Action Research Paper, Tendo, M. and Adachi, T. eds., 2020

“Children’s Future and the Community Studies: Focusing on the Effect of Disasters on Children’s Lives”

Tendo, Mutsuko, Professor, Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University (Women’s Studies, Sociology of Education)

Adachi, Tomoaki, Professor, Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University (Developmental Clinical Psychology)


In Japanese academia, there is various accumulated knowledge based on theoretical and empirical research related to childhood and child studies, such as socialization, childcare, motherhood, parenting, nursery, the anxiety of childrearing, child abuse, and so on. Primarily, theoretical approaches to childhood and childhood studies were conducted in psychology and sociology in the field of social science.

The main issues of children and childhood studies in the 21st century in Japan are the declining birth rate, mothers’ isolation in childcare, child abuse, family education, social disparity and child poverty. Notably, we have to remember that the disaster in 2011 had a profound effect on children. Therefore, we need to develop new research into the effects of disasters on children’s lives.

Disaster and Children’s Lives

Japan experienced a severe disaster in 2011 when the Great East-Japan Earthquake and tsunami hit the Tohoku area. A magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck Japan on March 11, 2011. In that earthquake, tsunami, and the consequent Fukushima nuclear plant accident, more than 15,000 people lost their lives, and over 2500 were officially reported as missing (2011).

In the areas affected by this disaster, more than 40% of the households answered that their households had suffered more than before the earthquake, and about 60% said it was difficult to cover school expenses for their children (Kahoku Shinpo NP November 21, 2017).

These poverty issues threaten children’s equal opportunities for education and the right to learn, leading to a decline in their willingness to learn, resulting in poor academic performance. These results may be a cause of absence from school and increased bullying in the affected areas.

Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University Project

Since the earthquake, Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University students have provided learning support in coastal areas where the tsunami damage was severe, as well as in inland areas, where many of the victims were relocated.

As a university located in the disaster area (Miyagi Prefecture) that actively promotes regional revival, we aim to create a base for community research from a child-centered perspective. Child-centered community research also started focusing on the dignity of children and including children as active participants in society.

Learning support

We found that there are three essential issues to actively promote children’s rights for happy, safe, healthy lives.

Learning support has the function of promoting the personality of the child and strengthening the role of the family as a safe space for the mind. In this project, through an analysis of the current situation of learning support needs in disaster-stricken areas, a learning support program that meets those needs, promotes social and independent living, promotes healthy development, and builds a social space, will be developed and implemented.

Furthermore, through multifaceted reinforcement through learning support (parent support for childrearing, regional care support), we aim to restore the functions of watching and caring for children and their families (Adachi, T.).

Securing a space for children (ibasho)

Where do the children go after school? In the past, they could be found playing with friends in parks and nearby vacant lots. However, the community has dramatically transformed based on changes in lifestyles. Resulting in the reduction of playgrounds due to urbanization, the spread of information devices such as smartphones, the sparseness of local communities, and so on. In response to these, securing an after-school location that contributes to child safety and healthy growth is an important issue that must be considered in the region.

Optimal placement of children’s spaces in the region

The children spend time in places outside of home and school, but in many cases, there are not enough options for such locations. A location that is too far away increases the risk of traffic accidents, or of getting involved in crime. Research to support the creation of local children’s spaces using mathematical modeling of children’s spatial behavior and the optimal placement of such spaces using geographic information systems (GIS) and AI technology will be conducted in this study (Honma, Y.).

Food education

Rethinking the living environment after a disaster

The Annual Report of School Health Statistics Research by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has noted that Miyagi Prefecture has a higher incidence of obese children than the national average for both men and women. In coastal areas, in particular, the living environment changed after the earthquake disaster. The main changes are a decrease in the amount of exercise that children engaged in due to the loss of children’s playgrounds and other spaces. Also, an increase in obese children due to changes in the food environment. These two examples are regarded as particularly problematic.

Food environment and the risk of obesity

In our survey of about 2,000 4-year-old children attending daycare centers in Sendai city (2017), the risk of obesity was found to be high among household infants who do not have a lot of economic advantages. It became clear that this phenomenon was remarkable in infants. Other studies have also pointed out that so-called fresh foods such as fish, meat, vegetables, and fruits are less frequently consumed in households that are economically challenged, and that instant noodles are more frequently consumed. From these facts, it can be seen that after major disasters, it is necessary to examine food support in consideration of the family environment, including economic conditions, in order to improve the food environment for children (Tanno, K.).

children’s rights

Figure 1 Child-centered perspective and the three key projects

Regional Child Studies, Activities in 2019-2020

Mobile kitchen, designed by Associate Professor K. Tanno. and Professor Y. Honma

Outdoor education materials for children and students, organized by Prof. K. Nishiura, and Prof. T. Adachi, collaboration with Kodomo-en in the forest at MGWU, Japan

Global collaboration

1)International workshop on Childhood and Education Studies from Global Perspective, at Waseda Hoshien, with Professor Tien-Hui Chiang(Taiwan), ISA RC-04 vice president, and with Professor Nobuo Makino, Aug. 2019

2) Visiting research at Kids’ City, in Copenhagen, Denmark, 2020

3) Prof, M. Tendo Interviewed with Professor Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson at Gothenburg University (Göteborgs universitet), Sweden
Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson, Professor in Early Childhood Education, UNESCO Chair in ECE and Sustainable Development, Former world president of OMEP


Mutsuko Tendo, Ph.D., has been a professor of General Education at Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University (Japan) since 2015. Her research interests include Women’s Studies, the Sociology of Education, and Family Sociology, with a particular interest in childcare, education, and women’s empowerment. She was the president of the International Society for Gender Studies in Japan from 2013 to 2014. Since 2010, she has served as a member of the board of the Japan Society of Educational Sociology (JSES) and a member of the Science Council of Japan since 2017.

Tomoaki Adachi, Ph.D.is a Professor of the department of Education at Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University, Director of Chiiki Kodomogaku Kenkyu Center (Regional Child Studies Center) at MGWU. He also serves as a leader of the non-profit organization entitled, “the Great East Japan Earthquake, Children and Youth Support Center.”

Yoshinori Honma, Ph.D.is a Professor of the department of Lifestyle and Space Design, MGWU. He specialized in building physics, especially in the areas of hydrothermal environment in building. He is interested in Ergonomics, and Mathematical Modeling in architecture and City planning. h, Education at Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University,

Kumiko Tanno, Ph.D.is an Associate Professor of the department of Food and Nutritional Science, Faculty of Human Life Science at MGWU. She is interested in Nutrition education. She is a registered dietitian.

References(main books, paper, presentations by contributors, 2018-2020)

足立智昭 Adachi, Tomoaki

足立智昭「子ども家庭支援の心理学」(共著)建帛社, 2019年2月.
足立智昭「多様な人生のかたちに迫る発達心理学」(共著)ナカニシヤ出版, 2020年(近刊)
佐々木和子・足立智昭「妊婦の夫に対する情報的援助に関する研究」, 宮城学院女子大学発達科学研究, 2019, 19, 1-7.
安藤のぞ美・足立智昭「アウトドア保育による幼児のストレス軽減効果に関する研究」, 宮城学院女子大学発達科学研究, 2019, 19, 101-103.
柴田理瑛・平野幹雄・西浦和樹・足立智昭「東日本大震災の長期的影響と今求められる支援者支援」, 宮城学院女子大学発達科学研究, 2019, 19, 8-16.
小松陽子・川村玲香・柴田道明・平野幹雄・西澤奈緒子・足立智昭「宮城県における ACT すこやか子育て講座による保護者支援活動について」, 宮城学院女子大学発達科学研究, 2019, 19, 47-53.
Wang, X., Takashima, K., Adachi, T.,Finn, P., Sharin, E.,& Kitamura, Y. AssessBlocks: Exploring Toy Block Play Features for Assessing Stress in Young Children After Natural Disasters. Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies, 2020(in press).
Shibata, M., Hirano, M., & Adachi, T. : Psychological Support for Victims after the Great East Japan Earthquake Homma, T.R. ed.) Developmental psychology’s contributions- healing children from disasters and traumas. American Psychological Association2018 annual meeting, San Francisco, August, 2018.
足立智昭「自然災害直後における子どもと支援者への心理 支援と今後の課題 」日本発達心理学会第30回大会, 東京, 2019年3月17日.
足立智昭「支援者支援・養育者支援における怒りの取り扱い」日本発達心理学会第30回大会, 東京, 2019年3月17日.
柴田理瑛・平野幹雄・足立智昭(2020)「東日本大震災後の被災地における子どもの心身状態に関する研究」マツダ財団研究報告書, 2020年.

丹野久美子 Tanno, Kumiko

Yasutake Tomata, Kumiko Tanno, Shu Zhang, Michiko Sakai, Kaori Kobayashi, Noriko Kurasawa, Miki Tanaka, Yuka Kamada, Ichiro Tsuji, Fukuko Hiramoto:Subjective Household Economic Status and Obesity in Toddlers: A Cross-Sectional Study of Daycare Centers in Japan.Journal of Epidemiology 2019,1-5(2018).
鎌田由香,倉澤範子,遠又靖丈,丹野久美子,小野道子,小林香織,張姝,辻一郎,平本福子:食品群別摂取量に対する食物摂取頻度調査票(厚生労働省「乳幼児栄養調査」)の妥当性-仙台市認可保育所における横断研究 -,厚生の指標(65‐8),29-34(2018).

天童睦子 Tendo, Mutsuko

「災害と女性のエンパワーメント・再考―宮城の事例からみえること」『We learn』vol.789,(公財)日本女性学習財団,4-7.2019,9
“Life Career Education and Women's empowerment: a Post-disaster perspective from Japan”, Comparative Education Society of Hong Kong, Annual Conference 2019, @ The Education University of Hong Kong, 2019,3
“Revisiting Knowledge from the Perspective of Feminist Pedagogy“,Symposium in World Education Research Association(WERA), Tokyo Forum, @ Gakushuin University, 2019.8.
“Childhood and Education Studies from Global Perspective”, 早稲田奉仕園, 2019,8

西浦和樹 Nishiura, Kazuki

〝Beyond 2018 Japan-Sweden International Collaboration Symposium, Preschool education with sustainability perspectives″,「どのようにして持続可能な視点を取り入れた就学前教育を実践することができるのか」 宮城学院女子大学発達科学研究,2020,3(印刷中)
カリーナ・ブレイジ(著) 西浦和樹(編訳) 2019 北欧スウェーデン発 科学する心を育てるアウトドア活動事例集 北大路書房
西浦和樹 2019 スウェーデン教育セミナー2018 in 仙台 開催報告(1):日瑞の大学教育を比較し、将来展望を共有する 宮城学院女子大学発達科学研究, 19, 122-131.
西浦和樹・池田和浩・川崎一彦 2019 スウェーデン教育セミナー2018 in 仙台 開催報告(2):宮城学院女子大学公開講演会「スウェーデンの女性活躍の現状と課題」 宮城学院女子大学発達科学研究, 19, 132-140.

本間義規 Honma, Yoshinori

Yoshinori HONMA, Akira FUKUSHIMA, Masaki TAJIMA, Junichiro MATSUNAGA:Simulation Study on Optimizing the Hygrothermal Condition of an Underfloor ventilation Chamber,Roomvent & Ventilation 2018, Espoo, Finland
本間義規:岩手県における応急仮設住宅の温湿度環境実測と熱湿気性状解析に基づく小屋裏結露防止,仮設住宅研究会,京都大学防災研究所特定研究集会(課題番号:30C-03 牧),2018.9