RSY vol.12 Kizuna Kobo, the Cooperative Craft Studio (Part 1)
by Voices from the Field Admin - Saturday, 8 December 2012, 07:57 AM


There stand two small prefabricated buildings next to Kizunakan volunteer house and the Disaster Volunteer Center. 
They are workplaces for “Kizuna Kobo”, a cooperative craft studio which opened on Dec. 12th, 2011 (Mon). The Kizuna Kobo was established with sponsorship from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, as a part of its Project for Rebuilding Kizuna (solidarity) in the Community, and is managed by the Shichigahama Social Welfare Council.   

 Kizuna Kobo provides a place to visit and an opportunity to have a sense of fulfillment in life. The aim is to prevent social withdrawal, isolation and hypoactivity, or disuse syndrome, which have now become serious concerns among the residents in the temporary housing.

 People who had their houses totally or nearly destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami may register as members and work at the Kizuna Kobo. That includes not only the residents in the temporary housing but also the people who live away from their old neighborhood, in the apartments leased by the town or in the houses they bought after the earthquake.



Twelve people had registered by the opening day and have started engaging in handicraft work.

Kizuma Kobo is open from 10:00 to 15:00, Monday through Friday, for the members to engage in light work such as making handicrafts and woodworks. In the pre-opening event held on Dec. 7th, the Soroptimist International Nagoya offered a workshop to make little stuffed owls.


 Stuffed owls were the first handicrafts made at Kizuna Kobo


 Before beginning this first handicraft project, the organizer presented sewing kits to the participants.


When they received the sewing kits, the participants said:

“I used to enjoy sewing at home. I made various things like small items, bags, etc. But, everything was washed away.”

“I suppose working with our hands like this will prevent us from getting senile.”

People who had moved away from Shichigahama were among the participants.


Members of Kizuna Kobo smiling with their handmade owls.


 Handicraft has become an “occupation” for the members, as they now sometimes make things by request for small price. For example, they also make netsuke straps of shijimi clam shells, using materials provided by the NPO Institute of Hyogo, Town, and Living. (Hyogo Prefecture)  


Netsuke straps of shijimi clam shells

I imagine somebody in a distant place picking up an item made in this Kizuna Kobo and thinking of Shichigahama. We hope this project will help create such a connection everywhere.


Reported by Yoshinori Ishii, the Rescue Stock Yard



Other products of Kizuna Kobo

Picture of Anatoli  Vassiljev
Re: RSY vol.12 Kizuna Kobo, the Cooperative Craft Studio (Part 1)
by Anatoli Vassiljev - Monday, 10 December 2012, 04:15 PM
handicrafts made at Kizuna Kobo are very beautiful
Picture of Sharon Corologos
Re: RSY vol.12 Kizuna Kobo, the Cooperative Craft Studio (Part 1)
by Sharon Corologos - Thursday, 27 December 2012, 07:42 AM
I loved the photos of the handicrafts here, and as I looked at the people who created these beautiful crafts I saw such friendly smiles.... both in the lips and in the eyes of each of the group. Crafts heal both the makers and the eventual owners, especially Japanese crafts.

I hope this project gives the crafters a wonderful sense of community. I know the sense of community can bring great comfort, as great as the comfort that comes from being an accomplished artisan can be.