Back to the heart: in honor of Shinsuke and Kiyoe Shimura, DiD Partners in Japan

At DSE, the current covid-19 crisis has served to reconfirm that we have extraordinary and incredible people among our partners.

Portrait of Shinsuke and Kiyoe standing in the middle of cherry blossoms.
Photo of Shinsuke and Kiyoe's wedding party after their wedding ceremony in dialogue in the dark.
Group photo of the Dialogue in the Dark, Dialogue in Silence and Dialogue with Time teams Japan with Andreas Heinecke, Orna Cohen and Laura Gorni from DSE.
Portrait of a smiling Shinsuke with a flower on the top of his head.

One such person is Shinsuke Shimura, our partner in Japan who has been dealing with heart disease for many years. And another one is his wife, Kiyoe, who has married not only Shinsuke, but also the whole Dialogue family and mission.

Shinsuke has been a Dialogue warrior for over 20 years and has tasted the victory of contributing to a more inclusive society, but he has also faced tough battles and defeats as a social entrepreneur.

How committed Shinsuke and Kiyoe are to the Dialogue’s mission that they even married in a ceremony in total darkness!

In 2017, during our International Meeting in Athens, Shinsuke shared a beautiful message with us. As he pondered how to continue the Dialogue in the Dark project in Japan, he told us: "Thinking about how to continue, I went back to the meaning of why I started." And he led us through a wonderful journey, which could not come from anywhere else but from a big heart.

Shinsuke Shimura discovered Dialogue in the Dark in 1993 through a newspaper article. He then experienced the exhibition in 1997 in Rome where he met Andreas Heinecke, founder and creator of the project. In Shinsuke's words: "When I met Andreas and shared with him my intention to bring Dialogue in the Dark to Japan, he told me that it was easy to start but the difficulty was to keep going”.

And keep going has not been easy for Shinsuke, Kiyoe and their great Dialogue in the Dark Japan team, but using their unique blend of optimism, resilience and creativity, since 1999 and to this day, they have kept the spirit of Dialogue alive in the Japanese nation.

When actions come from the heart, they may take different shapes and forms, but they always achieve the same goal. Shinsuke and Kiyoe have presented Dialogue in the Dark, Dialogue in Silence, Dialogue with Time and generally the message of Dialogue in Tokyo, Fukushima and Osaka in various formats such as temporary and permanent exhibitions, workshops for companies, a Dialogue diversity lab, a Zen experience in the dark to explore inner beauty, virtual Dialogue with students during the pandemic and most recently the Dialogue forest.

One of Shinsuke, Kiyoe and their team's latest goals was to present MODI, the concept that encompasses Dialogue's three core exhibits, as part of the 2020 Olympics. But we all know what happened with the pandemic, and this project did not happen completely as expected.

Shinsuke recently underwent heart surgery once again. His recovery is slow and painful but steady. And we never cease to marvel at his great humor and his unique way of always reframing his negative experiences into positive and fun ways of looking at life and its beauty.

The entire Dialogue network is thinking of him and wishing him a speedy and full recovery. We are sure that this is a battle from which Shinsuke will emerge victorious again, for he and his wife Kiyoe and son Aki have never ceased to be an inspiring example to follow within our network, through messages full of wisdom, limitless creativity and continuous and sustained action.

What we have learned from him is: to continue, let's go back to the meaning of why we started. Let’s be back to the heart.

Shinsuke is a kind and unbeatable heart, literally and metaphorically speaking. And from here we send him our best wishes for his recovery.