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Ports and Harbours Bureau
To create a new beach culture Let's move ahead with the creation of Satohama

  The Satohama Creation Study Group has been proceeding with studies on topics such as the ideal relationship among people, beaches and local communities and the orientation of efforts to restore the close bonds between people and beaches.
  As a result, the study group proclaimed progress on Satohama creation will involve actions and various bold efforts to cultivate, nurture and create "Satohama."
  The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport also takes this declaration to heart seriously, and will proceed with various efforts from both a soft and hard perspective to deepen bonds between people and beaches and achieve progress in creating Satohama.

What are satohama?

  Satohama are beaches where the various, abundant "bonds between beaches and people" that were natural in bygone years have been resuscitated in forms that serve modern lives.
  In both years gone by and today, aspects of beaches as well as people's lifestyles have evolved. The present and future bonds between beaches and people will have aspects that differ from those in the past, and beaches must be newly revived in forms suitable for modern living, while also taking into consideration factors such as conservation and restoration of beach natural environments, and beach uses for beach sports and other activities.

Satohama images

Satoyama and satohama
COLUMN   "Satoyama" are locations where various functions have been sustained in a uniform manner over many long years, as a result of being managed by human hands and retaining their deep relationship with rural village lives. Recently their value as familiar venues rich in nature has been reappraised, and citizen movements to conserve and manage satoyama are popular and vigorous and new bonds between satoyama and people have appeared.
  Based on use of the word "satoyama" for the areas near mountains where these new bonds between mountains and people have been born, we have adopted the term "Satohama" for beaches where new links between the seashore and people are being forged.

Let's move ahead with the creation of satohama!

  The creation of Satohama begins from respecting local nature and history and taking a close look at the bonds between beaches and people. The process and means used to create Satohama will vary depending on the circumstances in each region, and the on gradations and details of the bonds between beaches and people, and may even change over time. There is no model that lays out a program that can be followed "by the book."
  This means the separate groups of "people living in the local area," "government" and "specialists" must consider, debate and act on various topics, such as "what issues are a problem," "what issues are important" and "what steps should we follow to establish bonds between beaches and our own lives" for their own respective beach areas.
  The "creation of Satohama" refers to movements and efforts to cultivate, nurture and establish - through this process and over a long period of time - unique bonds between individuals and beaches in a local area. Through management by each group in this way, individuals can increase their awareness of beaches as a local "commons."

Image of the cooperative efforts by related groups

Stages of progress in creation of Satohama

There are considered to be three broad stages in the creation of Satohama. These are (1) the "problem identification" stage, (2) the "study of the desired Satohama image" stage, and (3) the "Satohama image realization process conceptualization and practice" stage.


"Problem identification" stage
  Identify problems.
 
· Identify problems by walking around your own beach and community.
· Investigate what kind of beach existed in the past. Ask senior citizens.
· Investigate the former bonds between the beach and local residents.
· Compare previous times with today.
· Ask specialists and the government for their thoughts.
 
  Consider what you believe to be the most important thing about your beach.
  Make improvements to beach and community problems.



"Study of the desired Satohama image" stage
  Think about the image of the Satohama you want to achieve.
 
· What would be good ways to reproduce the bonds between the beach and people?
· What is the best way for lives and disaster prevention to be related?



"Satohama image realization process conceptualization and practice" stage
  Visualize and practice the means to realize the Satohama image.
 
· Sponsor workshops and events.
· Cleanup activities
· Plant seedlings, etc
                                     
  Foster awareness as a commons.
  Protect and nurture the commons.

- Satohama Creation Declaration -

   In the past, beaches were local common spaces that were firmly positioned at the center of people's lives through activities such as gathering shellfish, collecting seaweed, finding living organisms, strolling, gazing over the sea, obtaining spiritual release, playing, meeting in groups and holding traditional festivals.
Along with economic development and population growth, however, Japan's beaches have been substantially transformed.

  Since the war, Japan has been struck by extensive coastal disasters every year, particularly storm surge and tsunami. As a result, disaster prevention has been considered a subject of utmost priority and levees and revetments have been built along coastlines, and consequently Japan has been able to mitigate threats from storm surge and tsunami. On the other hand, along with these facilities improvements Japan's beachscapes have been altered completely, beaches have shrunk in size because of a decrease in naturally supplied earth and sand, the coastal environment has deteriorated because of scattered garbage and other problems, and the cultures fostered by Japan's beaches have been lost. We believe the bonds between beaches and people have grown weaker as a result.

   Reflecting on these changes, seashore and water amenities, beautiful landscapes and rich environments have been understood recently to be important beach characteristics to be given consideration for beach uses and environments, and maintenance works have been undertaken with the goal of creating a balance between these features and disaster prevention functions. It cannot be said, however, that beaches have once again become a familiar part of people's lives.

  Why?

  We believe the cause lies in the fact that even when various ingenious approaches and considerations are taken into account, the efforts being undertaken today basically are measures focused on creating structures, just as in the past.
What, then, shall we do?

   Our proposal is that "to improve Japan's beaches, we first and foremost must begin by restoring the bonds between beaches and people." Efforts aimed at resuscitation of the links between beaches and people have already begun in various locales, and actions and various approaches to make these efforts bear fruit as specific results are needed.
We therefore issue our proclamation here for the promotion of "Satohama creation."

   "Satohama" are beaches where the various and abundant "bonds between beaches and people" of years past have been revived in forms suited to today's lifestyles. Moreover, "Satohama creation" refers to movements or various efforts by local citizens to discuss the related issues, including how beaches should be related to their own communities and the best approach to disaster prevention, and how to cultivate, nurture and build unique bonds between local people and beaches over an extended period of time, while creating and maintaining an awareness of beaches as a local or community "commons."

  This declaration expresses our own resolve to move ahead with Satohama creation efforts, and simultaneously issues a call for participation by citizens at every level in Satohama creation. We urge every concerned party to adapt their consciousness concerning the relationships of local residents with nearby beaches, the role of specialists, and coastal administration by both national and local government. We strongly hope this declaration will create the opportunity for Satohama creation to be developed widely, and that the day will come when abundant, beautiful beaches have been revived, when people live dynamic lives while enjoying a rich beach culture, and such beaches and culture are communicated to future generations and a beautiful country has been formed where beaches symbolize the island country Japan, for every region of Japan and local citizens everywhere.

May 2003 Satohama Creation Study Group
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