Future Visions for Fundamental Livelihoods: Collaborative Actions in the Nishibetsu Watershed in Japan

  • Kenji KitamuraEmail author
  • Katsuhiko Ohashi
Part of the Ecological Research Monographs book series (ECOLOGICAL)


Nishibetsu River flows in the eastern part of Hokkaido, located in the northernmost area of Japan. In this watershed, local people spearhead activities with the objective of reviving and maintaining the watershed environment as a continuing habitat for the Blackiston’s fish owl. A parent body leading these activities is called Nijibetsu Kor Kamuy Society , which is a totally voluntary and non-profitable organization. The Society’s efforts to revive the natural environment have gone on for more than 20 years, producing opportunities for cooperation that go beyond administrative boundaries and differences in interests. The Blakiston’s fish owl is a species worshipped as Kotan kor kamuy (protective spirit of the village) from ancient times by the Ainu, an indigenous people in Hokkaido, and the activities of the Nijibetsu Kor Kamuy Society are consistent with this in that they direct their attention to the Blakiston’s fish owl. The local residents have made ingenious use of tools, knowledge and techniques they have in their livelihoods. And, the success of the Blakiston’s fish owl indicates not only a good/adequate watershed environment, but indicates that the Nishibetsu watershed is in a condition to continue to sustain cornerstone industries in the region, such as dairy farming and fishing. The watershed’s value has been widely shared through a series of activities. In this chapter, we will look back in specific ways at that process.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kanazawa UniversitySuzuJapan
  2. 2.Research Institute for Humanity and NatureKyotoJapan
  3. 3.Nijibetsu Kor Kamuy SocietyHokkaidoJapan

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