Support for the Victims of the Great Tohoku Earthquake

Kougenn-ji with the local activity groups started voluntary activities from March 12, the very next day after the disaster. Kougenn-ji became an emergency kitchen; some prepared foods, and others visited the disaster-stricken area to distribute the food to the victims.

One of the participants was grateful that she was able to join the volunteer activity through Kougenn-ji network; participating in daily activities and events led her to volunteer through the network (Matsumoto 2011).


Support for the Victims of the Great Tohoku Earthquake

Fig. 3.7 A network centered on events in Kougenn-ji Kougenn-ji, the Center for an Organic Network

Centered on Kougenn-ji, various groups of people form an organic network (Fig. 3.7). It is a core for the local people, citizen activities, events, and problem solving. People interact, exchange information, and feel as if they are a part of the organic network. People usually have different interests and participate in different activities. Some people get together when their interests coincide, such as for the preservation of Motomachi Park, or support for the victims of the disaster, which eventually become a movement.

The participants in the Annual Houzuki Sennari Ichi are drawn from a diverse group: local communities, local shopping districts, town watchers, local magazines, theaters, people with special interest in preservation of historic architecture, composting and gardening, providing welfare for handicapped: in addition, partic­ipants include university researchers and students, the International Friendship and Refugees, makers of handcrafts, cafes, and more… Some of the people participat­ing in multiple group activities were key persons in the Preservation of Motomachi Park Movement (Kougenn-ji 2011).

In the next part, we look into daily activities of a NPO, a part of the organic networks of Kougenn-ji.

Support for the Victims of the Great Tohoku Earthquake

Fig. 3.8 Composting site under the Ochanomizu Bridge. (Photograph by Kato 2011.6.15)