By Lauren Jow
Originally published on Advocate.com September 07 2012 2:26 PM ET
Japan is launching its own version of the It Gets Better campaign amid growing pressure to address bullying in schools and teen suicides, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The project, the title of which loosely translates to “Connected Hearts School,” launches Monday to coincide with the World Health Organization’s World Suicide Prevention Day.
“We will aim to save as many sexual minority youth as possible by delivering our message that it’s OK,” Fumino Sugiyama, the project’s cofounder, told the Journal.
The campaign comes on the heels of last week’s historic announcement from the Japanese government, which mentioned for the first time ever in its national policy the need to prevent teen suicides and support the LGBT community.
Widespread bullying in Japanese schools has gained media attention recently with the suicides of a 12-year-old last week and a 13-year-old last year, both a result of bullying from classmates.
In July, Japanese minister of education Hirofumi Hirano called for an investigation into the causes of and remedies for student bullying, according to The Japan Daily Press.
An American English teacher in Japan also recently made a video called “Being Gay in Japan” in which he interviews his Japanese friend about the pressures of being gay in the country.
Following in the footsteps of the U.S. It Gets Better Project, Connected Hearts School cofounders Sugiyama and Taiga Ishikawa have already gathered support from several Japanese celebrities, including novelist Ira Ishida and two-time Olympic fencing medalist Yuki Ota.