Friday, October 10, 2008

Eco-money

Eco-money is the name of many Japanese community currencies, used to connect neighbours in obtaining the goods and services they need.

In the town of Kuriyama, Hokkaidō, for instance, second grader Ami Hasegawa paid 1,000 kurins to get her favorite toy fixed. The Kurin is the local currency that was named after the township. Ami's father earned 3,000 kurins for fixing the handrail of a staircase in a neighbor's house. And her mother paid 1,000 kurins to an elderly man who wrote addresses for her on postcards in beautiful handwriting.

In spring 1999 Kusatsu in Shiga Prefecture became the first city in Japan to use eco-money, calling it the Ohmi, which is what the prefecture was called in the old days. Several other cities followed suit with currencies of their own, with Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, calling it the dagger (borrowed from the local dialect) and Takaoka in Toyama Prefecture.

Some 30 more communities across Japan are introducing such currencies. Some municipalities plan to use the money to plant trees and reduce garbage.

Eco-Money Network Secretary General Masanari Nakayama stated, "Eco-money is a way of getting neighbors to help each other out and to deepen their ties to the community."

1 comment:

Julia said...

Nice tidbit. I will look into this more, since I had never heard of it. Thanks