As One Network

As One Network perfomed at GEN's International LIVE


Regenerative Urban Communities – with Taisa Mattos LIVE July

The Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) held an online lecture from July 17 to 19. On Saturday, July 18 at 9:30 pm (Japan time) for about one and a half hours, GEN-Japan was asked by Taissa Matthes (GEN’s Education Staff) to introduce the As One Suzuka Community as a case study of sustainable urban community building. And 5 members of the International Division of As One Suzuka community, and GEN-Japan’s representative Katayama appeared in the lecture.

A Regenerative Society
= Regenerative Human Relationships
= Relationships with Person to Person who can talk to each other about anything.

We believe that the realization of a sustainable and comfortable living environment, including eco-villages, will lead to the building of relationships with people who are willing to discuss anything and everything without hesitation, even though it may seem like a long way off. We believe that this is the way to go.
At present, half of the world’s population lives in large cities, but in order to break free from this situation, we need opportunities to learn from a variety of practical examples of how to build the next society. In this Online Project, we took up “As One” as a viable case study for this, and Masashi Ono presented slides of his 20 years of experience.
As a model for a new way of living in the future, it has the potential to be designed as a mosaic of units connected to each other, even inside Mega or Large cities.
A small circle of people and people who can talk to each other about anything can make it possible to have a home and a workplace within a few minutes’ walk of each other, agriculture that makes the best use of available land, food production and processing, and a small circle of organic matter that can enrich the soil and fertilize it.

Participants asked a variety of questions. The main ones were as follows

*What are the challenges we are facing now?
*What kind of relationship do we have with the local government?
* What does the economy look like when nearly 150 people are living like a big family?
*How can any person’s desires and will be respected at work or school without being blamed or punished?
*What is the true nature of people and how can we create a social system that respects them?

Masashi Ono ( ScienZ Institute)

The International Department of the As One Network
Mr. Masashi Ono (Science Institute), Mr. Kazutaka Sakai (Community Management), Mr. Hiroya Fukuda (Science School), Mr. Felix Minowa (Science Academy student) and Ms. Marcelin Minowa (Science School interpreter), who is currently living in Switzerland, participated in the event and introduced their activities from their respective perspectives.

The video and website of As One were also included as a common resource for the GEN.
*A comprehensive introductory video of As One:
*Science Academy introductory video:
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As One Suzuka Community was introduced in Urban Ecovillages Manual

GEN is not limited to living together in eco-villages, but what kind of step for those who want to try something new in the neighborhood or workplace, such as groups that help each other with trust and mutual assistance, transition groups, etc. I'll show you how to start.
AS ONE is self-sufficient in food and develops in cooperation with the local economy while internally testing a new sustainable economic model. Creating a renewable community model through educational projects is stable through participatory management. It was introduced at the beginning of the booklet as an example of the development.

Urban Ecovillages Manual
Urban Ecovillage manual
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Gaia Education certified EDE by As One Network Community in Japan

Gaia Education_1
In April, the As One Network Community hosted a Gaia Education certified EDE in Japanese.

EDE Japan
The course is hosted within the city of Suzuka, an industrial centre in the Mie Prefecture, South-West of Nagoya. The region stands out for its numerous rice fields spread throughout the city and countryside. Ms Hiroko Katayama, representative of GEN-Japan, is one the principle organisers of the EDE, in collaboration with GEN-Japan and the As One Community.

The course received the dual Gaia Education-UNESCO GAP certificate, and will be held from April to September 2017. The organisers adopted an innovative three-day-a-month format, including weekend residencies and visits to local regenerative design projects and case studies.

Gaia Education_2
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GEN introduced As-One Community at COP 21 in Paris

Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) was actively present at the Climate Conference in Paris in December,2015, both in the official zone, and sharing a booth with other organisation focusing on community-led change in the NGO area. As-One Community was introduced as a showcase of numerous best practices in terms of a fossil-free future
Now Gen distributes the stories in the Newsletter January 2016.

Chasing economic growth has brought material wealth to Japan but also caused social problems and serious environmental challenges, such as climate change. The As-One Community of Japan responds to the question: "Could our community be fossil-free by 2020?"

投稿用 はたけ公園こども1.jpg
Chasing ‘Economic growth’ has brought material wealth to Japan but also caused social problems and serious environmental challenges such as Climate Change. Though Japan conducted COP 3 in 1997, mainstream society in Japan had stressed scientific techniques as the solution for Climate Change, especially nuclear power generation, and they rushed to build more than fifty stations all around our country. Since that time, Japan has faced its worst environmental accidents at Fukushima in 2013. Hiroko Katayama, from As-One Community, Japan, reports.

What is happiness for humankind? As-One community considers all problems as inseparable, arising from the same root, as we explore the essential qualities of humanity and society. We have started challenging ourselves to investigate human nature – as well as the essence of society for human happiness in harmony with nature – since the end of 2000.

Could we realize the aspiration to be fossil-free by 2020? It is too hard for us to reply with a simple ‘yes’, living as we are in highly developed country like Japan. For the first 10 years, As-One community had focused on our mind condition that isolates and forms material prosperity. We have established an independent institute “The Scienz Institute”, for scientific investigation from scratch to find out what causes such a mind condition through the practical study of our trials and errors.

How can we be free from mega social systems of capitalism? Based on the practical investigation of human and society, and through the open-style sustainable community building in ordinary streets of Suzuka city as a showcase, we have been trying to realize a sustainable economy model; perfectly free from any monetary system.

We are now in the forth trial with Community Space Joy and 75 people joined as of 2015 Nov, sharing food, tools, equipment, facilities and energy intensive usages, accelerating regenerative and zero waste lifestyles and practices. Our target is to avoid unfair distribution of all kinds of resources, living as city people. Living as each person likes in the streets, we have come to realize that both visibly and invisibly, any kinds of materials, brains, skills, abilities and knowledge can be distributed freely from person to person; those who really want to contribute and use without any kinds of reward. We use photo-voltaic generation, solar water heater, rainwater tank, ecological toilet, traditional technologies for charcoal; both charcoal kiln building and charcoal producing.
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Free Money Systems Create Social Sustainability

Gen-Japan Farming Park children
Free Money Systems Create Social Sustainability in Post-Tsunami Relief
---From Gen International News September 2015----

In 2011, Japan experienced a mega-earthquake with a resulting tsunami in the vast northeastern area of the country. Hiroko Katayama from the urban ecovillage, As-One, reports on the observation that the mutual support among victims is more sustainable when they can maintain money-free exchanges.

In March 2011, the nuclear power plants on the seashore of Fukushima experienced a meltdown. Since that time, large amounts of radiation have been leaking from the sites into the atmosphere, the ocean and the land. After four years, the problems all over Japan are still difficult and the fallout from the accidents and incidents following the tsunami have made many citizens depressed and disillusioned. This has led to the emergence of new collaborations, such as the ‘EBook’ of ecovillages; the New Movement map; and Transition Town networking, as I reported in the last international news (March, June).

As-One Community is one of these collaborations, started at the end of 2000. People are regarding it as ‘an open-style urban ecovillage’. Since study tours have been offered, the participants have been increasing in number. Some of them are from the disaster areas. They frequently ask us how people can maintain reliable relationships. I think this question is the essential factor in understanding exactly what it is that people require of ecovillages, especially in the case of emergency or crisis. I will try to review and consider this factor from our experience.

Of course, in any emergency practical solutions are required, such as mini-solar-powered generation systems for personal mobiles and lights. This is very important both for morale and search and rescue after a severe disaster. One social model that is often used by ecovillages, is the money-free shop where people can obtain the things they need in a disaster, co-operatively. This requires a degree of collaboration between members of the community, other local people, and government. Participants have been surprised by this collaboration, for example, where the Farming Park and Forest Park have been developed as open spaces in the event of an emergency evacuation; where everyone has access to clean well water and to traditional charcoal for fuel; and where everyone from all age groups can meet other people and work together in a non-competitive and friendly way which is vital in times of disaster.

However, almost of all of the tour participants focus on the challenge of how As-One Community has been able to nurture and maintain healthy relationships amongst members and also with the local people for fifteen years, even though many trials and errors were experienced.
I felt it necessary therefore to interview some participants of the study tours who came from disaster affected areas.
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Japan in Transition: College for Sustainable Society Building and the Ecovillage Promotion Project

Japan has been dependent on more than 30% of the country’s energy from nuclear power plants. After experiencing Fukushima, many Japanese people started restructuring their lives. Transition became attractive and caught the interest of those who were searching for ways to live more sustainably. Shunro Yoshida had already founded the Non-government-organization, Transition Japan, in 2009. Hiroko Katayama is from the As-One-Community in Suzuka, which became part of Transition Japan recently and hosted its first conference in March.

Hiroko Katayama: On Sunday, May 31st, around 60 local children and their parents joined in the monthly workshop of Forestry of the As-One Community Suzuka. Mothers and fathers came from neighborhoods around the city and relaxed, absorbed in chattering and working with their children. Among such happy families there was a distinctive group. They are participants of the beginning course of The College for Sustainable Society Building. Twelve participants from different groups joined the course from Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya and Kyusyu. Ms. Etsuko Hayashi, the office of Japan Eco-village Promotion Project (JEPP), said that they are here to learn practically how the community’s base can be grown in ordinary streets such as As-One Community. Half of participants belong to the same project in Kyusyu, which is the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands. They are starting the new eco-village in Nogata city next spring.
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New collaborations Have Emerged

Spring has come. Under the soft and warm sunlight, Mom’s Lunch-Box Shop, of As-One Community, becomes very busy with orders for local people’s spring events in Suzuka city, Japan. But there is also another reason to be busy this year. Hiroko Katayama / As-One Community Suzuka, representative of GEN-Japan, reports.
pounding mochi

The members of the As-One-Community are getting busy being guides for the participants of a study-trip. There is a new stream in Japan of people that are facing the real conditions in Japan and who are becoming sincerely interested in creating new ways of living on their own sites. Such challenges have been gradually increasing. That is why people come to study the As-One’s open management system in the city.
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What is As-One Community?

Gen-Japan As one Ofukurosan
The Story of a 14-Year Community Creation Process

---From Gen International Newsletter January 2015---

In 2001, some volunteers gathered in Suzuka, Japan, aiming to realize a happy society free from fighting and opposition, in harmony with nature. A border-less community named “AS-ONE COMMUNITY” has been created in an ordinary neighborhood of Suzuka, a typical middle-size city and also well known as a city of the Honda company. Hiroko Katayama, GEN ambassador reports.

The name ‘AS-ONE’ was taken from a line of John Lennon’s masterpiece Imagine, ‘and the world will be as one’. Nowadays, 38 core members, and more than 100 volunteers, work together for our mutual benefit. Each one lives in their favorite house in each one ́s favorite way of living, mainly in central Suzuka city, and it is difficult for other local citizens to tell our community members apart by their appearances. However, we have kept deepening and developing our social systems and activities as a model of sustainable community, as well as succeeding in avoiding being isolated from the wider society.

Our turning point was in 2004. Through many trials and errors, in both our community-businesses and social activities, in our first 5 years, we came to be aware of, and to realize that, neither our enthusiasm, nor our eagerness, our special abilities and talents, or our combined experiences, were enough in themselves to ensure the day to day smooth functioning of a healthy and thriving community.
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