Lecture: Japan's Recovery Lies in Iitate's Spirit of 'Madei' Lecture, Q&A Session

Presented by JICC, Embassy of Japan

A Lecture with Norio Kanno, Mayor of Iitate Village, Fukushima

As Japan continues to recover from the March 11th earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear disasters, one village at the heart of the catastrophe has demonstrated an inspiring resilience. Located 24 miles from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, Iitate was once a thriving and idyllic farming community. But since the tragic events of March 11th its families have been displaced, forcing them to abandon their homes, livelihoods, and a way of life they had enjoyed for generations.

No one knows the profound loss this represents better than Iitate's own mayor, Norio Kanno. Mayor Kanno has taken on a leadership role in trying to ensure the village's survival, playing an instrumental part in advocating for its inhabitants and soliciting substantial government funding for their relief. He credits the positive energy he and other villagers have been able to summon to their spirit of "madei."

Originally meaning "whole-heartedness" and "acting with respect and care," the term has more recently been interpreted in Iitate's own dialect as denoting "eco-consciousness" and "acting in harmony with nature." Mayor Kanno argues that it is only by adopting Iitate's unique philosophy of madei that Japan can hope to work towards recovery, and that tragedy can become an opportunity to help the nation embrace this vital credo.

Norio Kanno was born in 1946 in Iitate Village. Since being elected Mayor in 1996 he has served four consecutive terms.

Photo & Video Policy

The Japan Information & Culture Center (JICC), Embassy of Japan reserves the right to use any photograph/video taken at any event sponsored by JICC, without the expressed written permission of those included within the photograph/video. JICC may use the photograph/video in publications or other media material produced, used or contracted by JICC including but not limited to: brochures, invitations, newspapers, magazines, television, social media, websites, etc. To ensure the privacy of individuals and children, images will not be identified using full names or personal identifying information without written approval from the photographed subject, parent or legal guardian. A person attending a JICC event who does not wish to have their image recorded for distribution should make their wishes known to the photographer/videographer, and/or the event organizers.