Santen hosted an internal event, “Vision Experience Weeks,” from October 9 through October 20.
This event, open to all Santen employees, is designed to encourage people reconsider the importance of eye health through learning, experiencing, and sharing about “seeing and not seeing.” It also seeks to deepen their understanding of people at work and in the world at large who have visual impairments while fostering compassion for others.
Today we take a look at one of the programs – “Family Adventure!” – which was held in Japan on October 9. Read on for an overview of the event and insights and learnings from the participants.

23 Families Experience “Seeing and Not Seeing”


The blind challenge* “Family Adventure!” was a hands-on event in Japan for employees and their children, and 23 families (49 people) participated in the program developed in collaboration with Santen and NPO Houkago Afterschool.

Yasuhiro Taira, a visually impaired person who is actively involved in the promotion of blind sports, participated as a lecturer to talk about the difficulties that blind people experience in their daily lives and to offer advice on how to tackle the blind challenge.

*Program that allows sighted participants to experience blindness in a variety of situations


Participants listen intently to lecturer Yasuhiro Taira (center) .

Using All 5 Senses to Solve the “Blindfold Puzzle” 

For the “Blindfold Puzzle,” participants donned eye masks and were asked to listen to the sound of a steak being cooked and then to identify what the sound was. Some relied on their hearing, responding “it’s the sound of cooking” and “it sounds like water,” but no one had the correct answer. Participants learned that of the five senses—eyes (seeing), ears (hearing), nose (smelling), mouth (tasting), and hands (touching)—the eyes were the most efficient at gathering information.

Next, parents and children paired up and played a game in which one wore an eye mask and the other used their voice to help them solve a puzzle. By taking turns trying out the “seeing” and “not seeing” roles, everyone was able to experience the differences and difficulties of each.

Using an Eye Mask and White Cane to Experience “Walking on Braille Blocks”

In this activity, parents and children took turns playing the roles of visually impaired person and caregiver while walking a braille block course. Just like in the real world, the course featured traffic lights, railroad crossings, and narrow streets. People wearing eye masks and holding a while cane had to walk slowly around the course, checking their footing while they navigated with the help and encouragement of their caregiver. The participants walked around the course slowly, making sure to check their footing with each step because they needed to consider differences between adults and children in terms of eye height, stride length, and walking speed.


Children enthusiastically warn their father, “Not there!”

Children support their parents in a loud clear voice: “Watch your step—it's getting narrower!”

Testimonials from Blind Challenge “Family Adventure!” Participants


・ The blindfold puzzle and the braille block experience were difficult but fun. I can’t see and moving around is hard. I was afraid of going the wrong way and bumping into something. (1st grade school student)
・ Blindfolded, the puzzle becomes really difficult. It was fun to guess the shape of the numbers with my hands. (2nd grade student).
・ Walking around blind is scary. I thought I might bump into people and I wouldn’t notice if I dropped something. I want to help people if they are in trouble. (3rd grade student)
・ When I was blindfolded and heard the sound of meat cooking, I didn't know what it was, but when I saw the correct answer, I thought, “What's that—steak?” I think being able to see is great. (4th grade student)
・ I participated in the event because I wanted to know what kind of lives blind people lead. From now on, I want to do what I can [to help], and I think the work my father does is amazing. (5th grade student)
・ I didn't know what braille blocks were for, so from now on I will talk to people with white canes if they are in trouble. (6th grade student)
・ After walking on the braille blocks, I realized that sometimes guidance is needed, but other times it’s not. I would like to lend a hand when someone needs it. (6th grade student)

Parents and children discussing what they have learned and noticed. “If you can’t see, you can’t do things well or fast than usual."

・ I participated in the event because I wanted my child to learn about the lives of blind people and to feel compassion for them. After we go home, I want to discuss what to do when they see someone in need. (Employee/parent)
・ During the review session at the end of the program, children were spontaneously asking the instructor questions, and I think that they were able to notice and learn from the differences between “Seeing and Not Seeing.” As the instructor's message said, I want my child to grow up to be a compassionate person who doesn’t view disabilities as something special and treats all of their classmates equally. (Employee/parent).
・ My child began showing interest in the visually impaired from their experience with blind soccer, so I participated in this opportunity to hear directly from the people involved. I’d like to discuss the insights they gained today and even ask them to describe the action they would take if they saw someone with a visual impairment. (Employee/parent)

All Employees Can Leverage Their Strengths and Become Ambassadors!


Shigeo Hasegawa and Yohko Yumoto of the Core Principle and CSV, who organized the event, shared their thoughts:

Hasegawa: “Some of our employees with visual impairments are active in blind sports competitions, while others continue their research as university researchers. Their activities are a source of inspiration for us as we aim to realize a society in which everyone, regardless of whether they can see or not, can live normal and vibrant lives. I believe that their efforts are also linked to fostering a corporate culture that respects diversity.”

Yumoto: “This year's event was designed to provide an opportunity for employees and their children to deepen their mutual understanding and learn the importance of utilizing diverse strengths regardless of disability, and we created an opportunity to help them become ambassadors. We will build on this momentum, promoting activities to further expand the circle of empathy and encouraging each employee to become an ambassador, so that we can contribute to building an organization and developing human resources whose strengths lie in diversity and inclusion.”

Hasegawa (left) and Yumoto, who planned and promoted the event (right)

Overseas Office “Vision Experience Weeks” Report

During the in-house event period, "Seeing and Not Seeing" themed programs were held in Japan as well as in our offices in Asia, Europe, and China, total of 800 employees participated in the event. We received photos showing employees participating in the programs.


Employees in Europe working together with their colleagues on a number puzzle

An employee from Asia wearing low-vision goggles and trying a hidden object game

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