Cocoro Charity visits the Disaster Area in May 2011

Cocoro (the Japanese word for mind) is a Japanese charity set up by Takiko Ando to offer mental health care and support to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (March 2011) by providing 15 minute aromatherapy and massage treatments. Cocoro was set up with the invaluable advice of REST UK, a charity the provides on-site chair massages to emergency service workers at prolonged emergencies.

Takiko first visited the disaster area in May 2011 and was given help and support by a local social worker, Keiko Sugawara, who is now local co-ordinator for the charity. Over a period of seven days, Takiko offered 15 minute aromatherapy treatments to 114 local people, many of whom returned for more treatments over the week. Most of victims appeared to benefit hugely from having somebody, who was not a victim, to whom they could talk about their emotions. In one place, 98% of victims came back for another treatment saying “ it was the first night I was able to sleep after the disaster.”

The people came from three major disaster areas:

  • Rikuzentakata City (population 23,302 people) 1495 people killed / 686 people missing
  • Kamaishi City (population 39,119 people) 848 people killed / 470 people missing
  • Otsuchicho Town (population 15,277 people) 767 people killed / 952 people missing

Cocoro offered massage treatments in rooms kindly provided by:

  • Social Welfare Council at Oushu, Iwate
  • Oushu Kizuna no Kai at Himekayu, Iwate
  • Kougeikan Hotel at Hanamaki. Iwate
  • Osawa Onsen at Hanamaki, Iwate
  • Hotel Hanamaki at Hanamaki, Iwate“
  • Koromogawa Sou at Ousyu, Iwate

The people receiving treatment ranged in age from 3 months to 85 years old. The average age range was 50-70 years old.  The gender split was 88% Female / 12% Male.




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