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>> Turn off the Lights and Watch the Stars on October 17--Lights-Down Event in Kofu Valley
>> Candle Night Summer Solstice 2009--Report on June 21
>> Event report: Dim It 2009--Hong Kong
>> Enjoy the Starlight--The International Year of Astronomy 2009
>> Event: 'Dim It' in Hong Kong-- Lights-out Event on June 21 (Updated)
>> Many People Enjoyed Candle Night--Candle Night Saskatchewan, Canada
>> Brief Report on Candle Night December 2008
>> Candle Night in Slovenia--Event Report in December 2009
>> Candle Night in Zenryouji Temple--'Go home make a wish'
>> Recreating Ancient Night of 'Heian' Dynasty--Lights-down at Kyoto Gyoen Forests
>> Event Report: Dim It--Hong Kong
>> Event Report: Lights Out Day in China
>> Event Report: Lights Out Day--Taiwan
>> Event Report: Candle Night Korea
>> Over 65,000 Facilities to Join--MOE's Lights Down Campaign
>> Event Update: Candle Night Korea
>> Brief Report of Candle Night Winter Solstice 2007
>> Artist's Performances--Candle Night in Governador Valadares, Brazil
>> Getting the Candle Night Message Across to the World--Fuji Xerox Co.
>> A Family's Wishes on Candle Night--The Story of Ivory
>> Effects of MOE's "Lights Down" Campaign June 2007
>> Candle Night in Taipei 2007
>> Candle Night Summer Solstice 2007 in Tokyo
>> MOE's 'Lights Down Campaign'--Black Illumination 2007
>> Mauritius held the 2nd Candle Night.
>> "Five-minute Action" took place in Europe, Feb 1, 2007
>> Reports from Overseas--December 2006
>> Candle Night Winter Solstice 2006--Kobe, Japan
>> Preparation also Underway in Candlelight--South Korea Winter 2006
>> A Brief Report of Candle Night Summer Solstice 2006
>> MOE's Black Illumination 2006
>> National Candle Night in Mauritius 2006
>> Milk Carton Lanterns Lighting up Kumamoto
>> Beeswax candle workshop and volunteer meeting at JFS
>> Candle Night Winter Solstice 2006--Rikkyo University
>> A Living Organism--Candle Night in Sapporo 2005
>> Candle Night in Shanghai 2005
>> Greetings to Candle Nighters on the other side of the world.
>> Candle Night in South Korea 2005
>> Candle Night at Harajuku Cat Street
>> 'Candle Night'-Summer Solstice 2004 in Japan

Candle Night Winter Solstice 2006--Rikkyo University

The Ikebukuro Campus of Rikkyo University, Tokyo, held a Candle Night event on December 22, 2006, under the title of "Candle Night Winter Solstice in Rikkyo--Turn off the lights and light a fire in your mind." This was the second Candle Night at the university. The first event was held the summer of the same year. Gaining support from university organizations such as the Office of the Chaplains and the Volunteer Center, students established an organizing committee for the event. Making plans and preparations for the event took over several months.


How has the Candle Night in Rikkyo taken its form?
In the spring of 2005, a poet who graduated from the university made a proposal to have a poetry workshop during a Candle Night event. It would be an opportunity to think about and share "our happiness" together. The proposal inspired the student environmental groups to hold the first Candle Night event in the summer of 2005, hoping to spark environmental awareness in their community.

The 2005 winter event was held on the last day of class, just before the winter holidays. Every year, Rikkyo University's symbol, a cedar tree, is decorated with illumination lights about a month before Christmas. It has been one of Tokyo's tourist spots in winter. The famous Christmas illumination was turned off on one night, and instead a tree made of candles was supposed to be lit. Since this is the second Candle Night event in Rikkyo, many people supported and helped the event. Thus, the winter event focused on the people who gathered there, their reflections over the year 2005, and their feelings. Requiem was also one of the focuses of the event. So many lives were lost due to devastative natural disasters in 2004 and 2005, as well as, war and terrorism, despite the world's wish for peace.

The event started at 17:00 with candle service at the chapel. Compared to the summer event, it was already dark at 17:00, and all participants realized how short the day on the winter solstice. After the service, participants moved to a classroom, and joined a poetry workshop over fair-trade coffee. The theme of the workshop was "meets Memory." All the participants looked into their mind and to make poems. Then, they watched an interview with the promoters of the Candle Night Committee, Ms. Miyako Maekita, Mr. Shinichi Tsuji, Mr. Kazuyoshi Fujita and Mr. Shinichi Takemura and the video footages of Ache in Indonesia, which was devastated from the Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, and the places ruined by large earthquake in northern Pakistan. Watching these images, each participant thought about the year's events on their own.


Then, the participants went outside for the countdown event--turning off the lights of the symbolic cedar tree, university buildings and facilities and streetlights. They were supposed to light the tree made of candles, but the winds were too strong. Each participant held a candle with a wind screen attached while listening to the student's hand bell performance.

Rikkyo University is located in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, one of Japan's major downtown areas. It is always surrounded by hustle and bustle, completely opposite from a "slow world." Twice a year, spending slow nights under the theme of "Turn off the lights, take it slow" has been very important. It would be a great pleasure if the Candle Night event could help change people's lives as well as the environment in the surrounding area.

(Article and photo: courtesy of Rikkyo University Candle Night Committee)

March 3, 2006