The Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund

Introduction to Grant Projects

Save Iwate

Basket weaving supporting elderly disaster victims using crimson glory vine, which is a threat to forest plantations, and Japanese walnut, which is a threat to waterways

Activity grant

Project Description

Building a healthy relationship between people, nature, and industry, resulting in financial support for elderly disaster victims through basket weaving.
This project provides a space to practice handicrafts for disaster victims who evacuated to Morioka from Iwate Prefecture coastal areas that were heavily damaged in the Great East Japan Earthquake. One of these crafts is basket weaving using tree bark which is practiced by elderly men. The bark used comes from Japanese walnut, which often grows wild at water sources, and crimson glory vine, which is often found coiled around forest trees. Both of these are considered threats to the respective natural resources around which they are found. By collecting and using these as a resource for handicraft work, a source of revenue is created that supports disaster victims. Furthermore, it also builds a healthy relationship between people, nature, and industry. [Project No. K15-1003]

Resource Circulation
Grant year
FY15/3 Activity Grants
Grant term
3 years
October 2015 - September 2018
Grant amount
3,990,000 yen
Activity region
Iwate town, Kitakami, Hanamaki, Shizukuishi, and Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, Japan
Weavers gathered in one of the rooms provided. They come almost everyday in winter.

Overview of the Organization

Yoshio Terai, Director
Project organization
Save Iwate
Yoshio Terai, Director
Establishment purpose
To cooperate with people from disaster areas on the coast of Iwate Prefecture that were damaged beyond imagination by the Great East Japan Earthquake, provide urgent assistance, and contribute to building a society where these people can live safely through intiative supporting the rebuilding of disaster areas and livelihoods.
Recent activities
  • To care for disaster victims evacuated inland by providing spaces for consultations and communal activities
  • Provide spaces for disaster victims to practice handicrafts (fund-raising tea clothes, clothes repair, basket weaving)
  • Creating emplyment for disaster victims (hiring for the Wagurumi Project)
  • Selling fund-raising goods produced by other organizations and products created by companies run by disaster victims
  • Awareness-raising events to keep issues visible in the Tokyo area
  • Supporting the cost of buying tools and materials needed to revive festivals in disaster areas
  • Operating tours to support and educate about disaster areas
23 full-time staff members, 11 part-time staff members, 8 full members
WEB site
Representatives comment
It has been five years since the Great East Japan Earthquake, but only about 30% of progress towards recovery has been made. However, we are keeping our hopes up and moving forward. I hope you will use one of these baskets that have been diligently woven using pleasantly textured tree barks that grow abundantly in Iwate.