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Japanese documentary wins 2011 Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award

© Shizuoka Telecasting
“Iori and Ibuki ~ Why We Were Born” is the 2011 winner of the Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award. Iori (left) and Ibuki (right) were born with disability.

Hong Kong, 2 November 2011 – A documentary by Shizuoka Telecasting of Japan about the lives of two disabled children in Japan, entitled “Iori and Ibuki ~ Why We Were Born”, has won the 2011 Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award for broadcasting.

The Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award, created by CASBAA, ABU and UNICEF in 2001, is given annually to the best television programme produced in the Asia-Pacific region with a focus on children’s rights.

Shizuoka Telecasting of Japan spent 11 years tracking the lives of a brother and sister who were each born with a disability.

© Shizuoka Telecasting
Older sister Iori is blind and used to be troubled by why she couldn’t see. "I can't do anything useful. I want to die," she says early in the story.

Iori, the older sister, is blind and grew up troubled and upset by why she couldn’t see, while her younger brother, Ibuki, was born both physically and mentally impaired and has undergone 11 operations and been admitted to hospital 33 times. Despite this, Ibuki is a vibrant and determined boy who does not let his disabilities affect his outlook on life.

The story is a compelling tale of resilience and optimism as Ibuki’s determination ultimately gives his sister and parents a source of strength and an appreciation for their own strengthens and weaknesses and an understanding that everyone has a purpose in life.

Mariko Hashimoto, the producer of “Iori and Ibuki ~ Why We Were Born”, visited Iori's school and house and developed a relationship over the 11 years of filming and interviewing her and her family.

“In Japan, children with disabilities tend to be bullied. Many have to live in isolation. They face a lack of nursing, schooling and service facilities. I believe that today's society, in which disabled people are obliged to live "secretly", must be changed. I long for a society free from discrimination against the disabled,” said Hashimoto.

The documentary was praised by the Child Rights Award jurors for its tremendous sensitivity while gaining access to a family and their daily lives for more than a decade. The documentary strengthens one’s will to honour life despite all odds.

“This documentary is a beautiful tribute to the human spirit and our ability to adapt and overcome,” said Madeline Eisner, UNICEF Regional Communication Advisor for East Asia and the Pacific. “It shines a light on how children with disabilities are treated in society and how this stigma affects them. But it also gives us a greater appreciation of their enormous strengths and the contributions they make to their families and countries.”

© Shizuoka Telecasting
Younger brother Ibuki was born both physically and mentally impaired. He has undergone 11 operations and been admitted to hospital 33 times.

“CASBAA congratulates Shizuoka Telecasting for creating an inspiring and compelling documentary on children triumphing over disability,” said Simon Twiston Davies, CEO, CASBAA. “Part of our Association’s mission is to ensure that we provide a platform for all industry organizations to harness their collective resources and to give back to the communities in which we all operate.”

“By giving children with special needs the skills needed to grow, we can encourage and inspire success,” said Dr. Javad Mottaghi, Secretary General of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU). “With the gift of hope, from Mariko Hashimoto and her production team, all children with special needs have the spark and the faith in themselves to continue their journey down the road to a joyous successful life. Congratulations!”  

The Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award will be presented on 2 November in Hong Kong during the CASBAA Convention. This year, the Award received nearly 50 entries from many countries across the region including Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Thailand.

For further information, please contact:

Adela Chen, CASBAA (Hong Kong), + 852 3929 1711,

Sri Letchumi Achanah (Malaysia), Tel: +603-2282 4205 / +603-2282 3592 Ext. 226
Geoffrey Keele, UNICEF (Bangkok), + 662 356-9407,



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