The Wakai Project, conceived in 2003 as a student-organized symposium in collaboration with United Nations University and Keio University, has expanded under the ICAS to produce several special events that have included both TUJ students and likeminded organizations.
The project has helped organize an AIDS educational campaign with MTV Japan by working on an interactive web-based tutorial on AIDS awareness, and jointly organized a booth at the Design Festa in Odaiba, Tokyo, one of the world’s largest free-form art festivals.
Wakai also organizes events in collaboration with the hip-hop collective “Zulu Nation Japan,” a subsidiary of The Universal Zulu Nation, the founding consortium of hip-hop artists and activists from New York City. These Wakai-Zulu “Hybrid” events highlight the fusion of multicultural identities in urban Japanese youth culture. Hybrid addresses issues related to Japan’s multiethnic society in mass-media events featuring cutting-edge international music, dance, and fashion.
The distinctive feature of Wakai is that it provides a forum for students to interact with cultural innovators and have serious discussion about social issues. The network of universities and educational institutions that Wakai draws on provides academic ground to popular culture experiences and allows students to integrate their academic and social worlds. It also provides a means for activists and artists to communicate with students, to educate, and to learn about young people’s concerns.