[ Editor: Institute for Industrial Research  23rd December, 2021 ]

3rd December 2021  Workshop Revitalising Rural Areas in Japan & Germany

Title: Revitalising Rural Areas in Japan & Germany: Making rural areas more attractive and resilient through innovation & entrepreneurship
Date & Time: 3rd December 2021, 1:20 p.m. – 4:40 p.m.
Location: Kwansei Gakuin University Library Hall and online (hybrid format)
Language: English, Japanese German (with German to English translation)
Participants: 25 (on-site and online) 

On 3rd December 2021, we held out first roundtable workshop with representatives from NGOs, local governments, entrepreneurs, and the medical sector. The big question we tried to answer in the workshop was how to make rural areas more attractive and resilient through innovation & entrepreneurship. In four parts, we looked at how

-    Sustainable farming & architecture
-    Medical services
-    Art & culture 
-    Investment & public funding 
could make rural areas more future-proof. 

We had the honour to welcome eight distinguished speakers, who elaborated on their topic for about 15 minutes before discussing the issues with the audience (on-site and online) consisting of students, representatives from local governments, and academics. 

Bahram Enanloo
Viviana Di Blasi

The presentations ranged from community building through revitalisation of fallow fields and organic farming in Kobe, sustainable architecture, providing state-of-the-art medical care in rural Nagano through modern technology, revitalising the countryside through the European Capital of Culture, and bottom-up approaches to make rural communities more attractive in southern Germany. 

Kaori Nagy
Tomohiko Yoshida

Especially the cases focusing on the EU and Germany, such as Matera and its participation in the European Capital of Culture programme, and the two best-case studies from southern Germany, generated a lot of interest among the audience. 

Holger Bungsche
Anna Schrade

The presenters were happy they could share their first-hand experience of revitalising the countryside with the audience, as well as to receive input and new insights from other actors in Japan and Germany.  Lasting for over 3 hours, the workshop was packed with information and ideas, and provided several good examples that could work as best-case studies for other localities.  We are honoured that the eight distinguished speakers (including a Newsweek Challenging Innovator 2021) from four different countries shared their insights and special knowledge with each other and the audience! 

Sarah Rohloff
Clemens Stadler


Moderator: Anna Schrade, Associate Professor, Institute for Industrial Research, Kwansei Gakuin University

1:20 p.m. – 1:25 p.m. Greeting & Introduction 

1:25 p.m. – 2:25 p.m. Part I: Making rural areas more resilient through sustainability 

“Community building through revitalization of fallow fields by organic farming, and 'Satoyama' activities in line with SDGs” (Presentation in English)
Bahram Enanloo (Founder & CEO, Peace & Nature)

“Increasing rural area’s attractiveness through sustainable architecture: a case study from Ozo (Kobe) “ (Presentation in English)
Viviana Di Blasi (Architect, member of Peace & Nature)

“Local revitalisation through internal migrants: sustainable farming & eco-tourism in Fujino (Kanagawa)” (Presentation in English)
Kaori Nagy (Owner, Kasamatsu Farm & Yokomura Eco Lodge, Business Director, Fabric/a MullenLowe Group Affiliate)


2:35 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Part II: Bringing state-of-the-art rheumatology to rural areas  

“Rural healthcare innovation - Providing state-of-the art rheumatology care in rural Nagano” (Presentation in Japanese)
Tomohiko Yoshida (General Director, Toshinkai Medical Corporation, Newsweek Challenging Innovator 2021)

3:00 p.m. – 3:10 p.m. Break 

3:10 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Part III: Revitalising rural areas through culture & tourism 

“Revitalising declining regions through the European Capital of Culture programme” (Presentation in English)
Holger Bungsche (Professor, School of International Studies, Kwansei Gakuin University)

3:30 p.m. – 4:35 p.m. Part IV: Best case studies from Germany: the secret behind flourishing villages

”Rural development in Germany: why the German countryside is getting increasingly attractive” (Presentation in English)
Anna Schrade (Associate Professor, Institute for Industrial Research, Kwansei Gakuin University)

“Offering all you can ask for: how to attract new residents & businesses as a rural town in southern Germany. An example from Muensingen (Germany)” (Presentation in Germany)
Sarah Rohloff (Economic promotion office, Münsingen City)

“Home-loving, endlessly active: Rural development in the LEADER-region Württembergisches Allgäu, Germany” (Presentation in English)
Clemens Stadler (Director, Regional Development Office Württembergisches Allgäu e.V.)

Q&A and discussion 

4:35 p.m. – 4:40 p.m. Summary & closing

Poster - Workshop 'Revitalising Rural Areas in Japan and Germany' on 3 Dec.