This paper summarizes the achievements of the 21st Century COE Research Program (Center of Excellence for Natural Disaster Science and Disaster Reduction) at Kyoto University’s Disaster Prevention Research Institute between the years 2002 and 2006. The paper is not intended to provide a complete picture of the research program but instead focuses only on those specific research projects and practices related to simulation and gaming procedures. It is suggested that simulation and gaming are powerful reality-constructing tools that can be used to convert messages about disaster reduction efforts, which due to their complex nature sometimes fail to be understood by the general public, into more understandable, simplified and visible realities. The nature of the reality that is socially constructed through simulation and gaming is significant because disaster preparedness, response, recovery and reconstruction all depend on a constructed reality. The potential of the disaster reduction simulation game, “Crossroad: Kobe,” is also discussed from this point of view.
Over 300 communities in Japan have recently introduced community currencies. These currencies are used within specific communities and are intended to develop mutual trust and reciprocity among members through the exchange of services such as babysitting, teaching computer skills and so on. However, it has been shown in some circumstances that community currencies fail to circulate. The main purpose of this study is to develop a simulation to examine the effect on the circulation of currencies of factors such as the characteristics of the community, resources owned by the residents and the design of the community currency itself. Results of a tentative examination of the effect of an economic divide within a community using the simulation game are also reported.
SIMINSOC, designed by Hirose (1997) based on Gamson’s SIMSOC (1991), is a popular game in Japan with the main themes of conflict resolution and addressing environmental problems. Hirose (2000) examines this game in terms of its usefulness as medium for understanding multiple dimensions of reality. To achieve the best results, however, debriefing is crucial, and yet a specific method of debriefing has not been explicitly devised. This paper provides a discussion of the issues of debriefing in SIMINSOC and its organization. First, using the data of seven runs with about 250 players, the general flow of SIMINSOC is determined. Then, typical and unusual tendencies shown in the seven runs are summarized. Finally, a new method of debriefing is presented. The method described calls for reports to be written from a changing viewpoint, beginning with the first person and moving through to the third. For example, a player belonging to the rich group begins by writing a first-person report from the viewpoint of the rich, then interviews the poor and writes in the second person from the viewpoint of the poor, finally integrating them using the third person voice. It is believed that this method promotes understanding of multiple dimensions of reality.