• Finished

Discussion 1: Exploring the means and art of living in a "saikan (society between disasters)" (6 sessions)

  • Art Project ,
  • Lecture / Symposium

Looking at a number of ways to engage in disaster recovery

Due to the impact of global climate change, in recent years Japan has experienced frequent nationwide disasters of varying sizes. If you look at each region’s history, they will have experienced some sort of disaster. And from early 2020 coronavirus (COVID-19) began to spread in Japan: we now find ourselves in the midst of a global crisis.

A “saikan (society between disasters)”: in other words, living as we do now in the “between period” of different disasters, anyone can be involved in a disaster. By the same token anyone can therefore provide help or support in some form. When that happens, what sort of “involvement” can we have?

In this discussion series, we will be talking to guests who have been involved in various ways on the scene of disaster recovery. What sort of attitudes, techniques and methods might be needed at the site of a disaster? Join us in thinking about the art of living in a “society between disasters” through discussions with session navigators.

Image: Red Iron Bridge (Sakamoto Bridge) at Sakamotomachi in Yatsushiro, Kumamoto Prefecture. Washed away by heavy rain (Date of photograph unknown/Photography by Ichiro Togi) From digital data of severely water-damaged 35mm color film (REBORN Project, July 2020)


Session 1
Introduction: How do you get involved in disasters? Tackling the “difficulties” of getting involved from the outside
The aims of this series will be shared by looking at the Great East Japan Earthquake support initiative Art Support Tohoku-Tokyo, documentation practices of the Group for Continuous Documentation of the Great Hanshin Earthquake, and on-site practices etc. related to the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake and other disasters that our navigators were involved in.

Date/time: Saturday, July 31, 2021 14:00 – 17:00
Speakers: Risei Sato, Takumi Miyamoto, Junko Takamori

Session 2
Guest talk and discussion: What attitude do we assume on the scene? Should we have“aims” or “just be there”?
We ask Masamichi Yoshitsubaki (Secretary General of Citizens toward Overseas Disaster Emergency (CODE)) about his experiences of involvement in disaster recovery in Japan and overseas, and discuss how to approach a disaster site, how to deal with the situation, and how to keep going.

Date/time: Saturday, August 21, 2021 14:00 – 17:00
Speaker: Masamichi Yoshitsubaki
Interviewer: Takumi Miyamoto

Session 3
Guest talk and discussion: What do you do first? How do you keep going?
The journey and transformation from documentation towards creative expression
Artist Natsumi Seo has been living in the Tohoku region since just after the Great East Japan Earthquake, recording people’s testimonies and developing activities for turning them into creative expression. We trace her steps, and discuss the nature of creative expression in places where disasters have occurred.
Date/time: Saturday, September 25, 2021 14:00 – 17:00
Speaker: Natsumi Seo
Interviewer: Risei Sato

Session 4
Guest talk and discussion: What can we do to convey an event?
How to pass down experiences
We hear from Katsutoshi Yamazumi (Direcor of NPO Futaba/Earthquake Disaster Learning Lab) whose work involves learning from and conveying experiences of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. Together we discuss the handing down and communicating of experiences of certain events.
Date/time: Saturday, October 9, 2021 14:00 – 17:00
Speaker: Katsutoshi Yamazumi
Interviewer: Junko Takamori

Session 5
Guest talk and discussion: How does art relate to catastrophes? Looking at its connection with different disasters
Since its opening, the Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto (CAMK)has taken part in a variety of initiatives, including those related to a leprosy (Hansen’s disease) sanatorium, the Kumamoto Earthquakes, the Kyushu floods of July 2020, and involvement with Minamata. We hear from CAMK Curator Akiko Sakamoto and discuss the way art expression and the mechanisms to support it relate to land-based disasters.

Date/time: Saturday, October 30, 2021 14:00 – 17:00
Speaker: Akiko Sakamoto
Interviewer: Risei Sato

Session 6
Review: What is the art of living in a “society between disasters”?
Together with our navigators we look back at the discussions so far and think about what the art of living in a “society between disasters” means for each participant.

Date/time: Saturday, December 4, 2021 14:00 – 17:00


– People who want to think about the involvement of cultural projects from the perspective of disasters
– People who are interested in disaster recovery on the ground

Participation fee

6,000 yen (Includes all sessions, cost of materials and postage)


30 (first-come-first-served basis)

Delivery format

*Participants will be sent the Zoom URL in advance (Zoom Chat and other functions to be used on the day)
*There are no plans to make archived video footage public (a report will be released at a later date)

How to apply

Please apply via BASE
*We will mailing out materials, so please apply as one person per application.

Deadline for application
Applications accepted until 17:00, Wednesday July 28, 2021
*Payments should be made before 16:00 on Friday July 30
*Applications will close when capacity is reached
*After you have applied the organizer will send out detailed communication by email so please confirm you receive it.


Risei Sato (Program Officer, Arts Council Tokyo)
Takumi Miyamoto (Associate Professor, Graduate School of Disaster Resilience and Governance, University of Hyogo)
Junko Takamori (Assistant Professor, Aichi Shukutoku University/Secretary General of the Group for Continuous Documentation of the Great Hanshin Earthquake)


Masamichi Yoshitsubaki (Secretary General of Citizens toward Overseas Disaster Emergency (CODE))
Natsumi Seo (Artist)
Katsutoshi Yamazumi (Direcor of NPO Futaba/Earthquake Disaster Learning Lab)
Akiko Sakamoto (Curator, Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto (CAMK))


Project Coordination Division,
Arts Council Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture
TEL: 03-6256-8435(Weekday 10:00-18:00)




Organized by
Arts Council Tokyo (Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture)