In the “Umi & Sakana (ocean and fish)” Children’s Research and Artwork Competition, children are invited to submit their works of research on the wonders and surprises of the ocean and fish based on efforts driven by imagination unique to children, as well as their creative works in which such wonders and surprises are expressed in the form of pictures, essays, etc. The Competition is open not only to elementary school students in Japan but also to elementary school students attending Japanese schools and supplementary schools outside Japan. Since the first Competition in 1982, Nissui has continued to co-sponsor the Competition.
With the objective of providing a place to learn through experience, competition-related events are also held, namely, school visits and hands-on learning.
From a different angle than in school classes, creativity is exercised so that children can learn about things that they can only hear about there and then. Our hope is that children will gain an interest in “umi (ocean)” and “sakana (fish)” through the Competition as a whole.
Visits to schools are made with the cooperation of researchers and experts involved in fish and fishery businesses, such as those of the Japanese Society of Fisheries Science and the Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency. Children are given an easy-to-understand explanation of specialized knowledge that cannot be gained in regular school classes.
In fiscal 2021, school visits were made online for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Three experts gave a lesson on the “ecology and types of jellyfish,” “mind-boggling physical appearance of deep-sea organisms,” and “distribution of sushi ingredients,” in which a total of 502 elementary school students took part.
School visit in progress in fiscal 2021
Events are held on beaches and at research facilities by inviting lecturers in the fields of “Art,” “Science,” and “Nature.”
Since 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hands-on learning has been replaced with online hands-on learning, enabling students to easily participate from home.
In 2021, experiential events were held for students to learn how to draw fish with color gradation (Art), see the wonders and changes in the ocean made visible by undersea and rocky shore video footage (Nature), and find the reason why things float and sink (Science).
Art workshop in progress
Related news (August 2, 2021)
Event related to 40th “Umi & Sakana” Children’s Research and Artwork Competition: Online hands-on learning “Three-day Event to Learn About “Umi (Ocean)” from Home” was held, and its summary version was streamed on YouTube (Japanese)
An online tour of “Aquamarine Fukushima,” an aquarium in Fukushima Prefecture, was held in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Competition.
The tour involved observing fish in their natural state while exploring inside Aquamarine Fukushima, where natural light shines through the habitat of fish that has been recreated. Videos of the aquarium’s popular facilities “Kuroshio Tank, The Oceans off Fukushima, Oyashio Tank, and Okhotsk Tank” were streamed online. By interacting with the caretakers, children were able to experience the tour as if they had been learning and receiving an explanation at the actual place.
Keeper giving explanations
There are eight awards, for which 16 works are selected as winners of the top prize in two divisions, i.e., “Research Division” and “Artwork Division.” Two pieces of work that won the Nissui Award are showcased below.
Research Division: Independent research
Work-style reform of Japanese freshwater crab 2
Fourth-grader at Aoyama Gakuin Elementary School
Artwork Division: Picture book
Happy happy fish day
Fourth-grader at Inzai Municipal Oguradai Elementary School