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Future of Kumamoto(2)

JEN’s business partner, Fumidas, has been working on solving social issues in regions since before the earthquake. Right after the earthquake, Fumidas visited regions distributing relief goods and made various activities to support local communities. Kumamoto, before the earthquake, faced a big problem of lack of people leading the society due to declining birthrate and aging population, as other prefectures do.

JEN agreed with the vision of Fumidas to “build a society where young local people can participate actively for the future of Kumamoto” and opened “ASUKUMA”. The 20 members of the inaugural class who joined ASUKUMA mostly through word-of-mouth finished its training program in March 2017, and each of them started to work on making a small business back in each home town.


Ms. Sato is one of the participants of ASUKUMA. When we first met, Ms. Sato was challenging on commercialization of Aso-Takanard, a mustard using pickled mustard leaf in Aso. He was in a dilemma of not being able to reach the point of making his living although he makes and sells Aso-Takanard. Through participation into ASUKUMA, Ms. Sato made its vision clear to put the business on track and built a timeline to systematically launch new products into the world.


Last year, Aso Takanard got a good evaluation and was awarded the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Award in the Best Local Food Central Competition. The momentum goes on and she seems to have increasing number of opportunities to be invited to lectures and meetings for information sharing from all over Japan. She is spending very busy daily lives, meeting with local cooperators of her business as well as professionals and young people with similar ambitions, and expanding the sales network based on her personal human network. She hires a few part-time workers but basically does production only by herself. How does the production site look like?


Raw Materials of Aso Takanard


Work before product delivery

The production site is a wonderful place where they can have sharp eyes for every detail, condensing the personality of Ms. Sato who is cool and stoic under her great smiling face.


At the production site

By the way, all the visiting members this time are female. “These type of working women is hard to find partners….” This is the common feeling of the members. We felt from the bottom of our heart that we want to support Ms. Sato who is building her business with her determined vision at full fling while having some worries as a female.


The second generation of ASUKUMA is getting its shape. This time we will support a home business succession project for young farmers, aiming to increase the number of young people choosing to succeed agriculture as one of the appealing career by continuously communicating the appealing point of agriculture. We will also support a part of revitalization project of Minami-Oguni-cho which is suffering a reputational damage from the earthquake. We appreciate your support on ASUKUMA2 project going forward.


Scenery of Minami Oguni-cho

July 4, 2018 in Kumamoto |