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WHO Goodwill Ambassador's Newsletter For The Elimination Of Leprosy

NEWS: Summer Fun at Tama Zenshoen

Japanese sanatorium welcomes local community to annual summer festival.

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National Sanatorium Tama Zenshoen in the suburbs of Tokyo held its summer festival on August 8. Residents were joined by over a thousand people from the surrounding community, including many children, for an evening of dancing, fireworks, food and fun.

Up until 20 years ago, the sanatorium was largely cut off from the outside world, with only those living and working there taking part in the festivities. Now, jokes Michihiro Ko, head of the national association of sanatoria residents, it's hard to spot anyone from Tama Zenshoen among the crowds.

The fireworks are paid for by the Tama Zenshoen residents' association as part of its community outreach activities. Some of the money has been left for this purpose by residents in their wills or else donated by their relatives. Come 8 p.m., the skies light up above Tama Zenshoen, delighting onlookers and celebrating the memory of those who once lived there.