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Chalk and cheers: Local painters surprise Tokyo schoolchildren with creative blackboard art

Students at the municipal Inagi Seventh Elementary School take photos of the blackboard artwork with tablets distributed to them in the suburban Tokyo city of Inagi on Sept. 1, 2021. (Mainichi/Natsuki Nishi)=Click/tap photo for more images.

TOKYO -- Students were treated to colorful blackboard art in classrooms at the municipal Inagi Seventh Elementary School in this suburban Tokyo city on the morning of Sept. 1, the day many schools held an opening ceremony for the second trimester.

    Local volunteers came up with the idea to surprise and energize the schoolchildren, who have not been able to study or play as they wish due to the spread of coronavirus infections.

    Just after 8 a.m., students arrived at the school one after another. Artwork -- such as large sunflowers, fireworks in the night sky and pandas lying on top of each other -- covered blackboards in each classroom, bringing smiles to the faces of children as some of them commented, "Were they drawn by teachers?" and "Awesome!"

    Some 60 locals including a Japanese-style painter who wished to send a message to uplift the hearts of children amid the pandemic took between several hours and about 10 days to draw the artwork on a total of 29 blackboards in all classrooms at the school, which is attended by 570 students.

    (Japanese original by Richi Tanaka, Tokyo City News Department)

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