Through our Sosei Partners project, we organize learning programs and create an empowerment platform for the international community in Japan by connecting them with regional governments, and together we strive to realize regional revitalization and sustainable development.
Our idea is to involve the international community, including international students and Japanese with international backgrounds, in the rural regions around Japan, so that we can learn about the charms and challenges faced by the rural areas, and how they engender innovation with design thinking to come up with sustainable solutions. In this process, the international participants can also contribute new ideas and inject fresh perspectives into the local communities.
Watch our introductory video here:
We emphasize a lot on building sustainable and harmonious relationships with the local communities, so as facilitate mutual understanding and effective communication. We treasure the connections with our partners in each region, as we work together toward a common goal of revitalization and sustainable development. Each project in every region has slightly different learning points and purposes as we adjust the projects according to the needs and visions of each place and their people.
We have organized five projects all over Japan, from the little forest town of Shimokawa in northern Hokkaido, to the tea farms of Yame in southern Fukuoka, the city of folklore in Tono, the town of Urahoro in Eastern Hokkaido and the coastal city of Ishinomaki in Miyagi.
Sosei Partners (Ishinomaki) - December 2017 ~ March 2018
An international team consisting of members from Mongolia, Italy, Spain, France, Nepal, India, Singapore and other countries were involved in Sosei Partners (Ishinomaki). We visited several organizations and companies to learn about the new initiatives that sprung up after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, which are full of energy, innovation and hope for the future. We then worked with local organizations to create learning-based workshops for foreigners, which we plan to launch by summer 2018.
Sosei Partners (Urahoro) - September 2017
Sosei Partners (Urahoro) took place in September with participants from USA, Vietnam and Spain. We interacted with people from all walks of life, including primary industries such as forestry and farming, teachers, students, government officials, NPOs, new residents, foreign nationals and so on. All of us gave us a slightly different perspective of this town but there was a sense of community and unity, which we believe is the true value of Urahoro.
Sosei Partners (Tono)- September 2017
Together with 11 participants from 9 countries (Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, USA, Spain, Brazil), we went to Tono, a beautiful city in the mountains of Iwate Prefecture, where we learnt about ongoing innovative projects in order to revitalize the city. We then engaged in workshops and came up with novel suggestions on how to revitalize the region through tourism and other methods.
Sosei Partners (Yame)- March 2017
A group of four international students from Russia, Thailand, Vietnam and China stayed in Yame for four days, learning about Yame tea, the different varieties, and sightseeing in Yame city.
Sosei Partners (Shimokawa) - March 2017
Partnering with Shimokawa’s Town Promotion Department, a team of four international students from China, Thailand, Singapore and England stayed in Shimokawa for 10 days. The team visited government organizations, primary and secondary industries (agricultural and forestry) and non profit organizations in the town. The team learnt and analyzed the tourism resources available in the town from various perspectives based on the respective trends in their own countries, in order to come up with the optimal strategy for Shimokawa. The team then proposes a new tourism strategy that is specifically targeted at each country to the town government.