Nov 30, 2018

Students from Rikkyo University, Stanford University and University of Hong Kong to report on Rikuzentakata Project on Sept. 10 and 12



Students enrolled in Rikkyo University’s regular English-language curriculum have been creating content to publicize the attractions of Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, since the course was launched in 2015. The city was devastated by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing tsunami. This year, the students will report on their achievements at two meetings — one September 10 at the Rikuzentakata Global Campus, which opened in April 2017, and another September 12 at Rikkyo’s Ikebukuro campus in Tokyo.

The Rikuzentakata Project learning program involves a five-day field trip to the city. The students examine and experience the conditions in Rikuzentakata and the challenges the city faces as it recovers from the disaster, after which they work on content to publicize the city’s attractions. In the 2018 academic year, 14 Rikkyo University students, six Stanford University students and two University of Hong Kong students are participating in the project.

This course was launched in the 2013 academic year as a pilot program of Rikkyo Global 24, an international strategy aimed at providing Rikkyo students from Japan and abroad with opportunities to lean about conditions in areas affected by the earthquake and to assist in the recovery effort by learning about the conditions in the areas and by discussing issues that need to be solved. Inspired by the project’s aims, Stanford University approached Rikkyo about having its students take part. Starting in the 2015 academic year, students from the American university have participated in the project through Volunteers in Asia, a nongovernmental organization based at Stanford. The Stanford students learn about Rikuzentakata and the Great East Japan Earthquake before coming to Japan, then after arriving they take part in a pre-fieldwork program, the five-day field trip and a post-fieldwork program. In the 2018 academic year, students from the University of Hong Kong, which has ties with Rikkyo through internship and exchange programs, will participate in the project.


1)On-site presentation
Date and time: 15:00—17:00, September 10 (Monday)
Place: Monty Hall, 3rd Floor, Rikuzentakata Global Campus (Address: 113-10 Kamida, Yonesakicho, Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture)

2) Post-fieldwork report
Date and time: 14:00—16:00, September 12 (Wednesday)
Place: Room D301, 3rd Floor of No. 14 building (Address: 3-34-1 Nishi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo)

Program outline

Course title: Rikuzentakata Project — Project-based learning program on reconstruction from the disaster
Faculty members in charge:
Akiko Takai, Specially appointed associate professor of Rikkyo University and deputy secretary general of Save the Children Japan
Zi Zhang: Staff member of Volunteers in Asia, a nongovernmental organization based at Stanford University

Cooperation from:
Kiyoshi Murakami, Senior executive advisor of Rikuzentakata City and representative of Aid TAKATA, a local nonprofit organization

Number of students: 14 from Rikkyo University, 6 scheduled to attend from Stanford University and 2 from the University of Hong Kong

1) Pre-fieldwork program
14:00 — 18:00, July 21 (Saturday)
13:00 — 17:00, August 25 (Saturday)
10:00 — 18:00, September 5-6 (Wednesday-Thursday) (overseas students attend from this session)
2) Fieldwork
September 7-11 (Friday-Tuesday) Four nights and five days
3) Post-fieldwork program
10:00 — 16:00, September 12-13 (Wednesday-Thursday)

Number of credits: 2
Working language: English
Task: Produce and publicize content showcasing attractions of Rikuzentakata City

Past collaborations with Stanford University

2015 academic year
Task: Publicize Rikuzentakata’s attractions to people overseas (proposed by Rikuzentakata City)
Participants: 13 Rikkyo University students, 7 Stanford University students

2016 academic year
Task: Produce and distribute content showcasing attractions of Rikuzentakata
Participants: 7 Rikkyo University students, 7 Stanford University students

2017 academic year
Task: Produce and distribute content showcasing attractions of Rikuzentakata to increase foreign visitors to the city
Participants: 11 Rikkyo University students, 7 Stanford University students.

Rikuzentakata Global Campus

Rikkyo University’s relationship with Rikuzentakata City began in 2003 with the launch of a summer extracurricular program that gave students firsthand experience in the forestry industry in the Oide area of Yahagicho. In June 2011, Rikkyo University designated Rikuzentakata as an area in need of focused support and provided reconstruction assistance that included dispatching volunteers to areas affected by the disaster. On May 23, 2012, the university and the city signed a long-term agreement to broaden their collaboration and exchanges.

In April 2017, Rikkyo University and Iwate University established the Rikuzentakata Global Campus to be a hub for education, research and a wide range of exchanges to train people who can play leading roles in reinvigorating local areas and can work with residents to rebuild communities. The Japan Association of Private Universities and Colleges praised this project as an effort “to develop a local community in a diversified and distinctive manner.”

Rikkyo University will continue to base its efforts on exchanges with local residents, governments, nonprofit organizations and other entities. In line with our commitment to learn from the community’s experiences since the 2011 disaster, the university will also take concrete and diverse actions to help students understand conditions in disaster areas, sympathize with local residents and find the motivation to take action on their own.
*Rikuzentakata Global Campus is part of the Rikkyo Vision 2014 project.

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