Wednesday, January 18, 2017 Think College Vol.51

Local problem with my aim
What are "hometown" and way of working to lead?

Lecturer: Akihiro Takeda (mayor of share village/thoraman U.S. producer)

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Lecture series "Think College" to think about to listen to story of person working on problem in the world together.
This theme is with "oldness".
Where is your oldness?
Does the town still overflow in vigor?
Do only the elderly not become town without left spirit?
For "hometown, what will be made??"
We regard what we felt to be vague as problem again, and people whom we moved are for action.
While hearing hint to change "local task" to "jifunji,"
As for people whom person living in the town now has left distantly,
For hometown, do you not think that oneself can do it?

The best "problem advanced prefecture" in Japan


We ask about your oldness. At first, person from Kanto, please sit down. The parents' house, please sit down on within walking distance of convenience store. As for the nearest station that station employee is in wicket……. Oh, it seemed to be good and decreased. Person whom train comes to two or more, please take seat at the station an hour. Yes, two people stayed today. Finally you who stayed are countrymen. We will have two people do hometown and the country pride from now on.

Participant A

Native place is Mimasaka, Okayama (see indeed) city. But a lot of nature is only on mountain in place that there is not, and hot spring appears, too.

Participant B

It is northernmost Murakami-shi of Niigata. The sea is beautiful, and there is scenic spot called Sasagawa flow, and all the food is delicious including rice.


Thank you. In this, we understood what kind of people came today.
It is opening question, but there is another one what remain till the last. That is me.

Place where Shibuya said to the north that we see on map 600km is my hometown, Akita. A lot of snow falls, and the highest temperature is very cold place of -5 degrees Celsius in winter.

In "prefectural ranking that have not performed", in Akita, we suppress Miyazaki, Aomori; and the first place only. It is said to be "prefecture which is not good" on the top where "it has not been" to, and it is Akita that then it is ranked purchase amount the third-worst place and CD purchase amount the fourth-worst place of camera at the end of 2016 that purchase amount of game and musical instrument is minimum if it is Akita that there is the Japan's least number of the users on Facebook.

Then on earth what are all the people from Akita doing? All right. Consumption of sake is Japan, and generally it is person from Akita second place and sleeping hours get drunk as the first place, and to be sleeping.

It is serious story from here. Low birthrate and aging rate is the highest in Akita in Japan, and population rate of decline is number one in Japan, too. Total population is about 1 million, but it is said that population may become zero within 100 years as 10,000 or more decrease for one year. It is the best "problem advanced prefecture" in Japan.

I wanted to do such hometown, Akita well and stood, and I launched company at the age of 26 years old five years ago now. We live in both Akita and Tokyo and work while going, and coming.
When work greatly separates; two.

At first, it is sale business of rice which person nail does from 2010 called "thoraman".
In Akita, as for the food self-sufficiency ratio, the first place, amount of production of rice are the third place in Japan at main production centers of rice, too. Meanwhile, I crossed team named three third generation when full-time farmer who had good rice field was young and "tiger man". "Handsome farmhouse group on tractor" is thoraman for short.

Devoted husband TAKUMI 29 years old that member burns, golden woodsman YUTAKA 30 years old, aristocratic-looking man TAKAO 31 years old of rice field. Agriculture activity that we began is to sell "rice which is not mixed" when we easily say. "TAKUMI rice" "YUTAKA rice" "TAKAO rice" and Blanding do each rice and sell the Internet by mail order in site that we launched by oneself.

We cook rice with furnace to make place having you eat rice while putting firewood and experience rice-transplanting and inekari ritoitta agriculture locally and actually perform event every month. We borrow cafe and event space in Tokyo and hold workshop making Kiritanpo and are working to have many visitors know rice. We push forward Malaysia, Thailand, sale in foreign countries including New York while we develop collaboration of company including MUJIRUSHI RYOHIN and TOKYO GAS, ion and Takashimaya.

Since activity start of 2010, we were able to appear on the NHK "close-up present age" and the more than 100 media including TV Tokyo "world business satellite" until now. Visitors increased in the whole country, and sales increased to 50-60 times, too. By the way, we are going to make rice ball shop in Tokyo this year.

"saa, you are the end of the road, too"


Another business is "share village" that we started from in 2015. We regenerate old folk house sleeping in districts of the whole country and are project to make new village of network type in spite of being support in many people.

For example, please look at old folk house of 134 years in Akita old. It is place beautiful at all where the inside is very large, and there is hearth, and there is earthen floor, and living of good old Japan remains. However, such an old folk house is going to be dismantled more and more in the whole country.

There are two reasons for that. At first, it cost the maintenance cost simply. When roof of thatch is going to all restore, it costs money of around 10 million yen. And people not having lived in old folk house as for the other. House goes bad more and more if we do not live.

Then how can you protect house? It is basic way of thinking so far that it is many people and contributes the maintenance cost that house owner alone had little by little, and let's support.

If people supporting increase, we can protect old folk house lying in each places of the whole country in many people. In that way we tie old folk house of all over Japan and make one village, and let's call people supporting with villager. And let's share village together. This is project called "share village".

Identification of villager is issued when we pay membership fee called "tribute". And we participate in event called "group" and we actually go to the field and stay and are structure that there is rural living experience. Two share villages are in Akita and Kagawa now. If both villages are available and pay tribute when we become villager, we can have all villages which will spread in future as the second hometown.

We prepare the third, the fourth village into West Japan, and aim of this year is to open network of village.

Jump out of hometown that you hated


In fact, title called "regional activation missionary" increased to me one more from 2016. 360 people are authorized as professional of regional activation and town development in the whole country by Cabinet Office, and make talks of town development in each place.

Kitaakita-shi, Akita that only 33,000 people spend to area called 1152.76㎢ which is big to the 18th in the whole country for city. That is my hometown. At first, we did not like own hometown. It is with game arcade in hometown, or there are no bowling alley, place to play including movie theater.
I who, anyway, liked new thing and interesting thing from the child era had dream to want to work in the future in game company. Therefore, anyway, we were bored by living in the open country.

We jump out in 18-year-old spring when we graduated from high school and enter Ritsumeikan University. At first, "did it! We were pleased to be Kyoto, but will move into the petit country of the bank of Lake Biwa as there was information department of science and engineering where I entered as the first batch in new campus which it was just possible for in Shiga next to Kyoto after all.

However, I was able to learn there various state-of-the-art including design of study and CG of the field of information. We worked three part-time jobs and bought car while we tried study hard and were absorbed in drive, and circle launched and performed by hitchhike to Hokkaido and was four years when we had you please off variously.

At last, after the graduation, we come over to Tokyo in 2008. Lunch was engaged in the field of digital content while going to specialist job graduate school at game company, night, but there was not that we thought about Akita until 24-year-old this time at all.

However, I come to be greatly concerned with area in one year from here. When we worked in Tokyo, we have gone home on express bus in Akita. People are not at all when we come back from place where there are a lot of people regardless of the night and day to turn, hometown. Far from car not being running in town between the daytime of Sunday, people do not walk at all, too. Shutter of mall closes and is totally ghost town.

At that time, we felt crisis when town where oneself was born and raised for the first time might disappear. For Akita that we did not like 100% more, it was moment when hometown love arose only a little.

"a, some Akita may be good"


Can you not do that you do Akita well because it is slightly good what it is? I came to think so. However, nothing knows hometown. We never know good place. Therefore we did not know what we might begin with at all either.

After searching with "Akita" "Tokyo" "event" first of all, it was article, "event of Akita was held in Shinjuku" to have made a hit.

Is it Akita event in Shinjuku? It is event space of Kabukicho that went to see while thinking of this. While 200-300 people eat liquor and food of Akita, we enjoy event. Besides, age group of group which hosted that was very young.

I was considerably shocked by figure that group which young people from Akita presided over let event succeed.

So we enter the group what you did saying "please can enter". It knew Akita a little while helping with activities such as Marchais which sold Chisan product on the weekend, and it was this time that friends of person from Akita increased and had begun to think, "a, any Akita may be good". And we have begun to think that what would be made when it was oneself.

Speaking of noted product of Akita, Akita beautiful woman of the Japan's three biggest beautiful women, Inaniwa Udon, Hinai chicken of the Japan's three biggest udon are counted to the Japan's three biggest regional chicken to Namahage, sake, Kamakura, sandfish of prefectural fish to Kiritanpo, too. It is Akita that Hachi-ko of Shibuya was born of there being Lake Tazawa of the Japan's deepest lake, and there is hot spring a lot.

It is rice above all. Akita is rice granary that is known for "Akitakomachi". However, the agriculture is just before destruction. Approximately 60% of farmers are 65 years or older with aging is Akita going ahead through Japan's most. Though we have delicious kind called Akitakomachi with much effort having large farmland, people making in 20 years for another ten years may disappear.

Motivation which bodily sensation produces


I thought that I might make Akita into spirit if it enlivened agriculture. However, my parents' house has not touched soil not farmhouse for 24 years. To be frank, it was considerable throat bare people which did not know which month rice was removed in.

It was place to give up here, but I started with usually going to meet farmers with thing which hated to lose. We work in Tokyo from Monday to Friday and are start of hard life to return to Akita on Saturday and Sunday. We jumped onto car and, toward Akita, called out without appointment more and more when we found farmers who worked in rice field of the neighborhood saying, "I'm sorry, you came from Tokyo, but please tell agriculture".

At first, it was from rudimentary question "how large is ichihanho (ittambu)?" but became more interesting while we heard story of farmers. We went to every the prefecture place and were able to finally go around farmhouse of around 100 people by homecoming of Saturday and Sunday during three months.

Problem of agriculture was not aging and, as a result of hearing, noticed a certain thing somewhere else. Point where that cannot earn, for example, agriculture. The traded price of rice dropped to the past lowest price, and, at the time of 2010, income of farmhouse continued falling year by year, too. Young person does not do it in this. Why is there so few? Distribution includes problem.

100 farmers whom I met prepared rice into each with feelings hard. However, at moment when we sold to JA, that is already separated from own hand. Even if we are particular hard, we cut corners and mend, but we buy any rice, and price is the same. Rice of many farmhouses is blended and we are packed as one "Akitakomachi" and line up in supermarket.

Not such a distribution, I made structure to send to visitor directly, and I thought to set appropriate price. Voice called "delicious thank you" from visitor wanted to make simple flow that reached farmhouse directly.

It was thing such as "supposition, dispatch, discovery, bodily sensation" in process that I actually did when we thought about process to take from regional society-like problem to "jifunji" here a little.

In Akita, aging is number one in Japan, and information such as the best population decline in Japan is provided immediately if we see in the present times, net. But then it does not become jifunji. You actually return to hometown and feel that it is saying "uwa is really dangerous" by oneself on seeing shutter street, and you go around farmhouse, and feel that it is saying "the situation of agriculture is really bad". It thinks that oneself may be very important point for it to be decided such bodily sensation and to discover.

I have a thing raising of three as motto of the life. In that, "learning" "delights" "enjoying". It can be concluded with one oneself to learn and to enjoy, but partner is necessary to please. Therefore I certainly meet people. Such a place that wants to delight farmers who want to please visitor who wants to please this person is connected in my worth doing. Therefore it actually moves, and it becomes considerably important point to meet people.

Question from participant


May you move base of activity in future?


I return in office in spite of being posture now in Tokyo in Kitaakita-shi and work. We intend to increase specific gravity of Akita from now on. I was in Tokyo during 25-30 years old since we made company and was thinking to build base which made networks, and could work. When we are in our 30s and 40s and run, we return to hometown and do local town development well. When family was able to do it, after all, in what do child care, there is thinking that the country is good. We will return to hometown in future, and hometown wants to do properly now because it is Akita that we came to like by 100%.


For income, you got nervous from time of office worker, or did you withdraw?


As agriculture was not profitable that much, we really had a hard time for first three years. Market spreads now, too and at last it is break-even and is living on rice. When new business came to be finally thought about, came, but a little. It is more delicate than income of the office worker era, but but can eat. It is big to have noticed that money is not all worth doing, but can live somehow as life cost is very low in the country even if there are few incomes. However, we will think that we can make structure making a profit enough in future as there are a lot of elements which we can expect of further break.


When we were going to leave company, was it not precious?


We were thinking indulgently in those days when we could come back again even if 25-year-old I failed. "Thoraman" was project that he began while working in that since before I left company.
In fact, well, reason was reminded by that it was important to face farmhouses properly not what I did in side job like that from farmhouse at time saying "we are in trouble if we were farmers throughout the life, and it was left here by Takeda". After all, it means that determination was born in relation with people.


In Takeda who was in Tokyo at the time of person who lived in hometown by thought and physical distance lost, and would be not different?


There is still lot. In the first place, in around 2010, Facebook is not almost utilized and thinks that Twitter has begun to be finally just recognized. Smartphone did not have all in Akita, and in the first place people in farmhouse did not trust PC or email. Therefore it was serious very much to take communication without easily doing with LINE and messenger like now, and going. Meanwhile, we took good care of rial that we went to meet directly and talked about most, and there was going over and over again.


Should we do by team whether we should do alone if we connect own task with business? How about?


Technique that I always solve local problem includes "3K, M2" (square of M). 3K namely part called "value, problem, solution" is made alone. In other words, we find problem or find value and are job that plan that we may solve if we do it in this way is alone. But we cause one idea of the trace as project or "M2" (square of M) that is "member X money" is important to business with it is in process developing. We look for friend who can do it together there.

Three members of "thoraman" are so and, in the case of share village, can hardly support 1,800 villagers alone and run with around five or six members who are in the field.


What kind of place is it that feels worth doing?


There is a lot. For example, though it is simple story, order just comes every day every day and, by job of thoraman, feels joy, and it is just said, "it is more delicious than rice which we ate in house until now" and thinks that what we do was good.

Anyway, in old folk house, owner is pleased. You had to do choice to ruin house until now while owners felt hard. However, as we have begun to do share village, anyway, house is retained. When it sometimes comes and tells that it is, it "was good that yaa, Takeda are" while drinking tea at own favorite place, we feel worth doing very much.
Also, the elderly of communities pay for 3,000 yen and grasp "tribute" and envelope which we wrote and come over. We are feeling worth doing in having been able to draw such thought from hometown.

Though there is lot more and yet more, it is big point that can be in near place with visitor every day above all. As there are many opportunities to listen to voice directly, that leads to motivation.


Akihiro Takeda

Mayor of share village/thoraman U.S. producer

It was born in Akita for 1,985 years. We engage in the digital content industry in Ritsumeikan University information department of science and engineering graduation, Tokyo in 2008. 2011 kedama establishment. It is chosen as regional activation missionary whom Cabinet Office runs in 2016. We have a sense of crisis in the future of agriculture of Akita and form the young U.S. farmers thoraman (abbreviation of man's looks on tractor) in a group. We run online sale site and of rice. We raise fund of about 6 million yen by crowd funding in the spring of 2015 and launch new business "share village" utilizing thatched old folk house of 134 years old. We appear on the NHK close-up present age and the majority media including the Nihon Keizai Shimbun. We work on lecture in the whole country and work on regional activation.

Share village