Portable Planetarium Encourages Children in Hospitals in Japan

Society Lifestyle Science Technology

Niigata, Sept. 24 (Jiji Press)--A nonprofit organization in Hokuto in Yamanashi Prefecture, central Japan, has been cheering up children fighting diseases by showing them starry skies with a portable planetarium.

In a hospital lecture room in the city of Niigata early this month, children battling illnesses and their parents laid on their backs in a portable planetarium dome pumped up with air.

"What if the lights across Japan were turned off?" Noriko Yamato, a 47-year-old volunteer worker who lost her daughter two years ago due to childhood cancer, started by saying. When the projector showed stars dotted all over the dome, the children shouted in delight.

The organization, Hoshi Tsumugi no Mura, was launched in 2016 by Mariko Takahashi, who was then a worker in charge of space science at Yamanashi Prefectural Science Center. Under the theme of "connecting people through stars," it visits several to dozen hospitals across the country a month.

For each show, the organization transports a projector and a dome weighing between 20 to 40 kilograms by car or delivery service from Yamanashi.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press