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  • Introduction to the organization


The nearly 8,100 hectares of forests and grasslands covering the north slope of Mt. Fuji was accessed by local residents from the original 11 hamlets to gather grass, firewood and timber necessary in their daily lives. Such activities were carried out according to communal rules first established during the middle of the Edo Period. Rights of access and use of the land based on communal rules and regulation is called “iriai” rights in Japanese.

During Japan's transition from a feudal state to a modern nation towards the beginning of the Meiji Period (1868-1912), significant legal and institutional reforms were brought about. Going along with the modernizing times, the residents of the 11 hamlets created a cooperative organization so as to ensure that the “iriai” rights continue to be honored while regional development is promoted. This was the birth of the Onshirin Regional Public Organization.

Access and use of the forests including extraction of forest resources and afforestation efforts have since been carried out according to the rules agreed upon by the members of the Onshirin Regional Public Organization. As an organization, it also receives land rent and subsidies from the Japanese Government for allowing the Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces to use a portion of the communal land for training purposes. Any compensation for rent is used to support the activities of the community based on “iriai” rights.

Communal access and use of the land along the north slope of Mt. Fuji was traditionally for the purpose of forest product extraction and afforestation activities. The forests, however, do not just provide us with natural resources, but teaches the art of living a healthy and fulfilling life. Taking advantage of the holistic benefits the forests provide, we are constantly looking for ways in which to improve our organization.

Names and the Onshirin Regional Public Organization

imageThe Onshirin Regional Public Organization traces its origin to the Meiji Period (1868-1912). Before the Meiji period, ownership of the land around Mt. Fuji was not definite, however, utilization of the forests and grasslands of Mt. Fuji by the members of the 11 hamlets had become officially endorsed. With the Land Tax Reform of 1873, however, all communal land in Yamanashi Prefecture was registered as national land, and then converted into Imperial Estates. In order to make sure that the community members could retain their rights to use the land as before, they felt it necessary to present themselves as on organization. This was how some merged villages consisting of 11 hamlets formed the "Fukuchi Villages and Four Other Villages of Minami Tsuru County’s Organization for the Protection of the Mt. Fuji Imperial Estates and the Five Villages’ own Communal Land".

When the Meiji Emperor learned of the people in the region suffering after a catastrophic flood event during the late Meiji Period, he gifted an imperial estate to Yamanashi Prefecture. The name of the organization then became the “Fukuchi Village and Four Other Villages Organization for the Protection of the Prefectural Estates Given by the Imperial Family”. With the further merging of the villages and towns, the organization is currently known as the "Fujiyoshida City and Two Other Villages’ Organization for the Protection of the Prefectural Estates Given by the Imperial Family".