Tohoku First Five! is aimed to contribute to the Great East Japan Earthquake recovery effort by providing emotional support through creative arts therapy to pre-school/ kindergarten aged children, families and teachers in affected areas. Services include, training and consultation to teachers and direct-service professionals, therapeutic groups and individual sessions for children and parents, as well as advocacy and outreach.

Early in our effort members joined Tono Magokoro Network’s disaster relief program which provided art supplies and arts activities to affected preschools and after school programs along the coastline of Iwate.




The aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake continues to affect people in Tohoku area, and long term support that address mental health issues is needed. In Japan, therapists are placed at elementary schools, junior high schools, and high schools but usually not at kindergartens and preschools. Some parenting support and child therapy services are available through local Child Guidance Centers and Childcare Support Centers. However, parents may shy away from reaching out for help through these services unless the problem is serious.

Early in our effort members joined Tono Magokoro Network’s disaster relief program which provided art supplies and arts activities to affected preschools and after school programs along the coastline of Iwate.

What we offer

Tohoku First Five! is aimed to fill the gap in mental health services by demonstrating a model for early intervention and outreach. We collaborate with the local professionals, schools and parents’ groups and facilitate support groups and trainings using creative arts therapy. We offer easy, fun, and relaxing sessions that blends psycho-education, mental care and various arts modalities such as visual art, music, drama, dance/movement, poetry, storytelling and rituals. Creative arts therapy makes intervention services more accessible. We also offer consultation and training services to teachers and other direct service providers on children’s issues, advocacy and outreach.

Creative arts enhance sense of community and dialogue. It offers a way to approach day to day challenges with creativity and playfulness.

Samples of Our Services

    • 6/2014 Mindfulness workshop for parents and children’s play group at Kindergarten in Fukushima City, Fukushima.
    • 6/2014 Art therapy workshop for direct service providers and researchers at National Center for Child Health and Development, Tokyo.
    • 1/2014 Expressive Arts Therapy Workshop for parents at Kindergarden in Fukushima City, Fukushima.
    • 11/2013 Expressive Arts Therapy workshop for children at kindergarden in Koriyama City, Fukushima.
    • 5/2013 Training for Fukushima kindergarten teachers association, Koriyama City, Fukushima.
    • 4/2013 Expressive Arts Therapy Workshop at kindergarten in Fukushima City, Fukushima.
    • 4/2013 Drama workshop for children at kindergarten in Fukushima City, Fukushima.
    • 4/2013 Drama therapy workshop at kindergarten in Koriyama City, Fukushima.
    • 11/2012 Expressive arts therapy workshop for parents at kindergarten in Fukushima City.
    • 12/2011 Consultation for kid’s art project for NPO in Kesennuma City, Miyagi.
    • 9/2011 Art Therapy Training for direct service workers in Tohoku through JCCCNC San Francisco.
    • 7/2011 Provided art and activity groups for kindergartens and after school programs in affected areas of Iwate.
    • 6/2011 Members started providing services through Tono Magokoro Network, Iwate.

What is creative arts therapy (CAT) ?

Arts and imagery have been used since ancient times as a vital and essential tool for healing both personally and communally. Creative arts therapists use arts modalities and creative processes in various human service arenas. Arts modalities include but are not limited to, visual arts, drama, music, poetry, and ritual. Creative arts therapies are applied not only to enhance health and wellness but also to improve creativity, communication, expression and cognitive and social functioning. 

NichiBei CAT

NichiBei CAT is a group of creative arts therapists in Japan and United States who came together to engage in post 3.11 community services through NichiBei Care. Our members are trained in creative parts modalities such as art therapy, drama therapy, music therapy and expressive arts therapy. We are offer direct service, consultation and trainings in the application of creative arts modalities.

CAT members together with our collaborators in Fukushima city, 2013.

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