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Update on Japan's Green Map Network

Green Maps around Japan

Japan is constantly on our minds these days. With the earth still shaking, the shock yields to pain and sadness. We don't yet know the full extent of the unprecedented disaster but our hearts go out to each impacted person and their communities. Having worked with 70 diverse Japanese cities and towns over the years, our network sent messages of hope and people from Kyoto, Tokyo and other points south of the path of destruction have responded they are OK, thankfully. We know there are many great losses and deep uncertainties due to the nuclear nightmare. We know people need help to rebuild and remember, heal and regenerate. We have begun to discuss how Green Mapmaking can help in the recovery effort – let us know if you would like to know more about this or wish to offer help directly to some of our exemplary projects in Japan.

At Green Map’s NYC office, we remember how after 9/11, people reached out for a vibrant vision of Manhattan to help wipe away unbelievable after-images of the Twin Towers collapsing. We sent copies of LoMap, our youth-view of Lower Manhattan, to help them heal. We’d like to highlight the spirit of the Japanese Green Mapmakers in the same way with these self-portraits of community. We hope these images and links underscore the strengths of Japan’s remarkable community leaders and culture, and help revitalize sustainable society across the country and around the world.

One of the early stories we posted about the Green Map network growing in Japan is now a nostalgic PDF - or jump to a quick overview with links to key pages.

Staff from New York has taken part in several events from Tokyo to Hiroshima to Nagoya to Kitakyushu.

The Tokyo Art Jungle was a great exhibition curated by David d’Heilly in 2002. For us the highlight was university students’ Green Maps of each of the 29 stations around the Yamanote, Tokyo’s central train line. We loved the video they created, as well as the project's photo-rich website. Lots of people pitched in, including Setagaya Green Mapmaker, Masahiro Horiuchi. The overall organizer was Yohei Yasuda, whose most recent project Open Today was launched last week on Facebook, a ‘cheer project’ aiming to help people reconnect.

Hiroshima's youth and elders teamed up to create the Eco Peace Map with contrasting views from pre-1945 and 2003, using the tram lines to focus their exploration. Led by Sendai-san, the layered map shares the hope for a better future from one generation to the next - download the outcomes here.

Thanks to Chubu Recycle and hundreds of participants, the World’s Fair, Aichi EXPO 2005 offered two Green Map Pavilions and 40 unique locally created Green Maps as seen here. The page links to www.gm-aichi.net (in English), where you can see the wonderful books published to share process and outcomes by Keiko Nakagawa, Hagiwara-san and colleagues. Our director took part in the 2010 five -year review of Aichi’s impacts, which included creation of another 40 community Green Maps and a exhibit, forum and events alongside COP10, the United Nations Biodiversity Conference described in this blog post.

Diverse locally-authored stories are captured in the two books we co-created with Green Map Japan and Aichi Green Map. The first is the Green Map Atlas, online in Japanese and English. Download the complete English book (PDF 7MB) or get the individual stories here. We also love sharing the Green Map Impacts book (PDF, 7MB), which includes 18 illustrated overviews, 10 of which are about Japanese initiatives.

The NGO Green Map Japan has been supporting local efforts since 2002. While GreenMapJapan.org, their website is in Japanese, you can send a message of hope directly in any language or click reply below and share your thoughts here.

You won’t find a direct way to send donation on GreenMapJapan.org, but you can use our Donate button to support their ongoing work. Please add a note and we will be sure that Misako Yomosa, the Coordinator who has dedicated countless hours over the last 15 years to teaching and connecting Green Mapmakers will receive your help to continue this - now more than ever – important work. Find Yomosa-san's Harmony Newsletters, list of Japanese Green Maps as well as a recent illustrated overview of projects linked to the photo below, too.