"Isuzu Monozukuri Hands-on Workshops" for Children in the Disaster Areas

Since August, 2014

The "Isuzu Monozukuri* Hands-on Workshops" were held in the disaster areas under the concept of "Gaku, Sou, and Yu (learning, creating, and playing)" to teach the children the fun and significance of "monozukuri".

* Monozukuri : Isuzu craftsmanship.

The workshop concept "Gaku, Sou, and Yu" means "Learning,
creating, and playing" in transport.

Employees engaged in manufacturing or development operations prepared this program with the purpose of giving children easily understandable lessons about their "monozukuri "activities as well as the significance of Isuzu's corporate vision of supporting transport.

Casting Class

November 19, Minamisoma City, Fukushima Prefecture

On November 19, in partnership with the NPO Frontier Minamisoma*, we held a casting class at Minamisoma City in Fukushima Prefecture.

*NPO Frontier Minamisoma:
Launched with the aim of “doing what is possible now to rebuild disaster-stricken homes and conducting urban development for regional revitalization,” this NPO’s activities are connected to a wide network of communities. It has particularly strong ties with mothers and their children and the administrative authorities, and most of its projects are composed of activities concerned with people’s daily lives and support for children.

Unfortunately it was raining on the day, but a total of 26 children and local residents took part in the morning and afternoon sessions.

Children, parents and local residents participating in the rain
  • Heart engraved on Elga-chan character. This idea impressed even Isuzu’s casting professionals
  • Many smiling faces could be seen all round in Minamisoma
  • Adding sand, removing from molds, and earnestly polishing to make their own unique pieces of work
  • Seeing everyone’s happy yet serious faces naturally made the Isuzu employees smile too

October 22, Minamisanriku Town Motoyoshi-Gun, Miyagi Prefecture

On October 22, in partnership with the NPO Sokoage*, isuzu held a Monozukuri Hands-on Workshop – Casting Class attended by 13 local high school students, former students and other local residents in the town of Minamisanriku town in Motoyoshi-gun, Miyagi Prefecture.

*Sokoage:
An NPO with offices in Kesennuma and Minamisanriku that carries out activities such as awareness cultivation and learning support in collaboration with local high schools.

Smiles all round in a commemorative photo with their shiny Elga-chan and Elf-kun characters

This time it became a very content-rich class as it also provided a space for interaction with local people, including some who were junior or senior high school students at the time of the 2011 earthquake and who talked about their experiences just after the disaster and their hopes for the future, which made the process of reconstruction feel more familiar.

Former high school students talking about their firsthand experiences
  • Earnestly adding sand, removing from molds (nervously!) and polishing. "Look! My own unique shiny Elga-chan and Elf-kun!"
  • This time Isuzu employees in-charge were completely changed. Each one was nervous but performed their duties without any problem

January 13 and 14, in Otsuchi-cho, Iwate Prefecture

Through cooperation with the collabo-school “Otsuchi Ringakusya” run by the incorporated non-profit organization Katariba, Isuzu held a “Monozukuri Hands-on Workshop: Casting Class” at the Iwate Prefecture Otsuchi-cho Children's Center (January 13) and Otsuchi-cho Kirikiri Elementary School (January 14).

*This was our tenth time holding a “casting class” since our first time in Minami-Soma in August 2014. There were 215 participants and a total number of 24 company employees who actually participated in this activity as instructors.

By casting Isuzu characters (Giga-kun, Elf-kun, Elga-chan) out of metal, Isuzu shared the value and joy of Monozukuri with children and people of all ages.

Otsuchi-cho Kirikiri Elementary School Children
  • Scenes from Otsuchi-cho Children's Center. The participants worked hard at tasks ranging from sand filling to polishing.
  • “The “Otsuchi Recovery Sashiko (Stitching) Project” sashiko stitchers participated and a good time was had by people of all ages.
  • Scenes from Kirikiri Elementary School. We encountered many smiling faces.

September 25 and 26, in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture

On September 25 and 26, in cooperation with an NPO active in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, Isuzu held a "Casting Class."
Together with staff from the specified NPO Switch*1 (September 25) and TEDIC*2 (September 26), students across a wide range of ages experienced the value and joy of Monozukuri by casting Elf-kun and other characters out of metal.
After the workshop ended, we received the following message of thanks from a co-sponsoring NPO staff: "Students who had previously looked for office work are now interested in production work. This class was a meaningful experience for them. "

*1 Specified nonprofit corporation Switch: an organization that supports high school students and young people in the disaster areas to find opportunities for education and employment.

*2 Specified nonprofit corporation TEDIC: an organization that provides educational support to elementary and middle school students in the disaster areas who have various problems (for example, they are no whereabouts in school or home).

  • Participants wholeheartedly engaged in the process from sand-filling to polishing.
    Their own only one characters in the world which they can take pride: Elf-kun, Giga-kun and Elga-chan.
  • Isuzu staff members in their uniform for the casting class: the Isuzu "Quality First" Apron.".
  • This time, our Manufacturing Division improved and devised a new tool to remove objects from the mold. It enabled participants to remove their creations in a quick and clean manner.
  • Isuzu staff requested students to "write their names inside the border on the back ," so they carved pictures and letters in the blank space. Isuzu staff admired to the children’s freedom of self-expression.

August 4 and 5 in Onagawa-cho, Miyagi Prefecture

August 4 and 5 in Onagawa-cho, Miyagi Prefecture at the NPO Katariba' s "Collaborative School: Onagawa Kogakkan", Isuzu held a "Casting Class" with 63 elementary and junior high school students.
Isuzu improved the program this time by increasing the type of metal cast characters produced while also using a large cut-away engine to introduce the children to real, cast metal objects.
Isuzu held three of the classes over the course of two days, allowing many children to experience the full depth of metal casting as well as the joy of Monozukuri.

Commemorative photo of participants: junior high school group
  • Type of casting model: Elga-chan (left) and Giga-kun (right), in addition to the earlier Elf-kun (middle)
  • They felt surprise after seeing Isuzu large-scale engine for the first time.
  • Scenes of metal casting. From the elementary school students of every age to the middle school students and the Isuzu instructors themselves (Manufacturing Division members), everyone was focused and serious.

Design Class

July 29 and 30 in Otsuchi-cho, Iwate Prefecture

In coordination with the NPO Katariba's "Collaborative School: Otsuchi Ringakusha", on July 29 and 30 in Otsuchi-cho, Iwate Prefecture, Isuzu held a "Design Class" with 49 elementary school students.
This project was endorsed by Murakami Lumbermill (Rikuzentakata-shi, Iwate Prefecture), who created and donated car frames made of kesensugi (a famous wood from Iwate). Isuzu Manufacturing Division also provided "Elf-kun" magnets made of resin by Isuzu as souvenirs.
In addition, local high school students and college students participated as volunteers, making it a lively and fun class thanks to their and others' support.

*Otsuchi Children's Center (July 29)
This facility was built to offer a safe and stable after-school environment for children who had no place to play around after the earthquake.
*Isuzu received thank you message from children of the Otsuchi Children's Center after the design class.

*Kirikiri Elementary School, a municipal school in Otsuchi (July 30)
The school has a history going back to its founding in 1889. The tsunami after the earthquake came very close, but thankfully the school was safe. It was later used as a refugee shelter.

Commemorative photo of participants: Kirikiri Elementary School
  • The Isuzu instructors (design center members) respond seriously to the children's earnest expressions.
  • "Look, look!" Taking pride in their trucks. (Top: At Otsuchi Children's Center, Bottom: At Kirikiri Elementary School)

FY2014 Workshop achievements

Isuzu currently offers two courses: Casting Classes and Design Classes. Members were organized internally to conduct the programs together with the groups to support children.

[Casting Class]
August 2014 Casting Class in the Minamisoma Solar Agripark (Fukushima)
December 2014 Casting Class with the Beans Fukushima (Fukushima)
[Design Class]
December 2014 Design Class in the Collaborative School at the Onagawa Kogakukan (Miyagi)
December 2014 Design Class with the Frontier Minamisoma (Fukushima)

* All of the workshops took place at the groups supported by Michinoku Revival Partners, which Isuzu joined in March 2014.

After spending time with bright-eyed children, Isuzu employees said things like, "We can learn from their creativity," "I want to do this again," and "I was moved."

  • A casting specialist giving some tips
  • An employee responds to enthusiastic children.
  • Scene of Casting Class
  • Scene of Design Class

Future Initiatives

Employees who wish to show the children the significance and fun of "monozukuri" are planning to prepare new programs and enhance the content of the "Isuzu Monozukuri Hands-on Workshops".
Moreover workshops are scheduled to take place in other locations in communities around the Isuzu plants (Fujisawa and Tochigi) in addition to the disaster areas.