Rikuzentakata. Not Your Average Japan

Rikuzentakata Project

About the Rikuzentakata Project

Started in the fiscal year of 2015 by Rikkyo University, the “Rikuzentakata Project” is held in English and is a regular curriculum course at the university. Students who attend the course take on the subject of creating and disseminating media content (pictures, videos, etc.) to convey Rikuzentakata City’s charm and appeal.

The Rikuzentakata Project is a Project-Based Learning course that involves field work spanning 5 days and 4 nights in Rikuzentakata City – a city devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake – where students learn about the present situation and problems the city encounters. As one of the initiatives of Rikkyo Global 24, the aim is for Rikkyo University Students (including international exchange students) to contribute to the recovery of Rikuzentakata City through a broad understanding of the present situation in the disaster-stricken areas and sharing of its problems that occur in the recovery process.

Stanford University supports the aim of this course and seeks to dispatch its own students for the project. Through the non-profit organisation “Volunteers in Asia” (VIA) within Stanford University, students are dispatched annually since the fiscal year of 2015. Stanford University students first learn about Rikuzentakata City and the Great East Japan Earthquake before coming to Japan, participate in study and research for 5 days and 4 nights on-site and continue work after completion of the project.

Photos, videos, essays and other media content of past iterations of the course are available at Rikkyo University’s website. Look out for the project banner where these media content are used.

Past Participation of the Rikuzentakata Project
from FY2015 to FY2018

FY2015 •Theme: “Please tell the world of Rikuzentakata`s Appeal”
•Topic Requester: Rikuzentakata City
•Participants: 13 students from Rikkyo University, 7 students from Stanford University

FY2016 •Theme: “Consolidating the Appeal of Rikuzentakata to Create and Disseminate Media Content”
• Participants: 7 students from Rikkyo University, 7 students from Stanford University

FY2017 •Theme: “Consolidating Rikuzentakata`s Appeal to Create & Disseminate Media Content to Draw Overseas Tourists In”
•Participants: 11 students from Rikkyo University, 7 students from Stanford University

FY2018 •Theme: “Creating & Disseminating Media Content to Convey Rikuzentakata’s Appeal”
•Participants: 14 students from Rikkyo University, 6 students from Stanford University, 2 students from Hong Kong University


MARUGOTO Rikuzentakata coordinates and arranges a wide range of short-stay programmes ranging from educational programmes (lectures, group work, etc.) to casual programmes (mainly interaction with citizens) that caters to visitors of all nationalities.

MARUGOTO Rikuzentakata has coordinated various programmes for a number of universities in the past; they include American universities such as Stanford University, Princeton University and Portland State University, as well as universities like The University of Hong Kong, Foreign Trade University and the Autonomous University of Morelos. Meeting each and every university`s objectives and period of stay, activities such as field work, workshops, hands-on experiences and homestay experiences are actively conducted.

Apart from arranging programmes for universities, MARUGOTO Rikuzentakata also arranges Disaster Preparedness Training for the Japan International
Cooperation Agency (JICA) and other inspection programmes for administrations from various countries. These programmes raise awareness of disaster preparedness and educate participants about the horrors of disasters and lessons to be learnt. In addition, these programmes also provide forms of learning from meeting people who overcome the aftermath of the disaster; continuing to be strong or not letting the disaster change their warm-heartedness. From witnessing the development of a new city and learning of the plans for the future of the city, there are lessons that one can take away from there as well.

Collaboration between Kansai University, Foreign Trade University and the Autonomous University of Morelos (2 weeks)

This is a long-stay programme on problem based learning through the process of problem solving. The objective of the programme is the nurturing of cross-cultural understanding, practice of project skills, while at the same time mastering English through presentations and field work in mixed groups with English as the common language used. In the programme, it is possible to have deep interactions with citizens through home-stays and community work while discovering the appeals of the local area while learning about the problems the area faces. It is also possible to experience what can only be experienced in a disaster-stricken area and witness traces of the damage caused by the disaster.

Graduate Exchange Students from the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, Sophia University (3 days 2 nights)

A short-stay programme that also serves as an on-site inspection tour for research on topics related to the global environment. The contents of the programme can be arranged to suit the needs of the research topic. In the programme, students can interact with citizens through home-stays, carry out inspection on water quality in the aftermath of the disaster, listen in to the plans for recovery and development of the city from the disaster and conduct surveys with the citizens of the city.

Past participants in the last 3 years: (Total number as of January 2019) 1623 people