November 17, 2015: Guest Lecture
Takayoshi Kusago

IRES Seminar Series

Time: 12:30-1:30 pm

Location: AERL Theatre (room 120), 2202 Main Mall

A story of Minamata’s revitalization: a shift from industrial pollution and social divisions to environmental model city

Taka Kusago

Takayoshi Kusago


Minamata-city was chosen one of the first six environmental model cities by the central government of Japan in 2008. Once the city was known as the worst pollution case in the Japanese history and perhaps one of the worst cases in the world, and now it is officially acknowledged as a leading city in environmental management. How this was accomplished in Minamata? This micro-level change is not only a local interest; rather, it is a common concern for all of us who have followed industrialization and modernization for decades and have faced various forms of environmental degradation. In this seminar, a story of Minamata’s community revitalization will be presented from Minamata-disease problem to environmental model city by paying closer attention to Moyainaoshi (collaboration among different local agents), local autonomy, and an innovative development method to revitalize communities.



Dr. Takayoshi Kusago is a Professor at Kansai University, Osaka, Japan and a Visiting Professor, IRES, UBC for 2015-2016. From the perspective of human development and capability approach, he has studied a variety of subjects pertinent to modernization and sustainable development. He places enormous importance on how local people can actively engage in creating own community/society where they can achieve higher level of well-being. He has community-based well-being action-research projects in Japan, Bhutan and Nepal. He has published research papers in academic journals such as World Development, Social Indicators Research, and coauthored GNH (Gross National Happiness) in Japanese, 2011.