Creating sustainable place for residents


Interview with representatives of “C-plant“


They are members of C-plant.
They are members of C-plant.


Chuo University has a student organization aimed to help revitalize regional community. Just launched in September 2016, it calls itself C-plant. Hakumon Herald interviewed Motoyoshi Kuwabara, a Faculty of Policy Studies second grader, and Ayumi Yakuwa, a Faculty of Law second grader, who serve as joint representatives of C-plant, to ask about how they formed their club and what it specifically does.



-What has motivated you to form your club?



Kuwabara: The idea of opening and operating a “Kodomo Shokudo” (lunchroom for children) began in Tokyo’s Ota Ward about five years ago with the aim of saving children who have no place to stay after school and cannot have a meal. I myself is engaged in the management of one in Kanagawa Prefecture. However, people who operate such facilities continue to face trials and errors, finding it hard to offer services in a stable manner. That is the present situation. In fact, some of those lunchrooms have been closed down. I was wondering how I can create a sustainable place for children when I happened to meet Ayumi. We considered what we can do together. Then we concluded the best thing we can do might be to create a place where not just local residents but anyone else including students can casually pop in. We hit on an idea of setting up an organization for that purpose in cooperation with the regional community. That’s why we decided to form C-plant.

桒原 居場所がなかったり、食事が食べられない子どもを救うため、「こども食堂」を設置、運営する活動は約5年前から東京都大田区で始まり、私も神奈川県にある食堂の運営に携わっています。しかし、運営は試行錯誤の連続で、安定的に「こども食堂」のサービスが提供できないというのが現状です。閉鎖された食堂もあります。持続可能な居場所づくりをしたいと考えていたときに、八鍬と出会い、どうすればいいのかということを共に考えました。そして、地域の住民だけでなく、学生をはじめ誰もが気軽に立ち寄れる場所を地域コミュニティーと協力しながら創出する活動を行う団体をつくることが最適であるという結論に達し、C-plantを結成することにしました。


-Why do you focus your activities on Hino? 



Kuwabara: Hino has a rich nature that doesn’t make you feel you are in Tokyo Metropolis. It has a farm called “Seseragi Noen” aimed to promote the local community by making full use of its natural environment. We had felt the city has good conditions needed for regional revitalization. When we actually visited Hino, we also had an impression that elderly people who live there are keen to participate in local community events. On the other hand, the city faces the problem of child poverty. We thought we might be able to create a new sustainable regional community through solution of the problem by utilizing those conditions and cooperating with those willing elderly people. That’s why we have chosen Hino for our main activity.

桒原 日野市は東京都とは思えないほど自然豊かで、その自然を活用して地域コミュニティーづくりを行っている「せせらぎ農園」があり、地域活性化の土壌があると感じていました。実際に日野市を訪れてみると、高齢者の地域行事への参加意欲が高いという印象も持ちました。その一方で、日野市は子どもの貧困という課題を抱えています。地域活性化の土壌を利用し意欲のある高齢者と協力しながら、課題解決を通して新たな持続可能な地域のコミュニティーを創出することができるのではないかと考え、日野市を選びました。

Motoyoshi Kuwabara (left) and Ayumi Yakuwa (center) answer questions during an interview with Hakumon Herald.
Motoyoshi Kuwabara (left) and Ayumi Yakuwa (center) answer questions during an interview with Hakumon Herald.


-What do you think is the significance of students taking part in regional community activities? 



Yakuwa: I think it is significant in the sense, for example, that when providing services at Kodomo Shokudo, students closer in age to children are easier to have contact with them. I also feel students today spend their daily life without getting involved in the community where they live. By taking part in regional community activities, they will be able to have better chances to become interested in knowing what their own community exactly looks like and who live there.

八鍬 例えば「こども食堂」では、サービスを提供する際、年齢の近い学生のほうが子どもたちに接しやすいという点で意味があるのではないかと思います。また、いまの学生は自分の住む地域とはかかわりを持たずに生活していると感じます。学生が地域活動に参加することで、自分の住んでいる地域はどんな地域で、どんな人々がいるのかということに関心を向ける良い機会になります。


In the present situation, activities for regional revitalization are primarily undertaken by members of nonprofit organizations and local residents who are aged 60 years or over. So, I think the power of students who have energy and willingness such as physical strength and intelligence and who have ideas adults cannot think of is important in furthering regional revitalization.



Kuwabara: That doesn’t only apply to regional revitalization. I think if young people including students take initiative and act, adults who play an important role in this era will be motivated, saying, “Look, young people do it. Why don’t we?” That, I think, can lead to changing the whole Japanese society.

桒原 地域活性化に限らず、学生をはじめとする若者が率先して行動を起こすことは、「若者がやっているのだから、我々も動こう」と、今の時代を担っている大人が行動を起こす理由になると思います。それが、大きく言うと日本社会全体を変えていくことにつながると考えています。


-Thank you.Interviewed by: Naoya Yoshida