Towards Regional Revitalization and Further Challenges (EVENTOS Corporation)
Towards regional revitalization and further challenges
With a project titled “Revitalizing Agricultural Communities through Food,” EVENTOS Corporation has created new jobs in the Yoshiyama area of Numatacho in Hiroshima City’s Asaminami Ward by opening a restaurant, developing products, and holding a farmers’ market. By attracting young people and housemakers, this resulted in a successful revitalization of the area. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company was unable to carry out the projects it had originally planned, so it began a new regeneration project for the town of Arifuku Onsen in Ezu, Shimane Prefecture, titled “Revitalizing the Community through Food.” Arifuku Onsen has a history of 1,350 years as a hot spring town, but it is said to now be disappearing from the map as a result of depopulation. Using the expertise that it has developed in revitalizing the Yoshiyama area, the company is now working to do the same for Arifuku Onsen. The first goal of the project is to attract five people to move to the area by 2024.
Creating life options
Life for the residents of Arifuku Onsen is very hard. Older people have to buy large amounts of groceries at a time at a supermarket 15 kilometers away, and younger people leave the town at the age of 18 and do not come back due to problems with finding jobs or going on to higher education. Some of them want to stay, but the environment of the town removes that option. The fact that the environment takes away options for peoples’ futures is a problem that also needs to be resolved from the perspective of the SDGs. Relative poverty is becoming a serious problem in Japan, and I believe that in depopulating areas, poverty will increase due to the problem of lack of access to education and basic services. In response to this issue, EVENTOS Corporation is helping to meet the SDGs by taking an approach based on “creating happiness through food.” It aims to revitalize the area so that people can make the choice to stay in their hometown and create value there.
What left the biggest impression in this interview was the resolve of company President Kawanaka. When we asked him, saying, “It’s not easy to revitalize such a marginal area. Where does your confidence come from?” he said, “I don’t have confidence, but I do have resolve.” He continued, “If you blame COVID, or the location, or the people, you’ll fail. I’ll take responsibility and work with resolve to revitalize the area alongside local people.” We were impressed by his strength of will in responding to local people’s desire to preserve Arifuku hot springs and their hometown by taking on responsibility himself.
We conducted interviews!
IWAMI Sakura (4th year student, Yasuda Women’s University)
YOSHIKAWA Mei (3rd year student, Yasuda Women’s University)
MAKABE Koyuki (1st year student, Hiroshima University)
4-35 Funairinakamachi Naka-Ku, Hiroshima