寄付・募金・ボランティアのセーブ・ザ・チルドレン・ジャパン

Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami Emergency response and recovery program

Karuta (Traditional Japanese Playing Cards) of Yamada Town: Promoting Yamada’s Attractions (June 18, 2014)

Karuta (Traditional Japanese Playing Cards) of Yamada Town: Promoting Yamada’s Attractions (June 18, 2014)

Keppare Yamada Toekomst (KYT) is Yamada Town’s Children’s Community Building Club. Since Oct. 2013, they have been working on a set of karuta (traditional Japanese playing cards) to convey Yamada Town’s attractions. The karuta cards are now complete! This report shows what the cards look like and describes how they were created. These karuta cards display the passion that each community member has for Yamada Town!

■ Seventy Cards with Seventy Different Attractions ■
KYT members along with the entire local community participated in the process of creating the Yamada Town Karuta Cards. Unlike regular karuta cards, Yamada Town’s 70 cards each carry not only a local characteristic, but also a community member’s sentiment towards their town. Every phrase and illustration on the cards was collected from members in the community. Moreover, detailed descriptions of Yamada Town’s attractions can be found on the back of the cards.
The Yamada Town Karuta Cards are filled with the passion of the KYT members as they convey the things they feel are attractive and special about their hometown. It is hoped that these cards will reassure Yamada Town of the pride its community feels for its town while also appealing to those from outside the community.

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* The character found on each card is “Matsushii,” whose name is a combination of the local specialty mushrooms of Yamada Town, matsutake and shiitake. KYT members created Matsushii as a symbol of the revitalization of their community.

■ The Process of Creating Yamada Town’s Karuta Cards ■
During the Children’s Community Building Leader’s Tour held during the end of July 2013, KYT members had an opportunity to learn about “Mizuka’s Karuta Cards.” Those cards were created by the community members of Mizuka Town in Nagata Ward of Kobe City, as a part of the community recovery process after the Kobe Earthquake in 1995, and they inspired the members of KYT.

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A couple of months later, KYT members decided to try out their idea of “Yamada Town’s Karuta Cards.” With the cooperation of community members, the club started creating their own karuta cards in Sept. 2013. Their aim was to reconnect the communities of Yamada Town that were scattered by the 2011 disaster, and promote the attractions of Yamada Town both inside and outside of the community.

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First they asked students from elementary to high school level in the community about Yamada Town’s attractions. Next, these attractions were narrowed down and categorized into: specialties of Yamada Town; things people want to know about Yamada Town; things we have had since before the disaster; and new things that have been created post-disaster. For each category the children started collecting phrases for the cards.

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Second, an invitation to the community was sent for phrases under the theme of “Attractions of Yamada Town.” Over 200 phrases were collected from community members, of which 70 were selected through community workshops and voting.

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Third, in Feb. 2014, a request was circulated for illustrations to go with the 70 selected phrases. Illustrations from men and women of all ages in the community were collected. To make the cards more self-explanatory, detailed descriptions were added to the back of the cards with help from members of the community. After the card designs were chosen, and a box picked, the process of creating Yamada Town’s Karuta Cards was finally completed in June 2014!

■ Promoting the Attractions of Yamada Town to Everyone through its Karuta Cards ■
On March 27, 2014, members of KYT visited a gakudo (afterschool program) in Yamada Town and played with the children attending using the new karuta cards. On May 25, they also trialed the new cards with the participants of a briefing session. Here are some of the positive responses they received:
“There still are places in Yamada Town that I didn’t know about.”
“It was very interesting to learn more about our town!”

The KYT members are planning to distribute the new karuta cards to places such as schools and gakudo to promote the attractions of Yamada Town, to people both within and outside of the community. We will continue to support such activities to make Yamada Town more famous, attract more visitors and help revitalize the community. Please come visit Yamada Town!