The word commons in the West often connotes the conservation of natural land resources accessible to all members of society.

Recently, digital commons, or the shared knowledge on the internet, have also become prevalent. Both are based on the almost philanthropic contributions of individuals for public good.

Satoyama started and evolved in a similar manner. Originally, it meant a shared woodland used and maintained by local individuals, while today it is associated with new thinking and knowledge on local economies and their sustainability, often participated in by locals, as well as digitally equipped non-locals.

However, satoyama has unique attributes when compared to its Western counterparts.

Satoyama, at its best, both encompasses and is fortified by quite a few Japanese cultural essences — from cuisine to energy utilization.

Being unique contributes to cultural diversity, which is the birthplace of innovation. I sincerely hope to have a plethora of perspectives on satoyama from around the world so that it would become more relevant and valuable in solving global issues such as aging societies in culturally aligned ways.

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