Niigata Healthy Community Enrichment Symposium


Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture
Demonstrating the concept and way of cooperation between agriculture and medicine to solve social challenges

On November 6, the “Future Medicine and Community Enrichment Symposium in Niigata” was held at the Niigata Nippo Mediaship Nippo Hall, with about 120 people attending, including government officials, educators, and citizens. Approximately 70 people attended the lecture at three remote venues in the prefecture, and a video was also distributed on YouTube.


Mr. Hideyo Hanazuno, Governor of Niigata Prefecture, who is involved in the health-promoting prefectural citizens’ movement, “Niigata, a healthy prefecture,” rushed over despite his busy schedule of public affairs, and delivered a speech filled with warm hopes for a symposium that met the wishes of the prefecture. Next, Tetsuya Sakuma, Director of the Institute of Agriculture, Environment and Health and Director of the MOA Oku-Atami Clinic, gave a lecture on “Future Medicine and Community Enrichment” as a doctor who works at Ohito Zuisenkyô where a field of collaboration between agriculture and medicine takes place.



Director Sakuma explained the concept of cooperation between agriculture and medicine advocated by Kitasato University Professor Emeritus Katsuyuki Yang, director of the same research institute, as a way of thinking that aims to create a healthy and safe society by linking agriculture and medicine based on the natural environment. Problems such as the global environment and human health are occurring in the midst of conflict and division, and the westernization of food in Japan is behind the increase of lifestyle-related diseases. Including the “separation of people, food and agriculture,” such as the situation where people cannot obtain food, “separation of people from nature,” “separation from oneself,” “separation of people from people/society,” “separation of mind and body,” and “separation of knowledge and deeds.” He spoke about the importance of agriculture-medicine collaboration that integrates the “disease of separation.”



As a practical example of cooperation between agriculture and medicine, he touched on the efforts of Ohito Zuisenkyô and the Oku-Atami Wellness Center, which is operated jointly by the clinical and the health and wellness program sections, including Purifying Therapy of Okada Health and Wellness Program, horticultural therapy, mindfulness, and healthy foods using the MOA Nature Farming vegetables harvested from the adjacent farm plot. Thus, he shared how such programs are contributing to health improvement for many people. He reconfirmed with participants the importance of cooperation between agriculture and medicine, saying that these activities connects “medicine, agriculture, and land” and protects “life.”


In addition, he shared other reports in response to the needs of the local medical association and the government. In addition to refusal by youths to attend school and social withdrawal, they also worked on the mental health of local government employees and have gained the trust of the region. They introduced the efforts of the Yamada River Nature Village in collaboration with Mishima City of Shizuoka Prefecture, the efforts of the Sano Experience Farm, and the efforts of a local central hospital as an example of community development through collaboration with other medical professions. After introducing the Tokyo Wellness Center, which embodies the agriculture-medicine collaboration, he summarized that the agriculture-medicine collaboration is not a return to the past but a proposal for a way of life of the post-COVID-19 society.



After the keynote speech by Director Sakuma, Osamu Yamazaki, director of the Niigata Prefectural Hospital, hosted a symposium on how to deal with the “disease of separation,” and on how to give concrete form to collaboration between agriculture and medicine. Katsunori Nakagawa, Sado City Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Department Deputy Director and Agricultural Policy Section Manager; Masako Fujitsuka, MOA Food Education Advisor; Misako Takashima, MOA Arts and Culture Instructor; and Eiji Minagawa, Niigata City Council member shared their activities.



Deputy Director Nakagawa introduced a video message from Ryugo Watanabe, Mayor of Sado City, who strongly believes that food and agriculture will play a major role in creating a prosperous community that coexists with crested ibises. Towards the healthy minds and bodies of children, government and agricultural organizations, such as training sessions on organic cultivation of paddy rice, support for the introduction of weeding machines in paddy fields, dietary education classes by Mayor Watanabe, introduction of organically farmed rice in school lunches, etc. He introduced the efforts of environment-conserving agriculture in which local government and agricultural groups are working together. He also introduced how the school lunch support team formed by farmers delivers organic and naturally grown agricultural products to the nursery school, and conveyed the urban community enrichment of agriculture-medicine collaboration. In the future, he said, “I would like to build a relationship where consumers support farmers, and farmers support consumers’ health.”


Ms. Fujitsuka, who is a MOA Food Education Advisor, introduced the Okada Dietary Program which states that eating fresh Nature Farming produce, which is full of vitality, will improve one’s mind and body, one’s way of thinking, one’s behavior, and one’s way of life. The “Smile Club,” the mental and physical health classes and cooking classes held with MOA qualified friends have been well received. In addition, she reported on the children’s cafeteria, which has been implemented with the goodwill of many people, such as the cultivation experience at the organic farm held together with the group that shares the same wishes, and the provision of ingredients. She talked about her aspiration to solve problems together with the community through healthy food.


As a MOA Arts and Culture Instructor, Ms. Takashima has been involved in flower arrangement activities at schools in the hopes of spreading a life of beauty. She reported on how she came to serve the community with arts and culture. She introduced how the tea ceremony and flower arrangement nurture children’s kind hearts and zest for life. She touched on the Kohrinka flower arrangement at home and the changes in her family, and stressed the power of beauty to heal people.


Mr. Minagawa, a member of the City Council, presented his experience of overcoming a serious illness as a couple by increasing the natural healing power through sincere Purifying Therapy by the MOA Healthy Life Network. After receiving Purifying Therapy, he said that he felt that “something I had never felt before ran through my body” and that there were no side-effects from the treatment. He introduced that the couple are doing well and the physical condition of an acquaintance is improving. He expressed his gratitude to MOA and hoped that an integrated medical facility like the Tokyo Wellness Center would open in Niigata.


Director Yamazaki, who acted as the moderator, used a chart to introduce places such as the Kohrinka flower arrangement, Nature Farming Method, and the Okada Health and Wellness Programs. He summarized the symposium as proposing ways to solve the “disease of separation,” and summarized that in the post-COVID-19 society, it will be important to “create a community that nurtures bonds of caring for others.”


One participant commented, “I think Ohito Zuisenkyô and MOA Oku-Atami Clinic are wonderful because they are trying to solve both human and environmental diseases. They are practicing in a wide range of fields, including cooperation with the government and local elementary and junior high schools. I was also surprised that there was such a doctor.” “The content and activity level of each presenter was high. It was truly a source of change in the way we live in the 21st century.”


At the venue, Nature Farming products were sold with display panels, and participants were seen reading the explanations on the panels and purchasing agricultural products with great interest.



Sponsored by: MOA Health Science Center, MOA International, MOA Natural Farming Niigata Prefectural Federation, Sponsored by: Niigata Prefecture, Niigata City, Sado City, Sado Kisen Co., Ltd., Niigata Nippousha, BSN Niigata Broadcasting, NST Niigata General Television, TeNY Television Niigata, UX Niigata Television 21, Niigata City Listening Volunteer Kokoro, Sponsorship / Niigata Prefecture Organic Rice Network, Yumenoya Farm