Everyday Pandemic Creativity in a Time of Isolation
- Anna Beresin (editor)
- Julia Bishop (editor)
Playworkers’ Experiences, Children’s Rights and Covid-19 A Case Study of Kodomo Yume Park, Japan
Mitsunari Terada (author) Mariia Ermilova (author) Hitoshi Shimamura (author)
This chapter investigates the Covid-19 experiences of Kodomo Yume Park, a facility aimed at safeguarding children’s rights and providing a safe environment for children from different backgrounds. It was established in Kawasaki City in 2003 in accordance with Japan’s first local ordinance on children’s rights, an interpretation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Admirably, during the pandemic, Kodomo Yume Park remained open amidst the restrictions, even when public schools were closed and Japanese people strictly adhered to the ‘stay-at-home’ policy. Four topics emerged from qualitative interviews with playworkers and managers, including controversial feelings regarding performing a ‘facilitator’s’ role when people have to keep apart from each other. Proclaimed as ‘the last resort’, the location became a target for leisure among Tokyo suburbia, putting at risk security and disrupting the usual culture of an adventure playground. Departing from Yume Park’s participatory management style, we investigate how the child’s right to play was realized and balanced during the pandemic-related restrictions and how children, playworkers, and park managers perceived the situation and made decisions accordingly in response to the rapidly changing Covid-19 agenda.