TOKYO2020 MY LEGACY #05: Kanako Yamamoto & Honoka Jinno (The first co-representatives)
TOKYO2020 MY LEGACY #05: Kanako Yamamoto & Honoka Jinno (The first co-representatives)
For this interview, we asked Kanako Yamamoto and Honoka Jinno, the first co-representatives of the SOPP “Go Beyond” based at Sophia University, about the episodes that led to the launch of “Go Beyond”, their activities, and the MY LEGACY they want to leave behind.
What is “Go Beyond”? (The following is an excerpt from the Go Beyond website.)
“Go Beyond” is a student project of SOPP (Sophia Olympics & Paralympics Project), which is working to realize an inclusive society in the wake of Tokyo 2020.
From the perspectives and points of view that only university students can offer, we will approach not only our generation but also a wide range of generations and society with the aim of realizing a society where everyone can shine.
It was launched in June 2018 by two students who participated in the Pyeong Chang Winter Paralympics research and currently has about 112 members. (As of February 1, 2020)
Go Beyond Website：https://gobeyondatsophia.wixsite.com/sophia
“A very energetic senior” “An incredibly serious and solid junior” The two met at the Pyeong Chang Winter Paralympics.
I met Kanako when we participated in the 2018 Pyeong Chang Winter Paralympics as a research team. We didn’t recognize each other until then.
When I saw her for the first time, I remember having the impression that “She looks a briliant person!”
My impression towards Honoka was that “She looks so serious and solid.” And, I was worried that such a reliable girl would look at me and think, “I don’t admire her.”
At the opening ceremony of the Pyeong Chang Paralympics, which I participated in as a research team, we had a very valuable experience together.
The emotion I felt at the opening ceremony was one of the best I’ve ever experienced in my life. I thought, “What a great space,” and “This is soul-stirring!”
This experince was a big point in launching and operating “Go Beyond” after that.
Although we differed in some details such as our views and interests, I feel that the experience at the the Pyeong Chang Paralympics became a kind of common language for us to keep in step and decide the policy for our activities.
When I heard the IPC President Andrew Parsons say, “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is a reality”.I felt that it would be a shame to let this experience end with just the two of us.
The inspiration from the opening ceremony leads to the launch of “Go Beyond”
After returning to Japan, Honoka proposed me the idea of starting an organization.
I was glad to hear that because I was thinking the same thing.
I remember making a prompt decision, and I said, “Yes, I`d love to!”
After we launched the organization, we held a info session to recruit members, and we received about 80 applications in total.
At first, we thought it would be enough to explain to a few people in a small meeting room.
So, we were really surprised that so many students listened to us that the meeting room was standing room only.
I remember that everyone in the hall listened to us very seriously.
And, I thought, “Oh, I can do good activities with these people!”
I have had an interest in English and wanted to be involved as a volunteer at TOKYO 2020. At the info session, I realized that there were a lot of students who, like me, vaguely wanted to be involved in the convention due to language study or other reasons.
Also, many of the applicants were from rural areas. They came to Tokyo from the countryside and wanted to be involved in some way in TOKYO 2020.
I think that these thoughts matched well with the launch of “Go Beyond.”
The reason why the theme of “Go Beyond” is “inclusive society”
We have set “Realization of an inclusive society” as our group theme.
When we decided to use the term “inclusive society” we were unsure at first if that word was too heavy, too complex, or if it would be the right goal.
However, when I imagined the philosophy of “Go Beyond,” which is to aim for a society where everyone can shine, I thought the word “inclusive society” fit perfectly.
The reason for this lies in the opening ceremony, which we watched together.
When I saw the opening ceremony, I thought what a nice space it was, and if this could be realized in society…this would surely be an inclusive society.
There are various things that each member of “Go Beyond” can do. It is not easy to recognize and understand each other.
However, I strongly believe that aiming for the scene we saw at the opening ceremony of the Pyeong Chang Paralympics will lead to the future that the organization envisions.
I had poor knowledge of the Paralympics before I joined the research team.
But when I saw how openly everyone welcomed the diverse athletes and officials from various countries at the opening ceremony, I thought, “How wonderful!”
I wanted to focus on the point of “accepting differences” that I felt at the opening ceremony, so I divided the group’s activities into sections and organized the team in such a way that each member could make use of his or her own personality and shine.
I wanted to make our members aware that we are not only “creating” a society where everyone can shine, but that we are also a part of it.
We hope that “Go Beyond” itself will be a form of inclusive society… This wish of the two of us is reflected in the details of the team, such as the organization’s philosophy, organizational chart, and activities.
What we have felt through the activities of “Go Beyond” so far
Though I’ve been active from the time I started the project until I retired, I feel that the term”inclusive society” is still unclear in some aspects.
However, in order to realize it, we need to get involved with society from various perspectives, look at it from a narrower perspective, and then look at society as a whole from a broader perspective.
I learned that repeating this process is necessary in order to realize the term “inclusive society” without being overly conscious or unconscious about it.
I feel that our style of activities, in which each section takes a different approach, is one form in which this is put into practice.
I wish that the word “different” would give a more comfortable impression in the air.
I feel relieved when people say, “You and I are similar,” but when they say, “You and I are different,” I feel worried or uncomfortable for some reason.
But, we are all different and no one is the same around the world. That’s why we can make good things through our activities.
When I hear the word “different,” instead of feeling worried or anxious, I think, “Oh, I’m glad I’m different.”
If each one of us can think like that, I think it will lead to the realization of an inclusive society.
Legacy to leave at TOKYO 2020
A society where we can understand the goodness of people who are different from us, recognize each other, and build together.
I hope that such an atmosphere will remain after the competition.
There are a lot of things happening in the coronavirs pandemic today, such as economic disparity and discrimination, but I hope that TOKYO 2020 will create a mood in the world where we can think about people who are different from and walk together with them.
I hope that TOKYO 2020 will inspire the people of the world to think that “the future is bright.”
If there are more and more people who think, “If there is a world like this, I want to live in it,” or “The future is bright, and I want to be a part of it,” then I think it would be meaningful to hold this event in Japan.
TOKYO 2020 MY LEGACY for Ms. Yamamoto and Ms. Jinno
I’ll be joining a general incorporated association to help wheelchair-bound children become independent.
I hope that children who see TOKYO 2020 will have dreams and feel a bright future. And adults like us, who are a little older than these children, say to them, “Yes, everything will be alright! Let’s live together!”
I’d like to continue my support and activities so that children can have bright dreams for the future.
I hope to use what I have learned through the activities of “Go Beyond” for my own future. Specifically, I would like to be involved in the organizing committee of the 2024 Paris Games.
I hope that I can grow as a member of society and get involved in Paris.
Message to the future members of “Go Beyond” as the first co-representatives and alumnae
We’d like them to face TOKYO 2020 as the new “Go Beyond,” which differs from the one it used to.
That’s part of the reason why we’ve handed over the baton at this time, so we’d like the current members to paint “Go Beyond” with new colors from now on!
Going to the Pyeong Chang Paralympics has changed me.
My heart was ignited there. I’m sure that many of the members in Tokyo will feel the same feelings that I felt at that time.
I believe that if it happens, we will develop stronger members in the future.
And, I’m looking forward to seeing that happen!
I’ll be rooting for such Go Beyond!
Translated by Sakika Fukushima