Fupunomori Co., Ltd. representative Tanabe Marie originally hails from Chitose in Hokkaido, and once worked for a florist in Sapporo. She had visited Shimokawa for leisure purposes several times and became familiar with the sites where essential oil from the branches and leaves of Sakhalin fir trees, used in aroma therapy, was made, and hoped one day to be involved in such work.
"I always liked Shimokawa's forests," says Tanabe. "I heard that the person responsible had quit and so I put my name forward as a candidate."
In 2007, Tanabe moved to Shimokawa and worked for the Shimokawa Forest Owners' Cooperative for one year, taking on the job of her predecessor. Subsequently, the work became the responsibility of an NPO in the town, and Tanabe made the shift to continue the work. Then in 2012, along with three colleagues, she founded Fupunomori Co., Ltd. and slowly began increasing the variety of products and developing the new brand.
Takamatsu Hosei, who became director-general of the Shimokawa Tourist Association in October 2016, moved here from Tokyo after visiting the Shimokawa booth at a Hokkaido settlement fair.
"I saw the poster and the ‘sense of normalness' was good, so I decided to have a chat," says Takamatsu. Many regions were citing famous tourist spots but Shimokawa's poster showed everyday scenes from the town. Formerly a salesman for a manufacturer in Tokyo, Takamatsu decided to move to “expand my world in a new place.” His wife’s family’s home is in Higashikawa in Hokkaido, which also helped in getting her to agree to the move.
"Those who live in the town look forward to every day and believe their work is important in order to live a comfortable life. My role is to convey Shimokawa's appeal from the perspective of outside the town."
Fupunomori Co., Ltd.
609 Kita-machi Shimokawa, Hokkaido, Japan
Shimokawa Tourist Association
c/o the Town Revitalization Center, Komorebi
1-1 Kyoei-cho Shimokawa, Hokkaido, Japan