JAPAN DISASTER: Paper Dome to hold a prayer service for Japan victims today

Staff Writer, with CNA

Tue, Mar 22, 2011 - Page 2

A church in Nantou County built with recycled cardboard is hosting an event today to pray for the survivors and victims of Japan’s devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The event will take place at 10am at the Paper Dome, a -rectangular-shaped structure built with 58 cardboard columns, in Taomi Village (桃米村), Puli Township (埔里), Nantou County. Puli-based nonprofit New Homeland Foundation is organizing the event.

“We hope everyone can join us and pray for the victims in Japan, the relief operations and the Earth,” New Homeland Foundation chairman Liao Chia-chan (廖嘉展) said yesterday.

PAPER CRANES

Participants will also make paper cranes to express their hope that Japanese quake survivors will be able to return home soon, the foundation said.

Liao first saw the paper church in 2005 when he visited Japan to attend a memorial event for the 10th anniversary of the 1995 Kobe earthquake.

The church was designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. It was originally used as a temporary building for a Catholic church, whose former house of worship was destroyed in the Kobe quake.

JAPANESE IMPORT

When Liao found out that the structure would be demolished and replaced with a new concrete church building, he asked Japanese officials if the paper church could be relocated to Taiwan.

The Paper Dome was officially inaugurated in Taomi on Sept. 21, 2008, the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 21, 1999 earthquake in Taiwan, one of the deadliest to hit the nation.

The foundation said that the church has served as a platform for exchanging ideas about community-building and post-earthquake reconstruction plans, both throughout Taiwan and with partners from several other countries.