Regional Revitalization through Education in Tōhoku: Building Sustainable Communities
Learn about MORIUMIUS’s efforts to revitalize disaster-affected communities through education in this talk at Japan House London, part of the series of events TŌHOKU 3.11 Forward to the Future, exploring the recovery of the Tōhoku region of north-eastern Japan.
In the town of Ogatsu in Miyagi Prefecture, surrounded by forest and ocean, is a 93-year-old school building. The building remains from a time when there were more children in the town, but sadly the Kuwahama primary school was closed in 2002. Following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, MORIUMIUS decided to revitalize this building as a place where children can learn again. The educational material used for MORIUMIUS is Ogatsu itself; children visiting the MORIUMIUS facility can enjoy meeting the resilient local people and encountering the natural environment. The MORIUMIUS experience also puts emphasis on sustainability, which offers greater opportunities for the future of children and Ogatsu.
In this event, we are delighted to invite Yui Gentarō, the President and Field Director of MORIUMIUS, who is joined in conversation by Rachel Bentley, the Associate Director of the UK’s Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES). Referring to shared challenges faced by the UK and Japan, the speakers discuss the role of education in building sustainable and resilient local communities.
This event is held as part of TŌHOKU 3.11 Forward to the Future, a week-long series of displays, tastings, talks and workshops exploring the region’s recovery, taking place at Japan House London in collaboration with Japan’s Reconstruction Agency.
About the speakers
Yui Gentarō is the Founder / Director of MORIUMIUS, a non-profit organization with the vision for rebuilding disaster-affected communities through education and empowering children to become sustainable citizens. To achieve this vision, MORIUMIUS is working alongside members of communities affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake to operate a sustainable, experiential learning centre for children teaching skills of coexistence with nature and understanding of global cultures. The project has expanded to tackle social issues such as creating better sustainable education for children and making an impact in the aging population situation in Japan. Yui was selected as one of NIKKEI Business’s 100 Leaders in 2015.
Rachel Bentley is an associate director at the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES). She advises local and devolved governments, housing associations and other public bodies around the UK on how to create more resilient local economies and promote social justice through community wealth building. Her interest in devolution, regionalism and localism is long held. She wrote her first Master’s thesis on the decentralisation of fiscal powers to Japanese local governments as a Mombusho scholar at Nagoya University. Her family were living in Kobe during the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995. This experience had a profound impact on her family’s relationship with Japan and left her with many personal reflections on how different communities respond to crises.