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Nai-Mono-Wa-Nai is the slogan adopted in 2011 by Ama Town on the island of Nakanoshima in Shimane Prefecture with a population just under 2,300 people.

In Japanese, "Nai" means "nothing" or "not" and "mono" is "thing." Directly quoted, this phrase in Japanese is something like saying, "A thing that is not here is not here." But actually it has two meanings. The first meaning is a simple statement: "What is not here ... is not here" and, the underlying message is, "We don't have it here, so just accept the situation." A second meaning is that, "There is nothing that is not here." Did you get that? In other words, "Everything ... is ... here." You may think that all of this sounds very contradictory. But this concept has been working beautifully in Ama Town.

For example, Ama has no department store, no convenience store, and no movie theater. There have been no fancy bars and clubs for the young people to enjoy in Ama. Thirty years ago, youth group activities became very active because of it. Rather than lamenting about not having something, they said "If there is nothing fun to do here, let's create it." And so they started a series of their own initiatives, like creating their own beer garden and organizing a tug-of-war competition for the whole island and much more!
It is out of nai-mono-wa-nai that joy of creating something together, creativity, innovation, and strong connections are born, and these human interactions create a dynamic community without depending on money or external input.
For our planet Earth and for people's happiness, developed countries need to free themselves from the models of mass production, mass consumption, and forever chasing after economic growth. I think the nai-mono-wa-nai concept of Ama Town is a new model that can help us accomplish that.

Junko Edahiro, Institute for Studies in Happiness, Economy and Society, delivered a presentation at a parallel session on June 14, 2018, at the 16th Annual Meeting of International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, held in Hong Kong.

"Nai-Mono-Wa-Nai": Ama Town's Concept of Sufficiency and Message to the World

Presentation Slides:ISQOLS2018 Nai-mono-wa-nai(PPT).pdf
Speech Script:ISQOLS2018 Nai-mono-wa-nai (script).pdf

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