If you live in Tokyo you may have noticed an unusual package in the mail recently. A bright yellow handbook with a cute rhino on the cover. He’s wearing a helmet, carrying a backpack and has a pensive, cautious look on his face. Open the cover and you’ll find the following statement: “It is predicted that there is a 70 percent possibility of an earthquake directly hitting Tokyo within the next 30 years. Are you prepared? This is Tokyo Bousai, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s disaster preparedness guide.
Just last week Lloyd’s of London released their City Risk Index and named Tokyo as the 2nd riskiest city in the world. The study cited an elevated chance of natural disaster (earthquake, flood and typhoon) but also named nuclear accidents as a high risk, adding that Japan could lose 39 trillion yen ($324 billion) of its GDP to potential disasters over the next decade. And so the government of Tokyo has a clear message for its residents: be prepared.
Unlike typical material and publications distributed by bureaucracies, Tokyo Bosai is beautifully designed. It’s the result of a collaborative effort between design firm Nosigner, ad agency Dentsu and the Tokyo Government Disaster Prevention Department. The Guide’s bright color makes it stand out and a simple layout with easy to recognize illustrations not only makes it comprehensible, but actually enjoyable to read. The intuitive guide is separated into 5 chapters that cover earthquake simulation, preparedness and survival tips, the latter which includes many ideas that were aggregated by Nosigner after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and released under the Olive project.
I’m a sucker for attention to detail and I love how the Rhino mascot turns into an animated flipbook in the corner of the pages. Although a hard copy is being distributed to all Tokyo homes – at 7.5 million copies it’s the largest effort of its kind to date – the guide in its entirety can be downloaded online. And yes, it’s available in English to. However, it’s better to keep a hard copy as electricity will likely be out during any type of disaster. Be safe Tokyoites!