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Close-Up on Social Contributions 1 : The First KOBELCO Forest Fairy Tale Prize

Turning Sylvan Dreams into Stories

The KOBELCO Forest Fairy Tale Prize is a new environmental initiative based on two important keywords: "forests" and "children."

The Kobe Steel Group engages groupwide in a variety of environmental and social contributions that are collectively known as the KOBELCO GREEN PROJECT. Forests are a vital part of our world, supporting a diverse variety of life and offering countless blessings for our lives. The KOBELCO Forest Fairy Tale Prize was introduced to encourage children, who will carry on the next generation, to appreciate our precious forests and environment.

We hope that reading these fairy tales will help both adults and children to discover the importance of forests, nature and the environment in their lives.

12 winners selected from 347 entries

12 winners were selected=

12 winners were selected=

The First KOBELCO Forest Fairy Tale Prize received 347 entries from 21 prefectures throughout Japan. The 12 best entries were awarded prizes by a judging panel chaired by Hyogo-born picture book author, Moe Nagata. The two Gold Prize stories were made into picture books, with illustrations by Nagata and artist Roko. At the awards ceremony, the newly created illustrations were projected on screen while the Gold Prize stories were read aloud.

For details on the award ceremony and winning stories, see the link (in Japanese) below:

Elementary School Entry Gold Prize
Bokutachi, Funbatterunda

Bokutachi, Funbatterunda

Synopsis

The story is written from the point of view of a patch of moss as it watches two five-year-old twin girls play in the forest throughout the changing seasons. The skillfully written story shows both the beauty and fierceness of nature.

Sakura Tsuruta

Sakura Tsuruta
Sixth grade
Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture

Elementary School Entry Gold Prize Winner

I love moss — I even grow it in my room — so I knew immediately I wanted to make it the main character in my story. Even though moss is plain, I wanted to show how it's strong and alive and part of the changing seasons. I was very happy to see how much detail went into the illustrations of the moss. I hope a lot of people read the book.

Middle and High School Entry Gold Prize
Mori no Mamorinushi

Mori no Mamorinushi

Synopsis

A young cedar sprouts in the forest. It learns about the ways of nature, the relationship between nature and people, and the role of each creature, as it matures into a large tree, responsible for protecting the rest of the forest.

Naoki Murata

Yoshiki Murata
Ninth Grade
Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture

Middle and High School Entry Gold Prize Winner

Until three years ago I lived in Sendai and was used to being around nature, so I was very excited by the contest's theme. I wanted to write a good story, so I researched a lot of information while writing. I never imagined I would win, but it makes me happy to think that people might take a greater interest in forests and nature after reading my story.

Judge's Comment

Moe Nagata

Moe Nagata
Judging Panel Chairwoman

Being chosen to chair the judging panel and create illustrations for the KOBELCO Forest Fairy Tale Prize was an incredible experience, and one which I will always remember fondly.

I was very impressed by the children's stories, especially their breadth of imagination. Creating illustrations for the stories also gave me the opportunity to deepen my knowledge about forestry and plant life. In the course of my work, I learned how much time and energy the Kobe Steel Group devotes to protecting and nurturing our forests. I hope that the KOBELCO Forest Fairy Tale Prize will continue to nurture healthy imaginations and rich forests well into the future.

KOBELCO Forest Fairy Tale Prize winner Bokutachi, Funbatterunda read aloud.

Children listening quietly to the story

Children listening quietly to
the story

Gold-Prize winning story Bokutachi, Funbatterunda was read aloud to students at an elementary school in Takarazuka City by the school librarian. The children listened with quiet interest to the story, which was written by a sixth grader in their same school district. These younger students were asked to think of as many words about forests as they could. The librarian then explained that the story was written from the point of view of a patch of moss in the forest. The librarian commented that she hoped reading the story would "inspire other students to write their own fairy tales."

Completed Picture Books Donated to Hyogo Prefecture

Completed Picture Books Donated to Hyogo Prefecture

On March 28, 2014 a ceremony was held at Hyogo Prefectural Office to present the grand-prize winning stories. The books were presented to Hyogo Prefecture Environmental Department Manager Michio Fujiwara by Kobe Steel General Manager Yoshinobu Nakane.

Approximately 1,700 book sets were donated to the prefecture's 1,446 elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and special schools, as well as to 96 public libraries.

Sakura Tsuruta Visits Takarazuka City Mayor

Sakura Tsuruta Visits Takarazuka City Mayor

On March 31, 2014, Sakura Tsuruta (Takarazuka Daiichi Elementary School) visited Takarazuka City Mayor Tomoko Nakagawa, who informed her that she had won the KOBELCO Forest Fairy Tale Prize elementary school entry grand prize. During the visit, Tsuruta presented the mayor with a copy of the finished book.

Afterwards, copies of the winning books were sent to all schools in Takarazuka City. The board of education plans to use them as part of reading sessions carried out by the schools' librarians.

Raising More Emotionally-Rich and Expressive Children

Hidekiyo Inoue

Shusei Inoue
Educational Section Manager
Takarazuka City Board of Education

We at Takarazuka City recognize the importance of children expressing themselves. We believe that raising children to be more expressive, well-rounded and open in their feelings will help them to shine later in life. The KOBELCO Forest Fairy Tale Prize was an excellent opportunity for us to encourage expression and emotional richness for the children.

We have set up special corners in all of our school libraries where we will read the prize-winning stories to preschool and kindergarten children. We will continue to foster creativity in our children through fairy tales, writing and other creative activities.