On July 18, 2017, around 100 representatives from philanthropy, business and academic world gathered to discuss the future plans for Revitalizing Rural Areas through Art & Culture in China and witness Inauguration Ceremony for The International Cooperation Platform for "Revitalizing Rural Areas through Art & Culture" led by The Fukutake Center for Art & Philanthropy.
Mr. Soichiro Fukutake, Chairman of Fukutake Foundation and Chief Advisor of Fukutake Center for Art & Philanthropy, Professor Wang Zhenyao, Dean of China Global Philanthropy Institute and Dean of China Philanthropy Research Institute of Beijing Normal University, Dong Fangjun, Chairman of Beijing Dong Fang Jun Foundation, Mr. Liu Wenkui, the Secretary-general of China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation and Mr. Dong Ce, President of Qiaonyu Foundation unveiled Fukutake Center for Art & Philanthropy.
At the launching ceremony, Professor Wang Zhenyao, Mr. Soichiro Fukutake and Mr. Dong Fangjun delivered speeches for the unveiling of Fukutake Center for Art & Philanthropy. Mr. Soichiro Fukutake introduced the Naoshima model featuring revitalization through modern art. Mr. Hiroshi Sambuichi, a Japanese national architect and one of the designers of Benesse Art Site Naoshima talked about how Naoshima was transformed from an "industrial wasteland" into an "art mecca". Mr. Shi Shanji, General Manager of Shanghai children times Benesse Culture Development Co., Ltd., talked about how Benesse Corporation and ZhongFuHui Press cooperate on Qiaohu’s Story.
At the end of the ceremony, Mr. Soichiro Fukutake, Mr. Dong Fangjun, Mr. Liu Wenkui, the Secretary-general of China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, and Mr. Dong Ce, President of Qiaonyu Foundation had in-depth dialogues on Rural Rejuvenation and other topics.
"Fukutake Center for Art & Philanthropy" Opens a New Chapter of Rural Rejuvenation
In his speech, Professor Wang Zhenyao spoke highly of Mr. Soichiro Fukutake’s great practice and said that Mr. Soichiro Fukutake has opened a whole new era by combining modern art with poor rural areas. “Mr. Soichiro Fukutake is committed to combining nature, art, artists with the poorest rural areas, thus creating wonderful and enormous social effects. The Land Art concept constantly promoted by Mr. Soichiro Fukutake shows the respect for nature, humanity, tradition and social values, which has a great significance for china.”
Mr. Wang Zhenyao, Dean of China Global Philanthropy Institute, Academic Mentor of Global Philanthropy Leaders Program (GPL)
He pointed out that rural revitalization is an important issue in China's development over the years. Now the central government is paying more attention to poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Against this background, the revitalization of rural areas has become even more important. “The primary concern of provincial and local governments is to find a sustainable development path for rural areas to cope with the development challenges faced by rural areas and outskirts of cities or towns.”
Mr. Wang Zhenyao believes that the current society of China is in a period of dramatic changes in terms of the allocation of wealth and social resources and facing many economic and environmental challenges. The existing rural tourism models are mostly unsustainable which contribute little to the improvement of natural environment, people's well-being and living conditions. The Revitalizing Rural Areas through Art & Culture concept developed and promoted by Mr. Soichiro Fukutake has transformed local landscapes, humanity and environment in Naoshima and other places, thus realizing the unity of nature and man. The concept is of great significance for China’s exploration of new paths for the construction of “Beautiful Village”.
Mr. Wang Zhenyao said, “China should not pursue economic interests blindly, but return to culture!” He believes that China Global Philanthropy Institute and Fukutake Center for Art & Philanthropy will become bridges for implementing the Revitalizing Rural Areas through Art & Culture concept in China, thus opening a new chapter in China's rural rejuvenation.
Investment in Culture for Eternal Effects
During the opening ceremony, Mr. Soichiro Fukutake and Mr. Hiroshi Sambuichi shared respectively how they successfully built the art mecca Benesse Art Site Naoshima in collaboration with world-class artists and architects by practicing the Revitalizing Rural Areas through Art & Culture concept.
In his speech and the exchange, Mr. Soichiro Fukutake said the rural areas are important carriers of cultural heritage of a country and the basis for the development of a country. The practice of Revitalizing Rural Areas through Art & Culture has revitalized the local landscapes and restored local people’s hope, confidence and pride for local landscapes through art.
Mr. Soichiro Fukutake
“China is one of the four great ancient civilizations with a long history and splendid culture. I believe that China will become the world's largest economy in the future, which needs more cultural support. I believe that the Revitalizing Rural Areas through Art & Culture model can play its role in helping China become the world's largest culture.”
Over the past thirty years, Mr. Soichiro Fukutake, Mr. Hiroshi Sambuichi and other architects and artists encouraged local people to develop and protect local culture, natural and historical heritages, restore the natural scenery on the islands, thus enabling the people to rediscover the original beauty of country life and improve the quality of life in rural areas. At the same time, the development of cultural tourism has brought more income for local people, which has provided a new path for poverty alleviation and cultural environment protection.
The famous architect Mr. Hiroshi Sambuichi introduced the building concept of Naoshima: buildings will be built based on existing conditions (nature and scenery) and the natural landscapes of the land will be restored. The core concept is to “let every visitor breathe the fresh air of Naoshima and visit each scenic spot on the island.” In addition, he shared the experience of developing the local cuisine culture of Echigo-Tsumari to realize innovative development. The guests were impressed by the development concept featuring the respect for nature and local conditions.
Mr. Hiroshi Sambuichi, architect and Visiting Professor of Global Philanthropy Leaders Program (GPL)
Mr. Soichiro Fukutake also made his own views on the classic Maslow's hierarchy of needs. He believes that self-actualization is not the highest level of human needs. “Community development need” is the highest level of human needs, so building a community that makes people happy is the most important goal of Revitalizing Rural Areas through Art & Culture.
“Entrepreneurs can gain enormous wealth by investing in business. A company does not necessarily have long life while investment in culture has eternal effects. Everyone is seeking eternal things in their limited life to leave a permanent shadow after the life ends. The shadow is art and culture.” Mr. Soichiro Fukutake expects more entrepreneurs in China to invest in culture and more people to participate in culture development. He also hopes that public welfare can flourish in China and Chinese people will be proud for the long history and splendid culture.
Revitalizing Rural Areas through Art & Culture Project on the Peach Blossom Island
The Implementation of Naoshima Model in China
Revitalizing Rural Areas through Art & Culture International Cooperation Platform is operated and executed by the Fukutake Center for Art & Philanthropy in collaboration with partners home and abroad. It is designed to transform rural areas through art and culture and rediscover the sustainable development vitality hidden in rural areas. It is also aimed at realizing the harmony between rural community and natural environment through art and culture to improve the villagers' self-esteem, confidence and life quality.
As the first project operated by the Fukutake Center for Art & Philanthropy, Revitalizing Rural Areas through Art & Culture Project on the Peach Blossom Island makes full use of the international art resources brought by the Revitalizing Rural Areas through Art & Culture International Cooperation Platform. The famous French artist Paul Andreu joined the project, and Tadao Ando, Fram Kitagawa, Hiroshi Sambuichi and other world class artists also expressed intentions for future cooperation. The project bears the mission of implementing Naoshima Model in China’s rural areas. The Peach Blossom Island in Long Zi Yu Village, Yiyuan, Shandong boasts of green hills and clear waters, known as "a fairyland and a land of idyllic beauty". The project will be modeled on the rejuvenation projects of rural areas through art & culture in Naoshima and Echigo-Tsumari of Japan. Based on the original culture, life style and artistic development value of Long Zi Yu Village, the project features art rebuilding, comprehensive rejuvenation of local landscapes and cultural ecology protection.
At the launching ceremony, Mr. Dong Fangjun highlighted the new model of Revitalizing Rural Areas through Art & Culture Project on the Peach Blossom Island. He said localization practice will be carried out in China based on Mr. Soichiro Fukutake’s existing ideas and experience. While drawing on the experience of Mr. Soichiro Fukutake, the project will be operated based on traditional culture of Shandong province and humanistic landscapes and local customs of Yiyuan with an international perspective. The project will be built into a replicable benchmarking project that can be promoted nationwide.
Mr. Dong Fangjun
“With the Peach Blossom Island as the model, Revitalizing Rural Areas through Art & Culture as the banner and local villagers’ needs as the basis, we will converge various forces to explore the solutions for the agriculture, farmers and rural issues in China that have troubles us for years!” Dong Fangjun said the parties involved will utilize the wisdom and art resources brought by the Fukutake Center for Art & Philanthropy and Revitalizing Rural Areas through Art & Culture International Cooperation Platform to launch the first Fukutake Center for Art & Philanthropy “Local Landscapes Rejuvenation and Cultural Rebuilding” project in Long Zi Yu Village, so as to spread the philanthropy concept and spirit in the vast rural areas of China and open up new paths for sustainable development of rural China.
Dialogue Salon for Philanthropists
Exploring the Paths and Future of Rural Rejuvenation in China
In the dialogue salon, Mr. Liu Wenkui, the Secretary-general of China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation said, “The Revitalizing Rural Areas through Art & Culture” concept and model have great significance for poverty alleviation. The Naoshima model in Japan is the rural rejuvenation after over-modernization while the vast rural areas in China need rejuvenation and development in combination with the targeted poverty alleviation concept. “The development of a village depends on resources to a great extent. In the absence of resources, artists will create new things or reuse wasted things. I did not expect such a huge power. I agree with Mr. Soichiro Fukutake’s idea that in the process of transformation, ‘don’t scrap it and start all over again or destroy everything of the past, however, you should graft new things onto existing things.’ I also hope that the rich experience in Revitalizing Rural Areas through Art & Culture can be applied to the Beautiful Village project.”
Professor Wang Zhenyao, Mr. Soichiro Fukutake, Mr. Hiroshi Sambuichi, Mr. Liu Wenkui and Mr. Dong Ce are exploring the paths and future of rural rejuvenation in china
Dong Ce, President of Qiaonyu Foundation said deep cooperation can be carried out to make Revitalizing Rural Areas through Art & Culture a reality in China, thus opening up a new chapter in the cooperation of environment, environmental protection, cultural tourism and foundations. The non-profit sector supported by foundations can participate in the construction and conservation of nature reserves. Oriental Landscape and Qiaonyu Foundation are running many projects in China and they hope to have in-depth cooperation with the Fukutake Center for Art & Philanthropy and draw on the Revitalizing Rural Areas through Art & Culture concept and model.
Mr. Dong Ce said that Mr. Soichiro Fukutake is not only a businessman, philanthropist, but also a philosopher. But today the philosopher did not answer the ultimate question of mankind: where are we from and where are we going? Why didn't he answer it? His ideas echo our traditional ideas. As Confucius said, "Leave the question open". In our traditional culture, literati and officialdom talks about sharing joys with others; Buddhism advocates self-salvation and salvation for others; Confucianism talks about benevolence. All of these are closely interlinked with Mr. Soichiro Fukutake’s ideas. With such a basis and inheritance, he thinks, believes and firmly believes that Fukutake’s Revitalizing Rural Areas through Art & Culture concept will succeed in China!