The 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes caused hundreds of deaths and devastated numerous buildings, including the historic Kumamoto Castle. This iconic landmark is seen as an important symbol for the region’s recovery, but its restoration is expected to take up to 20 years and cost some 63.4 billion yen.
To help maintain public interest in the recovery effort, packaging company Sakura Paxx decided to produce and sell cardboard Kumamoto Castle model kits, with 100% of proceeds to be donated to the restoration. As well as this monetary contribution, buyers donated time and care to the reconstruction effort by building the models and displaying them in their homes and offices.
Following the kits’ launch in April 2017, positive media coverage and strong traction on social media inspired over 20 offers of tie-ups, including a partnership with one Kyushu-based airline that even sells the kits on board its flights. The initiative also significantly boosted the profile of Sakura Paxx, which in 2017 received twice the usual number of graduate job applications. As of March 2018, 6,000 kits have been sold, representing approximately 3,700 hours contributed to Kumamoto Castle’s restoration by members of the public.