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Access to Life Special Event: Sonim • Roma Tanaka • Dr. Miwako Honda

September 18, 2010
Access to Life Special Event: Sonim • Roma Tanaka • Dr. Miwako Honda
(Photo credit: Asahi Shimbun)
(Photo credit: Asahi Shimbun)

The third and final of a series of gallery talk sessions were organized in collaboration with volunteer and student NGOS in support of Stand Up Take Action Japan at the Access to Life photo exhibition in Tokyo. The talk session brought together over 70 participants in conversation with two popular young Japanese singers, Sonim and Roma Tanaka, who are cast in the Japanese version of the Broadway musical RENT, as well as Dr. Miwako Honda of the AIDS Clinical Center at the National Centre for Global Health and Medicine. The session was moderated by Tomoko Yoshida, a youth-oriented health educator and AIDS activist in Japan, who currently works at the private health care company Sunstar.

The musical RENT, which opens in Tokyo in October 2010, takes place in New York City between 1989 and 1990 and includes themes such as HIV/AIDS and drug use. In the musical, Sonim and Tanaka play the roles of HIV-positive artists. The two singers praised the Access to Life exhibit, explaining that seeing the photos and reading the narratives by the photographers and models made them feel very close to those photographed and left them inspired as they prepare for their roles.

They noted that since RENT was originally written, the world has seen great strides in HIV/AIDS treatment, promising a brighter future for many of those infected. At the same time, they spoke about the continuing lack of awareness among Japanese people about even basic HIV/AIDS knowledge and the need for young people to educate themselves about these important issues. Dr. Honda also emphasized the importance of people living with HIV/AIDS to have understanding and compassion from people around them and not be alienated by lingering social stigma.

The session was co-hosted by Stand Up Take Action Japan as part of a three-day global campaign organized by various Stand Up Take Action groups around the world on September 17–19, 2010, to raise public awareness about reducing poverty in the world. At the end of the session, panelists and participants rose together to STAND UP and proclaim their support for action to combat HIV/AIDs in order to better achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in light of the upcoming UN MDG Summit.


Sonim (Singer and actress, role of Mimi in Broadway musical RENT)

Roma Tanaka (Singer, role of Angel in RENT)

Miwako Honda (AIDS Clinical Center, National Centre for Global Health and Medicine)


Tomoko Yoshida (Public Relations Office, Sunstar)

Access to Life-Stand Up Youth Executive Committee Member Organizations



suta STAND UP TAKE ACTION is the world’s largest simultaneous event of people taking action around the globe to “stand up” and call upon their international leaders to act to eradicate world poverty.