Project – School Pupils in Osaka are Champions for Avoidable Deaths from Tsunamis


Full Title: School Pupils in Osaka are Champions for Avoidable Deaths from Tsunamis

Short Title: Hama Elementary Junior Champions

Duration: December 2020 to present

Principal Investigator: Dr. Hideyuki Shiroshita (Associate Professor, Kansai University)

Support Member: Ms. Marina Yagi

In 2011, the triple disaster in Japan (tsunami, Tohoku earthquake and the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear plant) killed more than 19,747 people. In the aftermath of the triple disaster the central and local governments have revisited the tsunami predictions. The prediction indicates that in a worst case scenario more than 2000 deaths could take place. The predictions also indicate that if early preparedness can lead to zero deaths. Timely and quick evacuation can avoid deaths. To prepare the “at risk” community as well as to disseminate this valuable information, this evidence-based and action-oriented research project led by Dr. Hideyuki Shiroshita from Kansai University addresses the following objectives.


  1. To engage with school pupils and “at risk” community in order to raise awareness on tsunami prediction.
  2. To produce Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials for tsunami warnings in collaboration with school pupils and the “at risk” community.
  3. To produce and conduct simulation exercises and drills with school pupils and “at risk” community in order to create a culture of preparedness for tsunamis.

The case study site for this evidence-based and action-oriented research project is Izumiotsu, a coastline port city in the central part of the Osaka Prefecture.

A photo was taken during the projection mapping


1 May 2024: University of Leicester presentations on Avoidable Deaths and Missing Persons

On 1 May, the Institute of Environmental Futures (IEF) hosted a closed seminar on Avoidable Deaths. Ms. Lauren MacLeod (Visiting Fellow, IEF) shared the findings and experience of awareness raising workshops on avoidable snakebite deaths with children in Ganjam District of Odisha; Ms. Patience Finye Andrew (Coalition for Afican Literature) screened the four short films of avoidable deaths; and Dr. Hideyuki Shiroshita (Kansai University) screened the tsunami preparedness film produced by the ADN Junior Champions of Hama Elementary School in Osaka, Japan.

11 January 2024: Junior Champions in Osaka Welcomed International Guests from Yunlin Country, Taiwan

This academic year, 59 Junior Champions (5th-grade pupils of Hama Elementary school in Izumiotsu, Osaka Prefecture) spent three months independently producing two films about disaster risk reduction to reduce avoidable deaths from tsunamis.

The Junior Champions were separated into two groups to come up with and film scenarios to raise residents’ awareness of tsunami and earthquake risks and risk management.

11 January 2024, the films were screened in front of International Guests from Yunlin Country, Taiwan and the students’ parents. The film screening was a great success, and even moving some viewers to tears.

In return, Junior Champions from Taiwan performed the saxophone and danced together with Japanese Junior Champions and their parents. Additionally, Japanese Junior Champions performed the school song.

After lunch, the school teachers from Taiwan visited Hama City Hall while pupils had an international exchange through classes. Hama’s Elementary School’s Junior Champions provided a school tour.

Figure 1: Hama Junior Champions’ film screening

Figure 2: Taiwanese Junior Champions’ saxophone performance

Figure 3: City disaster prevention volunteers lecture

Afterwards, city disaster prevention volunteers visited Hama Elementary School and explained their activities and what they would do in the event of a tsunami and themselves in Izumiotsu City. Japan has a very high potential for earthquakes. A powerful earthquake hit Japan’s western coast on New Year’s Day this year, and recovery efforts are still underway. “We need to think about how we will continue to deal with earthquakes in the future.”, he said.

All in all, they had a very productive time. This exchange program was not the first time but the second in the past few years. The Headmistress in Hama elementary school and in Yunlin country were very pleased to have this opportunity. They are hoping to have the next time soon.

This update was written by Ms. Marina Yagi, ADN Japan Manager.

The activities of ADN Junior Champions at Hama Elementary School can be found through this link.

7 July 2023: As part of the Junior Champions for Avoidable Tsunami Deaths in Japan project, Dr. Hideyuki Shiroshita and Ms. Marina Yagi gave members of the Disaster Prevention Education Management System of Chiayi Country, Taiwan a day-long tour of Izumiotsu, Osaka, Japan. The day commenced with a tour of Hama Day Care Center where the delegates were briefed on their monthly evacuation drills. During these, babies and toddlers are carried or moved by teachers, whilst children aged 3-5 walk, with older children and teachers leading the younger children. The delegates were then given a tour of Hama Elementary School. The students gave a presentation on their disaster preparedness activities and taught the delegates how to play their disaster prevention games. The morning ended with a public meeting between the Taiwanese delegates with the principles of the day care centre and school.

After lunch, the delegates met with the Matsunohama community disaster prevention volunteers and were briefed on their disaster prevention map which depicts expected locations of tsunamis and evacuation routes. The day ended with a visit at Izumiotsu City Hall, where they were given presentations on education and disaster prevention in Izumiotsu by Mr. Yamano, the Board of Education’s Guidance Division Supervisor and Mr. Masakari, Izumiotsu City’s Crisis Management Supervisor. The members of the Disaster Prevention Education Management System of Chiayi Country in Taiwan, the teachers, city officials, and volunteers who participated in the exchange in Japan expressed satisfaction and a desire to continue the interaction.

13 March 2023: Ten international delegates visited ADN’s Junior Champions at Hama Elementary School in Izumiotsu to play 12 disaster risk reduction developed by the children under the guidance of Dr. Hideyuki Shiroshita. In the afternoon, 55 Junior Champions attended the Launch of a Global Campaign: International Awareness Day for Avoidable Deaths, with a group of students presenting their unique board games to the audience.

7 February 2023: Led by Dr. Hideyuki Shiroshita, the Junior Champions at Hama Elementary School engaged with their parents, teaching them games designed around disaster risk reduction.

23 December 2022:  The ADN Newsletter 2022 published an article written by Dr. Hideyuki Shiroshita. The article discussed the event with the  Junior Champions at Hama Elementary School on 7 December 2022.

December 2022: Led Dr. Hideyuki Shiroshita, Junior Champions at Hama Elementary School developed and played games related to disaster risk reduction.

20 October 2022: Dr. Hideyuki Shiroshita is organising a Junior Champions’ event which will take place in Japan on 7 December 2022. 

2021: The pupils developed a Tsunami Augmented Reality that entails the residents (at risk community) to learn what will happen when a tsunami occurs at their location.

2020: The 5th grade pupils (10-11 year olds) published tsunami disaster risk reduction newspapers and conducted mock drills

To learn more about this project, please read the ADN Newsletter’s 2020 – 2022.