Sentiments of People Involved in the Project ③ 2019

HIRABUKI Yoshihiko (Professor, Department of Regional Design, Tohoku Gakuin University)

My area of specialization is landscape ecology. In recent years, I have been looking at satoyama and satochi, traditional Japanese socio-ecological systems characterized by harmonious relations between human activity and the natural environment, in order to research the state of affairs in what I might call “nature in hometowns,” which has supported human life to this day, in addition to the human wisdom and inventiveness that has nurtured this. The first time I visited the Shinhama area was in June 2011. During the period immediately after the earthquake, I was somewhat hesitant, wondering if it was alright to intrude into these coastal areas, which had changed beyond recognition. But after noticing that plant life had survived along the foreshore, where we had thought that every single thing had been swept away by the tsunami, I felt that it was my mission to document the regeneration process of the natural environment, so I have been visiting the area since then.

I had been wanting more people to observe the foreshore as it was self-regenerating, and to have them feel the unique power of real nature, and so I was inspired by Mr. Kawamata’s words when he said he would “entice people to the sea.” In Shinhama’s town planning, you always see the words “for all” being used. These words contain sentiments of consideration for each other, while also carrying the meaning of moving forward while considering reconstruction and town planning as one’s own concern. Precisely because this satohama beach area has suffered terrible things, it would be wonderful if these kinds of activities could join up together and turn into one big movement.

(Source: Quarterly Machiryoku, vol. 36 , published by Sendai Cultural Foundation, 2019)

HIRABUKI Yoshihiko, Professor, Department of Regional Design, Tohoku Gakuin University