“Strong in the rain, Strong in the wind… Everyone calls him a Blockhead… But that is the sort of person I want to be.”

– Miyazawa Kenji

雨ニモマケズ 風ニモマケズ... 木偶の坊と呼ばれ.. そうゆう者に私はなりたい

宮沢賢治より

In the old days in Japan, rapeseed flowers were planted to provide the raw ingredients for making oil in various parts of the country. Oil presses were found all over the country.

However, due to the import of cheap rapeseed oil from overseas, and due to the fact that native rapeseed plants contained erucic acid, the rapeseed fields and oil presses began to decline consequently.

 

In 2005, five locals realized the crisis they were facing and established “Kobo Jiabura” in Ichinoseki city of Iwate prefecture, so as to preserve the rich culinary culture and the beautiful scenery of nature. Kobo Jiabura later became Dekunobonz. They bought rapeseeds without erucic acid but contained vitamin E that provided antioxidant elements, from local farmers and started producing oil. They operated the local oil press, placing emphasis on the reuse of oil cake and waste oil, with the greater vision of creating a sustainable city with natural resources that flow in a healthy cycle.

 

Among the initial members, four of them are currently engaged in various jobs such as machinery maintenance and managing a restaurant that uses the locally grown rapeseed oil. On the other hand, Shingo Onodera of Dekunobonz is still producing and selling high quality rapeseed oil using the traditional methods of production, all by himself.

 

The designers assigned to this local oil press were Russell from the Philippines and Ellie from Malaysia.

 

 

昔から日本では、各地で油の原料として菜の花が栽培されてきました。そして多くの地域に搾油所がありました。しかし海外から菜種油が安く輸入される様になり、またかつての在来種にはエルシン酸が含まれていたこともあり、次第に菜の花畑も搾油所も数を減らしてしまいました。

 

岩手県一ノ関市で2005年に5人のメンバーがそんな流れを危惧し、豊かな食生活と景観を失わないために「工房地あぶら」を立ち上げました。これが「デクノボンズ」の前身です。無エルシン酸の品種であり抗酸化作用のあるビタミンEを多く含む菜種を生産農家から買い入れ、焙煎し油にする。油粕や廃油の再利用までを考え、資源巡回型社会を目指して地域の搾油所として活動されています。

現在も立ち上げメンバーの内、4人の方々は機械のメンテナンスやお隣で菜種油を使用した美味しい食事を提供する飲食店の経営など様々な形でサポートを続けていますが、デクノボンズは小野寺伸吾さんが一人で焙煎、搾油を昔ながらの方式で行い、高い品質の菜種油を製造・販売しています。

この地域の搾油所にフィリピンのRussellとマレーシアのEllieが訪れました。

Shingo epitomizes the stereotypical “Tohoku-man” image that most Japanese have. A little shy and humble man with few words, but has strong principles and puts his heart into whatever he does and believes. On the other hand, the designers have dazzling accomplishments in their careers. Russell owns his own design studio with more than 20 staff and interns, whereas Ellie works for a large advertising company and has won several prominent awards in China. Three people, of various cultural backgrounds, lifestyles and environments, were to spend the next few days together. How will the conservative Tohoku man communicate with the two designers and establish mutual understanding? It was going to be something that we have never experienced before.

 

 

伸吾さんは私達が勝手に想い描く「東北人」を絵に書いた様な人。シャイで自分の事を多くは語らず口下手な人、でも信念を持って一途に取り組む職人気質の人。一方20人を超える社員とインターンを抱えるデザイン会社を経営するRussel、中国での大きなプロジェクトを始め数々の賞を受賞、第一線で活躍する大手広告代理店に努めるEllie。異なる文化のみならず生活環境もまるで異なる3人が共に過ごす数日間、どこまでお互いを理解できるのか、アジアからきたデザイナーはこの地で何が出来るのか、双方にとってこれまで経験したことの無い数日間が始まりました。

First, the two designers learnt about the production process of rapeseed oil. No matter how little the production was, we could see how much this meant to the local farmers and rapeseed manufacturers in the regions. The oil cake is a valuable by-product that can be used as a fertilizer, which was used in growing sweet corns. We were surprised by Shingo’s unwavering spirit to keep taking on new challenges, such as the reuse of oil cakes. We began to slowly understand that the production, sales and reuse of by-products were all part of this connection that Shingo has with all the locals.

 

However, at the same time many questions filled our minds- What’s the company logo? Branding concept? Packaging design? Box design? Ordering method? Distribution channel? Marketing and advertising?

 

Instead of striving to raise sales profits, expand distribution channels, increasing production, improving advertising effectiveness and so on, the only things that Shingo mentioned were about quality, the connection with nature and the region, personal and non-commercial business.

 

 

デザイナーの2人は菜種油の製造過程を知りました。例え少量でも菜種を受取り搾油している状況がどれ程この地域の生産農家の方に感謝されているかを想像しました。油粕が肥料として価値が高く、地域で甘いとうもろこしになっているのを味わいました。思いも寄らない新たな油粕の再利用に挑戦を始めていることに驚きました。製造、販売、再利用、全てが伸吾さんと地域の人との繋がりであることを理解していきました。

 

一方でロゴは?ブランディングは?パッケージデザインは?外箱デザインは?受注方法は?販売ルートは?広告宣伝は?等々慎吾さんを知れば知るほど沢山の疑問が湧いてきます。

販売利益を高めること、販路を拡大すること、生産量を上げること、経営や広告宣伝の効果よりも慎吾さんの口から出る言葉は品質、地域との繋がり、顔の見える販売、自然との関わりでした。

The homestay on the second day provided the two designers with a valuable opportunity to learn more. Shingo lives with his wife Mari and his three children- Kenshin, Ayame and Soushi. We had a hearty meal with delicious food and drinks in his cozy wooden house in the mountains. As time passed by, the designers and Shingo opened up slowly. We talked about what the designers could do to help, what Shingo wanted to convey to his customers, what kind of questions to ask and how to answer them. Unconsciously we started thinking in the shoes of Shingo and cracked our minds as if it were our own business.

 

 

そんな彼らにとって貴重な機会になったのは2日目のホームスティだったと思います。小野寺一家は奥さんの真理さん、3人の子供たち健心君、彩芽ちゃん、壮史君の5人家族。山の上の暖かな木で造られた家で美味しい料理とお酒をご馳走になり、お互いに自然と口数が多くなり、それぞれが心から自分の事として考え、お互いに何が出来るのか、何を伝えるべきなのか、そのために何を質問し何を答えれば良いのか。いつしか自身の経験や想いが溢れてきました。

After spending a few days together, the two designers posed the following last questions before entering the design production process.

 

Russell asked, “What is the meaning of life (IKIGAI) to you?”

Ellie asked, “How would you describe your brand Dekunobonz in one word?”

 

 

数日を共に過ごし、デザイン制作に入るため最後にデザイナー2人が伸吾さんに質問をしました。

Russellからは慎吾さんにとっての生きがいは何ですか?

Ellieからはデクノボンズというブランドを一つの言葉で表すと何になりますか?

IKIGAI 〜Family is life〜

生きがい − 家族のために

Realizing that Shingo’s family and relationships with the people in his region meant everything to him, Russell did a presentation of various approaches based on the theme of family. Among all the suggestions and approaches, Russell eventually picked a message card that illustrated Shingo and his family. “I am not going to convey design ideas that will boost your sales profits. I just wanted to present what I have learnt and experienced first-hand to both Shingo and his family at the presentation session. However, I want you to think about the risk of not being able to work one day due to sickness or injury, as you are currently working all by yourself. In any case, Shingo is my superman.”

 

 

Russellは慎吾さんの生きがいが家族や地域の人々であることを知り、家族をモチーフに様々なアプローチによるプレゼンテーションを考案しました。沢山出てきた案から最後に選んだのは慎吾さんとご家族に対するイラストによるメッセージカードでした。「私は経済面での提案はしません。慎吾さんとそのご家族に、報告会にいらした皆さんに自身が体験したこと、今回学んだことを紹介します。そしてたった一人で働く慎吾さんには、もしも病気や何らかしらのアクシデントにより働くことが出来なくなってしまった時のリスクを少しだけ考えて欲しい。慎吾さんは私にとってのスーパーマンです。」

Gradual improvement is key to a sustainable

穏やかな成長

The word that describes Shingo’s brand was “sustainable”, and based on that, Ellie created a series of branding concepts and applications such as logo, packaging and web design. She also suggested novel promotion activities such as using food education or cooking classes for children as activity themes to promote environmental education and sustainable city development in the region. Her presentation to Shingo was vastly different from those that she had gotten used to presenting to her big company clients. This was reflected in the last page of her presentation: “Be yourself, Shingo. Move forward slowly but steadily, because gradual improvement is the key to sustainable growth.

 

A few days later, Shingo sent me a picture of his computer in his office. The wallpaper was that of Team Dekunobonz.

 

 

慎吾さんが描くブランドを表す一言がsustainableと回答を得たEllieは第一部ではロゴ、パッケージ、外装、Webデザイン等のアプリケーションと共にブランディングを提案しました。第二部では子供への料理教室と食育をテーマに、また地域への環境循環をテーマに社会型プログラムによるPR活動を提案しました。大企業を相手に仕事をしてきた彼女がこれまでのクライアントと異なる価値観をもつ慎吾さんに出した答えは、最後の1頁に凝縮されているのかも知れません。「今のままの慎吾さんでいながら、それでもゆっくりで良いから自分のペースで穏やかな成長・向上を目指して欲しい。それがブランド・仕事を維持する鍵となるから」

後日、慎吾さんから送られてきた事務所のPC画面には今もチーム・デクノボンズがいることを教えてくれました。

< Report:Masayuki Kato(加藤 雅元))>

REPORT

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Rikuzentakata City Hall

Otokoyama Honten

Saikichi Shoten

Dekunobonz

DESIGER

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Ellie See

Giang Nguyen

Hezin O

Motoki Koitabashi

Pat Laddaphan

Rege Indrastudianto

Russell Vergara

Ryan Len

Russell's Presentation

Ellie's Presentation

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