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Obuse Bunka

Obuse mini Marathon Bunji Gallery Company Publications
Oke OK 1530 (Ichi Gomi Zero) About Sarah
Obusession Revival of Danna Bunka Obuse Bunka
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Obuse Culture
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Danna Bunka

Obuse's Danna Bunka
@ - Tenmei Gura (Restoration Plans After the Fire)
@ - Relationship between Hokusai and Kozan
@ - Intellectual Culture Salon "Yuzenro"
@ - Hekiiken (Artist's Residence)
@ - Kurabu (Taisho Romance)
@ - Tenant Farms in Go-cho
@ - Woman's Suffrage in the Edo Period
@ - Obuse's Festival Floats
@ - Wealthy Merchants and the Market Town
@ - Public Space
@ - Education Movement of the Early Meiji

Revitilization of Danna Bunka

@ - Masuichi Kyakuden (Guest House)
@ - Obuse mini Marathon
@ - Obusession
@ - The Club
@ - Nagano Olympic
@@Hospitality Program
@ - International Hokusai Conference and Hokusai Festival
@ - Obuse-kei
@ - 1530 Project
@ - Society for the Preservation of Wooden Barrel Brewing and Fermentation

Bunji Gallery
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Obuse Guide

Bunkajigyobu Blog
Company Property Guide

Sarah

About Sarah
Sarah's Tango (words)

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The town of Obuse is known for its delicious chestnuts which were offered as tribute to the Shogun during the Edo period. Even now the town takes pride in its chestnuts and it dotted with orchards. Chestnut trees can even be found in people's yards and along the streets, for the enjoyment of the town residents. In the early summer, chestnut trees are surrounded by a unique fragrance, the trees provide shade from the summer heat, and the chestnuts that fall in the autumn are eaten. Chestnut trees have always been a part of the scenery and life of Obuse.

But now the number of trees has begun to decrease. Housing in Obuse is continually expanding while the generation that took care of chestnut trees in their own yards ages. With the change of the generations, old houses and yards are demolished to make room for ready-built housing, and chestnut orchards are turned into apartments and housing developments. What will become of Obuse, the land that raised a world in the shade of chestnut trees?

We aren't only concerned with chestnuts. Right now Japan only produces 40% of its own food supply, the lowest out of all major developed nations. If we don't become able to at least produce enough food for ourselves there might come a time when we will starve. But now there is a lack of young farmers doing that hard but thankless work, and abandoned fields and orchards keep increasing. The scenery of villages is also changing from the edges that people canft manage.

The Masuichi-Ichimura Sake Brewery makes sake and Obusedo makes chestnut confections. Bunkajigyobu Corporation was born from there, and if you think about it sake and chestnut confections require delicious rice and chestnuts. Now matter how much you talk about how traditional culture was, in the end someone has to till the fields. If agriculture is the root of culture, then Bunkajigyobu will use young minds and bodies to joyfully dive into farming. That is what we decided.

When you actually enter a village you'll make all sorts of discoveries. Over several years abandoned fields become jungles of bushes and weeds. "Continuity is strength;" once you let go of something it requires a great effort to take it back. While getting soaked with sweat and mud we pulled weeds, cut down bushes and cleared out irrigation channels.

There are springs on the mountain and villagers have maintained clean irrigation channels for that water to flow through. However, as more and more farms go out of business people are unable to maintain all the irrigation channels, the effects of which can be felt downstream. Without periodic thinning, cedar groves will suck up too much water, reducing the amount that flows out. Even in the maintenance of a single clear stream, there was once a harmony and rhythm between people and nature and between people and people.

Right now there are countless problems, but amazing wisdom still lives on in the people of farm villages. These people would casually give us vegetables and bake oyaki for us. We are learning from those kind people and starting to do whatever we can.

While struggling with weeds and bushes, we slowly expanded rye fields and began cultivating buckwheat. We want to eventually try growing things like blueberries and all sorts of vegetables.
Farming is hard work for little money, which is why the number of farmers has decreased so much. But with a little ingenuity it can lead to an enjoyable life. Just like how the people of Obuse in the past didnft just sell chestnuts but created a beautiful town in the shade of chestnut trees.

No matter how talented they may be, there is a limit to what one person can do alone. But if people work together, their possibilities will open wide. Bunkajigyobu dreams of becoming a link between people. Though people say us young people don't have the knowledge, we want to get together and create a place where people can see the joys of farming and living in a farm village. We have just begun with a few tiny fields, but if we are able to do something interesting here, it should be possible elsewhere as well. This is why we want to try.

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