Dear friends,

For two months I’ve been working in Japan on behalf of The Berkana Institute and New Stories, two nonprofit organizations based in the USA.  I’ve been sending regular e-mails about my work and my experiences and you can read them at

Berkana’s living systems approach and our experience in working with communities around the world has been a key part of my work in Japan.   Conversational leadership developed through the Art of Hosting has been a critical part of the work as well..

I want to ask for your financial support so that Berkana and New Stories can continue these activities in Japan. I’ve never felt so clear about asking for money. Please dig deep into your pockets to support us in this work.  We’re working on the early stages  of many promising  initiatives.  We don’t even know what some of them are – yet, but we know they will be emerging in the weeks and months ahead. Our work right now is seeding and tending fields of possibility

Whether you’re able to contribute $10 or $10,000 or any amount, we appreciate your support.  I hope to initially raise $75,000 for this work.  A little more than $20,000 is already in.  Please give generously and give today.  Your help can make a big difference

It is an incredible time to be in Japan.  The triple disasters of earthquakes, tsunami, and nuclear radiation have created a physical disaster of unimaginable dimensions. AND something new is trying to be born.

There’s precedent in Japan for this new kind of community building work based on the creative ways in which local communities have responded to both the Minamata mercury poisoning disaster 50 years ago, as well as the 2004 earthquake in Niigata.  In the last few years, this new movement to “rediscover one’s community” has been growing throughout Japan. Local residents are leading this new drive, known as Jimotogaku. It encourages citizens to rediscover the uniqueness of their lifestyles and regional culture in order to plan a thriving and livable community while being aware of outside influences. Here’s an interesting blog about this approach in Minamata:

Right now I am working with many efforts that might be called “rapid prototyping” – a fancy way of saying we’re trying all sorts of new things and learning from them. We’ve been doing many things:

  • beginning the initial stages of work to develop a network of  local Future Centers throughout Tohoku which create a safe places for people to share their feelings, articulate their dreams and take collective action action;
  • bringing people from Tohoku and other parts of Japan together around specific opportunities and needs to  listen, learn and act to build resilient community;
  • working to bring youth and intergenerational leadership forward throughout Japan;
  • working with volunteer hubs in Tohoku to see how they might learn together;
  • •consulting with many people about their ideas, hopes and dreams.

Much is in motion.  It is possible, just possible, that Japan may lead the way for the world in creating resilient communities.  The work here can have an impact throughout the world.  I think it is important and I hope you do as well.  If you would like more information or would like to chat with me, please e-mail me right away.

You can make a tax-deductible contribution to The Berkana Institute in two ways.  You can visit our webpage: ( and donate via credit card. Or you can mail a check to The Berkana Institute, 308 W. 1st Ave., Ste. 207, Spokane, WA 99201. In either case please state your donor preference that this be directed toward the Japan Initiative

If you prefer you can also make a tax-deductible contribution to New Stories.  You can mail a check to New Stories, 6591 Deer Foot Lane, Freeland, WA 98249

Your support is greatly appreciated!



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