On March 11, 2011, a powerful earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastated northeastern Japan. As the dramatic extent of the destruction became clear, a variety of aid initiatives were founded. Several aimed to use the power of creativity and art to offer the direct victims positive experiences as well as to bring the country together. Of these, the Arigato Project is the best known internationally.
Arigato means thank you. First and foremost, this book expresses Japan’s heartfelt appreciation for the help and kindness it received from so many people around the world in the aftermath of this natural disaster. In doing so it showcases the inspired creativity generated by the multifaceted Arigato Project since its founding.
Arigato features diverse work that deals with themes of love and thankfulness from fields including product design, furniture design, graphic design, illustration, and art. In addition, the book documents the art events and workshops that took place in the affected region and gave its people the chance to work through their traumatic experiences or simply to find a bit of happiness through creativity.
The Design Association NPO, internationally known as the host and organizer of Tokyo Designers Week (TDW), is the initiator of both the Arigato Project and this book. Arigato also presents other exhibits and events from TDW 2011 that demonstrate how dynamic Japan’s current design scene is despite the recent natural catastrophe—or partially because of its galvanizing effect.