~Humans of Yabu ~ Nishigaki Kenji 西垣憲志

Nishigaki Kenji is the head of the Inaka Gurashi Club, a general incorporated association with a mission to support and encourage rural living in Yabu City. Formerly an art teacher Mr. Nishigaki decided to switch careers in his mid 40’s to start up a design company, but not finding success, he eventually began this group when an idea sparked to mind. Initially established in Asago, but then being encouraged by the current mayor of Yabu City, Hirose Sakae he decided to switch locations.

A recurring problem throughout rural areas in Japan is the shrinking and aging population with 93% living in urban areas. Mr. Nishigaki stated that his company’s initiative is to encourage the younger generation to move to the countryside to prevent the extinction of Yabu City. As a side project, the group also grows Yoka Asagi, a green soybean that is then used to produce miso, roasted soybean powder, and yuba (a type of tofu skin).

A very intelligible, charismatic, and well-spoken man who seems to have an endless fountain of knowledge. His words evoke what students would hear from their professors in a college lecture hall, both thought-provoking and fascinating.

Mr. Nishigaki stated that humans often only focus on how much or what they get from the pie, but he stated that instead, it is vital to think about how we can increase the size of the share for everyone rather than just our own individual benefits. He lives by these words as he contributes to the greater sustenance and longevity of the Yabu Community.


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