Sharing Experiences and Associated Knowledge in the Changing Waterscape: An Intergenerational Sharing Program in Mikatagoko Area, Japan

  • Ryoto Tomita
  • Hasu Project (a NGO in Mikatagoko area)
  • Takehito YoshidaEmail author
Part of the Science for Sustainable Societies book series (SFSS)


In order for ecosystem services to actually flow and provide benefits to people, knowledge of managing the supply and realizing the flow of ecosystem services is necessary, although that knowledge appears to have been disappearing at an accelerating pace. Sharing the traditional and local experiences and associated knowledge of ecosystem services is thus crucial for sustainable use of ecosystem services. In this chapter, we document a case of sharing experiences and associated knowledge in the Mikatagoko (Five Lakes of Mikata) area in Fukui Prefecture, Japan. Elementary school students in the area interview the local adults about the past waterscape, biodiversity, and ecosystem services that they experienced, and then the children draw a painting of the past waterscape and experiences of the adults. This environmental-educational program, named the Painting by Children of the Past Waterscape program, is arranged by the local NGO (Hasu Project), and all the paintings are collected and exhibited at public spaces and in the web site to be shared in and outside the local community, as well as being used for community-based workshops to promote further sharing. The analysis of 986 paintings collected between 2009 and 2014 revealed that diverse experiences with organisms inhabiting and ecosystem services from the local rivers and lakes were shared through these activities among the local children and adults. The children learned what they have otherwise never happened to know in the modern waterscape that has changed from the past, although the paintings cannot be used to make simple comparisons between the past and the present waterscape as the paining also reflects the social context of the past. The experiences and knowledge shared through the program and associated activities were perceived as new discoveries by children and as rediscoveries by adults, suggesting that the potential of ecosystem services from the local rivers and lakes were recognized and shared in these out-of-the-ordinary opportunities. In that sense, this program in the Mikatagoko area has been making important contributions to the management of ecosystem services from a variety of perspectives shared in the local community.


Traditional and local knowledge Intergenerational sharing of experiences Environmental education Ecosystem services Mikatagoko (Five Lakes of Mikata) 



We thank all the members and organizations associated with the Hasu Project and the Mikatagoko Nature Restoration Committee for their contribution to the program, as well as all the participants of the program for sharing their paintings and experiences. Special thanks are due to Hiroaki Sekioka, a member of the Hasu Project who helped us prepare the manuscript. We also thank an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments on the manuscript. This research is financially supported by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (S-15-2(3) Predicting and Assessing Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services (PANCES) and 4-1505) of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan, and the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN: a constituent member of NIHU) Project No. 14200103.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryoto Tomita
    • 1
  • Hasu Project (a NGO in Mikatagoko area)
    • 2
  • Takehito Yoshida
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculty of AgricultureShizuoka UniversityShizuokaJapan
  2. 2.c/o Yasuhiro OshitaFukuiJapan
  3. 3.Research Institute for Humanity and NatureKyotoJapan
  4. 4.Department of General Systems StudiesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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