Growth of Future Generations

ITOCHU Foundation

ITOCHU has promoted social contribution activities aiming for the sound development of young people since setting up the ITOCHU Foundation (which became a public interest incorporated foundation in 2012) in 1974. The foundation engages in activities for contributing to the healthy growth of children, such as two current major projects: subsidizing development of children's literature collections, and promoting development of an e-book library.

Project for Subsidizing the Development of Children's Literature Collections

A Japanese school in Zug, Switzerland, which was granted book subsidies
The ITOCHU Foundation holds a presentation ceremony once a year for subsidizing the development of children's literature collections

Since 1975, ITOCHU has been supporting private organizations and individuals who are engaged in grassroots activities for encouraging local children to read books. We have to date provided subsidies of approx. 1.06 billion yen to a total of 2,179 children's literature collections and other recipients (including overseas recipients) while boosting the project, for instance by adding a program for donating sets of books and a program for reading support for children in hospital facilities, very much in response to the changing times.

In FY2017, we provided the subsidies shown in the following table. In March 2017, a presentation ceremony for FY2017 Project for Subsidizing the Development of Children's Literature Collections was held with the participation of approx. 140 people working in children's reading and representatives from foundations, including recipients of purchase subsidies and recipients of the award for distinguished service to children's literature collections.

Number of Subsidies (FY2016)
Children's book purchase subsidies

43 (of which, 1 overseas)

Reading support and purchase cost subsidies for children in hospital facilities


100 Children's Books Subsidies

26 (of which, 8 overseas)

Overseas Japanese school and supplementary school book subsidies


Award for distinguished service to children's literature collections



80 (of which, 14 overseas)

  • Please refer to this page for supporting ten schools in the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake through the 100 Children's Books Grant Conducted with Shareholders.

Project for Promotion of E-book Libraries

Editing and distribution of Multimedia Daisy books

A reading function allows the electronic books to be read even in bed
The Power of Children's Books Exhibition that Her Imperial Majesty the Empress of Japan visited (Display of Multimedia Daisy books in 2014)

The Multimedia Daisy book is an international standard for digital books. Books of this standard incorporate diverse measures that are developed specifically for people who have difficulty reading due to disabilities or other factors. The books can be browsed on PCs and tablet terminals. ITOCHU Foundation edits picture books and children's books into Multimedia Daisy books and donates them to special schools and public libraries all over Japan. It has so far digitalized 309 titles and sent the books to a total of 5,448 locations.

FY2017 Total*
Number of titles produced

66 titles

309 titles


1,121 locations

5,448 locations

  • Total since FY2012
A completely blind junior high school student read the poems that were written in braille

In 2016, ITOCHU Foundation digitalized a card game based on Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (a classical Japanese anthology of one hundred Japanese waka poems by one hundred poets) in response to a request from junior high school students with disabilities. The poems were read by junior high and high school students from Tokyo metropolitan special schools. Illustrations for scenes of the poems were created by students, including those from the art clubs of ten metropolitan high schools. The book was produced with cooperation from many quarters, including Nintendo Co., Ltd., which created and provided electronic data for the cards free of charge.

In addition, the foundation sought the cooperation of prefectural libraries for a project to digitalize local folk tales jointly into Nihon Mukashi-banashi no Tabi (travelling around Japan to visit the settings of fork tales). Ten libraries from ten prefectures took part in the project, in which the following ten locally based folk tales were digitalized by joining the forces of many people, including those from art clubs of local high schools of each prefecture, picture-card story groups, and transliteration groups.

  • Nukada no tassai (Ibaraki)
  • Minuma no fue (Saitama)
  • Oni no senri-gutsu (Yamanashi)
  • Yourou no izumi (Gifu)
  • Hachi no on-gaeshi (Mie)
  • Maada mada wakaran (Yamaguchi)
  • Aoki Totaro (Tokushima)
  • Dougo onsen no sagi-ishi to tama no ishi (Ehime)
  • Matago to enkou (Kochi)
  • Kusukue no ohanashi (Okinawa)
Exhibition of illustrations of Nukada no tassai at Ibaraki Prefectural Library
The ten folk tales that were digitalized in FY2017

Barrier-free reading workshops

ITOCHU holds barrier-free reading workshops so that people can learn how to provide the joy of reading for children with disabilities. These workshops are held mainly for school personnel, librarians, and medical personnel to give them opportunities to learn the causes of reading difficulties, together with effective media and support methods for overcoming the difficulty.

In FY2017, the workshop was held on eight occasions in Saitama, Gifu, Akita, and other places with 412 participants.

Development of "Mobile Learning Center" Project in India with Save the Children


Together with Save the Children Japan, ITOCHU has run a project "Mobile Learning Center" in the M-East district of Mumbai, India, in hopes to reach out to children who do not attend school because they are living on the street or engaged in child labor. To support Save the Children Japan and Save the Children India, ITOCHU committed 25 million yen in the two years between November 2013 and March 2017. These funds were used to wrap the bus that operates as the mobile library; equip it with benches, blackboard, and bookshelves; and employ two persons (an education facilitator* and a counselor), which mimics the learning environment of an ordinary school classroom. The objective of the project is to serve as a bridge that will lead to children attending mainstream schooling by providing learning opportunities that incorporate audio and video-based teaching materials and are enjoyable for the participating children. Over the period, 2,695 children had the opportunity to learn through the mobile learning center, 592 of whom were able to return to formal schooling.

See "Mobile Learning Center (MLC) Project in India" for details.

  • Education Facilitator plays a role like a teacher at MLC. The facilitator will encourage children's active participation in learning activities.

Running of Eco Shop Pavilion in KidZania Tokyo

Since April 2012, ITOCHU has run its Eco Shop environmental pavilion in KidZania Tokyo, a facility for children to experience diverse types of work.
ITOCHU operates the Eco Shop by utilizing the expertise in environmental education it has developed through the MOTTAINAI Campaign, a global environmental effort in which ITOCHU participates. To allow children to experience environmental activities, the pavilion provides visitors with opportunities to create original products such as Eco-Bag for Shopping, and My Chopsticks to Carry Along and recycled soap, all using eco-friendly materials.
In August 2016, Out of KidZania with ITOCHU, a special program for allowing children to experience work of a trading company on site at the Tokyo Head Office, was held over two days. Out of KidZania is a program for nurturing children's problem-solving skills. Thirty elementary school children, selected from among applicants, analyze a variety of problems and make proposals from their unique point of view. The event had been held for three consecutive years. This time, the program was run with the cooperation from Euglena Co., Ltd. under the theme of "Experience the Creation of a Business using New Technology." They were divided into teams and worked on the tasks of planning a new product that uses euglena to solve problems in the world and then proposing sales promotion strategy for the product. They gave presentations to senior employees in a business meeting room. All the teams came up with wonderfully individualistic and inventive proposals as good as any adult could produce. The children achieved significant personal development over the two days as young business persons of sogo shosha.
At KidZania Tokyo, a popular venue for children, we will continue to provide them with opportunities to enjoy learning environmental preservation from a global perspective, offer a range of events for children, and help develop young people who will be leaders of sustainable society.

Children making soap from recycled materials
Children taking part in the Out of KidZania program are exchanging ideas seriously

Support the "House for Youth" in Philippines of NGO "Kokkyo naki Kodomotachi (KnK)"

Since 2007, ITOCHU has been supporting the "Wakamono-no-Ie (meaning House for Youth)," a home that helps young people become independent, located on the outskirts of Manila. Support was provided via Kokkyo naki Kodomotachi (KnK: meaning "children without borders"), an authorized Japanese NPO that supports street children, children who are victims of major disasters, and other children in developing countries.


In the Philippines, an economic crisis triggered unbalanced economic growth, which hindered the balance of income distribution. Many children from underprivileged families suffer from abuse and neglect. Such serious problems have forced them to become street children, work for a living, steal, and/or engage in delinquency or acts that violate the law. Under such background, KnK's House for Youth serves as a shelter for children. The House for Youth provides protection for children exposed to danger and youngsters violating the law and supports their lives and education. It provides comprehensive support such as healthy environment and education, meals, mental care and job training, allowing the children to maintain their dignity and become independent citizens. Additionally, the shelter provides educational activities for children, young people and parents in the communities from which the children come to prevent abuse, neglect and crime, and to raise awareness.

ITOCHU's Support

Reconstructed House for Youth building

Endorsing KnK's activities, ITOCHU Corporation started to support KnK for the reconstruction of the aging House for Youth building in 2007. In December 2009, the new building was completed and the House for Youth was reopened. ITOCHU also provided support when House for Youth was again renovated in 2012 into a job training facility that helps children achieve independence. In 2013, the underground floor and the roof of the house were renovated, enabling the facility to provide more job training courses, which allows more young people to acquire practical skills.
Since FY2016, ITOCHU has been once again providing financial support related to the operation of the House for Youth (4.5 million yen for three years). The funds are used to provide education, meals, mental health care, job training, and other necessities so as to restore the dignity of children in the House for Youth and help them grow into adults who can contribute to society. The support from ITOCHU is highly evaluated as a great foundation that leads to the stabilization of KnK Philippines' activities and enables them to continue.

Volunteer from ITOCHU Manila branch

Volunteers teaching children how to make origami
Playing basketball with the volunteers

Employees from ITOCHU Manila branch regularly visit this facility for volunteer activities and other purposes.
In May 2016, a ceremony was held to commemorate the 15th anniversary of KnK Philippines' activities. Six employees from Manila branch participated in the celebratory event, bringing children's favorite fast food. In December, when we hosted a Christmas Party that was held at the House for Youth, 11 local employees brought fast food, ice cream, and even Christmas presents to the children and deepened exchange with them through games and plays.
In addition, from October to November of the same year, young employees from the Head Office experienced volunteer activities at this facility and in Payatas, a slum area, and interacted with children through many games and activities, such as making origami, including cranes and yachts, old fashioned Japanese games, such as Daruma-san ga Koronda game and a thread telephone, and basketball. To gain a deeper understanding of the youngsters in conflict with laws, the volunteers watched documentaries about the young people residing in juvenile homes/detention houses. The volunteers also visited two families living in Payatas, and interviewed children who collected garbage to earn about 100 yen per day to understand how the children in slums live.

Comments from the children and staff:

  • They have a sense of humor and are patient and good at teaching.
  • I'm glad to know that someone supports us.
  • I felt they care for the children.
  • It's fun to try new activities.
  • The children will be able to better recognize that they are receiving support from Japan, particularly when they see Japanese volunteers.
Letter of gratitude given at the ceremony for the 15th anniversary of KnK Philippines
Christmas party
Gathering with the volunteers of ITOCHU Manila branch

Case stories

Bryan (alias, 13 years old, resident at the House for Youth for two years and seven months)

Supplementary lesson
Learning housework to help the staff

Bryan's mother abandoned him in front of a shop when he was 10 years old. She told him that his father lived there. An administrative organization took him into custody and introduced him to the House for Youth. After moving in, through interviews and conversations, he gradually revealed that his mother had neglected him, his father had rejected him and gangsters had abused him. He underwent counseling and psychotherapy because of his risk of developing a disorder.
In addition, KnK allowed him to attend school after confirming his birth certificate, using networks and connections with other organizations. KnK also found his mother, in cooperation with the branch office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in the region where Bryan was from. After his mother agreed to live with him, he returned home in cooperation with DSWD. Then a regional social worker followed up with his family.
Looking back his days of residing in the House for Youth, Bryan said that he was grateful to KnK for the opportunity to learn and for accepting him for who he was.

Oliver (alias, 13 years old, residing at the House for Youth for four years and eight months)

The children look after themselves
They clean their home

Oliver had been detained at the age of nine, suspected of having stolen money from neighbors. At that time, he started to live in the House for Youth. He has three younger brothers. His mother's new partner had abused him. He had not been allowed to go to school.
When he first joined the facilities, he had the difficulty verbally communicating with others. He could not express his thoughts or feelings and cried out and moved his arms and legs violently to convey how he felt. Sometimes he even used force on other residents of the House for Youth. Counseling helped him to cope: His anger about his parents and bullying behaviors gradually decreased.
Before coming to the House for Youth, he had never attended school. Receiving individual guidance, he learned the alphabet and entered school. He has successfully advanced each school year.
Now, as a fifth-year student, he commented that he had learned important values, including respect for others and the error of theft after entering the House for Youth.

  • For the protection of privacy, the people in the photos are not the same as the people in each case story.

Voices of the residents of the House for Youth

Raffy (alias, 12 years old)

Children have multiple servings


Raffy started to live on the streets at the age of ten, along with his older brother by four years and two friends. His brother was apprehended for guidance after stealing, then the two brothers were introduced to KnK.

Voice of Raffy

"One good thing about the House for Youth is that we can go to school. My dream of becoming a policeman may come true. I don't want to live with my father, who doesn't allow us to go to school. The House for Youth even serves nice meals. I don't have a favorite but everything I eat is good!"

Christian (alias, 15 years old)

Learning to dream


Christian lived with six brothers after their father was jailed and their mother passed away due to an illness. At that time, his brother stole to provide for their household. Christian had only attended school until the fourth year before coming to the House for Youth.

Voice of Christian

"I went back to school after joining the House for Youth. That's the best part for me. Science is my favorite subject. I want to be a physician in the future to help sick people."

  • For the protection of privacy, the people in the photos are not the same as the commenting residents.

Accepting Chinese university students for homestays

A university student from China (second from the right) and her host family

Since its inception, ITOCHU Corporation has supported the "Visit Japanese Enterprises and Feel Japan" program organized by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China to give Chinese university students the opportunity to learn more about Japan.
The program aims to promote friendship between Japan and China by having university students from China visit Japan twice a year and engage in citizen-based exchanges. In FY2017, the 18th in May and 19th in December, iterations of the program were run, with three employees from the ITOCHU Group accepting Chinese university students as hosts and enjoying citizen-based exchanges with their families.

Supporting Brazilian Elementary and Junior High School Pupils in Japan

Pupils from Brazilian elementary and junior high schools fully enjoyed KidZania Tokyo

Children attending school for Brazilians in Japan face a variety of problems, among them a lack of Japanese language proficiency, financially challenged facilities, insufficient learning materials and the large number who do not attend school at all. The current situation means that despite living in Japan, these children have little exposure to Japanese culture and the Japanese language.

On October 14, 2015, ITOCHU held ITOCHU Festa do Brasil, a Brazil-themed private party at KidZania Tokyo, for which ITOCHU Corporation is an official sponsor. The party commemorated the 120th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Brazil, and 240 Brazilian children from six elementary and junior high schools in Gunma, Ibaraki and Saitama Prefectures were invited to the party. With this party as the catalyst, in April 2016, a total of 45 Brazilian elementary and junior high school pupils from Ibaraki, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, and Saitama were invited to KidZania Tokyo to attend and enjoy a work experience aimed at career education. In addition, in June 2017, we agreed to cooperate in the activities of Fundação Associação Nippo Brasileira de Economia e Cultura (Japan-Brazil Economic and Culture Association) and donated tickets for KidZania Tokyo.

Holding summer school program on the environment

Up-close observation of the sea turtle
The Natural Disaster Workshop

To build a more sustainable society, it is important that each one of us should try to live an eco-friendly lifestyle. From such a viewpoint, every summer since 1992, ITOCHU Corporation has been holding a summer school program on the environment for local children and employees' families as a means of raising awareness of environmental issues. To date, we have provided a cumulative total of more than 1,200 elementary school children with opportunities to learn about environmental and biodiversity conservation.
In FY2017, the class was held on July 28, 2016 in the form of two workshops, "Biodiversity: Sea Turtle Workshop" and "Disaster prevention: Natural Disaster Workshop," respectively, with 76 elementary school children taking part. During the first workshop, children closely observed a green turtle from the Ogasawara Islands and learned about its ecology and about endangered species. In the second workshop, they experienced a simulated avalanche and earthquake, through which they learned how natural disasters occur and how to respond to them.

Accepting elementary and junior and senior high school students for company visits

In concert with the teaching guidelines of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology incorporating company visits into curriculum, ITOCHU Corporation has accepted company visits by elementary and junior and senior high school students to support "students understanding social roles and occupational lifestyles, and encouraging independence as a full-fledged member of society."
In FY2017, we accepted visits from eight schools in total, including the nearby Aoyama Elementary School, Aoyama Junior High School and Shiga Prefectural Hachiman Commercial Senior High School, the old school of Chubei Itoh Ⅱ. We also accepted a company visit by students from Mikata Junior High School in Wakasa Town, Fukui Prefecture, which ITOCHU Chairman Eizo Kobayashi serves as the Furusato Taishi (hometown ambassador), for the third consecutive year. Mr. Kobayashi himself gave a lecture to the students from his home town.

Aoyama Elementary School's extracurricular class "observing the neighborhood from a high place"
Students of Hachiman Commercial High School explaining the attractiveness of local specialties from various parts of Japan, which they purchased on their own
Mr. Kobayashi gave a lecture to third-year students from Mikata Junior High School in Wakasa Town, Fukui Prefecture