Exploring the possibilities of school-based recovery and community building in Toni District, Kamaishi

Shohei Matsuura, Rajib Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The damages that the East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (EJET) brought upon the education sector did not only affect schools, but also had a significant impact on the whole community. This is because communities in Japan commonly consider schools as a central public facility that local residents have attended and are familiar with. Many schools also function as evacuation centers during emergencies. Therefore, there is strong implication of schools having a potential role in facilitating the overall recovery and community building by bringing communities back together through the school–community linkages. This paper attempts to discuss on the possibilities of exploring the “school-based recovery” concept, which is being promoted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology with a specific case study in Toni District, Kamaishi City in Iwate Prefecture. A series of surveys were conducted in which the results show that school–community linkage prior to EJET played a critical part for residents to effectively respond to the disaster. Because of this, this linkage must be promptly restored and strengthened to proceed with recovery and to build disaster resilient communities. Survey results extracted specific means for school and community recovery, including joint disaster risk reduction activities, regional education, as well as opening up the school facilities for it to become a multifunctional facility that can serve the whole community. Looking at both short-term recovery and the longer-term community building needs, the paper provides an insight that in addition to recovery, the concept can also help communities in building new networks and solving chronic social problems such as population drainage essential for sustainable community building.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-633
Number of pages21
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan
Externally publishedYes


  • Disaster education
  • Disaster resilient community building
  • School-based recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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