Traditional Arts Relief Fund

Photo of children playing “taiko” drums at a festival

Bringing Festivals Back to Earthquake-Damaged Communities

The Tohoku region of northeastern Japan is a treasure trove of traditional performing arts like kagura Shinto music and dance, tora-mai tiger dances, and shishi-odori deer dances. These arts and festivals suffered major damage when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck the region on March 11, 2011. Along the Pacific coast in particular, there were many cases in which masks and costumes, musical instruments, portable shrines, and floats were lost, and some Shinto shrines were completely washed away, by the large tsunami that followed.

Photo of a new float that was built after receiving an aid from the Traditional Arts Relief Fund.

Traditional arts and festivals are not only an important part of local culture, but also a core element that holds local communities together. The Nippon Foundation established the Traditional Arts Relief Fund (“Festival Fund”) to revive these arts and festivals, as a way to get these communities back on their feet and restore the bonds between people and communities. We will continue to support organizations engaged in these arts and Shinto shrines in the region.

Festival Fund


  1. Support for the purchase and production of items required for arts and festivals
    • Region: Areas damaged by the earthquake and tsunami, primarily in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures
    • Recipients: Groups engaged in arts that appear in major local festivals and other annual events
    • Types of support: Funds for the repair, purchase, and production of various items, including floats, drums, masks, and costumes
  2. Support for shrines where events are held
    • Region: Areas damaged by the earthquake and tsunami, primarily in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures
    • Recipients: Main shrines in areas undergoing reconstruction
    • Types of support:
      1. Funds to cover soil improvement expenses, seedlings, straw, and other items for tree planting to restore groves around shrines
      2. Reconstruction of shrine buildings, repair and production of portable shrines, rebuilding of storage facilities for portable shrines, etc.
    Photo of tree planting

Details of support:

Project commencement: June 2011
Total fund amount: 1,168,716,322 yen
Amount disbursed: 1,168,319,818 yen (as of project conclusion on March 31, 2015)

  • Miyagi Prefecture: 90 organizations; 30 projects; 695,369,560 yen
  • Iwate Prefecture: 40 organizations; 16 projects; 388,049,841 yen
  • Fukushima Prefecture: 22 organizations; 3 projects; 57,679,165 yen
  • Other: 25 organizations; 4 projects; 27,221,252 yen