A Japanese artist has attained his goal of painting murals in 10 countries in spreading a message of peace, completing the last one on his home soil after a period of three years.
Shinichiro Higashi finished a painting of a pigeon holding a white daisy flower in its mouth on a wall of a hospital in Okinawa on May 15, the 45th anniversary of its reversion to Japan after 27 years under U.S. administrative control following Japan's defeat in World War II.
The 47-year-old Higashi embarked on the project in Egypt in 2014 and continued to travel to other countries -- India, Australia, South Korea, Ukraine, Bulgaria, the Philippines, the United States, Mexico -- to draw murals promoting peace.
When he visited the Middle East in 2014, Higashi understood the misery of war through talks with Palestinian refugees and other people, and decided to draw murals with pigeons and doves as the motif.
The latest painting was done at Hakuai Hospital, which stands on a hill in Haebaru town in the southernmost island prefecture.
Elsewhere, he had difficulties in finding space to draw murals but for the last work, Yuzuru Nakamoto, the 37-year-old deputy head of the hospital, offered help. Nakamoto was a student of Higashi's when the latter was an art teacher at a junior high school in nearby Kagoshima Prefecture.
The Okinawa painting is about 9 meters high and 7 meters wide and can be seen from nearby roads and houses. Daisies are flowers that also symbolize peace.
Higashi completed the work jointly with his 35-year-old wife Kaori in four days, despite being exposed to rain.
Nakamoto said that Okinawa, a gruesome battlefield during World War II, has issued various messages about the importance of peace. "I hope the mural painting here can reach people in the world as a new message," he said.
Having achieved his immediate goal, Higashi, hailing from Makurazaki in Kagoshima, has set his eye on visiting Spain to draw his 11th mural, hoping that "a chain of desire for peace will sever the negative chain of hatred one day."