5th Island Meeting Held on Shikinejima

The Nobushi port Lighthouse’s red contrasts with the blue sky

In the Tokyo Treasure Islands project, residents of the island hold meetings and take initiative to discuss and polish what the island has to offer in an effort to brand the islands. This report covers the fifth Shikinejima island meeting held on December 16.

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What is needed to increase the relevant population and gather future local heroes?

On the study tour that was held on November 26, the Shikinejima team visited yuinowa, a coworking café that uses a renovated traditional house, and Nanatsunoko, a community café that uses public spaces. The team is considering a plan that involves operating a community space that uses the region’s resources of people and places to support workation and entrepreneurship on an island where sceneries of good old Japan still remain.

The goal is to gather future local heroes who might think of moving to the island after interacting with its treasures. Shikinejima is working on a plan that is focused on increasing the population of relevant people to achieve that.

Organizing by tying the regional resources of people and places to the action plan.

The fifth island meeting began with the discussion of first organizing the people and places that will be tied to the action plan.

For people, the ideas raised included a Grandmother Cafeteria, where elderly people gather and operate the facility, and kids helping out with souvenirs that use camellia, which can be sold throughout the island.

The background behind these ideas include challenges that the island faces in branding, such as the fact that there is only one cafeteria in the island during the off season and how there is a demand for businesses that can efficiently use human resources by utilizing free time.

During the process of discussing places, potential locations that could be rented were narrowed down.

Regarding who would operate the cafeteria, the participants said that it would be easier to participate if the owner changed daily, and how there might be young people within and beyond the island that would like to give it a shot. Others said that the cafeteria itself could be a coworking space.

How, then, would the area be operated? The participants chimed in with various ideas such as, “We need a higher-level person or organization,” “We want to pick the core members,” and “We want to recruit from outside the island as well.”

What organization will actually operate the facility? Thinking of roles and duties

What function should a place create through the action plan utilizing people and places have? A participant who was once told by an interested high school student who visited that he didn’t know where to ask for information stressed the importance of a liaison function. On the other hand, a participant who learned from advanced cases during the study tour that the people involved also need to understand rules and principles emphasized the importance of a screening function.

Regardless of what kind of place is being created, the leader or operating organization will bear responsibility. While the heavy burden almost stopped the progression of the discussion, the participants said, “Now’s the time to do it,” and “It’s now or never.” Some participants even volunteered to be the operator in the end.

Participant Rie Ikemura said, “There’s really nothing at the moment, so it would be great to create an organization like the one we talked about today so we can do many things.” Hiroyuki Miyagawa said, “The recent challenge is to consider how to make the organization a business. In order to meet with the people we would like to see at the business matching, I want to study the areas still lacking.”

The next event will be the February 18 business matching event.