I was born and brought up in Iwawada, Onjuku-town located in the Boso Peninsula, Chiba Prefecture.
It used to be a small fishing village called “Iwawada Village”.

About the history of Iwawada

In 1609, a Spanish ship heading from the Philippines to Mexico ran aground on the shore of Tajiri in Iwawada Village.
As many as 317 foreigners have landed in Iwawada Village, which has a population of only 300.
The villagers of Iwawada frantically rescued them, and then they stayed at the houses in the village and spent time together for a month.
Since then, a close exchange between Japan, Spain and Mexico began, and as a proof of this, the Mexico Memorial Tower and park were built on a hill overlooking Tajiri shore where they landed.

Mexico Memorial Park located in Iwawada

All Major Public Facilities Closed

Map of Iwawada area showing former public buildings which has already closed

Iwawada area is a typical Japanese townscape of fisherman’s village.
Houses are densely built on a flat land surrounded by the sea and mountains.
Although it is a small village, the streets run like a go board, and it is divided into five neighborhood associations.

There were three major public facilities in Iwawada: a housing complex commonly known as a “fisherman’s apartment,” an elementary school, and a pre-school.
But all of them are closed and some of them have been already demolished.

Furthermore, the number of vacant houses is increasing year by year, and there are more than 60 houses within the range that can be roughly seen.
And more than half of the residents are elderly people over 65 years old.

Memories of Iwawada

I was born and lived there for 18 years and then moved to Tokyo from college.
So I have already spent more time outside of Iwawada in my entire life so far.

Even so, Iwawada, where I had a lot of fun memories when I was little and a lot of time spent with my family, including my late grandpa and grandma, is still my heart.

Sports Day when I was lower grades of elementary school.
Elementary Schoolyard as of now: grass is overgrown and the net is full of holes

What can I do..

If this goes on, what kind of future is waiting in 10 years or 20 years?

For the past few years, every time I came back to my parents’ house, such thoughts came to me.

  • There may be a problem with parents’ care.
  • In the neighborhood where the number of vacant houses has already increased, the number of vacant houses will increase, and the entire Iwawada may be devastated.
  • It may be a deserted area without people
  • Furthermore, it may not function as a region and may disappear.

The future that can be imagined from the present situation was all such negative one.

Therefore, I decided to stop just looking at it like someone else’s problem and face it squarely .
I have been studying architecture and have been working on a large-scale projects as a project manager dealing with buildings so far. Also, I have visited many places in the world.

Making use of my past experience, I would like to be a part of the villagers in Iwawada once again and create a bright future for Iwawada together.