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Collaboration with Minamisanriku (Miyagi Prefecture) utilizing the natural environment and cultural assets

On March 31, 2021, the town of Minamisanriku in Miyagi Prefecture and Keio University concluded a cooperative agreement aimed at contributing to the enhancement and mutual development of local communities, educational opportunities, and research, by working together to make use of natural resources and cultural assets focused on their common forest resources.
Keio University owns areas of mountain forests in every region of Japan, and one of these is Shizugawa Forest in Minamisanriku. This forest has been maintained and managed as a school forest of Keio University over a period of approximately 50 years, while being deployed as a location for education and research based in cooperation with the people of Minamisanriku. This connection was leveraged towards the launch of the “Minamisanriku Project” by volunteer teachers and students in the direct aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. Regular volunteer activities were conducted over an eight year period as part of this project, including support for reconstruction and learning utilizing the Shizugawa forest. Additionally, in 2015, Minamisanriku collectively acquired Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certification alongside forests owned by local forestry workers and Keio University’s Shizugawa forest, a status that is bestowed on forests which are managed appropriately and sustainably on environmental, economic and social fronts. The timber from Shizugawa forest, a school forest of Keio University, has been used as building material in the construction of the Hiyoshi Learning and Recreation Complex (on the grounds of the Keio Senior High School) and Mita Information Plaza.
In AY 2022, Keio officials visited the Minamisanriku town hall, Minamisanriku Forestry Association, etc. in May, as well as the school forest - Shizugawa mountain forest - and the Nature Center on observation tours, etc. to study, plan, and implement projects with local communities with which Keio has concluded agreements. In July, second-year students from the Keio Chutobu Junior High School visited the school forest during a school camping trip, and in October, two vice-presidents from Keio University attended the first “Minamisanriku Inochi Meguru Machi Gakkai - Abundance through Nature Positive” academic conference and oversaw the general management of the event.

Applicable regions

Miyagi Prefecture, Town of Minamisanriku

Implementation period


Community and Regional Affairs category

  • Regional collaboration as research targets and implementation sites/research that aims to popularize region-specific issues
  • Education of students/human resource development for the next generation
  • Two-way recycling-oriented collaboration with local communities and societies
  • Environmental initiatives
  • Collaboration and cooperation with alumni and alumni associations

Related agreements, etc.

Cooperative partnership agreement between Minamisanriku Town and Keio University



Person in charge

Office of Community and Regional Affairs