OUIK > Archives > Publications > Collaborative research > Kanazawa


OUIK Biocultural Diversity Series #5 Restoring Kinship with Nature through Japanese Gardens -The Challenge to Achieve a Sustainable Commons in Kanazawa

The book introduces unique roles and teachings of Japanese Gardens in Kanazawa City in a relation with human society and it is breaking new ground for Kanazawa’s sustainable future. 

Youth Capacity Building Workshop towards UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

From January 1, 2016 until 2030, United Nations adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs), with 17 goals and 169 targets, to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. These goals are applied to all countries and regions, and for the next 15 years they will be the critical tools in the dialogs to solve environmental, economic and social issues. Youth capacity development towards those issues will be essential to ensure the successful achievements of those goals. This Workshop is jointly created by Kanazawa University and United Nations University, and it aims to create the platform for the younger generations to come together and deepen the discussions on SDGs and share the regional issues.

OUIK Biocultural Diversity Series #4 [Learning About the Satoyama and Satoumi of Hokuriku Region from Maps]

Map information  compiled by various scales to learn about  the link between anthropogenic activities and physical environment within Hokuriku Region.

【開催報告】観光とSDGs – 地域の食と食材から考える「持続可能な開発」

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ホタル調査 in 菊川

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IMAGINE KANAZAWA 2030 パートナーズ交流会 #10(2022年3月25日)の開催

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SDGs Café #19: How are partnerships developing in Kanazawa?

At present, over 180 companies, organisations and individuals are registered as partners of IMAGINE KANAZAWA 2030, and are studying each other’s activities through workshops and exchange meetings.

The theme of the 19th SDGs Café was “how are partnerships developing in Kanazawa?”. The participants revisited the meaning of partnerships, going beyond their own framework, from the perspective of “collective impact”, which refers to joint initiatives with shared visions.


Examining the change in people’s awareness toward the ideal partnerships realised in 2030

Our guest this time was Hiroki Uda, a pharmacist working for Kanazawa City Hospital and the president of Yaku-yaku Renkei SDGs Kanazawa (pharmacist partnership). He became interested in the SDGs when he attended a lecture by OUIK office manager Ms. Nagai, and he started to explore partnerships aimed at solving the problem of unused medicine.

Yaku-yaku Renkei SDGs KANAZAWA is intended for all people involved in medicine who are working to secure health and welfare, including pharmacists working for pharmacies and hospitals. In the field of medication, a cross-sector partnership such as this is truly groundbreaking.

The preamble of their bylaw declares that “all the activities aim to solve social problems in order to attain SDGs”. At present, the two projects of “saving children from COVID19” and “eliminating unused medicine” are underway. Unused medicine refers to medicine that is left unused in homes. It is estimated that 10 billion ~ 874.4 billion yen worth of medicine is left unused annually. Most of the cost for such unused medicine is borne by social insurance expenses (taxation); therefore, this is a serious problem for the whole country. We are now developing an app in collaboration with Code for Kanazawa to solve this problem.

How has people’s awareness of the SDGs changed? First, I would like to talk about the change in my awareness. I did not know anything about the SDGs one year ago. I realised the SDGs are issues of relevance to me when I attended a lecture by the OUIK office manager Ms. Nagai in the Sightseeing Course of Kanazawa Volunteer College. A period of uncertainty began for me, and I was asking myself what I could do toward the SDGs in my life and work.

Then, I listened to Mr. Hiroishi’s keynote speech titled “Linking SDGs to local innovation” at the Hokuriku SDGs Future City Forum (click here for the report) held online in January 2021. I recognized that I could create business and jobs by applying the SDGs concept to local innovation, and started to think with excitement about trying it. Two months later, I organised an online workshop, inviting my friends. 11 participants agreed with my proposal and became facilitators of the initiative. In this way, I recognised the SDGs as my own issues and changed my awareness, and then I started to take action.


Partnerships can resolve not only pharmaceutical problems but also regional challenges

Next, Takuji Hiroishi, President of Empublic and an advisor to the Kanazawa SDGs, gave a speech on partnerships from a professional point of view:

In talks about partnerships, we often hear the concept of health promotion by local public health nurses (a way of seeking possibilities to improve people’s health through management, advocated by WHO). The idea that medical professionals such as pharmacists and doctors should care for local people (patients as clients) is called “community as a client”. However, this concept has already been recognised as ineffective for health promotion through past experiences. Thus, the new concept “community as a partner” appeared. Although it shares the same purpose of making communities healthy, this concept aims to increase the number of healthy people as partners. When this concept is applied as a solution to regional problems, all the processes such as information collection, assessment and planning are implemented through collaboration between local people and professionals, instead of a one-way approach by professionals.

He also referred to the problem of unused medicine, which Mr. Uda’s partnership initiative focuses on. When the British Royal Pharmacist Association examined the reasons why patients did not take medicine as directed, they found that patients had not been complying with directions in the first place. The patients lied to their doctors that they were taking medicine. The doctors and patients did not have sufficient communication. As a solution to this problem, they adopted the idea of concordance, which means to find appropriate treatment methods through partnerships and discussions on an equal footing. In other words, professionals should respect and listen to patients’ opinions including objections; i.e. professionals should accept patients’ right to not take medicine.

This kind of joint decision making regarding medicine can be applied to approaches in regional revitalisation and the SDGs. Bilateral, continuous dialogue between professionals and local people will produce harmony and mutual understanding, thus leading to effective, viable decisions and a better life for the community.


The will of each individual advances partnerships

In the latter period of the meeting, Mr. Uda, Mr. Hiroishi, OUIK office manager Ms. Nagai and the audience of the meeting held a discussion to deepen their understanding of partnerships.

Mr. Uda introduced his experience, saying “patients became motivated when their right to not take medicine or not undergo treatment for their disease is accepted, i.e. when they were sympathised with”. Mr. Hiroishi said, “medical professionals do not know as much about patients as they think. The same thing can be said for businesses”. He proposed that in order to improve sustainability, business people should start by realising that perhaps they do not know their clients at all. In response, Ms. Nagai talked about her experience when giving a speech about the SDGs at companies, saying “they sympathised with my opinion if I performed thorough research in advance and talked from their point of view”.

The Kanazawa SDGs will create partnerships with various companies and organisations. Lastly, Ms. Nagai asked Mr. Hiroishi for advice regarding an effective way to advance partnerships. He advised her to continue to create places for exchange, such as the SDGs Café, in order to facilitate learning through teaching other people and thereby revisiting our own understandings.

IMAGINE KANAZAWA 2030 パートナーズ交流会 #8&9(2022年1月27日&2月26日)の開催

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SDGs Café #18: Let’s consider the use of wood in the Wooden Culture City Kanazawa

50 years have passed since the forestation project began, and many of the trees have grown enough to be cut down. In the meanwhile, the Wooden Culture City project began as a result of city planning in order to promote the use of timber and local wood in the construction of new buildings, while maintaining traditional buildings such as Kanazawa machiya.


Potential of wooden buildings in the Kanazawa downtown area to realise the Wooden Culture City Kanazawa

Tomohiro Miyashita from Kanazawa Institute of Technology, a member of the Wooden Culture City Kanazawa Committee, presented his vision for the future Wooden Culture City Kanazawa.


Although it is a large city, Kanazawa also contains woods on its outskirts. Mountains, villages and farms are located along the rivers flowing into the sea. Kanazawa was not damaged during the war and many beautiful buildings still remain in its central area. How local people and the government should cooperate to preserve this environment and hand it down to future generations is an important issue.

After the war, Japan aimed to construct non-burnable cities, and proceeded with the construction of non-burnable buildings. Constructing new wooden buildings along the main roads in central areas is prohibited, in order to create fireproof building zones.

Among the large cities in Japan, Kanazawa is a rare case where areas with many wooden buildings, such as Owari-cho, still remain along the main roads. More than 70 percent of the buildings are three-storied or lower structures built on small plots, with human-scale landscapes that match the wooden structures. In addition to wooden buildings, modernist architecture built in the Meiji, Taisho and early Showa periods remains in the area. The attraction of this area is produced through the mixture of these different types of structures. More interestingly, this area contains shops of rare goods such as traditional medicine, candles and flags. I am attracted to the fact that traditional buildings are maintained along with cultures. Many cities in Japan are attempting to eliminate wooden buildings from their downtown areas. However, Kanazawa endeavors to maintain wooden buildings in the designated Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings and Komachinami areas. I hope that refined, attractive townscapes will appear in Kanazawa in the future.


The present condition of woods in Kanazawa and how to use the forest environment transfer tax

The tree doctor Hirofumi Ueda from the Forest Revitalization Department of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Bureau of Kanazawa City spoke about the present condition of forests in Kanazawa and the plan for the forest environment transfer tax.


Forests are indispensable in preserving land and life, since they prevent global warming and disasters. However, due to a shortage of workers, forests’ conditions have not been improved yet. Thus, the Law Concerning Forest Environment Tax and Forest Environment Transfer Tax was established in 2019 in order to secure funding for local governments’ forest management and for municipalities to implement a new “business management system”.

About 60% of the area of Kanazawa City (approx. 28,000ha) is occupied by forest. 75% of the forest is occupied by natural woods of broad-leaf trees and 19% is covered with artificial woods of Japanese cedar and cypress trees that were planted to produce timber. Kanazawa City manages about 2,000ha of woods, which contain many trees that have grown enough to be cut down. However, felling has been postponed by 40 years. Normally, forests have a cycle comprised of planting, growing, felling and using trees; however, this cycle has been disrupted in Kanazawa, since no trees are being planted or felled at present.

The city’s review committee has proposed that the forest environment transfer tax apply not only to artificial woods but also to the natural woods that exist in abundance in the city. They have proposed a different cycle for natural woods; the arrow in the cycle does not return to the starting point but rises gradually in a spiral according to the growth of the woods and the changes in society. Thus, we can hand down various types of forests to future generations.

In order to realise this vision, we should continue to take actions to activate the cycle of protecting, using, enjoying and learning about woods.


Growing forests for constructing a future city: what is needed for the present wooden culture city

Kanazawa has an extraordinary plan regarding the use of the forest environment transfer tax. The plan takes various factors such as people’s spirit and culture into consideration. However, it is really difficult to implement the two projects of forestation and city planning simultaneously. Tetsuya Yasuda of NPO Sound Woods, who has been engaged in many architectural and city planning projects, gave us his thoughts about it.


Based in Hyogo and Osaka, we are working to coordinate the balance of forestation and city planning to maximise the results.

By the way, why do you think timber is attracting attention now? I suppose there are three reasons: compared to fossil resources, wood materials are at hand and obtained more easily in Japan; they need less energy to be processed for use; and they can be recycled in a shorter period. Wood can be reused in cycles of 50 or 60 years, and it absorbs greenhouse gases. Therefore, wood is a resource that can help realise SDGs and support future society.

In artificial forests, wood’s advantages can be retained by using it while maintaining its circulation cycle; however, artificial forests in Japan have two big problems at present. Firstly, although 70 years have passed since the war and the number of trees in artificial forests that need to be cut down are increasing, they are left untouched. Therefore, wood is not used, and new forests cannot be produced. Secondly, although the timber’s self-supply ratio has increased from 20 percent during the worst period in 2002 to 40 percent now, the forest owners cannot earn enough income due to the low price of cedar and cypress timbers. As a result, they cannot invest in new forests or maintain the forests after cutting down trees. Securing forest owners’ income is an important task that is required in order for subsequent generations to inherit the forestry industry.

Furthermore, unfortunately no one buys thick timber, since there is no practice of using it in the current manufacturing and distribution processes. Thick timber can be used for the construction of buildings larger than ordinary houses and for public architecture constructed as a result of city planning.


IMAGINE KANAZAWA 2030 Partners Meeting #7 (December 18, 2021)

On December 18, for the fifth time in 2021, and the seventh time overall, a Partners Meeting was held in Kanazawa. Three organisations, Yaku-yaku Renkei SDGs Kanazawa, Zweigen Kanazawa and the nonprofit organisation Nitto, gave short presentations and shared their concerns. There were more than 20 participants.

Yaku-yaku Renkei SDGs Kanazawa is an organisation of pharmacists and other people involved in the field of pharmaceuticals, which is working to achieve SDGs through Yaku-yaku Renkei. Places such as pharmacies, where medications are prepared for patients, produce a lot of plastic garbage every day. A lot of that garbage is packaging made of a variety of plastics, including polyethylene and polypropylene. With plastic garbage being a problem all over the world, Yaku-yaku Renkei SDGs Kanazawa is reflecting on workplace conditions and considering what the solution could be. For example, they are wondering if the garbage could be recycled as fibers such as polyester and used to make clothing and other products. They are also wondering if the sales profits could be donated to support developing countries. With the cooperation of specialists in resource recycling, they would like to solve the problem of plastic garbage.

Zweigen Kanazawa, the city’s J-League soccer club, is strengthening collaborative activities to benefit society.For example, this year, they held food drives社in cooperation with Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company and Ishikawa Food Bank Network. Zweigen Kanazawa’s vision is to develop a local tradition of connecting with communities to take on challenges that will lead to many innovations. 

Lastly, the nonprofit organisation Nitto shared issues related to the goal of creating a society in which people with dementia can lead worry-free lives, as well as issues faced by patients with dementia and their support organisations. Nitto provides services to support dementia patients in their daily lives. With the high rate of dementia among the elderly, if society continues to age at the same rate, it is predicted that by 2050, one in 10 people will have dementia. It is necessary to think about how to create a “sustainable” society in which people with dementia will have peace of mind, and in which people will be able to support one another.

There is a lot of misunderstanding and prejudice with regard to dementia patients; discriminatory remarks and casual comments can make the person with dementia and their friends and family lose confidence, and the fact that this makes life difficult is also an issue. Moreover, when it comes to nursing and healthcare services for these patients, because they are treated poorly and they are not valued by society, there is a shortage of people aspiring to become caregivers, especially young people.

After the short presentations, participants were divided into three discussion groups. Each organisation was asked for more details about its situation, and ideas for solving problems were shared. Many ideas were shared by each group. It would be wonderful for these discussions to lead to new forms of cooperation and collaborative projects in view of realising the goals of Kanazawa Future Visions.

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