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HOME NEWS 【Typhoon No.19】Restored "Mikoshi" after 9 years (NPO Partner Project)



【Typhoon No.19】Restored "Mikoshi" after 9 years (NPO Partner Project)

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Restored "Mikoshi*" on the Shore

(*Mikoshi is a sacred religious palanquin in Japan that is said to transport a deity.)

On October 21, a story about a big mikoshi made a headline on The Iwate Nippo, a regional daily newspaper circulated mainly in Iwate Prefecture. Kamaishi City in Iwate suffered tremendous damage during the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. Due to reconstruction works, a mikoshi procession at an annual Kamaishi Festival was canceled for the past 9 years.  But the mikoshi finally made a comeback this year. Many people gathered in Kamaishi to see the mikoshi, a representation of recovery.

However, the festival was almost canceled again due to Typhoon No.19 (Hagibis) hitting Kamaishi a week before. At the festival, a sacred object kept at Osaki Shrine is carried down on a mikoshi to a boat through a mountain road. However, the mountain road was damaged during the disaster.

The shrine elder, local fishermen, local volunteers and volunteers from across the country gathered to remove mud and clean up the road. Thanks to their assistance, the festival was carried out as planned.

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"Some volunteers are people who were affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. One volunteer came to pay forward the help," said Mr. Satoshi Ito, Representative Director of Sanriku Hitotsunagi Nature School.

Sanriku Hitotsunagi Nature School started providing relief assistance immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake around the Unosumai Basin and managed volunteers. Since then, the nature school has provided safe play spaces for children, promoted volunteer tourism, and is continuing assistance activities for community development, encouraging the local residents.

When Typhoon Hagibis hit, the nature school began providing assistance such as securing houses against flood water and utilized the experiences and network built during the Great East Japan Earthquake and Typhoon No.10 in 2016. In the aftermath of the disaster, the nature school gathered information about needs for cleaning and removal of mud and driftwood in the affected areas and recruited volunteers from across Japan. The nature school coordinated 122 volunteers for 15 days from the onset of the disaster and they are still providing free accommodation for volunteers.

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A number of rivers across seven prefectures were flooded due to Typhoon Hagibis and its damage is wide-spread. Because of this, the affected areas are facing a shortage of volunteers. But in Kamaishi, Sanriku Hitotsunagi Nature School is working hard to bring in many volunteers to assist the disaster victims.

Civic Force is supporting Sanriku Hitotsunagi Nature School through the NPO Partner Project.