Sakurajima is one of the world’s most active volcanoes, with small scale eruptions happening thousands of times a year. On occasion, the volcano will spew a huge column of ash thousands of metres into the air, causing the 600,000 residents of Kagoshima City to do little more than move their laundry inside and hopefully put the car in the garage. Locals are so used to the volcano that they don’t even bother looking up for small eruptions.
To find out more about Sakurajima this time we spoke to our friend Shiba Hikari, an illustrator and Co-ordinator for International Relations at the Sakurajima Kinko-wan Geopark. Find out how Hikari travelled to the UK to study art and design, how she started her career as an illustrator, and how she now works with other Geoparks globally on conservation, education, and sustainable development.
Art School in the UK
Hikari moved to the UK as a young girl due to her father’s job. She recalls, “When I was a child, my dream was to be an artist. When I was six years old, I went to the UK because of my father’s job. I wanted to go back to England after I left school, so I decided to go to Art School in London. After graduating from art school I came back to Kagoshima.”
Hikari’s artwork focuses on marine life, particularly fish from the Kagoshima area. She has been commissioned to paint the wall of the restaurant at Kagoshima Aquarium, create illustrations for Kagoshima City, and also private work for many local businesses as well.
Sakurajima Kinko-wan Geopark
Sakurajima is located in a Japan Geopark. A Geopark is a protected area with internationally significant geology within which sustainable development is sought. This includes tourism, conservation, education and research concerning not just geology but other relevant sciences.
Hikari says, “There are lots of Geoparks around the world, and my role is to communicate
and exchange ideas between Japan and other countries. I attend international conferences
and we share ideas about how to develop each Geopark.”