WHY WE DO
Over the past decades, we human beings on Earth have become more interconnected than before thanks to the rapidly developing internet technology. We have also managed to lift families out of poverty, reduce illnesses and eradicate hunger and water sanitation problems in many parts of the world. At the same time, however, we are facing unprecedented new challenges in climate change and an expanding inequality between the riches and the poor.
The myth that globalization is a panacea for all problems is gradually being debunked as we are starting to see the backlashes of the phenomenon. The veil is slipping away to reveal the blemishes of the double-edged sword.
In many ways, globalization has caused a rift between the global and the local. Neo-liberalist free trade between countries is threatening the existence of small-scale local farming communities. Factories owned by multinational manufacturing companies are causing environmental pollution with undesirable consequences such as extreme weather events and disasters. The global race for personal affluence, economic growth and technology advancement is leaving local tradition and culture behind.
The sheer speed of globalization is making us blind toward local cultures, deaf against local voices and indifferent to local stories. We seem to be losing our ability to look beyond the superficiality of things into the values and stories within.
BOUNDLESS believes that by re-connecting the global and local, by communicating these local stories globally, we will be able to reconnect the global and the local, and rediscover the real values that lie beneath the surface.
Bestowed with rich natural resources and a unique culture, Japan produces a potpourri of treasures ranging from fresh foods to exquisite traditional crafts. In the rural parts of Japan lies a wealth of traditional wisdom passed down from generations, intricate craftsmanship and an ideology that would lead us to a sustainable future.
However, Japan has been struggling to deal with depopulation in the rural areas, aging population and the decline of primary and traditional industries. For example, 60% of the municipalities in Japan will be halved in population by 2050, and the population of the people 65 years and above will increase from 25% (2014) to 50% (2040). The unipolar concentration of Japan’s population in Tokyo means that the suburbs and rural regions are declining rapidly in its population, economy and industry.
With the decline of the rural regions, we are losing our cultures, our connection with the environment, and our abilities to produce our own food and energy. This phenomenon is not just happening in Japan, but around the world. Many countries across the globe are experiencing something similar- the movement of populations from rural to urban areas leading to the decline of rural regions.
Once again, this is not just a problem of rural regions losing its population, but we are talking about an irreversible loss of cultures and traditions, the destruction of nature due to disruption of ecosystems, and the disintegration of fabrics of society in these places.
In order to tackle this conundrum, there has been a trend of “regional revitalization” efforts going on in recent years. However, many of these efforts are targeted at the Japanese population. Although the Japanese population is declining rapidly, there has been a continuous expansion of the international community in Japan, including international students enrolled in Japanese universities, Japanese language schools and specialized institutes.
We believe that, by injecting fresh perspectives and diversity from the international communities, we can provide new solutions to these problems. More importantly, we can learn about the local stories of rural Japan that contain timeless values.
Sosei Partners is a project launched by BOUNDLESS. (Sosei comes from the Japanese phrase "chiho sosei", which means regional revitalization.) Through Sosei Partners, we aim to create a platform to empower the international community in Japan in order to contribute to the "regional revitalization" of Japan.
For more information about Sosei Partners, please click here.