FORUM TAURI Collaborates with UConn
UConn School of Business - International Business Case Challenge (2021)
Japan has numerous hidden gem villages, within arm’s reach of major cities like Kyoto and Tokyo, that are suffering the effects of an ageing population and the draw of youth away from the villages to nearby, more active, fashionable urban environments. Furthermore, the increased reliance on mechanization has relegated many of the local jobs to an inessential status. This unsustainable situation has been a target of local municipalities and the national government. This combination of issues has a negative impact economically and socially on the rural areas, and has left many individuals, local artisans, farmers, and others feeling left behind and worrying about the future of their wellbeing and livelihood, along with the future of their beloved hometowns.
Forum Tauri is an international organization with bases in Tokyo and Istanbul that has been developing projects for the specific purpose of community building in Japan. A main focus has been Chiho Sosei (Regional Revitalization). The principle of Chiho Sosei is to innovate grassroots responses to this crisis, rather than to rely on top-down governmental incentives, thereby empowering communities and ensuring a balanced approach.
Forum Tauri has been facilitating learning exchanges like artist residencies and culinary exhanges, developing innovative community attractions like culinary contests and exhibitions that highlight the in part to combat the effects that the emerging increased by encouraging creative and artistic development through inter and intra-cultural exchange.
In addition to promoting residencies, organizing festivals and culinary exchange contests, and publishing academic research on Japanese culture, Forum Tauri has been working with local municipalities in Shikoku Island to address the population problems and the rural drain through revitalization projects. This entails a combination of specific programs to promote each town according to their natural features and capabilities and also developing an overarching strategy to develop the brand of the island and attract both international and domestic younger populations, thereby improving local conditions in a lasting way
Students working on the first project will analyze a particular town and devise an environmentally friendly and sustainable showpiece product for the town, infused with the local culture and particular natural environment of the place. There are several towns that have undertaken this type of effort. One nearby town, Kamikatsu, achieved this by turning local leaves into an array of commercial items, drawing local workers and international interest: https://irodori.co.jp/about/. In other instances, events and services surrounding cultural festivals were developed to attract interest from specific groups like academics or Japanophiles https://www.in-kamiyama.jp/art/.
Forum Tauri would currently like to focus on two towns in Tokushima, Shikoku: Minami and Kamiyama. Both towns are in particular need of revitalization, and have a variety of municipal incentives that may be helpful to project development. Each town has different qualities so students can select between them or consider collaborative projects between the towns, which are about 1.5 hours apart. Discover or design a product with roots in the locale that might have wider appeal and design a campaign to promote it beyond the borders of the town. Keep in consideration that the project is not simply monetary but designed to emphasize the appeal of the locality and to attract long term stays and investment.
This project will help students to carefully think through promotional options, to find genuinely representative offerings with longevity, and to better understand the navigation of the political and social life in the at-risk townships.