The Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund

Introduction to Grant Projects

Echigo Tsumari Satoyama Collaborative Organization

Helping the Earth Project

Activity grant

Project Description

Known as an area with amongst the heaviest snowfall in Japan, the Echigo Tsumari area (of Tsunanmacho, Tokamachi City, Niigata Prefecture), is experiencing significant depopulation and aging. And damage from the 2004 Chuetsu Earthquake, the Niigata Prefecture Chuetsu Earthquake, the 2007 Niigataken Chuetsu-oki Earthquake, and the Northern Nagano earthquakes (EDS: of 2011 and 2014), has made restoration and conservation of the village an urgent task. For the last 10-years, this area has being engaged in art-driven regional development, capitalizing on the Echigo-Tsumari Art Field network, and artists, specialists and supporters from both Japan and overseas have been involved with the region, as well as Tohoku (the Oginohama area of Ishinomaki City), helping with work and events, and inviting parents and children from the affected areas to take part in agricultural work and snow clearing, listen to lectures from specialists, host artist workshops, and engage in disaster area reconstruction driven by regional exchanges that use art as a springboard.

Preservation of surface soil and forestsPreservation of biodiversity and ecosystem
Grant year
FY2011 Activity Grants
Grant term
3 years and 6 months
April 2011 - September 2014
Grant amount
16,800,000 yen
Activity region
Tsunanmachi, Tokamachi City, Niigata Prefecture, and Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
Echigo-Tsumari Open Air School workshop creating a verandah designed by the architects Atelier Bow/Wow

Overview of the Organization

Akio Wakai, Director
Akio Wakai, Director
Establishment Purpose
Established with the objective of developing the potential attractions of the Echigo Tsumari area (of Tsunanmachi, Tokamachi City, Niigata Prefecture), through the power of culture and art based on the Echigo-Tsumari Art Field international arts festival hosted by the settlement once every 3-years, and the motivation and cooperation of people that transcend region, generation or genre, and the creation of a 21st. century model area that local residents can be proud of, and where they can share their dreams and hopes with visitors, by establishing a regional identity, creating employment and aiming for the conservation of the settlement.
Major areas of activity
Tsunanmachi, Tokamachi City, Niigata Prefecture, Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture and other areas of Tohoku, and Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Staff numbers
23 full-time staff members, 32 part time staff members, including irregulars. 49 full members
Annual Business Operations: (Current Revenue)
2,516 million yen in 2008, 16,587 million yen in 2009, 18,606 million yen in 2010.
WEB site
Main Activities
Based on the cooperation by artists, residents and supporters developed through the Echigo-Tsumari Art Field international arts festival, abandoned schools and vacant housing has been regenerated as restaurants, accommodation facilities and art galleries, which we operate jointly with the region, aiming for year-round sightseeing and exchanges. We also organize exchanges and interaction between the cities and the regions, including training guides to these works of art and bases, recruit owners and operators for the Tsumari fan club, and rice terraces, and develop goods that match local products with designers.