About the Pen-tomo Project

The pen-tomo project started with the hope of finding people who are currently living in Japan but have their roots overseas. This projectis inspired by the ways in which pen friends communicate with each other. Pen friends are people who may not have met in person and/or have different cultural backgrounds, but who are developing mutual understanding through exchanging letters, sometimes across the seas. The process of cultivating such friendships can create possibilities for the participants to closely imagine each other’s lives. From this viewpoint, we are proceeding with the pen-tomo project

In the Pen-tomo Project phase 1, “Correspondence– Depicting Our Imaginary Landscapes,”four women living in Japan who were originally from Thailand, Hong Kong, China and Peru (of Japanese descent) participatedas pen friends. Since February 2020, they have exchanged letters with Haji Oh about the memories of their grandmothers. 

In the phase 2, “Grandmother’s Life, Tracing the Passage of Memories,” in which we pass on the notebooks made, based on the materials gathered in phase 1 of the project. 30 participants wrote about the memories of their grandmothers.

In this website, the notebooks and the project process are being shown.

December 2021  Haji Oh 

Grandmother’s Life, Tracing the Passage of Memories


Grandmother's Life, Tracing the Passage of Memories


Venue:Koganei Art Spot chateau 2F

Organised: Tokyo Metropolitan Government / Koganei-City / Arts Council Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture / Artfull-actin, Non-profit orginazation

Photo: Keizo Kioku

Pen-tomo project member ( version in Japan) : Sachiko Nozawa, Mizuha Fukushima, Haruka Moriyama, Kanako Tase, Miho Miyashita (Director of Artfull Action, Non-profit organisation), Haji Oh (Artist)