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 27, 2012

Tent is Active as Multi-purpose Community Center

Sign boards of tent shops and mountain school
Sign boards of tent shops and mountain school

During winter due to extremely cold weather, the tent for shops in Isatomae, Minami-sanrikucho, was rather quiet. Only a barbershop was in operation with several transparent and thick plastic curtains to prevent oil-heated warm air leaking out of the enclosed section. In this cold weather, despite free rent in the tent, many shops moved out to government-constructed temporary-shops with much nicer, warmer-in-winter, and cooler-in-summer environments, but naturally with a highly expensive monthly charge.

Now in summer time, not only the barbershop is there in operation as usual, but also a mountain school (Tengu no Yama Gakko) is offering mountain survival lessons to children. They rented a piece of land close to the tent to teach children not only how to survive in the nature, but also how to cultivate vegetables and construct temporary shelters. Everyday many children gather in the tent to join lessons as one of children’s summer vacation activities.

The school also brought an electric sign board to attract people to come to the tent shops over the weekend, when two additional shops are operating. The liquor shop which was previously operating frequently on weekdays is now operating only over the weekend, since the owner got a bus driver job to prevent him from opening the shop on weekdays. He, however, developed private-brank sake, named “Utatsu,” the old name of the location, attracting some customers. A food shop is also open over the weekend to attract customers to the tent. So, basically four shops are in operation in the tent.

The tent is also becoming a convenient place for diverse town events. The mountain school often holds a parents-children party, and the tent is especially helpful when it rains outside. The mountain school also created a children’s mikoshi for a summer festival, and the tent became the center of mikoshi construction as well as a practice
ground for children parading around Isatomae with the mikoshi. The government-constructed temporary-shops also hold events frequently, but when it rains this tent becomes the place of events.

Isatomae received a large number of paper-folded cranes (orizuru) after the Tsunami Disaster, and now the town government is hanging them on a side of a steep hill with a sign written, “To people in the world, thank you very much.” But, to my great surprise, preparations for this displayed orizuru by coating with plastic and piercing them through with a thread have been conducted at a corner of the tent. They still have far more orizuru to process. This is a reason why I say that the tent is becoming a multipurpose community center.

Another surprising finding is that now a Isatomae reconstruction plan is in a process of being formulated. The Central Government is showing a blue print to Isatomae people, while it is trying to incorporate local opinions in the plan. What is clear now is that the government is going to elevate the present government-constructed-shop area by piling up sand from the mountain. When this is to be implemented, these shops will be dismantled and have to be moved back to the tent until every construction (elevated land, dike, road, and shops) is completed, which will take a couple of years. Meanwhile, the tent will become the center of commercial activities in the village. Besides, one of two newly-planned residential areas to be constructed for people in the temporary housing to move in will be right next to the tent. In a sense, this tent may transform into a frequently-used community center even after the government construction plan is completed.

Although the use of the tent has been experiencing ups and downs, I think that the tent offered diverse and valuable supports to different groups of people with different purposes in different periods. I am really grateful for your donations, and without your help Isatomae people might have suffered further without a proper substituting location in diverse stages of transformation.

Thank you very much.

In front of mountain school shop
In front of mountain school shop
Barbar Shop
Barbar Shop
Mikoshi Made by the Mountain School
Mikoshi Made by the Mountain School
"Utatsu" sake produced by tent liquor shop
"Utatsu" sake produced by tent liquor shop
"Utatsu" sake produced by the tent liquor shop
"Utatsu" sake produced by the tent liquor shop
Electric sign board for tent shops
Electric sign board for tent shops
Display of Paper-folded Crane (orizuru)
Display of Paper-folded Crane (orizuru)
May 15, 2012

Isatomae tent is in good use and shops are busier than Winter time.

Tent Shop Entrance
Tent Shop Entrance

Isatomae tent shops are a little bit busier than Winter season. A barber shop is the busiest one in the tent. The owner installed the second haircut chair and also a modern massage equipment which provides massage while a customer is sitting in a haircut chair. Sometimes, customers have to wait for their turn. The owner decorated the shop in such a nice way that customers do not feel that they are inside a tent. Other than the barber shop, a liquor shop has a display of a large number of alcohol beverages. And also small food shop and a mountain school are in operation. Sometimes NGOs come and conduct their activities. The tent is in a good use, though the number of customers is not as large as shop owners wish, except the barber shop owner. However, since the tent is operated free of charge, shop owners are not losing money.

Temporary shops are operating in the government-provided temporary housing. They are attracting customers, because they are situated in the foot of a small mountain, whose top the tent shops are located. Since the temporary
shops
are much nicer and warmer, and are holding diverse events to attract customers, it is becoming quite difficult to attract a large number of customers to the tent shops. But now, a reconstruction talk is taking place. The Isatomae community requested the government to elevate the land and roads where the present temporary shops are located. As soon as redevelopment starts, may be within a year, they have to evacuate the present place. As a solution to this problem, they are discussing to move all shops back to the place where the tent shops are. This means that when the construction starts, the tent shops will be the center of shopping in Isatomae until construction will be completed. Since temporary shop owners have to pay a fairly big sum to prepare themselves to dismantle the temporary housing, in the end shops might not gain much more in the operation of a fairly short period than those owners operating in the tent shops. It is, however, much nicer to feel in the temporary shop that their business is in demand by a fairly good number of customers. But the Isatomae shop tent may become the center of community activities again in a near future.

Barber Shop
Barber Shop
Shop Owners and Customers
Shop Owners and Customers
Wine Shop
Wine Shop
Mountain School
Mountain School
Apr 29, 2012

Capability building delayed, but will start soon

A meeting to schedule capability building
A meeting to schedule capability building

The capability building of Kirarin Kids staff by the Niiza Childcare Center was postponed until around the late May, partly due to a Kirarin Kids' move to a new and bigger place constructed by the Rikuzen Takada City Government, and partly because the  arrival of a financial support to them from the Japan Disaster Relief Fund Boston was also late to arrive. Despite so, the DSIA already had a few meetings to discuss our training plan with Kirarin Kids' staff and the Niiza Childcare Network. As soon as the move to a new place is completed, we will be starting our training in a little bit smaller capacity, since we could not secure the full amount of support we hoped to have. But for the next six to seven months, we will be engaging in training, arranged by the Niiza Childcare Network with a full speed and capacity. The Sophia University volunteer team will visit Rikuzen Takada around September and October in about three occasions to provide professional training in the fields of grief care, PTSD, and child welfare. We are hoping these professional training to Kirarin Kids's staff provided by the Niiza Childcare Network and Sophia University voluntary team will be of great help to build Kirrin Kids' capability to engage in childcare support in the unusual context of difficulties in disaster-stricken Tohoku. 

A meeting to schedule capability building
A meeting to schedule capability building

Links:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?