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Disaster Preparedness x Creative Design

EARTH MANUAL PROJECT - This Could Save Your Life -



Natural disasters occur all over the world, and disaster preparedness and prevention is an universal issue. Disasters can happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone.


Including the recent disasters in Kobe (1995), Tohoku (2011), and Kumamoto (2016), Japan has extensive experience dealing with natural disasters on both a national and local level.


Earth Manual Project is an accumulation of knowledge and innovative ideas based on these experiences. This includes the work of experts, architects, designers, and artists. The goals of the project go beyond national borders, and encourage cooperation with a vision toward the future.


Earth Manual Project took a form of exhibition, showcasing a selection of these creative ideas for disaster preparedness. To date, the exhibition has traveled from Japan to Southeast Asia, accumulating new ideas and evolving to fit local conditions with each stop.


Timeline of Activities in the U.S.
September 27 - December 12, 2018 Exhibition: "EARTH MANUAL PROJECT - This Could Save Your Life" (New York)
Venue: Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center/Parsons School of Design at The New School
Address: 2 West 13th Street, New York, NY

Top: Photo by Ayumi Sakamoto, Bottom: Photo by Marc Tatti


November 14, 2018 Lecture: This Could Save Your Life - Collective Wisdom for Disaster Response (New York)
Location: Japan Society
Murase Room, 333 East 47th Street, New York, NY
Speakers: Hirokazu Nagata, Ikaputra, Ruttikorn Vuttikorn
Moderator: Robert Kirkbride, Dean, School of Constructed Environments and Associate Professor, Architecture and Product Design, Parsons School of Design

Top: Photo by Ayumi Sakamoto


November 13, 2018 Lecture: Tackling Disaster Issues Creatively: Cases in Indonesia and Thailand (New York)
Location: Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility
Glass Corner, Parsons East Building, 25 East 13th Street, New York, NY
View Facebook Live here.


September 28, 2018 Lecture: Bumpei Yorifuji on Illustration (New York)
Location: UL 104, University Center
63 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY


September 26, 2018 Global Guest Lecture: On Emergency Preparedness Solutions by Hirokazu Nagata and Bumpei Yorifuji (New York)
Location: Global Guest Lecture Series, MFA Design for Social Innovation, School of Visual Arts
133/141 West 21st Street, Room 101c, New York, NY


February 27, 2018 "How to Craft Safety" Workshop at PS 147 Isaac Remsen School of Environmental Engineering (New York):
Disaster preparedness workshop for second graders in the Japanese Dual Language Program.

Photo by George Hirose


February 25, 2018 "How to Craft Safety" Workshop at Children's Museum of the Arts (New York):
Workshop for children on how to make paper plates and how to make rain ponchos with garbage bags.

Photo by George Hirose


February 23, 2018 Talk by Hirokazu Nagata and Masashi Sogabe at Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, CT):
In cooperation with RISD Global Partners and Program


February 22, 2018 Talk by Masashi Sogabe at School of Constructed Environments, Parsons School of Design (New York)


November 1, 2017 Presentation for World Tsunami Awareness Day event at Japan Society (New York)


September 16, 2017 'Emergency! Kaeru Caravan' Workshop at Aozora Gakuen (New York):
Workshop for community leaders on how to conduct disaster preparedness education program.

Photo by Mari Nakano


September 11 - 15, 2017 Earth Manual Project: Disaster Preparedness & Constructed Environments, a school-wide, week-long Intensive at School of Constructed Environments, Parsons School of Design (New York):
Students considered what role can design play in preparing for disaster, drawing from research results provided by the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility. Students looked into three New York-specific disasters: 1) Hurricane Sandy, 2) Blackouts in 1977 and 2003, and 3) September 11 terrorist attacks.
Video of the week intensive kick-off event
Parsons blog post on the week intensive

Top left: Photo by Ayumi Sakamoto


February 23, 2017 'This Could Save Your Life: Creative Design & Disaster Preparedness' Talk by Hirokazu Nagata at Parsons School of Design (New York):
Followed by panel discussion with Parsons professors.


November 4, 2016 'This Could Save Your Life: Creative Design & Disaster Preparedness' Talk by Hirokazu Nagata at Japan Society (New York):
A pulbic talk coinciding with World Tsunami Awareness Day and the Fourth Anniversary of Hurricane Sandy (2012).

Photo by Ayumi Sakamoto


November 3, 2016 Presentation at World Tsunami Awareness Day event at United Nations Headquarters (New York):



Hirokazu Nagata
President, Plus Arts / Vice Director, Design Creative Center Kobe(KIITO)


A native of Hyogo Prefecture, Hirokazu Nagata became interested in disaster preparedness after experiencing the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake firsthand in 1995. Feeling strongly that the memory of the earthquake should not fade, Nagata established the +arts (Plus Arts) in 2006 to educate the public on disaster preparedness. Working with organizations like the Japan Foundation, JICA, and Kobe City, Mr. Nagata has expanded his work beyond Japan to include over 20 countries in South East Asia and South America.

Photo by Yoshiaki Tsutsui AXIS


Masashi Sogabe
Architect, Cofounder of MIKAN / Professor at Kanagawa University


Sogabe has worked on numerous projects such as Toyota Group Pavilion at the Aichi Expo 2005 that received a Good Design Award, and the "mAAch ecute KANDA MANSEIBASHI," a multi-use shopping complex located in a former train station that won an AIJ (Architectural Institute of Japan) prize in 2015. Sogabe has collaborated on several disaster preparedness projects, including the exhibition design for the Earth Manual Project in Kobe, Japan in 2013.

Photo by Toru Kometani


Bumpei Yorifuji
Art Director / Editorial Designer / Illustrator / Author / President, Bunpei Ginza


Bumpei Yorifuji started his own design firm, Yorifuji Design Office, in 1998 and established Bunpei Ginza in 2000. Yorifuji has art-directed many corporate advertisements as well as public service campaigns. His major works include: the "manners" posters series for the Tokyo Metro, an etiquette campaign for Japan Tobacco to encourage smokers to be more considerate, the "ITSUMO no MOSHIMO" advertising campaign for MUJI, a tourist map of Fukushima for Fukushima Prefecture. In addition to marketing and advertisement work, he also does book design, illustrations and writing.


Architect / Urban Designer / Associate Professor of Universitas Gadjah Mada


Born in 1962 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Ikaputra is a Doctor of Engineering at Osaka University and an Associate Professor at Department of Architecture & Planning, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta. He happened to be at the scene of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995, the Central Java Earthquake in 2006, and the Gunung Merapi Eruption in 2010 (the latter two disasters both affected Yogyakarta), and lent his support to the reconstruction efforts after these disasters.


Ruttikorn Vuttikorn
Design Director, Club Creative


Since graduating as an industrial designer, Ruttikorn Vuttikorn has been interested in and fascinated by toy design. She doesn't consider toys as merely a plaything but as a development tool for society and individuals. With NGOs and government agencies, she develops games that educate children to understand and solve diverse problems, including environmental, social, and political problems.

For more than 2 decades, she has been extremely active in social development through play as she strongly believes that for society to improve and advance every child should have equal access to "quality play".




Earth Manual Project - This Could Save Your Life is an exhibition collaboration between The Japan Foundation Asia Center and Parsons School of Design/The New School, in cooperation with Design and Creative Center Kobe (KIITO) / Plus Arts.


International transportation for this exhibition is generously supported by ANA (All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd). This exhibition is made possible with the cooperation of the NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation). Special support is provided by the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations. Special thanks to Japan Society, Inc., AIG Japan, MUJI (Ryohin Keikaku Co., Ltd.), and Procter & Gamble Japan.