まち未来づくり  

Living, Protecting and Building the Future, a survey conclusion on Rediscovering the Strengths and Challenges of Takachiho Town part 4

  • On 12 May 2023, the town of Takachiho hosted the event ‘Takachiho Town Strengths and Challenges Rediscovered! A concluded information meeting of the interview survey’. This meeting was part of Takachiho’s efforts to promote its sustainable town development. The contents of the report, presentations of case studies done in town and group discussions held at the meeting are here presented in a four-part series.

The fourth and final part of the series introduces the group discussions and general comments made in Part 3.

Report on the concluding meeting of the interview survey to rediscover the strengths and challenges of Takachiho Town, part 4

■Part 3: Group discussions

Discussion theme: “What do you want to preserve and protect?

〇Presentation〇

<Group 1>

  • (1) What we want to preserve and protect:
  • The landscape of Takachiho with its fields, traditional performing arts such as kagura and kendo, and the relationships with people that are unique to Takachiho, bringing forth the best sides of people.
  • (2) What can be done to achieve it:
  • Experiences that shows the differences from the big cities.
  • Decide on a leader for each challenge and work towards solving the challenge with that person at the centre.
  • Increasing the number of things that can be done in the town and implementing solutions to challenges while valuing the unique things that Takachiho has to offer.

<Group 2>

  • (1) What we want to preserve and protect:
  • The warmth of the people, the connections between people, traditional culture, etc.
  • (I moved here a month ago from Osaka and was very attracted by the warmth of the people and the honesty of the high school students. I hope I can protect that kind of warmth.)
  • (2) What can be done to achieve it:
  • Creating an environment where migrants who want to start farming or other activities can easily start farming.

<Group 3>

  • (1) What we want to preserve and protect:
  • We want to protect high school students and young people.
  • (2) What can be done to achieve it:
  • In the case of manpower shortages, create relationships with local people with the help of high school students.
  • Local people will be able to solve the manpower shortage, and high school students will be able to gain experience and know the good qualities of the area through exchange.
  • We hope that this will connect us to the upcoming future.

<Group 4>

  • (1) What we want to preserve and protect:
  • Nature. Culture and history, such as Kagura (Shinto music and dance), local folk songs “Kariboshikiri-uta” and history. Mountainside canals are essential for farming today.
  • (2) What can be done to achieve it:
  • The town of Hinokage focuses on education in regional cooperation. By learning about the region from an early age, we think it will naturally remain.
  • The culture and traditions should be time accordingly be digitalized.

<Group 5>

  • (1) What we want to preserve and protect:
  • Traditions and culture, nature and taking back the Takachiho of the past.
  • (2) What can be done to achieve it:
  • Any relationship with people are important. It is important to actively increase connections with people through festivals, kagura and other events.

<Group 6>

  • (1) What we want to preserve and protect:
  • Forests, nature, agriculture as an industry, water canals, agriculture places to work, spaces and environments for living.
  • (2) What can be done to achieve it:
  • It is important to maintain people-to-people relationships and the motivation of the community itself. Not government-led, but letting the locals themselves take the initiative, causing the results to naturally change.
  • How about considering stories of sacred places and myths and turning them into new resources using animations?
  • The challenge of male and female successors is a major issue for kagura.

<Group 7>

  • (1) What we want to preserve and protect:
  • Traditional succession (night kagura), preservation of rare plants and animals, nature in the undeveloped woodlands, natural landscapes such as terraced rice fields, the flavors of Takachiho, the warm hearts of the people of Takachiho and their consideration for others.
  • (2) What can be done to achieve it:
  • We want to build a foundation on which people who have left Takachiho will want to return to Takachiho to work and live.
  • Due to the low birthrate and aging of the population the network within the region has become smaller, in return causing many roles to have to be combined. It is becoming increasingly hard for each region. In order to not see the challenges as some one else and rather face it as their own, we need to get everyone involved, vertical and horizontal and get them to face the challenges.
  •  From here, Takachiho Co-Creation Corporation, (高千穂まちづくり公社) will take the lead in commercialising local issues on a town-wide basis, and will work with local people to solve the challenges while generating profits.

<Group 8>

  • (1) What we want to preserve and protect:
  •  Things that are close to our daily lives, such as Kagura, nature, local shops, young people and the scenery of Takachiho.
  • (2) What can be done to achieve it:
  •  The common challenges are lack of manpower and lack of successors.
  •  We want people to be interested and cooperate. It is important to strengthen relations with people.
  •  How about creating a website where people can match their interests and share information?

〇General comment〇

Akito Fujimoto, Deputy Mayor, Takachiho Town

  • In Takachiho we has many sightseeing spots, which is why we often hear that we have it good or “nice”, by people outside the town, but in reality the town faces many challenges. In the survey, there are many issues related to people, such as the ageing of the population, lack of successors and shortage of human resources, which are major challenges facing the town.
  • In the case of Takachiho, the population has been declining by about 200 people per year. If this trend continues, the town will disappear one day, therefore we are working on various measures to reduce the speed of the decline.
  • On the other hand, as a strength, the town has received various certifications, including World Agricultural Heritage and UNESCO Eco-Park status. Changes within tourism shows that the number of people with who come to experience and learn is increasing.
  • The presentations on local resources and tourism were also informative. The creation of experience menus and the exchange of ideas between different industries will also be required in the future.
  • Some areas are becoming more difficult to be tackled within the framework of government initiatives, so the Takachiho Co-Creation Corporation, which was established last year, should also work on these issues.
  • The Takachiho Co-Creation Corporation, which was established last year, should also tackle this issue.
  • The group discussion on ‘what we want to preserve and what we want to protect’ showed that everyone had similar ideas. I think it is more fruitful and important for people of different ages and industries to exchange their opinions on how to take measures and what kind of thinking to have, than for certain people to think about it alone.
  • We would like to continue with this kind of project in the future, listening to a variety of opinions and working towards sustainable town planning.

ーConclusionー

Through this debriefing session, many townspeople, regardless of generation or position, felt deeply that they want to “live in Takachiho” and want to do something to protect the town.

In the future, we hope that by sharing the attractions and challenges of Takachiho and getting as many townspeople as possible involved, the town will work together to solve the challenges of individual people and the various industries in the town, and thereby create a sustainable town.

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