Kumamoto Earthquake Recovery

Mikako Tomotari

June 26th to 27th , 2016

Survivors of the Kumamoto Earthquake in April 2016 were forced to live in shelters and sleep in their cars amid repeated aftershocks. Tiny House Project was launched to build itakura cabins on the survivors’ residential land after evacuation occurred in the village. Itakura, a traditional Japanese method for building a cedar wood cabin which provides fragrance of the wood and has a superior earthquake resistance, both of which comfort survivors. It can be built at a low cost, using forest resources (timber) from Aso district.  In June, an itakura community house was completed in collaboration with local carpenters and volunteers, using donated cedar wood. A workshop was also conducted for children on building wood furniture and accessories using the remnants of lumber and wood waste from damaged homes. Finished products were then sent to the survivors as presents. In this project, we have learned that people can be empowered by recreating cabins from the remnants of the earthquake.  It is our hope that these houses built using Kumamoto cedar and art works made of the wooden remnants will serve to reinvigorate the life of the region.

Social Art Lab   Kyushu University Graduate School of design

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