The Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund

Introduction to Grant Projects

Wakayama University, Tourism Department

Creation of a sustainable society through restoration of an ecological spirit culture: Natural faith in Iitate Village, Soma District, Fukushima Prefecture

Activity grant

Project Description

The faith in wolves of the Yamatsumi Shrine that was mostly burned down in 2013 in the evacuation area of Iitate Village is understood as a form of faith in nature that is unique to the region, and the project seeks to explore the roots of this philosophy of coexistence with nature through interviews with local residents. We will work to restore part of the wolf ceiling paintings of the shrine and exhibit them in an aim to recognize once more an ecological spirit culture of ties between people, nature, and local residents to serve as the foundations for the reconstruction of a sustainable society. In addition, we will participate in restoration projects in an effort to utilize the restored works as local tourism resources and work towards establishing ties with the local community and spiritual restoration.

Grant year
FY2013 Activity Grants
Grant term
3 years
October 2013 - September 2016
Grant amount
6,500,000 yen
Activity region
Iitate Village, Soma District, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan
Yamatsumi Shrine (before the fire)

Overview of the Organization

Professor Kumi Kato
Professor Kumi Kato
Establishment year
Establishment purpose
Wakayama University, established by the Wakayama University National University Corporation, has a mission to broadly pass on knowledge centered around academic culture, and develop capable human resources which can contribute to society in order to research and teach specialized arts and sciences deeply, and develop intellectual, ethical and practical abilities.
Main activity areas
Iitate Village, Soma District, Fukushima Prefecture
Number of staff members
145 full time staff members
WEB site
Collaborating organizations
Resurrection of Fukushima (NPO), Sasu Region Residents Association
Main activities
Wakayama University's Tourism Department department was established in 2008, its master's program was commenced in 2011, and its doctoral program was commenced in 2014, becoming the only university offering an integrated tourism studies program from undergraduate school to a doctoral program. The university has a creative educational and research structure through strong regional and international cooperation that takes advantage of small numbers and interdisciplinary characteristics. The program works together with universities leading the world in tourism studies to conduct research and activities in accordance with current conditions in Japan including community building and regional regeneration, and the university's high level of education is also reflected in the high employment rate among its graduates.