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Campus Now

New Year Issue (Jan. 2014)


Report on research for reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake

Holding the Research Institute Forum in Morioka

Panel discussion featuring lively debate

Powerful dance performed by citizens of Otsuchi Town

On November 1, Waseda University held the “Research Institute Forum 2013 in Morioka” in Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture in order to report on research activities for reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake, which began in 2011. The theme of the forum was “Linking the Ocean, Land and Mountains—Constructing continuity and broad cooperation in disaster reconstruction.”

The forum began with an opening address given by Etsushi Tanifuji, Dean of the Research Institute. Next, Professor Takeshi Nakagawa (Faculty of Science and Engineering; Director of the Waseda University Institute for Research on Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake/Research Institute for Integrated Approach to Urban Safety and Security with Natural and Cultural Heritage) introduced the workshop “Traditional Performance Art and Festivals,” which was held by students from Waseda University and Tsinghua University (China) in Otsuchi Town, Iwate Prefecture in spring of 2012 with participation from citizens and government. Professor Nakagawa revealed design proposals devised by students in order to address social and cultural issues in Otsuchi Town. Students devised the proposals through onsite surveys and dialogue with local citizens. The forum continued with a lecture entitled “Working Together to Create a Future in Iwate (Consumer Goods and Tourism” given by Professor Osamu Soda (Faculty of Social Sciences), who introduced the example of creating a sales network in the metropolitan area for special local products. Professor Soda explained the necessity of exploring methods for truly creative reconstruction, as opposed to simply following convention. Such creative reconstruction will make it possible to utilize Tohoku’s appeal to enrich the lives of citizens, instead of simply performing reconstruction to return to the townscape prior to the disaster.

Afterwards, Waseda professors were joined by panelists Yutaka Ikarigawa (Mayor of Otsuchi Town, Associate Professor Satoshi Miyake (Iwate University Faculty of Agriculture) and Satoru Sakaki (Assistant Manager, News Department, Iwate Nippo). Under the theme of “Constructing continuity and broad cooperation in disaster reconstruction,” lively debate was held on issues related to reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake. Reports were also given on volunteer activities held by the Waseda University Hirayama Ikuo Volunteer Center and students from Iwate University. Citizens of Otsuchi Town also performed the traditional Usuzawa-Shishi Odori dance.