Students in Japan Build Sports Facilities for Post-Earthquake Japan in Minecraft Cup
In 2011, the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan struck the coast, now known as the Great East Japan Earthquake (東日本大震災 Higashi nihon daishinsai). The reconstruction efforts are estimated to take more than two decades and present an opportunity for innovative and sustainable approaches to building and design. On July 13, Microsoft Japan worked with educational and regional revitalization non-profit organizations to conduct a workshop to encourage youth to participate in post-earthquake reconstruction with Minecraft: Education Edition.
The workshop took place in Iwate prefecture in northern Japan, one of the three most severely hit locations, as part of the first Minecraft Cup, a national program designed to encourage all youth regardless of their circumstances to use Minecraft: Education Edition to imagine future sports facilities for their city. Special support locations were made available for children living in hospitals, orphanages, and disaster-affected areas, as well as those who come from multinational families or have disabilities, to allow nontraditional students to join the Minecraft Cup. 2,800 students participated in the competition; there were 113 unique Minecraft worlds completed exploring the Code Builder feature.
With the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics planned for Japan in 2020, the theme of the Minecraft Cup was to design new sports facilities for the city that would bring the community together, and for example, help rebuild disaster-struck areas. Participants of the workshop visited the Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, which is a symbol of recovery efforts located in Unosumai, Kamaishi city. They then used the in-game programming features to re-create the stadium in Minecraft: Education Edition.
“The critical success factor was the children identifying each members’ role and responsibility,” says Mr. Tatsunami Shuichi, the official professional crafter who served as the workshop instructor for the 2019 National Minecraft Cup Tournament. “Then, the children were able to collaborate the build the stadium together. There were even children who had touched a computer for the first time in their lives.”
Evaluation of the 113 submissions by a panel of judges from across Japan completed on Sep 23rd. It was a fantastic showcase of what student creativity can do when it’s applied to a social challenge!
The Minecraft Cup in Japan was held in partnership with nonprofit partners Center for Creation of Universal Support Society, ICT Connect 21, and @Rias NPO Support Center.