“I want to make this city a place where its people can take part and try anything.”

These are the words of 27 year old Yo Sakurai who lives in Surisawa, Daito, which is part of the candidate site for the construction of the ILC.

We interviewed Mr. Sakurai to take a look at his involvement in the revitalization of his local community, Ichinoseki City.

Q1) What kind of work do you usually do?

I work in regional development. Previously, while working as a Local Vitalization Cooperator for three years, I learned about things such as product development, sales promotion and event planning. After leaving that position, I continue to work in regional development by organizing various events.

Q2) Can you go into some specifics about what kind of work you do?

From August 13th to 15th, the Surisawa Andon Festival was held. This festival is a quiet event where only the local community would gather. Beginning this year, we started andon* painting workshops and an andon-bar. As a result, we had many more participants than last year.

I also planned an Open Park Project which was held the other day. This was to further relay the benefits of parks. By encouraging citizens to make use of park spaces, our lives can be enriched and we can continue to convey the importance of parks to our future generations. We set up food trucks and held a market.

An andon lantern

*An ‘Andon’ is a traditional Japanese lantern which usually consists of a wooden frame (sometimes bamboo or metal) which is covered with paper. In this district, andons are hexagonal, taking inspiration from crystals which are famous to the area. During Obon (a Buddhist event commemorating one’s ancestors), these andons are decorated and prayers are made to the deceased.

Andon Festival

Open Park Project

Q3) What inspired you to do this kind of work?

As an undergrad, I participated in a workshop that got us to think about revitalizing the local area. There, I was able to get to know many local Ichinoseki companies. It was then that I realized that Ichinoseki has lots of interesting people! That was the first step that led me down this path: meeting many people who I felt I would love to work with one day. Also, by planning and conducting events, I wanted to support those who have a desire to try and challenge themselves in something.

Q4) What kind of events are you planning next?

An ‘izakaya* event’. There are young people in the town of Daito who want an izakaya where people can gather. So, for a day, we will rent out a vacant house and try running an izakaya. I am also developing a brand that represents the Daito region, and a community garden.

*An izakaya is a traditional Japanese bar.

Izakaya event

Community garden

Q5) Do you have a dream?

I want to make this a city where people who desire trying new things and challenging themselves gather, a place where interesting people come. A city where people can say what is on their mind (for example ‘I want to try this’). You have to dream big! I want to support those kinds of people.
And personally, I enjoy tennis so I would love a have a tennis court in my backyard!

Q6) Do you have any hopes or expectations that come with the realization of the ILC?

With the addition of foreign influences, it would create a new culture. I would love to do a foreign cuisine event. I also believe that we will be inspired by being introduced to interesting viewpoints and ideas that are different than ours.

Q7) Please give us a message for the foreign researchers.

There are a lot of tennis courts here so in terms of tennis, Ichinoseki has you covered! Let’s play together. When you come to Ichinoseki, please let me know! I will introduce you to the charms of Ichinoseki and its interesting people!


若者による地域おこし in 一関







また、Open Park PROJECTというのも先日企画しました。公園の魅力をさらに引き出そうと、公民連携により、公園を活用しながら、私たちの暮らしがさらに豊かなものにならないか、公園を未来の子どもたちにつないでいくことができないかと思い、屋台やキッチンカーを集めて、マルシェを開催しました。