Ippan Shadan Hojin DSIA

The Durable Social Innovation Alliance (DSIA) stimulates sustainable Japanese-style social innovations through entre- and intra-preneurial activities, which are enhanced by alliances among diverse partners including companies, governments and NPOs. DSIA's goal is to create new social values and knowledge, but still path-dependently based on Japanese traditional and corporate culture, technology, socio-economic behavior and past experiences. The DSIA contributes to developing human resources who will tackle social issues, as "opportunities of changes" (Drucker), with a strong mind of social innovation and entrepreneurship. By doing so, we hope to re-generate and re-activ...
Jul 28, 2014

To Be No.1 Event Organizing Arcade in Tohoku

Pre-game Lecture on Japan
Pre-game Lecture on Japan's Strategies

The Happy Shopping Arcade () (HSA) in Isatomae, Minami-sanriku-cho, Miyagi Prefecture, has been extremely active to organized many events and bring people from outside of the local community, since Isatomae having the population of only 5,000 is not big enough to keep the shopping arcade going.

Since the Isatomae became the first training camp for the J-league (the Japanese professional soccer league) when it was established in 1991, it has been keeping good relationships with diverse J-league soccer teams. These relations turned out to be highly valuable assets for keeping HSA to bring soccer fans to support the community. The HSA is the only place where you can see many flags of J-league soccer teams flying. Hence, the HSA organized a public viewing of Japan- Côte d'Ivoire game in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Game held in Brazil. They established a tent, set two big-screen televisions, and an NTT-provided projector which unfortunately was difficult to watch due to sun shine. They also had the attendance of Mr. Hisago Sato who became the 2013 scoring leader in Sanfrecce Hiroshima, six present J-league players who signed on a soccer ball, two 2010 world soccer Japan team players, and a famous soccer game commentator who is the coach of the Sendai University Soccer Team. HSA kept a list of attendants and found that even several people came from Kyushu District. A women soccer team from Sendai, Vegalta Sendai Ladies, donated 40 tickets for the August 3 game which was given away in a lottery and two uniforms. Before the game, six J-league members touched a ball to send spirit to the Japan team in Brazil.  Everybody was quite excited during the game until Japan lost two points.

About 200 people came to attend the public viewing, and four television stations reported about the event which was broadcasted as a national news (see the attached newspaper article). Among blue-color-shirt supporters to the Japan team, a group of red-color-shirt supporters were in the crowd. They were supporting Chilean team, since Minami-sanriku-cho and Chile’s Easter Island has a friendship relation. Forty people at Minami-sanriku-cho lost their lives due to tsunami caused by the Great Chilean Earthquake of 1960. To commemorate the recovery from the disaster, Minami-sanriku-cho commissioned a sculptor in Easter Island to make a Moai which came to be placed at Shizukawa High School. Unfortunately, this sculpture was lost in the 2011 Tsunami Disaster. Then, the Easter island sent a gift of a Moai sculpture to the town. Since there was a strong sense of good relations with Chile, a group of students wore red shirts to cheer the Chilean team.

After the game, the HSA was hoping to sell a lot of food and drinks, while providing some food for free. Unfortunately, everybody was so discouraged by losing the game, they did not stay at the HSA. In a sense, the public viewing was very successful, but the HSA could not make as much business as expected. Although it was unfortunate that the Japan team lost the game, the public viewing was really successful.

On August 3, the HSA is planning to have a fishing competition for which participants pay for a boat and go ocean fishing. On August 10 and 11, they are to have a summer festival, in which diverse participants play on the stage. The key attraction is BEGIN from Okinawa who also participated to commemorate the return of a Utatsu (Isatomae) post which drifted to Okinawa via Hawaii Islands. After many performances by participants, the festival will end with fireworks to commemorate those who lost their lives on 3.11. On August 16, they will have a Minami-sanriku Festival, and September 14, the town becomes a resting place for the Le Tour de Tohoku for 200 km bicycle competition. In October, they are planning to have an exhibition of 30 decorated and painted cars.    

With regard to raising the level of land, unlike Rikuzen Takata City and Shizukawa in Minami-sanriku-cho, hardly anything is taking place, while the planning of shopping arcade and the new housing area are very much coming to the final stage. People are now applying for housing to be built. The delay in land raising in Isatomae relative to other cities seems to be causing additional frustration, but at least they are eagerly participating to develop overall land planning, the construction of the shopping arcade, and other facilities. But there are many who just cannot wait for this slow development and purchases their own land and house outside of scheduled places. This is generating another psychological problem to those who are not capable of leaving temporary houses, giving them an identity of losers. Now, different are the financial conditions of those who had a tsunami insurance which was only 3% of disaster-stricken people and those who had fire insurance in Ohfunato whose houses were destroyed by fire rather than tsunami from those who did not benefit from these types of insurance.

Previous GlobalGiving donation to Isatomae was used to have this World Soccer Game Viewing, and they were extremely appreciative of the donation, especially because it turned out to be a big success. As written above, since they are planning to organize more events to become the No. 1 event organizing arcade in Tohoku for keeping their arcade alive, future donations are indispensable. They will very much appreciate future donations.

Sending Hearty Cheers to Japan Team
Sending Hearty Cheers to Japan Team
Viewing Game with J-league Flags on Ceiling
Viewing Game with J-league Flags on Ceiling
News Reporting of Public Viewing
News Reporting of Public Viewing

Links:

Apr 21, 2014

Challenges after Challenges

Friday Morning Clients 1
Friday Morning Clients 1

Kirarin Kids (KK) in Rikuzen Takata is operating fairly well with stable customers with a subsidy coming from the City Government, though they now have a few competitors dealing with pre-school children, such as Ayukko and Mama Salon. Mothers seem to make use of multiple facilities to satisfy different types of services offered by each group.

As written previously, KK tries to achieve their goals of providing a place for parent-children interaction and promoting healthy development of children in a community. These goals are achieved through their regular programs: (1) sessions for enhancing children-mother relations, such as Nobody-Perfect lessons, eurhythmic lessons with music, symbolic therapy, counselling by a professional, etc.; (2) excursions; (3) sports activities such as Kirarin yoga, baby massages, Kirarin refreshing exercises, etc.; (4) aroma activities; (5) mobile toy library; (6) cooking sessions (traditional and healthy food, cookies, etc.); (7) birthday parties; (8) toy making; (9) collecting bell marks; etc.

KK also offers diverse events. The most significant event recently planned is a meeting with the Mayor of Rikuzen Takata City, Mr. Toba, at the KK on May 23 (Fri.), when he will meet parents and other people to hear their opinions and exchange views. Also, as mentioned in the previous report, they continue offering a program called “On Sundays,” for father-children relations, with a content support provided by an NPO called “Fathering Japan.” They also started offering services in temporary housing areas every other month, so that mothers in remote temporary housing areas can have a chance to enjoy services offered by the KK.  

Donations to KK made through GlobalGiving were mostly used for mothers’ diverse training programs. In addition to English language classes for children and mothers reported earlier, the IT lessons had the participation of seven to eight mothers. With the cooperation of NEC and some financial support from the Kiwanis Japan Foundation, lessons on Excell was held five times on Sept. 30, Oct. 1, Oct. 31, Nov. 28, and Dec. 5, 2013, and those on album making was held three times on March 4, 12 and 25, 2014. An impressive outcome of these activities is that not only mothers enjoyed and learned the basic of how to use software, but also one person got an employment at the Rikuzen Takata City, starting April 1, 2014. The DSIA seems to be contributing to the empowerment of mothers through the KK programs. Besides, such training is generating a new collaboration with another NPO, the Save Takata, which is developing a project, called Telework, to develop a system to bring works from Tokyo through IT connections.  

Since the present temporary housing offered by the government is usually said to last two more years, what will happen with the present occupants of the temporary housing is becoming a serious concern. The KK has been contacting the City Government to find out its plan only to face the lack of information, uncertainty and frustration. The number of children in the city seems to be declining, which may require the city to make some selections with regard to childcare organizations. In a new city planning, there will be a cultural center planned to be built. But unfortunately, information about which organizations will enter the facility is not disclosed, while KK was informed to report its plan of operating location before the end of this year. It seems that by fall 2015, almost everything will be fixed. Given uncertainty, KK has set up several contingency plans of (1) remaining in the present place if they are allowed to do so; (2) renting an old house where they can have children engage in agricultural activities; (3) renting a space in the newly established city; and (4) moving into the cultural center. At this moment, they are finding it quite difficult to make any decision, while uncertainty is giving a lot of frustration to the KK. They are now facing new challenges, though they have fairly well overcome past difficulties. We need to psychologically and continuously support the KK, until it will overcome the last stage of redevelopment from the disaster. The KK still needs not only donations, but also psychological support from donors through GlobalGiving.

Friday Morning Clients 2
Friday Morning Clients 2

Links:

Apr 21, 2014

Moving Forward into A New Stage

Shop Tent Used as a Storage
Shop Tent Used as a Storage

When I met Mr. Yoshinobu Yamauchi, the President of the Temporary Tent Shop and the Vice President of the Isatomae Fukko Shotengai (Isatomae Redevelopment Arcade) in Isatomae, Minami-Sanrikucho this time, he looked more hopeful than ever before. It is because the Isatomae Chamber of Commerce (ICC) started discussing about the construction and operation of a new shopping arcade to be built on a raised land.

He was informed that elevating the height of a piece of land, where all shops will temporarily move in, will start around September 2014 and that the present shop arcade will move there, may be, around April 2015. Since temporary shops will be smaller than the present one, they will reuse the shop tent, which the Refugee International Japan in cooperation with the DSIA donated, for storing many equipment and commodities. (As an attached picture shows, it is presently used by a company which owns the land there as a storage.) Then, finally, around April 2016 a new shop arcade will be ready on the raised land of where they are presently operating.

Now, they started discussing whether they will establish a cooperative or a company for operating the new arcade. Given complexities involved in establishing a cooperative, they seem to be in favor of establishing a company, which may be easier to borrow money from banks for building the arcade. They are also talking about the size of investment each shop needs to make and the amount of subsidies the government provides, and even started contacting diverse organizations to find out whether they are interested in borrowing office space. The owners of the new arcade will be the members of the Isatomae Chamber of Commerce, but in order to generate revenue for the operating company, they are also talking to medical doctors, dentists, and other organizations to see if they are interested in borrowing office space. Since they are informed to establish a company by February 2015 and start hiring one staff to operate it, they are now contacting people to figure out the size of an arcade to accommodate diverse needs. In a sense, for the first time after many months of discussions about their plan, they started shifting to the phase of concretizing the shopping arcade, though they may face frequent ups and downs until they can finally move into a newly established arcade. We need to continuously and psychologically support them to go through another phase of challenges.

Donations made through the GlobalGiving have been helping the Istomae Fukko Shotengai to sustain the shop tent and organize diverse events. One of attached pictures show a remnant of an event they organized to commemorate their post box drifting to Okinawa via possibly Hawaii Islands, while they are preparing for the White Fish Festival as shown in their homepage and also used clothes sales in front of the Athlete Yamauchi during this weekend as shown in an picture.

They are now planning to have a big event on June 15, 2014, when Japan will have a soccer match against the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, the first Japanese match in the World Soccer Game 2014. They will install three big-screen televisions, and watch the game. They already have about fifty flags of Japanese soccer teams as shown in an attached picture, and will have the visits of J-League soccer players, a cheer band, and cheer leaders. They will also sell food so that visitors can barbecue local food there. But for the first time, I learned that they can organize such event, since they have been developing relations with Japanese soccer teams, even going back twenty five years ago. They provided a training ground to Japanese soccer teams, especially to Kashima Antlers. Mr. Yamauchi has been a key member developing such relations. For the redevelopment of Isatomae community, they are making full use of good connections they have been developing for many years. And the DSIA, taking a long-term perspective, also hopes to be a good supporting organization to them, especially by mediating the goodwill of GlobalGiving donors.

Flags Donated from Japanese Soccer Leagues
Flags Donated from Japanese Soccer Leagues
Remnant of Event Commemorating Post Box Return
Remnant of Event Commemorating Post Box Return
Used Clothes Sales
Used Clothes Sales

Links:

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