Vol. 11 “Nana-Sampo: Wondering if God Exists in Settings of Vulnerability and Recovery” (tentative English title)

*This book is not translated in English yet.

Blue sky, white clouds, meadows, forests and flowers. Little birds and butterflies are dancing, puppies and squirrels are running around… “Cuteness” would be the first word that describes Minami Nanami’s illustrations. Her works show her tender love and concern for small creatures.

Nanami visited various social action groups and welfare facilities carefully interviewing the leaders, founders, and workers there to create a three-page manga called “Nana-Sampo” after each visit. The manga was serialized in a Christian magazine called “Gospel for The Millions” and was eventually published as a book.

NFSJ was interviewed in 2015, and we were honored to be featured in the book as the top story. That’s because Nanami wanted more people to be aware of the issue of human trafficking, which is also happening in Japan. She has been supporting the activities of NFSJ and the Citizens’ Network to Build a Sustainable Society through Responsible Consumption (SSRC), of which NFSJ is a member, by providing free illustrations.

Nana-Sampo is filled with wonderful people who strive to reach out and share their lives with those who are often marginalized by society, such as the homeless, alcoholics, foreigners living in Japan, the mentally ill, shut-ins, child abuse victims, and survivors of natural disasters. Each of the activists has suffered setbacks and lost hope, but then have risen up in prayer and encouragement to serve others with joy, being grateful for personal growth.

You might think that these stories of people’s experiences would be dark and heavy, but thanks to Nanami’s illustrations, it becomes a heart-warming book. Also, one of the most distinctive features of the book is that at the end of each report, the author looks back at her own thoughts and actions asking herself if they were right or not, coming up with some answers.

This book is packed full of stories of invaluable lives in an easy-to-read comic book format that will bring new wisdom and life principles to readers, Christian and non-Christian alike. (Mariko Yamaoka)

(Written by Minami Nanami, Published in 2019 by Inochi-no-Kotoba-sha, Forest Books, 175p., 1,400yen +tax, https://www.gospelshop.jp/shopdetail/000000015998/
Minami Nanami’s website: http://minaminanami.com/)