Hiroyuki Kawai

Professor, Kobe Design University

+Design field member

Activities are concentrated five and ten years after the disaster

Activities concentrated among “The Kobe 21st Century Recovery Commemoration Projects”, which was 5 years from the earthquake, and “10 year milestone of earthquake: Voices from Kobe”, “Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake 10 year commemoration projects”. Heavily related to the influence of clients and funding.



Annually recurring events

From 10 years after the earthquake, there are numerous events held continuously, that focus on not forgetting, and learning from what happened. The Kobe Luminarie is an event which takes place in December every year since the year of the earthquake, and is known throughout the country as a festival of lights.



Incorporating direct experiences of the earthquake is still under development

It was developed after the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, and there are a few cases of implementation after the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake, but there are surprisingly very few examples.



Disaster-prevention related items, from after 10 years later

Disaster-prevention items started to appear 10 years after the earthquake. Earthquake research is said to be behind this.



Books and magazines concentrated right after the disaster

Books and magazines were published in concentrated amounts right after the earthquake.



A distinct feature in the design field is that the striking trend in the activities depending on the year. It is probably due to design’s undeniable relationship with the recovery situation as well as the economic activity of local government and companies.

At the end of June of 1995, the year the earthquake occurred, the prefecture announced the “Industry Recovery Plan” and Kobe City the “Kobe Economic Recovery Committee Report” and in August the “Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Recovery Plan” was revealed, which presented basic guidelines for reconstruction. Infrastructure construction was propelled, and by August about 80% of tourist attractions and accommodation facilities were back in business. Many conferences and championships were invited to take place, and there was a recovery relay event held. The following May of ’96, the actress and Kobe-native, Yuko Asano was named the “Hyogo Tourism Ambassador” and officially began the campaign to rebuild tourism.

In July the “Kobe Festival” and “Kobe Ocean Fireworks Festival” were held once again. In October the “Meiippai Hyogo Tourism Campaign”, and “Tokimeki Kobe Tourism Campaign” began. During this time, there were a diverse range of projects, such as design projects that was in close contact with the local region, as well as large-scale events like the Kobe Luminarie.

The second period of concentrated activity came at the turn of the century in 2001. From January 17 (when the earthquake occurred) to September 30, over 400 small and large projects were developed as part of the “Kobe 21st Century Recovery Commemoration Project”.

The third period came in 2005, with the implementation of “10 year milestone of earthquake: Voices from Kobe”, and the “Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake 10 year commemoration projects”. It is important to note that after the 10-year mark since the earthquake, there have been continuous events so that the earthquake and its impact would not be forgotten. Right after the earthquake, and in the early stages, there were many cases where the details of the activities or projects were not recorded. In terms of continuing the activities and pushing it forward into the next step, a documentation projects such as this demonstrates its pertinence.


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