Build Back Better Tohoku

May 23, 2014

Tohoku Reconstruction Update: May


Business support is one of MakiBiz's two main focus of works. One way we provide this type of support is through hosting our business seminars, in partnership with business experts. On May 7, our successful four-day marketing seminar, "Using Design to Expand Your Market" came to an end.

This seminar series along with the one-on-one consultations that came with it, were led by our partner, Mr. Kasama from Communa Translation Design. Approximately 40 businesses and supporting organizations participated in these events, and worked rigorously in coming up with a marketing plan for their business.

In the seminars titled, "Strategizing new products to expand your market" and "How to work with a designer," participants had the opportunity to learn about the basics of marketing and branding. The attendees earnestly listened, as Mr. Kasama began with the question, "What is design?" - a question that was often floating on their minds without anyone to ask.

The one-on-one consultations sessions were particularly popular. We could see the faces of participants gradually lighten up, as they received advice on solving current issues, and tips on next steps to take to further grow their businesses. Seeing this gave us a renewed confirmation on the importance of working one-on-one with affected business owners. We plan to have seminars like this more regularly in the future.




MakiBiz RFP Program Overview

Baikado, Oikawa Denki, Konpiramaru, and Tamiko Abe are currently under construction or in their design phases.  With the goal to complete all projects by August 2014, we are working with clients and the design and construction team to move each project forward.  Learn more about these projects, as well as the completed ones on each project page on the Open Architecture Network.


MakiBiz Client Intake

MakiBiz has supported 170 business owners since its office opened in November 2012.  Information about our clients, along with other MakiBiz updates can be found here.


Gifu Nagaragawa Rotary Club visits MakiBiz

On April 24, we spoke with Gifu Nagaragawa's Rotary Club members, who visited MakiBiz, displaying interest in our work.

Our work at MakiBiz is gradually reaching a wider audience, and we are frequently receiving inquiries from architects who want to learn more, and from volunteers looking to get involved. Thank you! We hope to continue expanding our fan base!



This year, we'll be participating in [STAND UP WEEK], an event that is held a week before  Ishinomaki's biggest festival, " Kawabiraki (River Opening)." This event, titled "Expo for creating the future," uniquely highlights people and groups around the city through various events and activities.  MakiBiz is currently strategizing a fun way to participate in this event!




MakiBiz participating in [STAND UP WEEK 2014: Role-model City for Creating a Future
July 25-August 1
Place: Ishinomaki
About: Using the four scenarios: play + feel + make + eat, there will be many opportunities for visitors to experience the new Ishinomaki!
Organized by: ISHINOMAKI 2.0




Apr 17, 2014

Tohoku Reconstruction Update: April

Highlight: Mitazono Wakaba Kindergarten Opens Its Doors!

On March 29th, children and parents filled the kindergarten for the pre-opening event where children full of excitement and energy will soon be running around.

A large group effort was made in an effort to complete the building before this event. Architecture for Humanity helped sand off column edges, floors and walls, and built a few shelving units with Professor Ishihara, architect of record, who brought up a group of students from Chiba (about an 8-hour drive away). Meanwhile the contractor worked full speed to build the pavement and complete the final touches, completing the building just in time for the event.

On event day, the building quickly filled with excited children and parents as they arrived to get a first taste of their school. The teachers introduced themselves, explained the overall schedule and curriculum, and called the children one by one to receive their new school uniforms. Following the event, the children ran around the building, chasing each other and the balloons, and running around the outdoor corridor in circles - the children's favorite part of the building for sure.

We look forward to seeing the children use the space with their excitement and energy!



MakiBiz RFP Program Overview

Our Wakaba Kindergarten project was recently completed, adding to our list of finished projects within this program, and at our completed Ushiogami Project, paper craftsman, Master Tsukahara lead a workshop on April 12.

Five projects have now been completed, and the remaining four projects are currently in construction, permitting and design phases! A more detailed report on current RFP projects to be posted on our website's update section soon!


MakiBiz Business Seminar

The launch event for our current MakiBiz Business Seminar Series: Using Design to Expand Your Market, was held in February and has been a great hit. Lead by Mr. Kasama from Communa Translation Design, this seminar series is being held over a period of four days. Learn more here.

MakiBiz Client Intake

MakiBiz has supported 167 business owners since its office opened in November 2012. Information about our clients along with other MakiBiz updates can be found here.


We greatly thank those who participated in GlobalGiving's Japan Matching Campaign that ran from March 11. Your continued support enables us to continue supporting communities in need. Thank you!




  • MakiBiz Business Seminar: Using Design to Expand Market - April 30, May 30 MakiBiz continues to host free business seminars through our partner, Mr. Kasama (Japanese only). Seminar recap to come!




Say Hello!

This month we had a new addition to our team! Kayoko Sakamoto will be working as a Communications Associate at MakiBiz. Having just completed her HQ training, she's ready to roll!

Kayoko comes from a professional background in event coordination and promotion, and has managed several community-based events in Japan. She is another believer of the power of social design, and loves to travel and take photos.

Welcome, Kayoko! We're happy to have you on our team!




Jan 16, 2014

Tohoku Reconstruction Update: January 2014

Happy New Year!

We excitedly welcome 2014, the year of the horse!

Cold temperatures fill Japan, and snow has begun to cover the northern landscapes. 2013 was a busy year; we completed the Maeami-hama Community House, Kitakami Market and Youth Center, the Yamayo Suisan and at MakiBiz we held a number of business seminars open to the public and helped many clients through business consultations. We currently have 5 projects under construction plus one more beginning shortly.

In this update:

We look forward to continuing our efforts in supporting Tohoku communities in 2014!


Architecture for Humanity


Yamayo SuisanMakiBiz Request for Proposal Program

The MakiBiz Request for Proposal (RFP) program is supporting the rebuilding of 7 small businesses and entrepreneurs affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.

With 4 projects under construction, one more to begin at the end of the month, and 2 already completed we are steadily building momentum. See this update for a summary on where each of the projects stand.

We will begin supporting two additional projects this Spring. Look forward to updates to come!

Building nearing completion

The building is now 90% complete! Most of the lighting, plumbing and paint work is done, all that remains is the deck on the first floor, which will be installed in two weeks. Construction work will now focus on the field where netting has already been installed, and drainage will be installed this week.

Look forward to completion of this project soon!

MakiBiz has supported 144 business owners since its office opened in November 2012. Information about our clients along with other MakiBiz updates can be found here.

Architecture for Humanity represented at AIA Japan Annual Event

In November, senior design fellow Aki presented at an annual AIA Japan event held at Daikanyama Hillside Terrace in Tokyo. Here he presented our work, mainly focusing on an overview of our reconstruction and rebuilding efforts worldwide and in Japan. Read more about this event.

Embracing Change: Building Resilience with Communities 
Embracing Change: Building Resilience with Communities

On January 15 and 16, Keio University's International Program for Environmental Innovators (EI) will host their 4th International EI symposium at their Hiyoshi Campus in Yokohama. Organized and led in part by Architecture for Humanity Tokyo Chapter leaders, the event will bring together actors and pioneers carrying out projects directed at building resiliency around the world. The discussions are aimed at inspiring new ideas for how to deal with massive changes, such as climate change, disaster response, social issues and economic transformation.

Reconstruction and Resiliency Studio Director Eric Cesal will be speaking about what the developing world may be able to teach the first world about building resilient communities. Learn more about the event and how to register here!



In Progress


CA Construction Administration; CD Construction Documents; DD Design Development; SD Schematic Design; PD Pre-Design - About the Phases

Oct 31, 2013

Tohoku Reconstruction Update: October 2013

Tohoku Newsletter Banner October 2013

September 22 marked the arrival of Fall. October is a great time to visit Japan, as temperatures have lowered but are still warm, and trees begin to change colors in the Northern regions and at higher elevations. We look forward to the full arrival of Fall.

Our office has been busy with our eight RFP projects moving along - one of which is already completed! A new workshop series at MakiBiz begins this month, and the Kamaishi Park for All project is also moving forward with construction almost ready to begin. Read more below.

We hope this month treats you well, as temperatures begin to lower!

Best, Architecture for Humanity

Yamayo SuisanMakiBiz Request for Proposal Program
The MakiBiz Request for Proposal (RFP) program supports the rebuilding of small businesses and entrepreneurs affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. Winners were identified in early August, and have since been moving forward with their projects full steam. Read here to read about our eight winners!


Archtiect submitting the permit set
On August 24th, Toyo Ito Associates, Architects (TIAA) completed the drawings and submitted the permit set to the Kamaishi building department to receive their construction permit. Everything is set to move forward, and we are currently negotiating with contractors to begin construction in early-November.

MakiBiz has supported 120 business owners to date. Information about our clients along with other MakiBiz updates can be found here.

MakiBIz Signage InstalledMakiBiz Signage Installed!
MakiBiz finally has exterior signage installed, making us more visible within the community welcoming clients into our space! Designed by the Tokyo-based design team KBT (pronounced "Kabuto"), these flags officially announce our arrival in Ishinomaki. Find these flags in Ishinomaki and come say hello! See update here.



MakiBiz Seminar Series: Business Psychology
MakiBiz Seminar Series: Business Psychology
A new round of seminars began at MakiBiz on October 11. This series of 4 seminars will be lead by NPO Iwate Mirai Kikoh, in the evenings at our MakiBiz office free of charge. The seminar will cover the topics of: Behavioral Psychology for Negotiation and Marketing; Communication methods; Color Psychology to Captivate People's Hearts; and Stress Check and Relaxation Methods in the Office Environment. See this flyer (in Japanese only) to sign up.




In Progress


CA Construction Administration / ; CD Construction Documents / ; DD Design Development / ; SD Schematic Design / ; PD Pre-Design /  - About the Phases


Aug 13, 2013

Tohoku Reconstruction Update: July 2013

Tohoku Newsletter Banner July 2013

Summer has arrived! The rainy season has passed, and temperatures have soared up in cities throughout Japan. These extreme temperatures, combined with high humidity, bring with them dangers such as heat strokes. As the heat continues over the next few weeks, we hope everyone remembers to stay hydrated and well!

Many projects and programs are making strides at our MakiBiz office. We are excited to begin supporting the eight businesses that were carefully selected through the RFP program, and these will be moving forward quickly over the coming months. In Kamaishi, an insightful community engagement workshop was recently held for the Kamaishi Park for All project, and the design continues to be refined with community input. Additionally, we have been providing consultation services as always, and round two of business seminars have been taking place at MakiBiz. Find out more below.

High temperatures will continue over the following weeks. Please take care of your health.

Architecture for Humanity

*As always, we hope you enjoy seeing where your support has taken this program, and our doors are always open for feedback.   


MakiBiz RFPMakiBiz Request for Proposal Program
The application period for MakiBiz's Request for Proposal (supporting the rebuilding of affected small businesses and entrepreneurs) has ended, and after careful consideration, eight businesses were chosen out of nearly 40 applications received from the prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima. MakiBiz will continue supporting these businesses, and projects will kick off shortly! Look forward to updates to follow.

Park for All Community Engagement
On July 10, a community design workshop was held with nearly 50 local participants. Preliminary designs were presented with drawings and models, and participants were encouraged to provide feedback for design refinement. Read what the community came up with in the report here.

MakiBiz has supported 103 business owners to date. Information about our clients along with other MakiBiz updates can be found here.

On June 28th, the installation of a fence in the back yard of the community house was completed. Boards were fitted on both sides of the fence, and a door was also installed. Now children can play without the danger of falling. Full report here.


MAKOTO Business Seminar 2 at MakiBiz
MAKOTO Business Seminars
The second round of MAKOTO Business Seminars has kicked off at MakiBiz, with two seminars held to date. Mr. Tomohiro Takei is again, leading these seminars with the first two held on how to create a business plan. Four seminars remain in this series, all held in the evenings at our MakiBiz office free of charge. See this flyer (in Japanese only) to find out how to sign up. Reports on these seminars to come.



In Progress

Park for All in Kamaishi - 75% SD/DD


Shizugawa Fishermen's Workspace "Banya" - Completed Feb/2013
Maeami-hama Community House - Completed Feb/2013
Kitakami "We Are One" Market and Youth Center - Completed Dec/2012
Akahama Covered Alley- Completed Jul/2012
Oshika House - Women's Collaborative- Completed Jul/2012
Paper Crane Sculpture - Completed Jan/2012
Shizugawa Judo Juku - Completed Dec/2011
Ohya Green Sports Park - Completed Dec/2011
Hikado Marketplace - Completed Jul/2011

CA Construction Administration ; CD Construction Documents ; DD Design Development ; SD Schematic Design ; PD Pre-Design  - About the Phases

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Project Leader

Hiromi Tabei

San Francisco, CA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Build Back Better Tohoku