Community Planning around the Repurposed Supermarket
The town of Akakina is a ten minute drive from Amami airport.
“This ex-supermarket is located in such a convenient place, that if we convert it into a complex of elder care home, adult daycare center, eatery, food mart and hotel, we could create a hub for Food Culture Promotion and Community-based Integrated Care, employ local people and invigorate the local economy,” Yamashita thought.
At this point, several Denpaku inns had already started operating nearby, but there still are vacant houses left in the area. They could be utilized as houses for employees, shared houses and special types of Denpaku such as ones that come with a craft studio or equipment.
The facility also aspires to team up with local disability organizations and help provide disabled people with job opportunities and art activities.
Specialists of various fields, sharing the same vision and goals, brought in their insights to realize the project. Prof. Yukiko Inoue from Graduate School of Social Service Management Japan College of Social Work; Ms. Satoko Nakamukae, founder of elder care organization Iroha; Mr. Shinichiro Katsu, business consultant and new industry creation producer of Amami City; Dr. Hidehiro Tokuda, founder of Family Clinic Neriya that provides home health care and house-call services in Amami.
The facility was named Denpaku + Magun. “Magun (pronounced ‘mah-goon’)” is a dialect spoken in Amami which means “blend together”.
The renovation work began so as to create a place like Bethel, where the elderly, people with disabilities, the locals and tourists can come together and interact as equal individuals.