Toshizou Ido, Governor of Hyogo Prefecture
The year 2009 will be the one hundredth anniversary of Toyohiko Kagawa commencing his work in Kobe and in commemoration we are holding “The Centennial of Kagawa’s Self-Dedication”.
Through looking back at the way Kagawa plunged himself into an area which was in a very grim condition with his young passion, we may see things which are lacking in the present age and what is important for young people.
Money stands for everything today and more people possess, the more they are valued as a success. But Kagawa’s activities were bared on quite the opposite: not on money, but on people’s feelings, understandings and cooperation. Therefore, I believe that it is possible to get many valuable lessons through tracing his achievements.
13 years have passed since the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake occurred. Following the Great Kanto Earthquake which occurred about 70 years before that in Tokyo, Kagawa went to Honjo, which suffered the most severe damage, and carried out various relief activities. He said strongly then that a museum of the Earthquake should be built. I have been impressed to hear that he insisted people should have to prepare and to establish the regional solidarity due to the perpetual nature of disasters and also engrain countermeasures against them as a social structure.
Learning from his pioneering ideas, we have established the “Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution” since the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. It functions not only as a museum, but also carries out investigative research, trains specialists in countermeasures against disasters, and provides information and advice to the stricken areas. Of course I don’t think Kagawa had forecasted the earthquake in Kobe, but I feel that he had written out “the prescription” for us.
This centennial project will undoubtedly become a chance for us to learn from retracing our predecessor’s footsteps and think once more about what is necessary and how we should be in today’s modern world. And I do hope that Kagawa’s dream, high intention or wish would spread among many people so that they might support and help each other with warm heart.
Let’s put our heads together to make “Lively Hyogo”, where everybody can live his or her precious life safely and peacefully.
Reflecting on Kagawa’s great works
We renew our comradeship together
Celebrating for the centenary