ignorance into understanding and turn enemies into friends.

In a time so divided by ignorance and misunderstanding, it’s important that we take a moment to remind ourselves that no matter our differences, we are all human beings. What often separates us are not the issues themselves but the lack of communication necessary to resolve them and move forward. This August 15th marks the 73rd anniversary of the end of World War II. To commemorate the brave people who experienced the war, three creatives came together to form an art project called “Letters of Empathy.”

With “Letters of Empathy,” messages of peace from young Americans have been translated into Japanese calligraphy. These letters will be sent to Japanese veterans to help bring about a reconciliation between once-opposing sides. The same will be done for American GIs, with letters translated into English sent from young Japanese people. All of the messages and interactions will be documented and live on a digital platform that will hopefully encourage other disparate groups to reach out and begin a positive conversation. 

“Letters of Empathy” is an attempt to create an olive branch at a time that couldn’t need it more. It seems the tides have turned, and the world, faced with fear, is heading toward a nostalgic divide. Our aim is not to forget the past but rather to move forward by encouraging the youth of today to reach out and promote peace and understanding. 

現在、私たちの住む社会や人々は、憎しみや無視、お互いの理解不足によって分断されつつあります。そんな中大切なのは、お互い違いがあっても、同じ人間であるという事実を再確認することだと考えています。今年の8月15日で戦後73年を迎えるにあたり、僕たちは、戦火を生き延びた人々に向けて「Letters of Empathy / おもいやりの手紙」というプロジェクトを始めました。


「Letters of Empathy / おもいやりの手紙」は平和のために生まれました。世界は今、波が戻るかのように、恐怖とともに前時代的な分断が始まっています。僕たちの目的は、過去を忘れるのではなく、若い世代が平和を望み、お互いが理解できるようにする事です。




Mending grudges both old and new with translated letters of peace.
平和へのメッセージを変換。 世代・人種・言葉の壁を超えて、お互いの想いを理解しよう。

Kazunori Shiina, Brendan Irving, and Niger Miles had a mission when they created “Letters of Empathy.” They wanted to mend old grudges between Japan and America and, with that, start a conversation that would ripple outward, bringing waves of healing and understanding across the world.

 This passion project started when Shiina and Irving discovered that their grandfathers were both veterans of World War II. They fought as enemies, and each died with great animosity toward the other side. Shiina and Irving are committed to helping other veterans avoid such long-lasting pain and contempt. The key, they believe, is communication.

僕たちは「Letters of Empathy / おもいやりの手紙」を始めることで、過去の日米双方の歪みを直し、会相手を理解するために対話を始めることの重要性を訴えます。


Producers - Kazunori Shiina, Brendan Irving Directors - Brendan Irving and Niger Miles Director of Photography - Niger Miles Editor - Niger Miles Art Director - Kazunori Shiina Copywriters - Brendan Irving, Jeremy Arkin Colorist - Niger Miles VO Recording and Music Composition - Brad Clymer Grip - Brian Baldwin Photographer - Oleg Pak Production Assistants - Billy Beyrer and Marty Allen Special thanks to Miami Ad School New York, Zorayma Guevara, Kien Quan, Joao Unzer, Mo Osunbor, and Rodrigo Castro.


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