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“When I was 40, my father died. When he died, he was working on a project for a children’s campground on the island of Naoshima. When I returned from Tokyo to Okayama to lead the family company, I inherited the project. As I lived and worked with the locals, my thinking went through a 180-degree reversal. I realized that my life in Tokyo, which seemed so full, had in fact been impoverished, and everything that was meaningful was right here in the Inland Sea.”

These words were spoken on Hiroshima Day by Soichiro Fukutake, billionaire president of the Benesse Corporation and the general producer of the Setouchi International Art Festival 2010, as he opened the Setouchi International Symposium 2010, a companion event to the festival. This three-day gathering of 40 local and international speakers explored the question “What is true affluence in our society?” and considered ways to revitalize the island’s communities in a sustainable and authentic way.

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