5th Island Meeting Held on Toshima

The Japanese spiny lobster and horned turban, two representative seafoods found in Toshima (©Toshima Village Office)

In the Tokyo Treasure Islands project, residents of the island hold meetings and take initiative to discuss and polish what the island has to offer in an effort to brand the islands. This report covers the fifth Toshima island meeting held on January 15.

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Sharing the experiences of the fourth general meeting and study tour

First, the lessons learned from the fourth general island meeting and study tour visits were shared. From now on, the importance of increasing the number and quality of products that can be communicated will be important critical when appealing Toshima off-island. The participants learned at Marugoto Nippon that products with appealing stories are able to communicate the products’ greatness to customers and discussed how a unique story was needed for Toshima’s products as well.

Verifying products that can be sold in Toshima

In the island meetings leading up to the present, camellia oil, moray eel chips, dried moray eel, and sweet potato rice cakes were listed up as Toshima’s products. For reference cases in other regions, the facilitator introduced products that make efficient use of unused fish and are selling well at the Hagi Fish Mottai Nai Project and Marugoto Nippon. The participants talked about their ideas and discussed the possibility of new products in Toshima.

As a result of the discussion, raw ham and smoked yellowfin tuna and bonito, Japanese parrotfish bekko sushi, camellia oil fondue, island seaweed curry, oiled seaweed, sweet potato rice cake gelato, and rice seasoned with hanba seaweed were listed as candidates for a new product.

The participants understood the challenge of providing a stable supply of Toshima products from the perspective of catch and production amounts, but also stated that limiting the area, quantity, and season where a certain product can be eaten or obtained might actually increase its value and how it would be fine not expanding widely as long as seasonal items in Toshima are able to be enjoyed. Ideas from the perspective of consumers, such as how products would be easier to purchase if they last longer by packaging them using air-tight packaging, a desire for a product that is easy to carry at room temperature, how not all of the ingredients have to be 100% made in Toshima, and how simply changing the packaging or sales method would lead to more sales, were actively exchanged.

Developing products whose appeals are unique to Toshima

Participant Kumiko Enomoto said, “Toshima is a small island, so I thought there would be many obstacles. Many of the people who come to the island like alcohol, so it would be nice to have a product that lasts long, uses fish, and can be eaten as a snack for a drink,” as she looked back on the meeting.

The ideas and opinions mentioned today will be organized by the facilitator, who will discuss with the regional coordinator to prepare for February’s business matching event, where dining establishments and retail companies relevant to Toshima’s action ideas are scheduled to participate.