Mecenat Activities


Japanese and western confectionery production and distribution; Museum management
Fifty years of the publication of Silo, a monthly magazine of children’s poetry

Toyoshiro Oda, the founder of Rokkatei Confectionery Co., Ltd., began Silo after being deeply moved by a piece of children’s poetry published by another company in the confectionery business located in Fukushima. His motive was simple: He wanted to provide the children in Tokachi, Hokkaido Prefecture, with the opportunity to write poetry. He consulted with the homeroom teacher of his son, who worked at elementary school at the time, and the teachers who sapport this project asked Naoyuki Sakamoto, a painter and one of the first farmer-settlers in Hokkaido, to draw the cover art. The first issue was published in January of 1960. The magazine has been published monthly without fail ever since. By the end of 2010, when the magazine marked 50th anniversary, 611 issues had been published.
Any student attending an elementary or junior high school in the Tokachi region of Hokkaido, can submit poetry. On average between 200 to 300 poems are submitted every month. An editorial board called society of Silo, consist of local elementary school teachers, peruses all of the submissions and chooses the best poems for publication. Over the years, the torch has been passed from veteran teachers to the younger ones, but the poems are always celected based on “how students discribe the sence of Tokachi”and “how students express the innocence which only children can have”. Each issues consist of just a dozen or so poems printed on 12 sheets of B5-sized paper, but over its 50 years in circulation about 12,000 poems have been published from over 250,000 submissions. About 4,500 copies of each issue are printed and distributed for free to the children who submitted poetry, elementary and junior high schools, libraries in Tokachi, and to anyone who requests one Today. This magazine of children’s poetry become an irreplaceable booklet in Tokachi. Today, but it would not be possible without the tireless work of Society of Silo editorial board and the generous support of the Oda Toyoshiro foundation, an NPO that carries on the wishes of Rokkatei founder Toyoshiro Oda.
In front of Rokkatei Nakasatsunai Factory, there is a park called Rokka-no-Mori (“The Forest of Six Flowers”), also known as Tokachi Rokka, that features beautiful and delicate flowers, plus a museum dedicated to Naoyuki Sakamoto, the artist that designed the covers up until his death, and now a commemorative hall celebrating half a century of Silo. The world that children are exposed to has certainly changed over the past 50 years, but the unchanged beautiful landscape of Tokachi lives eternally in their poems.

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