Symposium on Envisioning a Sustainable Future of Tsunan Town Through Science – Event Report

Tsunan Sake Brewery

03/04/2024 8:00 am

Tsunan Sake Brewery Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Tsunan Town, Niigata Prefecture, CEO: Kengo Suzuki, hereinafter referred to as Tsunan Sake Brewery) has collaborated with the Global Shapers Yokohama Hub to hold a symposium titled ‘Envisioning a Sustainable Future of Tsunan Town Through Science’ in Tsunan Town, Niigata Prefecture.

Event Details
Date and Time: January 27, 2024 (Saturday), 13:00-15:00 JPT
Venue: Tsunan Town Cultural Center (Hall & Foyer)
Theme: Discussing and envisioning the sustainable future of Tsunan Town from a scientific perspective

Haruka Kuwahara (Mayor of Tsunan Town)
Fukutoku Shimada (Representative of Oni Ya Fuku Fuku)
Yusuke Numazawa (Eco-Pork)
Kengo Suzuki (CEO, Tsunan Sake Brewery)
Atsushi Kabasawa (CEO, FARM8)
Nicolas Kenmaru Suedomi (Global Shapers Community Yokohama Hub)

The symposium was advertised in the local Tsumari Newspaper, attracting many local participants. Below, we introduce the specific topics discussed at the event.

Memorial Seminar ‘The Economic and Industrial Potential of Tsunan Town’
Mayor Kuwahara of Tsunan Town discussed the town’s growth strategy. Tsunan’s water, rice, and sake, which could potentially expand overseas, along with geoparks and snow, are among the town’s attractions. By promoting these charms to attract visitors from outside and creating new industries, the future was discussed. Measures against population decline were suggested, emphasizing the need for accurate understanding and dissemination of Tsunan’s attractions.

Seminar (Case Study) Theme 1 ‘Sustainable Agriculture in Tsunan Town through Pig Farming DX’
Representatives Shimada from Oni Ya Fuku Fuku and Numazawa from Eco-pork discussed the circular pork economy in pig farming. Shimada manages pig farming in Tsunan, utilizing organic compost from pig farming to enrich fields and produce corn and asparagus. The corn, branded as ‘Oni Morokoshi,’ is well-supported locally. Numazawa, Shimada’s partner, has digitalized the farming process, managing the pigs’ growth and inventory on the cloud instead of manually.
The launch of the world’s first Euglena Eco-pork was also mentioned. By feeding pigs surplus Euglena produced during manufacturing, they are realizing environmentally friendly pig farming.

Seminar (Case Study) Theme 2 ‘Regenerative Sake Brewing Tsunan Sake Brewery Aims to Achieve with the Community’
Suzuki, CEO of Tsunan Sake Brewery, and Kabasawa, CEO of FARM8, discussed the potential of Tsunan’s sake from perspectives of fermentation, local specialty products, and generative AI. Tsunan Sake Brewery’s sake benefits from the snow, using rice cultivated with meltwater and brewing during the snowy season, resulting in high-purity sake. They mentioned focusing on academic and universally accepted information for international recognition, exploring new possibilities for regional revitalization. Recently, their GO POCKET, a 100mm mini-sized sake pouch, was adopted by Air Japan (ANA Group’s third brand) for in-flight beverages, indicating potential for international expansion.

General Discussion & Closing ‘Realizing a Circular Economy in the Tsunan Area’
Suetomi from the Global Shapers Yokohama Hub wrapped up the discussions, affirming the vision to invest in local education for the children who will create the future, increasing individuals interested in Tsunan Town. After the event, opinions were gathered from local middle school teachers and students, discussing continuous communication possibilities with the next generation that could shape Tsunan Town’s future.

Comments from Global Shapers Yokohama Hub Members who Participated in the Event
The symposium highlighted the importance of information dissemination. Facing challenges like population decline and aging, it’s insufficient for Tsunan Town’s charms to be known only by a limited number of residents. Future regional revitalization will require broadcasting these charms internationally. During their stay in Tsunan, members deepened their understanding of Japan’s traditional sustainable and circular living within communities. For instance, in sake brewing, sake lees are produced as a byproduct, which has historically been reused, such as in Tsunan Sake Brewery’s sake lees gelato. This reflects that circular and sustainable societies, often discussed in the context of SDGs and climate change, might be closer to our daily lives than realized, suggesting that there might be much to learn from various regions within Japan.

About Tsunan Sake Brewery Co., Ltd.
Tsunan Sake Brewery is a sake brewery headquartered in Akinari, Tsunan Town, Nakauonuma District, Niigata Prefecture. Known for heavy snowfall, the region uses natural spring water from 2,000m-high mountains as brewing water. The brewery utilizes locally grown sake rice “Gohyakumangoku” and focuses on coexisting with nature in its brewing process. With the brand concept of “Brew for Future – Brewing a Coexistent Future,” Tsunan Sake Brewery has been aiming to create new values and promote international expansion under its new management since 2023.

About the Photographs in This Report
The photographs in this report were taken by Shiho Azuma.