On the first day of field work, all participants went to the Takeo Library and toured Japan’s first “Tsutaya Library”.
Next, students were divided into two teams and “Team Inbound” did a hearing survey of Mr. Yoshiatsu Kawazoe who is a curator of Takeo City Historical Archive. And “Team Multicultural coexistence” did a hearing survey of a couple who moved from Thailand, Mr. Ryota Suzuki and Ms. Noi Suzuki. Mr. Kawazoe told us about the local history of Takeo and Rangaku (literally “Dutch learning”). The Suzuki’s spoke about their life in Takeo as well as their activities to connect Takeo and Thailand.
Then everyone visited the Takeo City Hall, which had been newly built in 2015, and talked with Mayor Tadashi Komatsu. He introduced the various attractions of Takeo City with a view to highlighting its convenience and natural beauty. Especially, his explanation of his cultural policy left a strong impression on the students in which he shared his theory: “The town that does not cherish its culture will one day be degraded”. After that, he answered many questions from the students regarding tourist policy, cultural policy and so on.
On the night of the first day, students had a social gathering with Takeo city officials and some residents at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Almost fifteen people were there including Mr. Kawazoe who gave a lecture at Takeo Library, the Suzuki’s, and Mr. Masayuki Nakao who had visited Kyushu University before. They were able to deepen engagement with the local people in a harmonious atmosphere.
On the second day, Mr. Yoshino from the city financial department explained designs and concepts of the new city office building and students took a tour inside the building. During the tour they had the precious experience of going into the assembly hall and other places where they normally wouldn’t get to see.
Next, “Team Inbound” did a hearing survey of Mr. Kawanami from tourism department, and “Team Multicultural coexistence” did a hearing survey of Mr. Tomoshige and Mr. Tsutsui from the planning and policy department, Mr. Tanaka from the civic cooperation department, and Mr. Inubashiri from the disaster prevention and crisis management department. In this survey, based on the questions they had already prepared during prior studying, they were able to hear various topics regarding the policies of Takeo city.
After that, each group did group activities. “Team Inbound” went to the area close to Mt. Kurokami through Nagasaki Kaido by car. On the way they saw various sightseeing spots from the car, such as Mifuneyama Rakuen, Jyoranjyuku, pottery and so on. “Team Multicultural coexistence” went to Wakakicho and toured “Tsuchinoya -Earthenware & Café-” and “Studio Nagomino-ki”.
At the end of the second day, along with Takeo High School students, they held a workshop or “Round-table discussion on designing the future of the town”. At the beginning of the discussion, Touko Kiyohara, a first year student of the School of Interdisciplinary Science and Innovation, and Hanami Sakai, a second year student of The Graduate School of Integrated Sciences for Global Society, did a presentation about University and Graduate school life and gave some advice about deciding a path for the future. Then, third year student Masayoshi Hoshiyama from Takeo High School introduced Takeo High School and their town revitalization project “I’m a big fan of Takeo!” At the end of the discussion, a workshop was held to think about ideas for town planning together. Although it was only for two and a half hours, they could deepen engagement and have a very meaningful discussion.
On the third and last day, students presented the results of their field work at a hall in the city office. Based on what they learned from two days of field work, “Team Inbound” did a presentation with the theme “Takeo – a hub of knowledge – utilizing information technology and inbound tourism”. And “Team Multicultural coexistence” did a presentation with the theme “Needs of foreign immigrants and solutions in Takeo city” After their presentation, time was set aside for residents and the mayor to ask questions so that they could exchange opinions. Thanks to the assistance of Mayor Komatsu and Mr. Nakao, Saga Newspaper and cable TV came to interview the students. There is still much room for improvement and there is a long way to go to achieve full cooperation between government and academia, but we are hoping to use this experience to deepen and develop this program.