Innovators Network


Embrace Rural: Why it Matters

Tuesday, October 22, 6:30 PM

March 2019—November 2019

Niigata and Yamagata, Japan; New York, USA

Building on the success of Resilient and Vibrant Rural Communities in Japan and the U.S., Japan Society and the Japan NPO Center bring together Richard McCarthy, Ryoko Sato and Tsuyoshi Sekihara to explore Tsuyoshi Sekihara’s work and ideas around revitalizing rural communities.

Sekihara’s work is built on the idea that there must be a dedicated organization in a rural community to provide critical social services, a sense of place grounded in local cultural heritage, and a fan base. He has identified 12 practical functions that an organization must provide in support of the community to generate health and wellness and ensure democracy. At the center of his work is the idea of autonomy for communities that are “the right size.”

The goal of this project is to bring inspiration to rural leaders in the United States and beyond by publishing an analysis of Tsuyoshi Sekihara’s work, and to share and discuss his ideas with leaders and practitioners in the U.S. in a public forum and a workshop for university students.

Embrace Rural: Why It Matters


  Richard McCarthy
Executive Director, Slow Food USA
Brooklyn, New York

  Ryoko Sato*
Associate Professor, Ehime University
Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture

  Tsuyoshi Sekihara
Representative, Soma Office, Regional Resource and Industry Advisor; Founder & former Executive Director, Kamiechigo Yamazato Fan Club
Joetsu, Niigata Precture
*Ryoko Sato passed away on June 15, 2019; we remember her fondly for her generosity and commitment to and love of green markets, farmers and rural communities.


Exploring an Innovative Model for Rural Revitalization is supported by The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.

Transportation assistance is provided by United Airlines, the exclusive U.S. airline sponsor of Innovators Network programs.

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