Koki, a college student, founded his NPO with a lofty goal: to provide Japan with a 24/7 accessible helpline lending lonely people an ear to prevent suicides, abuse, death by loneliness, and modernize outreach. His childhood was a difficult one, and a brush with suicide gave him an understanding and sympathy towards those who are desperate for help. It only took 1 person to bring him out of his darkness, and that is the basis of his successful NPO today. See how his generation is tackling societal problems, and securing a better future.
I'm Ozora Koki.
I'm the chairman of the NPO IbashoChat.org.
The IbashoChat.org is a platform where
you can get advice anonymously 24/7.
Most people who contact us
have thoughts of suicide.
We give everyone access to help, with the goal
of ending helplessness and loneliness.
Thanks for having me.
Check out these 5 frames of love for me and you.
Thanks for having me.
Suicidal people come to us for help.
We want them to think, "I want to live."
I blame myself for not being worth living.
My parents divorced and one day,
my mom was gone.
I was in hell.
I founded the organization
through my own experience.
I couldn't stand around doing nothing,
living an ordinary life.
My generation is ready to
step up against this problem.
I was born in Matsuyama City.
I visit here from time to time.
This is where I grew up, in Ehime Prefecture.
My parents were together when I was young.
But one day, I came home from elementary school,
and my mom had disappeared.
From then on, I lived with my father.
This is where we lived, up there.
On a clear and sunny day, you can see the ocean.
You can also see the city.
I walked this trail so many times as a kid.
When things got too hard for me emotionally,
I couldn't even think of going to school.
I wasn't just a dropout; I had all these
things happening in my life.
When I needed a distraction, I'd come here.
I didn't wanna think. I came here to
stop thinking about everything.
In March 2022, Koki published a book.
In a passage, he recalls his past...
"My biggest fear is my dad's
verbal and physical abuse."
"I can't sleep.
My one escape is school,
but I don"t go there anymore."
"I climbed the fence to jump off."
"But I wasn't able to do it."
It was right here.
I would've died if I jumped.
I was just a child. It would have messed me up.
I wasn't in a position to ask for help.
I didn't even consider help.
I couldn't think at all.
It was hard enough just to breathe when I was here.
I go to Kashima Island in Matsuyama
whenever I need to reset myself.
- Thank you.
- They're in full bloom.
- It's the best season to come.
Let's take some pictures.
I left Ehime with bad memories.
That's why I avoided coming back
in junior and high school.
I was actually happy before
all those bad things happened.
The good memories were just
overwritten by the bad ones.
Still, I can recall my happy times here.
It's a beautiful place.
I appreciate the quiet moments, to empty my head.
It's not possible to "stop thinking" most days.
I also need to do this to recharge.
I come here, I reset, and I start again.
It's an important task I set for myself.
The point is to not try so hard. To let go.
Maybe I should call my next book,
"The Art of Not Trying."
It could be a hit, especially in this era.
I don't need any faith, or conviction.
Because it means chasing an ideal, and
I don't believe in that. I would suffocate.
I am who I am. I will continue
to move on as I am.
He said it took him half a year to write this book.
And I see he has grown so much.
This is my home room teacher from high school.
I deeply respect him.
He was there for me when I was struggling.
I felt a sense of trust and security with him.
It was the catalyst to healing my pain.
When Koki was 17,
his mother lost her job and
struggled to make ends meet.
Koki took on part-time jobs to help.
I had two or three jobs at the same time.
I liked going to school.
I loved seeing my friends.
But I had no time to go to school. And if I did,
I had to pretend everything was OK.
It would hurt so much.
"My teacher realized that
something was wrong."
"Even when I would get to school
after all classes were over,
he'd say to me, 'Good to see you!'" Koki didn't have love in his life. I could read
it in his eyes, he didn't trust adults.
He didn't look sad, he looked empty.
It wasn't my intention, but I sort
of became like a father to him.
I got a text from Koki at like 3 am.
He wrote, "I'm thinking of suicide" and, "I'm having
problems at home" or, "I don't have the will to live."
At the end, he added, "But I'm OK"
even though I knew he wasn't.
"When I went outside,
I saw my teacher there."
"He came to my house
to check up on me."
"It was the first time
I felt I could trust someone."
I was relieved. I was so
happy to see him alive.
Koki then started to open up to me,
which made me happier.
Because in recalling my own struggles as a kid,
I wished I had someone like that, too.
My teacher would always say, "Don't look at the misery of the past. Think about
all the things you can accomplish."
His words are what motivated me to get moving.
I tried hard because I wanted him
to be proud of me.
Now when I look at Koki, he glows.
Because of him, there are people who
get to know what happiness means.
Koki knows he has an influence,
and that's why he's hanging on.
I couldn't be happier to see him like this.
Though it wasn't necessarily my teacher
who solved my problems for me, his presence by my side was
huge in my healing process.
I can trust him, no matter what.
And in that security, I was able to thrive.
This is a place for kids to
have somewhere to belong to.
We have kids of all ages, and adults
here with no blood relation, but willing to take on a parental role for them.
Located in Arakawa Ward, an old-town district of Tokyo.
Volunteers support the local kids by offering food,
education, and a safe environment.
Thank you for visiting us.
I saw Koki appear on TV and since
then I've wanted to invite him here.
What kind of issues do the kids have here?
Some kids are doing OK, but some deal
with a lot of problems at home.
Is it better to live at home
or go to a boarding school?
Do you think you want to be by yourself at night?
- I feel relaxed.
- You mean when you're alone?
If so, you could ask your teachers
if they would give you some alone time.
I think it would be tough for you otherwise.
I suggest you live at home or at a school
where you have your own room.
I see, thanks.
I like to talk to kids. My dream
is to build a nursery school.
Are you a paparazzi?
Yeah, are you a paparazzi?
- May I?
I was once in a welfare center for troubled kids.
I definitely felt everything was my fault,
because I had nowhere to go, nothing to rely on.
Normally, you would be able to have a place
where you felt safe, close to you.
There aren't enough facilities yet.
Things need to change.
Yes, we must continue to
raise our voices to incite change.
We can't forget the past,
nor ignore that it happened.
It's a gift to be alive. So, if there's something
you wanna do, try at least once.
There are people who will support you 100%.
His words, "We cannot change our past,
but we can change our present" inspired me.
This is what I needed to hear.
Sorry! I'm back!
Happy 2nd anniversary!
Oh yes! Our 2-year anniversary.
Thank you so much.
We started on March 10th.
How quickly two years have gone by.
We will continue to power on.
We love you Koki!
The future means...
Overcoming the obstacles
in front of me and pushing on.
Can I do it? I won't know if I don't try.
I'll do what I can, taking it as it comes.
Because that's life.