REPORT

3rd Island Meeting Held on Aogashima

Asplenium antiquum, a subtropical plant that grows in Aogashima.

The Tokyo Treasure Islands Project is a project which aims to refine the Tokyo's islands brands through "Shima-Kaigi" (Island Meetings) with residents. This report covers the third island meeting held in Aogashima on August 29 and September 30.

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Five people participated in the first half of the third Aogashima island meeting held on August 29. The meeting began with a reflection of events leading to the present. The facilitator explained the contents of all the previous discussions. Those that participated in the study tour reported on their observations from visiting container home manufacturers and dining establishments operated by the real estate companies for residents.

Communicating the appeal of Aogashima, where people are living a tough lifestyle

(@Makoto Harada)

Next, there was a discussion on the brand value of the island.
Combined with the difficulty of visiting the island due to weather circumstances, the participants described the outer appearance of the island (double caldera, etc.) and Aogashima as a form of "being closed."
Others expressed the toughness of the islanders, a result of being busy living in an inconvenient location with harsh natural conditions and doing everything on their own, as something unique to Aogashima.

The discussions got heated when people began saying, "We want people to enjoy their interactions with the islanders, but the reality is that many visitors come without turning their consciousness towards islanders. Furthermore, there are many people who visit the island for the scenic views, but I think people can only feel Aogashima after interacting with the islanders. There are visitors who claim that their view on life had changed after interacting with the islanders."

Given the likeness of Aogashima that was nurtured in such environment, the image of the brand value was being developed as "a world-class natural scenery and the chance for visitors to meet tough people living on a solitary island that have overcome various obstacle."

A place that tests your strengths. The requirement is to enjoy the adversities.

Next, the persona for communicating the brand values was discussed.
"I've seen a lot of visitors, but the ones that keep coming are those that experience or discover things through interacting with the tough islanders that change their view on life before going home."
"The ships and helicopters in Aogashima may get cancelled and getting water at the campsite is a hassle. There are a lot of inconvenient things, but I think that people who have the strength to enjoy such inconveniences are the ones who are able to enjoy the island."

Furthermore, there were voices that said "there is a need to communicate these circumstances properly from the island. Those that visit the island after knowing that will most likely understand Aogashima and will relate to its values."

From these discussions, the image of Aogashima's persona was becoming clearer as "someone who treasures nature, people, and culture, and has a heart to enjoy."

On top of that, everyone agreed when it was suggested that the persona refers to people who have a desire to see a world they've never seen before and expand their potential and perspectives.

Pursuing action ideas that make use of Aogashima's advantages

In the second half of the island meeting, which was held on September 30, action ideas were extracted by crossing Aogashima's brand values and the people that the islanders want to interact with and have visit.

The participants came up with many ideas, including an Aogashima lifestyle experience, spearfishing experience, fan meetings on the mainland, trial residencies/remote work, empty-handed glamping, and promoting power spots, etc.

Using these ideas, the discussion moved to considering study tour candidates for the fourth island meeting. As the discussion based on what kind of knowledge is desired and what kinds of people the islanders want to talk to continued, it was decided to not limit the action plan to ideas that were raised in the current meeting and to continue the consideration of action plans that treat the environment of Aogashima as an ally in order to come up with a destination for the study tour that will be held during the next session.

We want those that respect the island we grew up in to visit

Takuya Hiroe, who participated in the August 29 meeting reflected on the meeting by saying "It's my first time talking about the island's future in a place with no alcohol. I was able to sympathize a lot with the things that were said today. Everyone that participated today agrees that we want people who respect the island we grew up in to visit."

Kae Sasaki, who participated in the September 30 meeting said, "Everyone in the island is busy, so it's my first time participating in something like this. I didn't know that spearfishing was an activity in the island. I was able to discover something new because the people that gathered had various ideas and knowledge."

There are two more island meetings planned for Aogashima in FY2019. Ideas for action will be considered using the ideas that were raised during this session as a base.