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"island notes"
Curated Audiovisual Essays

Island Revitalization Documentary Series

by Dr Meng Qu, Dr Simona Zollet, Pornphan Wajjwalku, Miriam Ilsa Arfani

The Island Notes series is a curated space for audiovisual essays that offer a more creative way to write about a single island combining visual/audio and text with additional resources.

Is there a special island in your life that would make a great "Island Notes" piece? Contact us!

Island Notes Curators: Meng Qu and Evangelia Papoutsaki.

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Produced by Meng Qu, Simona Zollet


Driected by Meng Qu, Pornphan Wajjwalku, Miriam Ilsa Arfani, Simona Zollet


Music by Hiro Nishibara


Drone by Ryan Yosua Tutuarima

Narration by Meng Qu, Pornphan Wajjwalku, Miriam Ilsa Arfani

Interview & camera by Hiro Nishibara, Pornphan Wajjwalku, Ryan Yosua Tutuarima, Miriam Ilsa Arfani, Theodore Leonardo Aipassa, Meng Qu, Simona Zollet

Island Revitalization Documentary Film Projects
(© Meng Qu copyright )

Introduction of the project

These films are the outcome of a year-long (2021-2022) collaboration between two socially engaged projects in the islands of the Tobishima Sea route region (Tobishima Kaido) in Western Japan. The two project, led by Dr. Meng Qu and Dr. Simona Zollet, focused on creating an island revitalization documentary and a video promoting the area to potential in-migrants. The filming projects geographically include five peripheral islands between Hiroshima and Ehime prefectures in the Seto Inland Sea of Western Japan. In addition to introducing the new creative activities such as art, film and music festivals, the projects also focus on community crafts and activities, such as fresh flower arrangement, Shamisen folk music, citrus farming and other aspects of islanders’ life, culture, and traditions. Within this project, student volunteer film directors (Pornphan Wajjwalku, Miriam Ilsa Arfani) also worked together with members of the island communities of the Tobishima area. Despite frequent disruptions due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, both teams’ members were successful in filming interviews with the residents and their daily life for the "Island Revitalization Documentary Film Project". Two of the films also introduce the stories of urban to rural in-migrants who have settled in the Tobishima Kaido area and started new businesses and project that are helping to revitalize the region. By collaborating with the local in-migrant network "Tobishima Life" for the filming and the creation of a related promotion video, we hope to encourage interest in the area and attract more potential in-migrants into this depopulating region.

Island Revitalization Documentary Series

by Dr Meng Qu, Pornphan Wajjwalku, Miriam Ilsa Arfani, Dr Simona Zollet

Click each thumbnail to watch full film (both English and Japanese subtitles are available)

Island Folk Music.png
Island Music Festival.png
Island Citrus Farming.png
Island Art.png
Island Revitalization.png
Island Flower.png
Island Art Festival.png
Island People.png
Island Film Festival.png

Island Newcomer Tour Documentary and Experience Island Life Promotion Videos

by Dr Simona Zollet and Dr Meng Qu

Island Newcomer Tour.png
EXPERIENCE - Tobishima island life.png

Special Thanks


Sachio Tanaka, Kaolli Tanaka, Kazushi Tanaka, Tsunemi Kagitani, Akihiko Narita, Oride Chise, Keisuke Kuwata (Johnny), Shige-chan, Shunji Takashima, Tai Saitou, Maho Miyahara, Fukunori Nitta, Takao Saito, Takuya Imasato, Tom Miyagawa Coulton, Yoko Iwamoto, Tomie Eguchi, Kazumi Kawate, Mikael Nomura Kai, Rio Maeda, Tsubasa Hamano, Utama I Made Fon Dwi Putra, Erdenesolongo, Krit Komolsirikul, Haruka Tanaka, Yoshida Atsushi


Mitarai Community, Small Island Cultures Research Initiative (SICRI), Mitarai Base & Mitarai International Music Festival, Mitarai Art GalleryDept. of Integrated Global Studies (IGS), Hiroshima University, Office of Academic Research and Industry-Academia-Government and Community Collaboration, Hiroshima University, Island Pictures LLC, Shiosai Executive Committee (Mitarai Shiosai Art Festival), Tobishima-Kaido Regional Revitalization Cooperation Corps, Tobishima Life, and Sekizen Islands OKAMURAJIMA Film Festival.


Meng Qu, PhD, SICRI co-convenor, and Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Integrated Global Studies (IGS) at Hiroshima University and Visiting Research Fellow at Wakayama University. He is also work as the research director at Art Island Center Japan. He currently oversees an interdisciplinary research project on marginal island communities in the Seto Inland Sea region of Japan. His research focuses on how to introduce new innovational assets, art events and creative tourism initiatives and revitalize communities in Japan’s peripheral regions.

Simona Zollet received a Masters’ degree in Environmental Science and Sustainable Development from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy, and a PhD in International Development and Cooperation from Hiroshima University. She is now Assistant Professor at Hiroshima University and a 2021/2022 USASBE (US Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship) Rural Research Fellow. Part of her research focuses on urban-to-rural lifestyle migration and small-scale entrepreneurship, with a focus on food- and farming-related businesses. Broadly, she is interested in sustainability transitions in agri-food systems and in rural revitalization through innovative approaches to farming and rural living, informed by notions of degrowth, sufficiency, and the well-being economy.

Pornphan Wajjwalku (Pin) was born and raised in Thailand. Currently she is a senior at the School of Integrated Arts and Sciences, Hiroshima University, where she is majoring in culture and tourism.  Travelling is her hobby, and she would take a trip, either with her friends or just by herself, to new places, explore new cultures there, then record those journeys as vlogs which she shares on her YouTube channel and other Social network platforms. Islands around Seto Inland Sea are among her favorite destinations, and she hopes that people will find these places more interesting through these documentary films.

Miriam, or Mia for short, is currently a 4th year undergraduate student at Hiroshima University in the faculty of Integrated Global Studies. Her study mainly focuses on Culture and Tourism, and she is planning to write her graduation thesis on “A Letter to Momo”, a Japanese animated movie based on Mitarai Island. She came to Japan from Indonesia in 2014 and spent her high school life in Kyoto. As media and content creation have been a part of her hobbies since she was younger, aside from making content on YouTube and Instagram, she also now works as a social media strategist at an Indonesia-based start-up, Karyatta.

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