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Feedback from Cambodia No.1

2011.09.11

For 9 days from September 3, we, Mr. Gen Kumagai (from stgk,) Mr. Keita Ito (from SO design) and I, went to Cambodia.
We are involved in a project to plan eco-village at state of Preah Vihear in Cambodia
The main purpose to visit there was to have a meeting with Cambodian government and checkup of the project site, but in addition, since that was first time to visit Cambodia for Mr. Ito and me, we had visited major cities and referential example places.

The eco-village project is due to the preservation of Preah Vihear temple as World Heritage Site.
Even though a long conflict in relationship between Cambodia and Thailand has now subsided, military camps on both sides of countries still situated around the temple at the border.
Countless landmines were still scattered everywhere, and we observed temples themselves deeply had wounded by bullets and shells.
The border area between Cambodia and Thailand is very cliffy, and the temple standing on the hill is called “Temple of Heavenly Sky.”
Architecture that had worn out by wind and rain after a long time, and vegetation around it was truly looked like a scene from the movie “Laputa the castle in the sky”
UNESCO set up the World Heritage registration requirement was to revive the land spreading out below the temple by forestation. The land to restore the forest is also the place for daily activities of Cambodian.
Eco-village would be the replacement for them.

Japan Association of Preah Vihear obtained 12ha of the land from Cambodian government to precede the project of a sample farm where residents of eco-village would have independency through agriculture.
Mr. Kumagai related to the association contacted with us at the time to precede the practical stage of the project, and that was a direct reason of how we ended up to visit the site.
In this issue, within projects we visited in this trip, I would like to introduce a project “Traditional Forest IKTT,” in which practices how the community is supposed to be by this project

“Traditional Forest IKTT” is located in the suburbs about 30km away from the center of Siem Reap where Angkor Wat is.
Unpaved road got a series of large puddles during rainy season, and I vividly remember how impressively rough the road was.
A founder of the traditional forest was Japanese named Mr. Kikuo Morimoto.
He is a batik artist from Kyoto, and has deep consideration about Thai and Cambodian traditional textiles. He carried out whole process from sericulture,
Materials for dying are also raised in the forest. Now trees were making fresh shades just as the traditional forest would be, but initially the place used to be deserted with trees chopped down when the property was purchased.
When they started, there were only three people including Cambodian.
Gradually they got more advocates, that brought them easier on purchasing more properties increasing from 5ha to over 20ha with more than 200 forest residents currently, Mr. Morimoto said.

“I have a specific blue print in my head. That is like a Cambodian original landscape.”

It is likely that people living there grew almost every single tree in the traditional forest.
The forest, based on the saplings from tillers on tree stamps, significantly grown up after 10 years, had became a buffer zone that gently protected faming and sericulture as people got along there.
Even though he had little experience in farming while living in Japan, without mentioning, it is obvious that to build up the environment for the creation of high quality fabrics has led to the mastery of how to deal with nature in harmony.
Mr. Morimoto, by deeply involved with the land in order to satisfying his own creative urge, can accomplish one goal to other that obtains approval of more people.
It seemed like that the blue print Mr. Morimoto has in his head would be the original landscape shared with people all over the world, no matter where they were.

I am grateful to Mr. Yoshida (Professor Emeritus at Tokyo University,) who introduced us the traditional forest, and Mr. Takenaka and Mr. Morimoto, who were very kind to me during the stay, and Okkun.

Yukio Ohashi

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