Terada, Mitsunari; Ermilova, Mariia; Shimamura, Hitoshi;

Published On


Page Range

pp. 119–140


  • English

Print Length

22 pages


  • Kodomo Yume Park
  • children's rights
  • safe environment
  • Kawasaki City
  • local ordinance
  • United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • pandemic
  • qualitative interviews
  • playworkers
  • managers
  • 'stay-at-home' policy
  • leisure
  • Tokyo suburbia
  • adventure playground
  • participatory management style
  • child's right to play
  • pandemic-related restrictions
  • decision-making
  • rapidly changing agenda
  • Covid-19

6. Playworkers’ Experiences, Children’s Rights and Covid-19

A Case Study of Kodomo Yume Park, Japan

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.


Mitsunari Terada

senior researcher at Japan Adventure Playground Association

Mitsunari Terada (Charlie), PhD, works as a landscape planner, facilitating local governance for child-friendly communities. He is an IPA Japan board member and a senior researcher of the Information Research Center for Japan Adventure Playground Association. He is a specially appointed assistant professor in the Faculty of Regional Policy of Takasaki City University of Economics, and practically lives in a community centre as a co-manager of the Iwase Neighborhood.

Mariia Ermilova

postdoctoral researcher at Chiba University

Mariia Ermilova, PhD, is an ecologist and environmental educator, doing biocultural diversity concept-based community design projects. She has been working as a co-manager of the Iwase Neighborhood Association in Matsudo, Japan, since 2016, cultivating native flowers and herbal gardens in the area. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Graduate School of Horticulture, Chiba University, Japan.

Hitoshi Shimamura

founder and the director at TOKYO PLAY
director at Japan Playwork Association

Hitoshi Shimamura is the founder and the director of the organization TOKYO PLAY. He is also the director of the Japan Playwork Association. After graduating from Sophia University, he completed the programme in playwork at Leeds Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom. He then worked at Hanegi Play Park in Tokyo and Children’s Yume Park in Kawasaki. In 2005-2011, he served as the regional vice president of East Asia of the International Play Association (IPA).