A research project, "Research in Ubiquitous Information Societies based on Cross-disciplinary Sciences" was conducted as a program for the "Promotion of Leading Researchers" in Special Coordination Funds for Promoting Science and Technology by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology from August 29, 2002 to March 31, 2005. The project was called "Yaoyorozu (eight million in Japanese, referring to eight million gods) Project" aiming at integrating engineering, humanities and social sciences to resolve a number of social issues. What will a ubiquitous information society be like in the 21st century? When this project searched for the answer, as I majored in arts subject in the university, I thought that the answer would be to write a future society where I want to live; the society where people are proud of their home towns and love their families: the society where water, air and local food are delicious and free from danger: the society where everyone has a role to play, children have hopes for future, and senior citizens are satisfied with their long lives: the society where information technology supports to build such a society.
I represented a ubiquitous society in 201X, that I want to live, in this fiction. Ubiquitous technology brings people close to each, strengthens the feeling of being connected to nature, and connects people to history and different cultures. A terminal device called RUICA means "bridge" in Ainu language. Kanalu, a scientist, developed the device, and the name "Kanalu" means canal. Both bridge and canal mean to connect two values.
bridges, canals and Karez (underground irrigation canal) and silk are all produced by hands and extended their meaning of existence. People have been producing many things to make people happier and live more comfortably. Ubiquitous and information technology should be the same. I would like to tell this story to people who have majored in science and engineering from a perspective of the person who studied in the school of humanities.
There is much beautiful scenery I visited and there are many wonderful things about Japan I love in this fiction. They are forests, wind, rainbows, rivers, climate and culture, local products, hot springs, Japanese sake and confectionary, and people who love and try to protect small community. Diverse group of people in ages including children and elderly people appeared in this fiction too.
People in the story are basically in fiction. However, I got inspiration on each character from people I met through the project. In addition, Takafu-cho was an imaginary town and represented a sort of combined with many places.
Images of the hot spring and the log house of the Village of Wind and Forest were given from Kusatsu hot spring in Gunma Prefecture. Oak village in Kiyomi village, Hida-Takayama, Gifu Prefecture inspired the image of the Land of Tree. Many places in Takafu-cho mirrored the images from Takayama and Hilda-Furukawa city. The festival scenes were developed based on Takayama Festival. I got a hint for handing down of traditional performing arts from rehearsals in the community center in Futo, Ito city in Shizuoka prefecture. The image of the high land with a big rainbow was developed based on scenery of Iwate Children's Forest in Okunakayama high land, Iwate Prefecture. The Obuse town in Nagano prefecture, Yufuin town in Oita prefecture, and people from "Eight Major Hot Springs Areas of Beppu" and Mr. Sugiyama of CivicMedia, an NPO in Sapporo, inspired me to create images of people supporting people in a small hot spring town and the mechanism of agreement among citizens. Also people in Hamamatsu city inspired me to create images of young students.
I am also grateful to Mr. Nobuo Yoshinari from the school of Forest and Wind and the Forest of Children, who shared the idea about relationship between nature and people, which is the main subject of the story. Thanks to Mr. Kiichi Miyazaki and Mrs. Masako Miyazaki for sharing their knowledge about Takayama Festival and the impression of snowcapped mountains. I owe Mr. Ippongi from Scrum for Planning in Takayama for the Takayama dialect spoken by Oharu. Heartfelt thanks to Mr. Keiichi Masuda of Jiyusha for publishing this book and Mr. Shinichi Marumori for editing the book. Finally a special award to many scholars and employees from Hitachi, Ltd. who worked together with the Yaoyorozu project and employees of my company, UDIT Inc.. Especially I would like to issue 100 thanks-tickets to Mr. Nakata who read through the content and gave an explanation on key terminology in the story.
I am concerned about our life in 21st century, which would be a slow ubiquitous society supported by cutting-edge technology without bragging its power and where people get in touch with nature and love slow life.