A possibility of traditional culture activities for building a sustainable community

Shinobu Kitani, Tadashi Hasebe, Seiji Iizuka

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Needless to say, coherency of a local community is a decisive factor for creating a sustainable community. However, global standards have spread even to remote rural villages in Japan, so the distinguishing features of a local community have disappeared. We propose sustainability of community buildings is closely related to the community's traditional culture. Therefore, we aimed to identify a role of traditional culture and show its effects on the ability of community-based organizations to build a sustainable community. There are two types of community-based organizations. One organization is deeply rooted in traditional culture. For example, a Japanese neighborhood association working to hand down the community traditions from generation to generation in the rural villages, but these organizations don't necessarily have a strong intention to build a better community. The other organization is formed by citizens through common intentions for community buildings. Voluntary networks such as non-profit organizations have a strong desire to build a specific community, but have no plans to sustain the organization after accomplishing their purpose. In this study, a strategic gaming simulation was designed to awaken regional context in rural citizens. In some villages of "Kaneyama" town, "Bangaku" a performing art peculiar to this locality is kept alive. We focused on three villages: Inasawa Village where "Bangaku" has been performed for a long time, Yanagihara Village where "Bangaku" was recently restored, and Miya Village where no performing art deserving special mention exists. The three villages are next to each other and their natural environments are very similar. Our expectation was that local citizens involved in traditional culture activities such as "Bangaku" would awaken to a regional context when they participated in the simulation, "context-discordance gaming", designed for this study. Effects on real citizens' attitudes for community buildings were verified by observing meddlesome discussions of outsiders'. University students were adopted as outsiders in the gaming simulation. They carefully read the literature on "Kaneyama" town, made field surveys and interviewed real citizens on community buildings. Next, the students designed a community building for the villages to be accepted by the actual citizens. Finally, they proposed the design to the citizens. In conclusion, we could find a strong awareness of regional context in citizens living Inasawa Village, suggesting the effects of traditional culture activities make a community sustainable.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)731-744
    Number of pages14
    JournalStudies in Regional Science
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Community-based organization
    • Cultural capital
    • Gaming
    • Performing arts
    • Regional context

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Environmental Science(all)
    • Social Sciences(all)


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