“From Fukaura Gakusha (Fukaura Schoolhouse)” by Hirofumi Uenoyama
Fukaura Gakusha (Fukaura Schoolhouse)/ Trial First Year of the “Community Development Course”
This April, we launched our new “Community Development Course.” It offers the opportunity to learn from Sado’s nature and culture firsthand and uses those experiences to cultivate human resources who will activate local communities. For this first trial year, we have welcomed two trainees: Misaki Nakamura from Kiso, Nagano, and Misato Akazawa from Niigata City. The trainees are based at the former Fukaura Elementary School, which was renovated for a fresh start under the name “Fukaura Gakusha” (Fukaura Schoolhouse). The duo have begun their studies, which center on learning from locals about the area’s agricultural & fishing industries, festivals & traditional performing arts, preservation of historic architectural areas, culture and more.
The trainees produced a special Fukaura Gakusha unveiling event, held on April 20. They gained practical experience by planning and running the event, making fliers, and digging out memorabilia and photo albums that were left in the former school to display as a nostalgic exhibition on the day. The locals who joined us for the unveiling smiled as they reminisced about the school and relived various episodes from the past. It was a valuable experience for me to see firsthand the role this school had played in the region.
On May 4, the trainees took part in the “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island” special event “Traditional Rice Planting,” under the guidance of master farmer Mr. Kenichiro Aoki. They experienced planting rice by hand in a traditional way using seedings from a semi-irrigated rice nursery. The trainees wore traditional work pants and bamboo hats and they worked very hard with other participants.
During the course of the year ahead, I would like to join the two trainees as they recognize and tackle local issues and problems. Through the trial and error, I hope that we can discover the real identity of “community development.”
The trainees’ reports are being shared on the Kodo Cultural Foundation Facebook page in Japanese. We hope you’ll take a look at their updates.
Kodo Cultural Foundation Facebook Page (in Japanese) https://www.facebook.com/KodoCulturalFoundation?fref=ts