International Symposium “Globalization and Local Community” on 21, 22 January


International Symposium, “Globalization and Local Community; Placed-Based Education for the Sustainable Future” will be held in Tokyo.

Dr. HAYWARD Bronwyn

You may send the application from here  >>>Application form

Date and Venues;

Saturday, 21 January 2017, Room 8101, Ikebukuro Campus, Rikkyo University
Sunday, 22 January 2017, International Conference Centre, Waseda University

This symposium offers an arena to discuss the topics from learning to democracy– how do we see the relationship between the expansion of globalism and the local community where people have lives, and how can we truly recognize essence from abundant information due to the digital society under which people sometimes feel as if we know everything, and how do we build up local community and society under these circumstances.

We have three keynote speakers; a political scientist from New Zealand whose research falls in children, environment and democracy under this changing world; a German architect who is working for re-birthing Japanese traditional wooden housings; and a Japanese photographer who has done many journeys including world conflicts areas.

Other participants involved in various fields are expected to attend, including “Forest Kindergarten” (a kindergarten raising children in nature), self-sufficiency life with small-scale agriculture, revitalization of the community, etc. We are looking forward to welcoming you to this event.

Special guests;

Dr. HAYWARD Bronwyn, Head of Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Mr. BENGS Karl, architectural designer, Germany (currently living in Japan)
Mr. MOMOI Kazuma, photographer, nonfiction writer, Japan

The simultaneous translation (Jap – Eng) available for keynote speeches and panel discussion, and other form of translation may be arranged for break-up sessions

Overarching theme: Globalisation and Place-based education

Sub themes: virtual experiences, local area and school, livelihood, community and child rearing

Keynote 1: Prof. HAYWARD Bronwyn, political scientist, New Zealand
“Children and Citizenship: the global challenge in an urban century”

Keynote 2: Mr. BENGS Karl, architectural designer, Germany (resides in Japan)
“Revival of old Japanese houses – Why Japanese throw away ‘gems’ and take up gravel”

Keynote 3: Mr. MOMOI Kazuma, photographer, nonfiction writer, Japan
“Ladakh, India – traditional societies protected or vanished”

Break-up sessions (Themed seminars)

  • Session 1: What do you mean by “I understand” – in the time of virtual experiences
  • Session 2: Community and School – folding school down
  • Session 3: Economy of live and living
  • Session 4: Community and child rearing – experiences of forest kindergarten

Schedule: The timing may change on the day.

Day 1 (Jan 21) at Rikkyo University
10:00 Opening
10:10 Keynote 1
11:10 Keynote 2
12:05 – 13:15 Lunch break
13:15 Keynote 3
14:00 Introduction of the break-up sessions, and move to respective rooms
16:00 Re-union; sharing and summary
17:30 Reception (with fees)

Day 2 (Jan 22) at Waseda University
10:00 Opening, Panel discussion 1 – based on questions and issues of Day 1
12:00 – 13:30 Talking lunch – discussion with guests and other attendees, over your own packed lunch.
13:30 Panel discussion 2 – gathering topics from the lunch discussion
15:30 Summary and closure

Committee members;
Prof. ABE Osamu, Rikkyo University
Prof. ANDO Toshihiko, Saitama University
Dr. ITAGAKI Jumpei, Kobe University
Dr. KIMATA Mikio, Fellow, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
Dr. SASAKI Toyoshi, Kurikoma Kogen Nature School
Mr. SAKUMA Norio, Nature Conservation Society for Dewa Mountains
Dr. TOYODA Mitsuyo, Niigata University
Mr. YOKOYAMA Ryuichi, Nature Conservation Society Japan
Prof. TAKANO Takako, Waseda University, Executive Director, Ecoplus

Supported by Japan Fund for Global Environment

Research Center for Education for Sustainable Development, Rikkyo University.
Center for International Education, Waseda University

Ecoplus, a registered NPO in Japan

Snow camp in the ““Snow country”

From March 26th to the 29th, 2016, ECOPLUS hosted the ““Yuki Zanmai,” or “Snow Indulgence” Camp” in Minami-Uonuma. Seven participants, all from elementary and middle schools in the Metropolitan area and Niigata enjoyed four days and three nights of living on the snow, where they all constructed their campsite entirely on their own.

Hiking on the snow toward the middle of Mt. Makihata. Gorgeous view!

This winter, we experienced an uncharacteristically small amount of snow. Despite being 600 meters above sea level, the village of Shimizu looked almost as though it was experiencing early spring.

Ordinarily, there would have been between 2 – 3 meters of snowfall by this point during an average year; instead, the area received an approximate 50 centimeters of snow this year. Due to this, we were worried that the “Snow Indulgence Camp” might not succeed, but we were blessed with good weather, and the children faced the challenge of living in the snow with a serious, sincere look in their eyes.

Children challenged to live on the snow by themselves. Making fire woods on the snow was one of the first duties.

A total of seven children was assembled of from fourth-year elementary school students to first-year middle school students. Some of the children had participated in ECOPLUS programs once or twice before, but this was their first time as a group in this area, as well as the first time holding an overnight camp on the snow. Everybody had a bit of a nervous look to him or her.

The children decided on their goals for the camp—some said, “It is important to take care of the environment,” while others said, “We hope to make friends here.” Once this was done, the Snow Indulgence Camp could begin.

Throughout the next four days, the children’s everyday necessities and personal lives were self-led. They trampled the snow underfoot in order to harden it, creating a space to raise their tents; they split wood for their fires; they melted snow for drinking water; and they made tables, chairs, cupboards for food, and even makeshift toilets entirely from snow. They even used snow to wipe their bottoms afterward!

They also used cedar leaves like sponges while washing their pots and pans. On the first day of the camp program, the children were confused about this new way of living, but they became as resilient as adults in only four days’ time.

Encountered a big hawk, Snow camp in Tochikubo

Under the gorgeous blue sky, children enjoyed the nature and life in Tochikubo.

From the 9th of January to the 11th, ECOPLUS held our program, “Experiencing Natural Mountain Life: Winter Edition”, in Tochikubo village in Niigata prefecture.

The program was aimed at elementary school children, and we had 17 participants. Thirteen of them were city kids from metropolitan area, and the other four were students from Niigata prefecture.

The weather was thankfully very calm throughout, and everybody enjoyed getting to play in the snow under the blue sky.

We started the first day with many nervous faces when we conducted the orientation. The orientation began with self-introductions and some games. Afterwards we covered important things to be careful about and to watch out for. Lastly we broke them up into two groups regarding daily responsibilities, and gave some time for the two groups to discuss things together.

From the afternoon onwards, they were waiting in anticipation to be able to play in the snow. The snow was approximately 40cm deep, and when they finally could, they eagerly changed into their snow gear.

This was actually significantly less snow than on average. Regardless, for the kids the world still seemed to be completely covered in snow. They made snow huts (these snow huts, kamakura are traditionally made by kids in mid-January), had snow ball fights, and sled. The local kids even joined them in on the fun. The sound of laughing children echoed in the village.

Children observed a big hawk, called “Kumataka” on a branch of a tree hundreds meters away.

On the second day we focused on observing nature. A local knowledgeable about the nature here accompanied us as a special guest. On the snow covered path he led us to the outskirts of the village. There we were able to get a phenomenal view of the mountains and forest. We even were able to see a very rare bird, a Tinnitus Mountain Hawk, perched on one of the mountain trees.

The kids were fascinated by the bird. After getting a telescope to confirm that it actually was a Tinnitus Mountain Hawk, we examined it for a while. For around half an hour it stayed in the same spot. When it finally flew away we could see the striped pattern of its back feathers. The kids tried to follow the bird until it disappeared from sight.

For the three days of the program, we borrowed the villageÆs assembly hall, and camped in there. The kids were responsible for cooking their own meals. For the most part, everything from cutting the ingredients, to cooking them, was done completely by them with some supervision.

On the last day, our closing event was a discussion and retrospective. While a completely new experience for many of the children, they spoke very fondly of the past three days. One kid enthusiastically said, ôSince I am an only child, it was especially fun to spend time here with lots of friendsö. Most of the other responses were quite similar.

From March 26th to the 29th, we will be holding a similar event, but this time aimed at older students. ôExperiencing Natural Mountain Life: Lingering Snow Seasonö will be open for 5th graders to high school students. We will tent over the snow for three nights and four days. We are eagerly awaiting this upcoming program.

(Translation, Victor Lane)

International Students of Waseda Summer Session learned Traditional Japan in Tochikubo

On July 3-5, 25 international students and staff from Waseda University arrived in Minamiuonuma City as part of its Summer Session, visiting Tochikubo on the 4th. ECOPLUS supported their activities.
On July 3-5, 25 international students and staff from Waseda University arrived in Minamiuonuma City as part of its Summer Session, visiting Tochikubo on the 4th. ECOPLUS supported their activities. With activities such as walking the area, visiting homes, and enjoying local food, they had a chance to learn about Japanese traditional village life.

The students were from 9 countries and area like the US, the UK, and China. They stayed with host families in Minamiuonuma for two nights. While some students could speak a little Japanese, many could not. Because they had many different backgrounds, they had varying perspectives on what they saw, heard, and felt here.

Hearing the brief explanation of the area overseeing the panoramic view from the top.
Hearing the brief explanation of the area overseeing the panoramic view from the top.

The activities in Tochikubo began at 8:45 with the participants, taken there by their host families, gathered at the top of a mountain of 700 meters. The panoramic view was shrouded in clouds, creating an almost dream-like vista.

Two interns students of ECOPLUS spoke briefly about Tochikubo, mentioning the population size and elevation as well as industries such as the ski slopes, and of course, the rice fields. As we walked down the mountain, Takako Takano, Professor at Waseda and executive director of ECOPLUS, pointed out notable plants like heartleaf, called “Dokudami,” a plant that has many medicinal properties.

An elder lady presented how to get a jute fiber from dried skin of the plant. The jute clothes were made in the area for more than 1,300 years.
An elder lady presented how to get a jute fiber from dried skin of the plant. The jute clothes were made in the area for more than 1,300 years.

After a sumptuous lunch prepared by local women, the students were divided into different groups and helped visited local homes with a variety of tasks. The group I went with weeded a garden and tasted freshly-grown cucumbers. They asked many questions and really immersed themselves in the experience.

When finished working with the villagers, they gathered again on the second floor of the community center and watched a video and a presentation by the interns about their experiences over these eight weeks in Tochikubo. The students then had some time for questions and discussion, which proved very enlightening – a student from England commented on the differences between the Japanese and British countryside, and a Chinese student said that she was surprised at the cleanliness and level of development in Japanese rural areas.

At 4:15 it was time for them to return to their host families. Through being here and interacting with people, they had the chance to genuinely experience life in rural Japan. Based on what I saw and heard, I think they had an excellent learning experience.

International Symposium, ESD and Place-Based Education, held

On 11-12 Jan 2015, International Symposium \”ESD and Place-based Education\” was held in National Olympic Memorial Youth Center, Tokyo, Japan. Guest speakers and participants both exchange ideas and opinions about outdoor education, environmental education, community, sustainability and the place.


Over 100 people attended the conference.
Over 100 people attended the conference.

Over 100 participants from students to community leaders, researchers, and practitioners attended the conference. In the afternoon of Sunday, the conference opened with keynote speeches of three guest-speakers form the world.

Prof. Pete Higgins of Edinburgh University reported the situation on “Learning for Sustainability, LfS” in Scotland. He showed a photo of canoeing class in river Spey and said it is not just for the canoeing skills. “We talked about many things, from climate change, history, geography, culture, law, or economics. He stressed the value of Place-based Education and said the planet is the place in this time.

Dr. Ihi Heke from New Zealand talked about a challenge of Maori people to reconnect their tradition and nature into learning. He pointed out that the current society is occupied by Western way of thinking. With governmental support he is setting up a curriculum based on Maori wisdom based on constellations, water and the land.

Dr. Jess Salathong from Thailand introduced some activities in ASEAN countries. He also explained cases of ESD in Thailand and said that at the base of ESD Program in Thailand, the principle, \”Sufficient Economy,\” exists. His photo of a wind turbine at the palace in Bangkok raised by the King for the promotion of sustainable development dragged attentions from the audience.

During the panel discussion followed the keynote speeches, Prof. Abe Osamu of Rikkyo University argued the relation between GLOBAL and LOCAL and audience joined the discussion.

On 12th, Mr. Suzuki Shigeo, Mayor of Kuzumaki Town, gave his speech with the title of “the power of mountainous village.” He introduced a history of a town with 6,854 people tried to find and to use what they have within the area and now the town grew to \”Milk, Wine and Clean Energy\” town. Its sufficiency on food and energy are over 100% and a new system of its high school inviting students from city area is to start this year, he said.

Then, participants separated into three sectional workshops; Life and Learning, Outdoor/Experiential Education and Place, Public Education and place, and exchanged opinions. After those, concluding session was took place and finished the conference at around 3 p.m…

Group photo, at the end of the conference.
Group photo, at the end of the conference.

Participants say; it was encouraging to hear about Scotland\’s situation, which moves the politics to LfS. / the important thing is what to put on the root of education. Maori has 24 views on the world and tries to connect them with education / Kuzumaki\’s attempt is a good stimulation for other mountainous villages. / Many participant\’s discussion from different backgrounds made the symposium full of diversity.

ECOPLUS will publish a report on March. Photos and some reports are on our facebook page.

Video of keynote speeches are available from following URL.

The panel discussion is also seen from the URL

Under the clear sky, enjoyed rice harvesting with people from 8 nations.

People from city area including from Australia, Bosnia, Canada, and other countries enjoyed rice harvesting workshop.


Gorgeous view from the terraced rice paddies overseeing mountain ridges of 2,000 meter high.
Chasing frogs and grasshoppers, a family enjoyed the harvesting works.

People from city area including from Australia, Bosnia, Canada, and other countries enjoyed rice harvesting workshop, a part of \”ABC\” in a rice paddy program, last weekend, 11-12 October in Tochikubo, Niigata.

Those, from 8 nations including Japan, gathered at the community center of the village at 1 pm on Saturday. Mr. FUEKI Akira, one of the local leaders, introduced brief history of the village since \”Sengoku-Jidai,\” or worriers period about 500 years ago.

In the class after the walk, Mr. FUEKI talked about rice faming from business perspectives. According to him, selling price to \”Nokyo,\” or the Farmers Association, is 15,000 JPY per 60 kg, Production from a rice paddy of 1,000 sq. meter would be like 540 kg and total income from one standard paddy would be 135,000 JPY. One family in the village owns 1 ha of the rice paddies in average. So total income to one family from rice would be 1,350,000 JPY although for that farming machines which need millions of yen for each each.

Based on those factors they exchanged opinions over the rice farming and the future of Japanese rural societies.

(Read more on following page)

The symposium on Place based education: community, place and learning

Dr. Ron Tooth is the founding Principal of the Pullenvale Environmental Education Centre and inventor of “Storythread Pedagogy”. Dr. Tooth offers environmental education program to both school students and teachers.
Ms Maunakea-Forth is a founder of MA’O Community Food Security Initiative and Executive Director of Wai’anae Community Re-Development Corporation. Operating organic farm, she offers education/training program to youth.

On 1st February, ECOPLUS holds an international symposium“Community, Place and Learning”at Rikkyo University, Tokyo. With special guest speakers from Australia and Hawaii, the symposium will provide us an opportunity to consider the way to combine “Place” and “Learning”for sustainable living.

With distinguished researchers and practitioners, ECOPLUS has undertaken a 3-year project to explore the meanings of“Place-based Education”in modern context in Japan. With special guest speakers from Australia and Hawaii, the symposium will provide us an opportunity to consider the way to combine “Place” and “Learning”for sustainable living.



*Date: 1st February (Wed), 2014

*Place: Rikkyo University Tachikawa Memorial Hall (Tokyo, Ikebukuro)
*Guest Speakers: Dr. Ron Tooth (Principal of Pullenvale Environmental Education Centre, Australia)
Ms. Kukui Maunakea-Forth (Executive Director of Wai’anae Community Re-Development Corporation, Hawaii)
*Commentators: Dr. Peter Renshaw (Head of School of Education, Queensland University, Australia)
*Organizers: ECOPLUS / Rikkyo University Research Center for ESD
*Supported by Japan Outdoor Education Society / The Japanese Society of Environmental Education
*Funded by Japan Fund for Global Environment (JFGE)
*Admission free

➢ Schedule
9:30 Hall Opens
10:00 Symposium starts
10:15 Presentations
(Dr. Tooth, Ms. Maunakea-Forth)
*lunch break*
13:40 Proposal of“PBE Model”
14:05 Panel Discussion
16:10 Conclusion

please send your information
(Name, Affiliation, Address, TEL, Email)

Hot Discussion on PBE~Kiyosato Meeting 2013

shot from \"3-Hour Workshop\"
shot from \”3-Hour Workshop\”

November 16-18, 2013, Annual Kiyosato Meeting was held in Kiyosato, Yamanashi. Over 200 people involved in environmental education gathered at same place and ECOPLUS made presentation and workshop focus on PBE (Place-based Education) to the participants. A lot of people discussed about what is \”root in the place\”.

Novemver 16-18, 2013, Japan Environmental Education Forum(JEEF) held 27th \”KIYOSATO MEETING\” in Yamanashi Pref.
Over 200 people gathered from all across Japan and had workshops, presentations and information exchange.

ECOPLUS gave \”3-hour Workshop\”, \”10-min Presentation\” and \”Booth Exhibition\” on Place-based Education(PBE).

Individual comments about \"how to root in the place\"
Individual comments about \”how to root in the place\”

In \”10-min Presentation\” part, 27 organizations and individuals gave audience brief presentations. Mr. Mizumura from ECOPLUS introduced PBE basics and committee activities of these 3 years. Stimulating theme collected over 50 audience to the booth.

\”3-hour Workshop\” on second day gathered 33 participants. Mr. Ohmae, General Manager of ECOPLUS introduced PBE idea, world\’s trend and ECOPLUS\’s activities. After comments from Dr. Abe (Rikkyo University) and Mr. Takagi(NPO Neos), workshop moved to group discussion.

In each group, members discussed and introduced; their activities, necessity to \”rooted in place\”, relationship between cities and countrysides, why young generation goes to city after studying, citizenship and so on.

Lastly, each person filled a comment sheet, which says \”What is \”rooted in the place\”\”. Some answers are; \”notice, learn, change and continue\”, \”to have a place to die, make place to own hometown\”, \”people live in the regions take activities as their own matters\”, etc.

ECOPLUS\’s committee on PBE with 7 professionals to build \”a model of PBE\” will hold a international symposium and last session on 1st February 2014 at Rikkyo University.

Yap-Japan Youth Exchange program 2013

Yap- Japan Youth exchange 2013 was held from 20th August to 1st of September in Maaq village in Yap with 12 Japanese youth, learning the skills and knowledges of life close to the nature.

Local foods, like taro, bread fruit and fishes filled the dinner table every day.
Local foods, like taro, bread fruit and fishes filled the dinner table every day.

Yap- Japan Youth exchange 2013 was held from 20th August to 1st of September in Maaq village in Yap with 12 Japanese youth, learning the skills and knowledges of life close to the nature.
5 girls and 7 boys from 16 to 25 year old participated the program.

The group stayed in a village of Maaq, Tomil in Yap island. This was the 6th host of the program for the village which lies in the beautiful seaside mangrove forest.

At the final farewell party, villagers and Japanese participants danced together.
At the final farewell party, villagers and Japanese participants danced together.

Read more on the following page,

Second session was held in Kosuge, Yamanashi

The second session of \”Place-based Education\” Project was held on 30th-31st, July in Kosuge village, Yamanashi.

The second session was held in Kosuge village, Yamanashi prefecture on 30-31st July. Three committee members, Dr. Kimata, Mr. Yokoyama, Mr. Sakuma participated in the session.

Kosuge has a headstream of Tama river which supplies drink water to Tokyo area. On 30th, members visited around the village and saw a closed elementary school, which is now used as a place for interaction between locals and universities in Tokyo area. At the village office, members got lectures about educational activities from village officers and related organizations. At night, members had a discussion with local people, some of them had moved in from Tokyo. They introduced their activities on \”food\”, \”farming\”, \”experience in nature\” and so on.

The committee is planning next discussion session in Kyushu in September, as well as symposium in Rikkyo university (Ikebukuro Tokyo) on 1st February 2014.