Make a Place - Dwell in Time

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Acknowledgments In 2008 I started my training as anthropologist at Aarhus University where I later on became inspired to use a phenomenological approach in the study of place making. Especially Tim Ingold, Keith Basso and Sarah Ahmed became leading figures in my understanding about place and research about how people think and practice their place. Furthermore, I want to thank Martin Demant that was my supervisor during the fieldwork in Japan, he supported me in my plan of conducting research without the language skills and also advised me when it came to following my instincts and let go with whatever emerged in the field. I am grateful to the advices and reflections from Chusa Macias Alvarez and Gunvor Trinderup that helped me deal with my self doubts while I conducted my first long time fieldwork in Konohana Family. Back at Aarhus University I started conversations with Nils Bubandt that had been the first to introduce me to Anthropology when starting University. He became my supervisor and his many comments and questions helped me through the process of writing my thesis, to which I owe him a special debt of gratitude. I am also grateful to Hallur Leivsgard Joensen, Lea Bonde Christensen, Cecilie Jakobsgaard, Agata Foti, Tor Herskedal and Martin Vinther Laursen for the generosity of their support and feedback during the writing process. Last but not least I would like to acknowledge the cooperation, help and support that the Konohana Family members has given me, this thesis could clearly not have been made without them. Thank you for welcoming me in your home and letting me and Elisa be part of your family during almost four months in the last part of 2012. ⇥⇤⌅⇧⌃⌥⇥


! Thank you very much!


Contents List of illustrations..................................................................................... 1 Community map.........................................................................................3 Part 一......................................................................................................................................... 4 Into field and theory.................................................................................................................... 4 1 Wayfaring...................................................................................................................7 2 Place of locality........................................................................................................11 3 Framework............................................................................................................... 13 4 Approach.................................................................................................................. 15 Part 二....................................................................................................................................... 16 All Family................................................................................................................................. 16 5 One “Family”........................................................................................................... 23 6 Becoming................................................................................................................. 25 7 Being........................................................................................................................ 27 8 Belonging................................................................................................................. 30 Part 三....................................................................................................................................... 36 Make and Dwell........................................................................................................................ 36 9 Sacred Place............................................................................................................. 37 10 In the Universe...................................................................................................... 39 11 Time in Universe.................................................................................................... 44 12 Goddesses.............................................................................................................. 46 13 Another Time......................................................................................................... 49 Part 四....................................................................................................................................... 52 The value of location.................................................................................................................52 14 Origin..................................................................................................................... 53 15 The Other............................................................................................................... 55 16 Tokyo..................................................................................................................... 59 Part 五....................................................................................................................................... 63 Spiritual Environmentalism...................................................................................................... 63 17. Holism...................................................................................................................65 18 Messages from “Above”........................................................................................ 68 19 Spiritual experience............................................................................................... 72 20 “I feel it”................................................................................................................ 75 Part 六 ...................................................................................................................................... 77 To wind up.................................................................................................................................77 Glossary................................................................................................... 81 References................................................................................................ 81 Electronic sources.................................................................................... 88 Appendix.................................................................................................. 88


List of illustrations

1. Map of buildings in Konohana Family, made by Aya from KF 2. Misako's drawing 3. Kochan's drawing 4. Focus and smile as Aichan, taken by KF member 5. Similar moves, taken by KF member 6. Control and moves, taken by KF member 7. Keanu Reeves, from online source 8. Audrey Hepburn, from online source 9. The family photo, all rights reserved KF 10. Isadon is funny and “cute”, taken by KF member 11. After family photo at Miyanoshita, by Katja Bratseth 12. Drawing of spiritual energy canalyzed through Mt. Fuji, drawn by Katja Bratseth 13. KF members in “spiritual circle”, taken by Katja Bratseth with camera attached to the body 14. J. G.'s drawing 15. Hitomi's drawing 16. Map of Japanese prefectures, modified online source 17. Heliocentric KF calendar, photo taken by Katja Bratseth 18. Tatsuya' drawing

Cover photography by Katja Bratseth, taken in Konohana Family 2012.



Community map

Figure 1: A map of Konohana Family buildings, made by Aya on request.



Part 一 Into field and theory In the beginning of September 2012 I took the step from being an anthropology student in a cosy Danish classroom at Moesgaard, to “the lonely self-doubts of the novice fieldworker” (Metcalf 2002:11). Arriving in Konohana Family (KF), in Fujinomia – Central East Japan, I was pleased to leave months of field preparations, practical organization of housing, plus a long journey behind me. I was still at a stage where it was impossible for me to predict what trials I should undergo in order to understand the community I stood on the threshold of. This was for the better because they probably would have scared me away from the place that has taught me about itself, myself and about being an anthropologist in the field, from which this thesis is a result. It is a journey into people and place that gives an example on how a world comes into being “as a particular enfoldment of the lives of persons... and [how] every person come into being as an enfoldment of the experience of the places they have inhabited, and of the journeys between them” (Ingold 2011:168). In the following I will show you the lines I discovered in my search to understand the spiritual environmental community – Konohana Family – in glocal Japan. The term glocalization was developed by Robertson (1995) to better grasp the many interconnections of the local-global nexus, where the local contains much that is global and the global is increasingly reshaped by many locals. Globalization takes place in some locality, while the local is (re)produced in the global circulation of products, discourses and imaginaries. So, the local does not oppose but constitutes the global, and vice versa (Tsing 2005). Ecovillages as a global phenomena with particular local communities will be used to illustrate how the processes of place making and time dwelling are both local and global. Looking back, my interest in Ecovillages – communities whose inhabitants seek to live according to ecological principles, and place making – “a form of cultural activity where humans do history, construct traditions and identities” (Basso 1996:7), “involving multiple acts of remembering and imagining” (Casey 1976; Casey 1987) has emerged gradually. The environmental concern during my childhood on a Norwegian farm. Both at home and school I learned about humans having a bad influence on the earth through pollution and excessive use of natural resources. It was a dominating discourse in the milieu where I grew up and has shaped my perception of the world. It was years later, while writing my anthropological bachelor thesis on Guerrilla Gardening – illegal gardening; planting on places they do not own, I got interested in doing research about how and why people create places. Both Guerrilla Gardeners and Ecovillagers are creating places which stand in contrast 3


to mainstream society and where environmentalism is central, furthermore they are phenomenas who represent a glocal way of creating place. My first experience with an intentional community was in Denmark in summer 2011 when I visited an acquaintance who stayed in “Levefællesskabet” Hertha, situated in Galten – west of Aarhus, for an internship. Hertha is part of the Danish branch of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN). I found the place fascinating, both in the sense that I tried to imagine myself living there and in developing a wish to understand the phenomena of Ecovillages in a broader context. The Ecovillage in this case; Konohana Family, is an interesting field for looking into post-industrial place making. These places, that can be found in different shapes and sizes all over the world, are able to show us how localization and globalization play together in a world where people are active in place generating activities. Globalization refers herein to social, economic, cultural, and demographic processes, identities, and units of analysis yields incomplete understanding of the local (Basch 1993):11-12). So we are in a world where we see global phenomenas, as guerrilla gardeners who plant at places they do not own, in order to prevent alienation and claim back urban spaces as places, and communities claiming to be Ecovillages with solutions for a sustainable future. We should remember though, that communities have made attempts to create their own identity for centuries within the nation states. Examples are the Hutterites living in communities with absolute pacifism through many countries since 1565 (Hostetler 1997), the Camphill Communities founded in 1939 inspired by anthroposophy is now found in Europe, North America, southern Africa and Asia (Miller 2013), and in Japan Itto-En (Garden of Light) was founded in 1911 as the first community (Sargent 2010). Other communities have been established from then to present, in both Japan and the rest of the world with a surge in the 1970s. However, it was not before 1991, with Robert and Diane Gilman's seminal study, that the word Ecovillage occurred. The Ecovillage movement began to coalesce at the annual autumn conference of Findhorn Scotland in 1995. After that conference many intentional communities began calling themselves “Ecovillages” giving birth to a new movement (R. Jackson 2004). The theoretical arguments and analytical perspectives in this thesis aim to get closer to an understanding of human interaction with places in a globalized world using a Japanese Ecovillage as case. Like the subject of anthropology itself, the environmentalist discourse has its origin in the colonial area. Environmentalism began with “a keen awareness of an impending global shortage of timber resources developed by the end of the eighteenth century” (Grove 1995:309) and “extensive ecological changes caused by colonization of large areas continental tropics” (ibid). Similarly to anthropology, environmentalism can be criticized of continuing to be neocolonialist unintentionally



(Sturgeon 2003). While being conscious about the history, critique and discourses concerning environmentalism the aim is to analyze the case of Konohana Family as an example of transnational environmentalism taking place in a Japanese context. For better or worse, anthropology studies made me see our main tool in the field – participant observation, as mostly successful outside our own culture. Although criticized as being an anthropological way of “constructing the Other in terms of an ordered space and time – a cosmos – for Western society to inhabit, rather than understanding other cultures” (Fabian 1983):111-12) and part of an Orientalism (Said 1979), I decided to look for a non-Western field. I also avoided the 'developing world' because of the power-imbalance, connected to historical connections between colonization and anthropology, that I thought could impact my position in the field. I feared that there was still an existing power-imbalance that could intervene negatively in my research process. However, it became clear to me that the Western use of the East as 'the Other' is possibly as difficult to deal with as the neocolonial ideas that people should be 'helped out of their poverty.' Having travelled in Japan before, I felt it was a country that could fulfill my wishes of a non-Western and industrialized field, and I decided to conduct my fieldwork in a Japanese Ecovillage. After not getting any response from the Fuji Eco Park Village 1 – that seemed to be an Ecovillage, I decided to use my contacts within GEN, that came through my Spanish then girlfriend who in the autumn 2011 attended a course given by Gaia education2 in Mallorca. She gave me the contact information of her teacher May East, that was also the program director of the education that works in partnership with urban and rural communities, universities, Ecovillages, government and NGOs and the UN. After writing her explaining that I wanted to do research in a Japanese Ecovillage, May East urged me to contact Michiyo, founder of Japan Ecovillage Promotion Project, board member of GEN, and vicepresident of Oceania & Asia region. In January 2012 I got in touch with Michiyo3 who told me that the Fuji Ecopark Village was not a community but “more like Permaculture practice site,” whereupon she urged me to come stay in Konohana Family – “a genuine community.” I decided to follow her advice and continued to exchange e-mails with Michiyo, and later Yoko, from KF. Michiyo told me that approximately nine of the members spoke English, three of them fluently. This, and the fact that I wanted to use phenomenological methods, made me decide not to engage with translators outside the Ecovillage. When I asked if there was someone in the village that could teach me Japanese, Yoko told me; “If 1An inactive pilot project. 2“Holistic approach to education for sustainable development practice” ( in ecovillages worldwide. 3All original names used in the community. I have not given anonymity because the KF values; to be open and share.



you live and work together with us, you will naturally learn how to speak.” Giving a hint about how they approached the world. In general the Ecovillage members were welcoming me to stay with them and gave me information about the accommodation cost etc. Further, Yoko was expressing her aspirations in the last e-mail before my arrival, saying; “I am so excited to do exchanges with you since I am pretty sure your field work must bring us good feedback!” A statement that made me more aware of the intentions that my research participants might have to the results of my research. Throughout my stay I felt the expectations from the research participants as they wanted to make me one of them – one that could spread their message in the world. In my writing I have been struggling to hold on to an anthropological representation through looking at the experiences, practices and narratives in an analytical and theoretical perspective. As Hastrup (1995:149) has said it; “local categories do not exhaust the world, and native voices never tell the full story about the world as for natives, their culture is referentially transparent. It is not seen but seen with .” It is the challenge of the ethnographic method, to place encounters, events and understandings into a broader and more meaningful context. When arriving in KF I used the rationalistic explanation of searching for an non-Western yet industrialized society where I could study the phenomena of Ecovillages, to answer why I chose their place as target for my investigation, although I realize that the decision might not have been as rational as I claimed. Maybe it was the feeling that I needed an non-Western field destination to accomplish my anthropological ritual before re-entering as anthropologist in my own society. Maybe it was the memories of the Japanese destination that had almost ten years ago been the first place I visited by myself. Maybe it was my search for a different time and place. For sure, in Konohana Family my research was not seen just as personal rational thoughts or my feelings and longings, it was rather seen as part of the “Divine plan.” As everything else happening in the universe my arrival in their community was not seen as accidental but as part of a “holistic” system where each event were associated with the larger picture. This aspect of the KF worldview made me change direction from just focusing on 'environmentalism' and 'place making' as I knew it, to also look at aspects seen to be part of the spiritual world including the creation of time.

1 Wayfaring “In the global village, in counterpoint to our fascination with cyberspace, there seems to be a global epidemic of nostalgia; a yearning for a community with a collective memory – a longing for continuity in a fragmented world” (Boym 2001:10). As an anthropologist I am also part of this 6


world with longings I share with others. I started my anthropological wayfaring, not with the idea to find the absolute truth, but with a longing to find my place in the world as an anthropologist. Stumbling across the phenomena of Ecovillages I had recognized something from my own nostalgia, as well as I had been confronted with new narratives and identities. As “displaced, opposed to native persons we seem to be mourning for the impossibility of mythical return, a loss of an enchanted world with clear borders and values” (ibid:12). It might have been this search for a physical and spiritual home that made me do research in an Ecovillage. Looking at KF as case I realize that their attempt is not only to create place but more so to change the conception of time. As industrialization and modernization has changed our societies we are in a search of, not only place but slower rhythms, social cohesion and traditions. These are the longings the research participants and I share. What separate us is who tells the narratives and who tries to understand them, who act and who follows – although this division often becomes blurry because place and time is constructed together with others. Being a KF member includes seeing the community stories as truth and their values as universal. For the anthropologist their stories tell about their place, their time and possibly humans in a global world where phenomena occur. To evoke your sense of place I will in the following describe the physical wayfaring in detail, because “everything, or almost everything, hinges on the particulars, and because it does, ethnography is essential” (Basso 1996:145). The sense of place and time will help us understand the phenomena of Ecovillage – or should I say spiritual community – in local and global context. Let us start with the arrival in Japan. After an 11 hours flight from Copenhagen me and my 3 year old daughter Elisa arrived at Narita 25 minutes late. Since members from KF had sent me a tight travel schedule assuming we would land on time, I made a first call to Konohana Family telling them we were slightly delayed. It was Michiyo that answered and told me that they had been worried. They were waiting for us yesterday in the rain and thought we had been kidnapped or something. I realized that I had been wrong about the dates. Because of the 8 hours time difference, I thought it would still be September 1st when we landed in Japan. But it was not; it was Sunday September 2 nd 2012. The Russian writer Vladimir Nabokov (Nabokov 1990:185) would probably use this incident to characterize me as an “amateur of time” - a reflective nostalgic who find delight in time that cannot be measured by clocks and calendars. Michiyo told me to call back when I had arrived at Tokyo Station. I did, and she was very helpful and protective. She booked a bus ticket for me and told me that the next bus was at 13.50. Her way of acting made me feel like I was part of the “Family”, a feeling that continued to be nourished during our stay in KF.



At 13.50 we were in the bus and I had already been online to tell friends and family that we arrived safely in Japan. After feeling unsure about when and where to leave the bus, because of jet lag and language confusion, we arrived in Fujinomiya. I started talking to an elderly lady in the bus stop who wanted to know where we came from and where we were going. I tried to explain as much as possible with my poor Japanese and she seemed satisfied with our chat. 15 minutes later Nakanon from KF came and loaded our luggage into the car. We drove away from the bus stop, through the city, along a winding road with forest on both sides. Nakanon was really friendly and we spoke well together. As I will elaborate more in the next chapter; All Family, the way of acing friendly and "familiar" is part of how the community is creating their place. From the KF members point of view it was prevalent to behave this way, as all souls in the universe belongs to the same family - we might be separated by time and place on earth but in the universe we are all one. With KF's wish to gain members and supporters this practice is also expedient, especially for people who are looking for community. While the care climbed the turns Nakanon asked me what an anthropologist is, after my response his response were; "ah, that is like LÊvi-Strauss." It made me surprised and impressed that he had read texts of the great anthropologist. Although I do not consider myself to be a structuralist, his work is still a source of inspiration. Later I explained Nakanon and the other members about my contemporary approach and ethnographic methods which was not based on kinship structures or binary oppositions. I commented on the great outdoors, while I gave him the rationalistic explanation of why I choose Konohana Family as my field. Months after returning to Denmark I realize how this explanation did not make sense in the context of the surrounding landscape and the methodological approach of my study. As we got closer to our destination Nakanon showed me Mt. Fuji and told me that they were there on August 23 rd. I was disappointed that we had arrived too late to experience the annual event. Mountains have always been special to me, in the sense that I like climbing them and they remind me of the place where I grew up. Walking towards a peak is a challenge with a clear goal and once on the top I like to feel the freedom of an open space. In Japan mountains have been part of a sacred geography since the middle of the Heian period (794 to 1185) where the plains is the world of the secular and the mountains the world of the holy (Grapard 1982; Williams 2006), in Norway mountains has been strongly linked to national feeling and identity since the advent of Norwegian nationalism in the 19th century (Hylland Eriksen 1993; Witoszek 1991). Maybe these different cultural assumptions about mountains was part of what brought both of us here – close to the iconic Japanese mountain.



We left the car and Elisa ran straight to what she thought was a playhouse. It was a storage house and there were no children outside so I made her go inside with me, in the hall many smiling people welcomed us in a way that made me feel wanted and waited for. I greeted and smiled back. We took off our shoes and put them together with the fifty others. The wheels of my suitcases were wiped off with a cloth before we were allowed to take them to the 2 nd floor. There was our room, which we would share with another woman. It was a room of about 10 m2 with straw mat flooring. There was a futon (quilt mattress) there for each of us. I was told that I could put my things in the transparent drawers – in total 8 small ones. Furthermore Love, who guided me around, told me that the women were showering now and asked if I would like to go too. I confirmed since I was looking forward to freshen up a bit after the long journey. In the common bath Love stated; “we are all family." We entered the bath, a room equipped with five seats, each with a mirror and a shower. Me and Elisa got instructions on how to soap and wash ourselves thoroughly before we went into the common bath. It was intimate. We did not know each other that well yet but we were not strangers to each other as in public bathrooms. Almost everyone was interested in talking with us. The warm water was relaxing and an older woman showed Elisa how she could play carefully without disturbing others. Later on we met with the woman with whom we shared room with for about one and a half month. Her name was Yumi and she told me about practical issues and the calendars hanging on the wall – how the moon and planets affect us all. She went down to help with dinner while we stayed and relaxed a bit. Downstairs the daily dinner was served at 18.30. Elisa received a plate shortly after we entered the dining room. The food was nicely arranged on the plate. I was shown how to supply myself from the buffet before I joined the silent part of the prayer and listen to the one that was spoken up loud, a phrase I soon learned by heart, and noticed how no one ate before the prayer were said. Sitting down by the long table, I firstly got accompanied by Andrew the American “helper”4 who spoke fluently Japanese. But before he came back from the buffet my roommate had taken his place. Regardless it was nice with company. I was thinking that it would be better for me to be recognized as a member than a helper, even though I acknowledged that I was in a special position that made it impossible to be either. There were many tables in the large dining room and news from a local TV channel was displayed on the wall by a projector. My roommate told me her story of how she came to KF five years ago. She was originally from Kyoto, but when she quit her 4 It is possible to visit KF as a helper, it implies that one work for food and shelter. Non-Japanese people regularly came to KF as “helpers” or “guests”, but the only non-Japanese member was an old South-Korean lady that had lived most her life in Japan. It is hard to say if this is due to the strict Japanese immigration law or other factors.



job she started to think her life over, and what she wanted with it. She decided that she would be more in touch with nature and wanted to work on farms. Yumi tried several places before she came to KF. She explains how she first thought; “How can it be that they are so smiley and happy all together?” After dinner the children lined up and talked about their day. When they were done, the international guests; me, Andrew and Pauline from France were asked to teach some words from our languages. When it was my turn I presented myself and told everyone how pleased I was to be in KF and apologized for the misunderstanding about my arrival yesterday. After communal tooth brushing, and a brought along bedtime ritual, I went down to attend the meeting which was held every night at 20.30. I entered my field right on from start. Michiyo, Yoko, Nakanon, Yumi and Love, that you have been introduced to, are some of my key informants. Michiyo represent the academic in search of sustainable living, Yoko is an example of how people can dispense their spirituality in KF, Nakanon is one of several members that is said to have a “soul type” that need the community in KF – in his case because he is seen as a passivenegative soul type based on his individual calendar. Yumi and Love has both been traveling, Yumi in Japan and Love abroad, in order to find their place before they settled in KF. This arrival story is outlined because it shows the way into the place and the time I want to account for in the following, and further illustrates some central topics that I will return to; the nourishment of “family feeling”, the connection to global environmentalism, and hints about the importance of spirituality in the creation of place and dwelling in time. This thesis is not only an encounter of the philosophy in Konohana Family. It is an anthropological study of time, place and “being in the Universe”. It is a collection of experiences, stories, observations and analysis based on research made during my stay in KF, autumn and winter 2012. This is not a story about a static place but about lives that thrives along the 'lines of becoming' (Deleuze and Guattari 1987:224-25; Ingold 2011:83).

2 Place of locality Konohana Family is located two hours drive southwest of Tokyo at the foot of Mt Fuji. Before arriving I knew it as a community established by the founder Isadon in 1994 with 20 members and that it was an Ecovillage. I later learned that it had started out as a spiritual community. Spirituality understood as the belief that getting in touch with “the divine self enable one to reconnect to a sacred realm that holistically connects everything and to thus overcome one’s state of alienation” (Houtman and Aupers 2007:307). True spiritual evolution even transcends the boundaries of this 10


life because of reincarnation (e.g. Hanegraaff 1996; Heelas 1996; S. Rose 2005). Thus, working on the self raises consciousness about the true, divine nature of the world as a whole, leading to the acknowledgment that “[a]ll life—all existence—is the manifestation of Spirit” (Bloom in S. Rose 2005:31). Staying in KF made me aware that this was the main focus of the community. Although members themselves spoke of the importance of spirituality (supirichua スピリチュア 5) they state online that they have “no common spiritual practices” and that they “have faith, but no particular spiritual traditions.” 'Spiritual community' is therefor an etic (Harris 1979) denomination used to link cultural practices to factors of academic interest. It was with the arrival of Michiyo six years ago that the community became an “Ecovillage,” that they became members of the Global Ecovillage Network. She explained me how she at her arrival to Konohana Family had said; “this is just like an Ecovillage,” and how she successively worked to organize it as such. At my arrival in Autumn 2012 the community had grown to 86 members including 25 children and their 16 hectares of land were spread around the local area where members live in six buildings, using community owned cars for transportation from one building to another and to the fields. The community kitchen was ovo-lacto-vegetarian 6 – a diet thought to be in “harmony” with the universe, its gods and sustainability on earth. Furthermore, almost all of the food that they ate were grown and produced by members. During my stay in KF I also took part in producing and processing food on a daily basis. Activities that were part of being in the Konohana community and a practice that enabled me to do ethnographic research. As explained by Michiyo, their lifestyle gave an Ecological Footprint (EF) of only 0.8 earth, whereas the EF of the average Japanese is 2.3 earths. EF is used internationally to measuring environmental impact, it quantifies how much energy and raw materials are used, how much waste is generated, and then converts this into a measure of land area (gha) required to produce those resources. Using numbers from The EF Atlas 2010, the average world citizen has an eco-footprint of about 2.7 gha while there are only 2.1 gha of bioproductive land and water per capita on earth. This means that humanity, in accordance with this discourse, already have overshot global biocapacity by 30% and now live unsustainably by depleting stocks of “natural capital” (Rees 2010). An example used by a KF member to visualize this capital was the oil sand withdrawn from the ground in Canada and Alaska – they had jointly watched a documentary about the negative consequences. It was seen as problematic that the environmental problems regularly were linked only to technological challenges and not to lifestyle and spirituality. Said by Isadon: “Living together and sharing together we can reduce the energy consumption and also we have very 5 Japanization of the English word; spirituality. 6 A vegetarian diet that does not include animal flesh of any kind, but consumes dairy and egg products.



harmonious mind so we don't make conflict and use extra energy to communicate” (Isadon, Nov. 21th). This illustration shows how the discourse of global environmentalism and local spirituality is linked in KF and helps to explain the term 'spiritual environmentalism' which briefly implies that spirituality determines the environmentalist practice. Similar to religious groups KF wants to spread their thoughts and ideas to others so they can reach the same level of recognition, and come to profess their value system. While most other missionaries travel around to meet new people and convince them with their faith, the members in Konohana stay within their community. They see their practice as inspiring to others and therefore pay special attention to all their acts. In this introductory chapter many of the aspects and themes that I will return to throughout my thesis has been outlined: The connection between nourishing “family feelings” and the cosmology in KF, that is also connected with place making through the invention of history. Performing narratives can then be seen as a way of place making will be discussed in Chapter 2: All Family. Dwelling in time, and how the phenomena of Ecovillages is connected to nostalgia and a longing for a “different time” will be dealt with in Chapter 3: Make and Dwell. The importance of landscape, and mountains in particular, as parts of our cultural assumptions and attraction to place, and the dynamic between inside and outside in the Japanese context and its effect on practice connected to the experience of place will be elaborated in Chapter 4: The value of location. How the “communal harmony” is given priority of the individual "ego", seen in light of the 'spiritual environmentalism' will be set out in Chapter 5: Spiritual Environmentalism. In the following paragraphs the focus of my analysis will be outlined, before a theoretical and methodological framework for the assignment is clarified.

3 Framework In the recent years, the question of place has received considerable attention within anthropology (Ingold 1996; Feld and Basso 1997). Initially this concern was focussed on the significance of the contrast between different cultural understandings of the environment. The debate about place and space is today broader, concerning issues as power (Harvey 1997; Gupta and Ferguson 1997), identity (Pile and Keith 1993; White 1996; Medina 1998), modernity (Giddens 1991; Augé 1995), sustainability (Maida 2007) and many more. Place and space plays a significant role, not just as a background for human interaction but as an actor in our daily lives. It is also my aim to show how this is the case, utilizing the place making – or we could say “culturalization of space” (Myers



2002), using Konohana Family as an empirical example. When talking about place making in KF it refers both to the KF members way of doing place through their practice and through their narratives. Like anthropologist Keith Basso (1996) has shown how the interior landscape of mind, spirit and morality is composed of places, place names, and stories that teach about the relationships between people and between people and places, I will share with you some of the stories that the members told about their place. This in order to further explain the place making in Konohana Family. Because, as Basso writes: “Place roots individuals in the social and cultural soils from which they have sprung together, holding them there in the grip of a shared identity, a localized version of selfhood... Selfhood and placehood are completely intertwined” (ibid:146). Some of these stories were told while working together in the field or kitchen, others during the daily Otona meeting7 and others again were explained to me through a drawing exercise that the research participants took part in. In the methodology I have used imagination in order to enter into the world of the other, and I have “tried it on for size.” It has enabled me to get a deeper understanding of the lifeworlds in KF. This approach is not in itself new, even if not universally accepted and practiced. Evans-Pritchard wrote in the 1930s, referring to his study of witchcraft, magic and oracles among the Azande in Central Africa: You cannot have a remunerative, even intelligent, conversation with people about something they take as self-evident if you give them the impression that you regard their belief as an illusion or a delusion. Mutual understanding, and with it sympathy, would soon be ended, if it ever got started (Evans-Pritchard 1937:244). This approach has given me a deep understanding of the “natives’ point of view” (Malinowski 1922:25), not only in the theoretical sense but also when it comes to feelings and senses. Some, like the philosophers Kuhn (1970) and Tresch (2001) argue that going native might be used as a method to “understand contemporary societies in their own terms.” A term that might cover my experience more precisely is the concept of disponibilité, a literary term from André Breton (1976:41), used by Okely to link empathy and engagement. As she says it: “It demands a willingness to enter into relationship with others and an attitude of being available to them” (2012:54). Even though using the expression of 'going native' I was during my whole stay in KF recording and writing field notes 7Otona (大人) means grown-up, who in KF means one who has developed spiritually. Still, only adults participate in the meeting. Probably because the children need to do homework and sleep. At the Otona Summit, held in Nov 2012, young members down to the age of 14 participated, in order to show that children can be grown-up even though not all adults are.



as a researcher, and I did return to Denmark where I became able to look at KF from the outside through the process of writing out the thesis. The phenomenological methodology has enabled me to feel how it was to be a member in KF and through this made it possible for me to answer the research question: How can the phenomena of Ecovillages, and the Konohana Family case, help us get a deeper understanding of post-industrial creation of time and place in a globalized world? This is a new angle on the study of Ecovillages, and the Japanese case is lifting the questions about 'modern' notions of time- and place out of its Western domain. Questions to show us the way:  How is place created through practice?  What is 'dwelling in time' and how is it linked to narratives in KF?  How is landscape and temporality related to the spiritual making of place?  In what way is 'the Other' used to create self and community?  What is 'spiritual environmentalism' and how is it connected to time and place in KF?

4 Approach My methodological approach fits well with the theory of Tim Ingold, who sees us dwell in the world – dwelling “not being the occupation of a world already built but the very process of inhabiting the earth. Life, in this sense, is lived in the open, rather than being contained within the structures of the built environment” (Heidegger 1971 used by Ingold 2011:147). The dwelling perspective is put up as a contrast to the building perspective where worlds are made before they are lived in. It is through the way people embody the earth, more than how we think it, that tells us about human interaction with places (Ingold 2000; 2007). In accordance with Ingold, the aim of my fieldwork was to grasp how the members of KF embodied the earth. By participating in their activities and embody the place myself I wanted to learn to know their place and lifeworlds (cf. Husserl 1936; Merleau-Ponty 1962; M. Jackson 1995; 2005; 2012). Through this phenomenological approach I thought other's relationship with the world around them could be explained. A methodology I was pleased with in the field, even though I also experienced it as a challenging approach because using one self as a tool is demanding since one is constantly challenged on a



personal level. For example, in the process of accepting the child raring system in KF I was worried about the consequences it might have for my child which I felt responsible for. Furthermore, it became evident to me that I could not rely on embodiment and practice alone, as the KF members were very eager to share their narratives with me. Every night one of the members skilled at English stayed by my side translating for hours while the Otona meeting went on. I, as the members, helpers and guests, were expected to stay and pay attention to their invention of history; they were creating their place just there. During the daily meetings and other communal activities the KF members were constructing social traditions. As Basso would say: “Place making is a way of constructing history itself... [So b]uilding and sharing place-worlds, is not only a means of reviving former times but also of revising them” (Basso 1996:6). That is why the data collection has a significant amount of collected narratives from the research participants, which gives us insight into the way they imagine their place-world.

Part 二 All Family This chapter will be used to examine the connection between nourishing “family feelings” and the spirituality in KF. I will show how narratives and practice plays part of place making. With the following examples from KF I will explain how the emic terms “family” and “love” are related to place making, how spirituality and place making is connected, and how bodily performance is used to create place.

Figure 2: Misako's drawing.



I had managed to detach Misako from her work with the laundry, despite her doubt if she could take a break from the daily chores. She sat down next to me on the bunk in the dining room. Some weeks earlier I had given the KF members the task to draw their place, as if it was to a friend that had not yet visited Konohana Family. Since then, I had photographed all the drawings that the members had made on my request and stored them on my computer. As some had written their name on the back of the sheet I let Misako find her own drawing. It was the heart. I asked her why she had drawn a heart, whereupon she answered: “Everyone [in Konohana] is warm people, I feel. Heart symbolizes love.”

Katja: Could you feel it from the beginning, this “love”? Misako: Yes, first I stayed here as care guest, so... Katja: Together with your son? Misako: Yes, then I felt love in Konohana. So care program made me healthy and was good for me. I let Misako use my computer and a online dictionary, and she wrote: “I feel love and tender heart is studded with here and there... everyone's love.” I had for a long time wondered about this “love” and what the expression contained, even though I was now accustomed to the KF kind of “love” that was not romantic or sexual. In the beginning of my stay, however, I got surprised when one of the male members that I did not yet know told me that he “loved” me. So here with Misako and her drawing I got the opportunity to put words on the practice that I had become familiar with during my stay. Katja: Can you explain this love? Misako: That they call me and greet me; “Good morning, good afternoon, are you hungry?” Katja: So some attention? Misako: In Konohana everyone is important and I was cared for. Everyone was honest with me. It is difficult to explain. Here is lovely space, so I draw a heart. I am also explained about the use of colors, in particular the purple color which in Japan is considered a noble color, but also more generally when Misako states: “I used many colors because many different people create good harmony.” The use of many colors symbolizes many different people living together in KF. Many colors create a harmonious design and visualize that people in KF do the same. Misako also think that she draw the place of KF in this way because she is not 16


good at drawing, I tell her that it is a good expression and that my task was not intended to be a competition in drawing skills. She further explain how she was ill before she came to KF, by writing “I was not stable, before I came here I had manic-depressive illness. I was never stable for more than two weeks. I was living as dead, on a day-to-day basis.” It is a harsh history, but Misako is not the only one that has joined KF after getting help from the community to cure their illness. From earlier, I knew that Misako had a history of sex work. This issue was brought up at an Otona meeting in late November, because a Japanese film director wanted to use her story in a documentary that he was making about KF. Since she was unsure if it was fine to share this story nationally she was asking the other members for advice. Then Isadon told her: “I am not surprised about your story because there are many sex workers, but there are not so many that is open about it. So it is up to you. Mikchan [another female member] was addicted to drugs before she came here, that is to say the past is not the important, the present is what applies.” The example with Misako, her drawing, her history and the response she gets tells us a lot about KF as community. These are all narratives showing the place making in KF. A place created by making people feel like “family” and being “loved” - taken care of and noticed for what they are right now. I will in the following sections explain how I came to be part of this family, before I elaborate connections between Japanese view on family and the practice found in KF. From the first day in the community I got aware of the importance of feeling like family with the other members. Differently from the Danish Ecovillage that I had visit in summer 2011, the people in Konohana Family was living together as one large family of 86 small and large members. All adult members saw themselves as parents to all the children. Even though biological parents were acknowledged as such, it was the larger community that was responsible of the children, not the particular parents of the individual child. It was the children's group who took care of the children's needs and all parents were expected to give “love” to all the children. For my own sake I was told that I did not need to give special attention to my own child, since she could still feel the “special connection that there is between mother and child” (Isadon, October 12 th). At first it was challenging for me to be part of this new family structure and rearing pattern, so female members like Misako and Tomoko who had previously moved to KF with their children, showed me compassion. They told me that they knew the feeling, but now their children were much “better” than before. As Tomoko explained:

I came here about two years ago with my, then, 11 year old son. At the time we were too close together. After we moved here I have seen how good it has been for him to 17


come to Konohana Family. When the two of us lived together he would not do his homework, even when I asked him to do it, now he does it by himself. In KF we teach the children to fend for themselves and become independent individuals. I believe that the close link to the mother can be harmful to the child (Sep. 9 th). On the question about mainstream Japanese families, she explained about the nuclear family where the mother is responsible for the children. She also told me that people from outside their community has criticized their parenting style, saying it is “a shame for the kids”. While using her hand to make me aware about the children that were dining, she stated; “but they have not been here and seen.” I wondered if they have common rules for raising children and she said: “Children learn to get many perspectives, not just those from their biological family.” She has, however, noticed that the kids still get a special relationship with their biological parents when they get older. It is a bit strange and she can not quite put into words what it is, but “they know who is their biological parents and it has a kind of special importance to them.” While staying in KF a Japanese teacher and graduate student in environment education for children came to visit. After her two-days stay she sent me an e-mail (appendix 1) where she shared her concerns about the community: That “the children did not get enough love and attention from their biological parents,” and the “lack of spear time and private space.” More than anything else, her letter made me unsure if I could continue to stay in KF with my child. After consultation with family and friends back home I decided to continue my fieldwork while telling myself; “there is not one correct way to raise children, it is culturally relative.” A month after I received the letter, six weeks after I entered the community, I was told by Isadon that my way of acting with Elisa was caused by problems in my own childhood and he thought I gave my child too much “love” because I had experienced getting too little. I felt it as a harsh comment. Again I felt unsure and I kept repeating to myself; "the upbringing of children are culturally specific," an anthropological truth the KF members did not agree with, as they saw their child raring system as universally good. In this context it is important to note that the 'Japanese family' has been deemed to be in crisis in recent decades (Hayashi 2002 in Ronald and Alexy 2011), or at least, to be undergoing a significant reorientation (Ochiai 1997; Ueno 2009) towards a 'Westernization' with separation of domestic and public spheres along with a gendered division of labour; strong emotional relationships among family members, and nuclear units that exclude non-kin (Ronald and Alexy 2011:5). KF family structure is not following these new tendencies but has rather 'invented' their own family structure that seems to be more influenced by the pre-modern notion of ie – who 18


denotes both houses and stem-families8 that are supposed to inhabit them. As an example of this pre-modern influence is that too close relationship between husband and wife could be seen as detrimental to the house as a whole (Joy Hendry 2003:26), or as it was said in KF; “it could create disharmony in the community.” While the focus on the individual choice is getting stronger in the dominating Japanese discourses, and the divorce rates has caught up with the rates found in Western societies, the “stable” and long lasting relationships are nurtured in KF. Some courting couples were advised by the community to stay away from each other, while there was also a case of arranged marriage. The latter were widespread in Japan until 1970s and 1980s when the rate fell from 29.4 to 6.4 per cent of marriages between 1982 and 2005 (IPSS 2008). Still, the tradition of stigmatizing child birth outside marriage is kept in Japanese society at large while this notion is softened in KF. In this manner the community is 're-inventing' their own 'family tradition'. Here it is worth mentioning that the creation of KF actually was 'in line' with the rest of the development of Japanese society in the mid-1990s, in the sense that there was a general problematization of the 'male company-employee/housewife family model' as a response to the fertility decline and shift in economic conditions (Takeda 2011). In the process of tackling the issue of fertility decline, the national government took inspiration from the women's liberation movement and business leaders started to note how their way of organizing their companies made it difficult for women to take care of children. So a “new recommendation for Japanese management style that effectively narrowed the scope of full-time, permanent employment came as a response to globalization and the economic downturn” (Nikkeiren 1995; Crump 2003) and a change in the employment practice in the large companies occurred simultaneously with the establishment of KF. This fact clarifies that the local practice can not be separated from either the national or global context. Further, the concept of family found in KF also reflect their spiritual worldview. In that regard it is interesting to note that a new global trend emerged within workplace management in the late 80s and early 90s. Neal and Vallejo (2008), experts in organizational behavior, has showed how family firms typically possess specific cultural characteristics that stimulate the development of spirituality in the workplace more than those of non-family firms. Management theorists were beginning to explore the idea that spirituality was an important variable in management and organizational effectiveness, simultaneously as the businessman Isadon got the call to found a community. It is striking to note that the establishment of a spiritual working community came parallel to the occurrence of spirituality in workplaces. The phenomenon is “spirituality as a framework of organizational values evidenced in the culture that promote employees' experience of 8A form of vertically extended family in which households typically contain multiple families.



transcendence through the work process, facilitating their sense of being connected to others in a way that provides feelings of completeness and joy” (Giacalone and Jurkiewicz 2005). Looking at the definition of spirituality in the workplace KF fits well into this category, with physical, affective, cognitive, interpersonal, and mystical dimensions. Spirituality should in this sense be understood as “a feeling of being connected with one's complete self, others and the entire universe” (Mitroff and Denton 1999:83). The community striving for self sufficiency, sustainability, and spiritual growth can then be seen as the ultimate incorporation of spirituality at the workplace – understood as “the place where an individual does his work” (Kinjerski and Skrypnek 2004). This perspective “recognize that employees have an inner life that is nourished by meaningful work, which takes place in the context of community” (Ashmos and Duchon 2000). In meeting with Isadon, I asked about his definition of family. Although, both me and him were aware that he did not have the only definition of family in KF, he presented his ideas:

The definition of family is the ecosystem first and the solar system next. The galaxy and the universe itself is the definition of family. Because the universe itself is part of the ecosystem. So what is family; just oneness... In general the definition of family is just father, mother and children. Actually, that is an appropriate definition of family but I think it is a very specific definition of family, just a category within a divided scale. In an extreme sense, even the air here is a part of myself. There is a person like Isadon in Konohana, that means that other members might have the same feeling – the same definition of family (Oct 25th). Based on this definition of family, it seems like the Japanese concept of amae (dependence) is central in order to understand the concepts and practices linked to family in KF. Amae was a central concept in postwar Japan, referring to a desire to be loved passively and to presume on familiarity in order to behave in a self-indulgent manner (Doi 1973). The language of amae is present everywhere in Japan. In popular use, the concept of amae captured many aspects of postwar society and came to be used popularly to describe a society where individuals are looked after by their families, companies, and the state, in contrast with the competitive individualism (Borovoy 2001). In this light, KF might be seen as a continuation of the amae concept, in which KF is both the family, company and state of the people living in the community. Notions of family and community were central to both prewar and postwar national ideology. Incipient conceptualizations of the modern Japanese nation-state in the Meji-period (1868-1912) specified the household (ie) as the smallest unit of the state, later, prewar government issued tracts who described the state itself as a 20


“national family” (kazoku kokka 家族黒化 ) – with the emperor as the “father”. Similarly, KF can be seen as a mini state, taking responsibilities both as family, company and state, while Isadon function as the 'father' of the community. Something Isadon would probably agree to, as he ones stated that every family needs a father like him. The concept of amae suggest a world where social order is orchestrated and legitimized through intimate social relations, rather than top-down commands. This concept includes the presumption of mutualism, the notion of harmony through division of labor or benevolent hierarchy, trust through intimate social relations rather than contractility, the pursuit of one's own needs through presuming on the good graces of others, and the notion that one need not look out for oneself but rather can trust to be looked after – all characteristics found in KF. Further, the theories of spirituality in family workplaces suggest that organizing the community as a family has implications for the culture who has occurred, and the emphasis on spirituality is both typical of the time KF was established and part of global trends. Looking at both local and global context is essential in order to understand how a place like KF could occur. In the next section I will zoom back at the local and return to experience, praxis and narratives from KF.



5 One “Family”

Figure 3: Kochan's drawing

It was a late at night on December 15 th I found time to talk with Kochan 9 about the drawing (figure 3) he had made when I asked the research participants to draw their place. True the whole stay in KF Kochan was an important person for me. In the beginning mainly as a translator, that could step in when others were tired. Having experience from aid work in Kenya he was used to communicate in English, even though his language skills were not as academically precise as Michiyo who had studied in Canada or as used to spiritual terms as Yoko who had lived in the US. Kochan had been in KF with his wife and children for about 15 years before I came to know him as a solid leader in the field team, that could explain to me the reasons behind the work. I also knew that I could expect to find “love” and understanding in the company of Kochan. Even when tired or sick, he had a big smile and warm hug to give. Our talk about the drawing turned into a spiritual tale about the universe and the souls (Tamashii 魂) who inhabit it. 9Means “my friend Koichi”. Chan (ちゃん) is primarily used on children, female family members, lovers, and close friends. Often one’s name will be shortened to add chan to it, like Ko-chan, instead of Koichi-chan. Several of the KF members added chan to their name and used it as nickname.



The figures who is in line between planets and stars is not humans but spirits. These spirits come down to inhabit the world, and together we have a common soul. “This (referring to the figures in the drawing) is just like the russian dolls 10, opening them up they are all the same, individually they create the earth – the system of the earth, the system of the sun and the structure of the galaxy... In other words everyone has a higher self.” We are all part of the higher self and at the same time creators. Kochan continues; “In my imagination KF is not here, my family is not just here. In the Universe there is just one family.” He agrees that in daily life he is closer connected to the children in KF than people he has not yet met, but he explains that when he meet new people he feel like they are members of his family. In this sense KF is not a particular place, only a grain of sand in the great whole. As Kochan showed me pictures from the space telescope Hubble (NASA 2009) the connection between structures in the universe and among humans was pointed out to me – a comparison that was regularly used in KF. This comparison was used to emphasize the feeling of connectedness to the universe. As the art critic John Berger put it; “Looking up at the night sky, we imagine the stars to be invisibly connected by ghostly lines into constellations. Only by doing so can we tell stories about them” (1982:248). These lines can clearly be seen in Kochan's drawing. “Despite the ghostly character of the lines, like between stars in a constellation, geodesic lines or the borderlines that separate nations, they can have very real consequences for people's movements” (Ingold 2007:49). Therefore these stories about spirits must be seen as real/unreal as other lines. As many Indigenous people, like the Alaska Native (who's worldviews are described by Barnhardt 2005), Kochan and other members in KF recognize that many unseen forces are at play in the elements of the universe and that very little is naturally linear, or occurs in a two-dimensional grid or a three-dimensional cubic form. Many humans, scholars and lay people alike, in the twentyfirst century seems to be attracted to spirituality or the nostalgia of the indigenous cultures because they feel the “modern” society lack some dimensions. For instance, Barnhardt claims that “the depth of Indigenous knowledge rooted in the long inhabitation of a particular place offers lessons that can benefit everyone, from educator to scientist, as we search for a more satisfying and sustainable way to live on this planet.” However, most academic discourses draws on rationalism, materialism and secularism – all traditions of inquiry located in specific histories of the West (see (Flood 2006:55). But at heart of spirituality one find experiences that are both personal and compelling, therefor the study of experience must be involved in order to get a proper understanding of the spiritual. Phenomenology enables us to look at the substance of spirituality because it is a methodology that can be used to “explore ways in which spirituality is transmitted 10Matryoshka doll; a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other.



through inscription on the body as well as the mind, bridging external, observable aspects of religion and the interior realm of personal experience” (Bowie 2003:50). This aspect will be returned to throughout the thesis. Kochan see all spirits, including me, as his family and believes it is important for people to live together in a way were they share honestly, to avoid any internal fractions. By providing honest feedback to each other on the evening meetings while being mindful that it is given with “love”, he think they can achieve a good community 11.

6 Becoming In this section I want to elaborate on the focus on communal harmony in order to become part of the community, by the story of returning and my discovery of how material place was less prioritized than the spiritual being. Being should be understood as “individual and collective struggles to come to terms with events and intolerable conditions and to shake loose”, that took place in KF — their attempts “to grow both young and old [in them] at once” (Deleuze and Joughin 1995:170; Deleuze and Boyman 2001). I will start with an example to show how and why spirituality was given priority over materiality in KF, and then explain about the process of becoming a KF member. When I came back from a one week autumn break in the beginning of October, I discovered that I had changed room and got a new room mate, the same was true for many others living in Konohana. The center team, responsible for laundry and accommodation, had moved people around, in order to make space for a large number of guests that they were expecting. I was surprised that they had moved all my things without my knowledge but it taught me that the family members were expected to be flexible and not get attached to material objects or place. I also realized that I was treated more like a member than a guest, as I was moved around, while short term guest where treated as if they were staying at a guest house. To become a member of Konohana Family is possible for anyone who wants to follow the rules and norms in the community. The overall importance is, seen to be, that new members resonate with the idea of the “family”, and have the will to voluntary take part in community life. Further, it is necessary to express the will to live in harmony with others and nature. Firstly, it is required to stay for one month ore more, where the cost is payed by oneself, in order to show the will to experience life within KF. After this month, the KF members need to approve you, in order 11 From informal interview, September 9. 2012.



to become a temporary member. Then you will stay as a temporary member for one year, paying for your living expenses, until you can become a regular member who share economy with the others. It was my experience, that no one was “forced to stay”, rather the opposite. While I was in KF, there was two temporary members who were socially pressured to leave the community, because they were considered too egocentric and unwilling to work on their own personal growth. In the case of Keikosan, she had been staying in KF for about three months when the other members started to express dissatisfaction with her behavior and the fact that she still did not take part in the community as a member, something I mostly heard about through the community meetings. After Isadon had talked to Keikosan the previous day, she stated during Otona meeting on November 15th: “Before I didn't understand about grow up mind or harmony. Now I notice my mind and I want to change my consciousness. Actually, I can't understand how I can have high spirituality. But being here will give me high spirituality. I want to change.” A comment answered by Isadon: “I said to Keikosan today; as member, we have to have high spirit, and we can't stop growing up. Keikosan is too much individualistic and egoistic, that is why I have given her advice. You are not here as guest or care guest, you are here as member. We don't live for ourself, but for others, for this world, for this universe.” An answer that shows that there is a clear expectation from the founder about how one is supposed to live in KF. It was said that the reasons that Keikosan was hesitating, with becoming a member, was that she wanted to spend money on teeth repairing and give property to her son before joining the community. This was considered to be egocentric and showing mistrust and she came to represent materialism. The family members was trying to explain Keikosan that she should trust that she would get what she needed from the community if she gave her money to them and became a member. They agreed to create an atmosphere for her where she could feel as a member and not as a guest. Already the next day Keikosan had decided that she wanted to become a member and she talked to Nakanon, the financial manager in KF, who explained her: “If you decide to become an official member, and you need to use money that is for everyones use, that is no problem.” Isadon had told her “just give everything to me, you don't have to think anything, just listen to me and what I do and what I say.” Whereupon he compared himself with Kami (god), saying that Keikosan should listen to him, like he listen to Kami. This comment clearly show the special position Isadon takes in the community. He is a very strong charismatic leader, even though this is not articulated directly by the members. Actually, in a presentation given by Michiyo, KF is said to have “no particular leader” and “practice emergent leadership.” Two weeks later, the situation concerning Keikosan had not changed in the direction of



“acting like a member,” and she had been caught in calling from the bathroom in order to deal with her financial affairs. This was talked about in Otona meeting November 5 th, while Keikosan was not present. Isadon's back were painful so he was talking in the microphone while lying down - getting massage: Actually, I thought before that Keikosan is not fit for this place, I understood that from the way she was living. But before we accepted only people who was fit for this place, but these days it's changing. People with disabilities lives here now. Keikosan is another example, she doesn't fit this place. But if a person believe this place, even though he/she does not fit this place, it is no problem, we can live together. But in her case, she didn't believe and trust this place, she doubted me, that is why Keikosan couldn't be here. Two days later Keikosan had left KF and everyone seemed relived as the process had made the atmosphere tense. But this was not the end of the “cleaning” process. Since we were soon going to enter a new area on December 21th, in accordance with the Maya calendar, and a new year, emphasis was placed on the purification on several levels. Purging of people who did not want to live in harmony with the community and its values was one of the purification methods. In becoming, as Deleuze saw it, one can achieve an ultimate existential stage in which life is simply immanent and open to new relations. Becoming “that one leaves behind in order to ‘become,’ that is, to create something new” (Deleuze and Joughin 1995:171). That is also what the KF members are doing; creating something new. Through a different kind of temporality – in between seasons in the universe and eternal spiritual life of the soul – they try to escape materialism and industrialization by new systems of perception and action. By dwelling in their own time, a concept I will describe more comprehensively in the following chapter, the KF members make their place.

7 Being This section is about the 'transformation' I underwent in KF, in order to adapt to their place and understand their 'lifeworld'. In greater or lesser extent, depending on the field, anthropologist undergo a form of transformation during their long term field work. This might have become particularly important in my work because I have been inspired by the 'post-modern turn' in anthropology “that contextualized and 'complexified' ethnographic research as a product of relationship more than an observation of a fact” (Glass-Coffin 2010:205). It might be traced back to Abu-Lughod's (1999) Veiled Sentiments that in 2008 provided me with my first knowledge of 26


ethnographic field work. Her tales about entering the Bedouin society made me expect that I would “experience the place from a certain point of view shaped by my upbringing, gender, sexuality, and and not least my theoretical education” (Bratseth 2012). My father could not accompany me, as in Abu-Lughod's case, at least not physically. But my history and identity was with me and came in large part to influence my perception of KF. Like in other cultural groups and sub-groups, the KF members consciously and unconsciously transmitted and imitated or resisted as part of the socialization among members. Scheper-Huges and Lock (1987) has made a tripartite distinction between the 'individual body' (Husserl's Leib, or lived, self referential body), the 'social body' (which engages in semiotic, representational performance) and 'body politic' (the social control of bodies, individual and collective). Looking at the connections between these three aspects of the body, the social control may, for instance, dictate the wearing of a habit. This symbol of consecrated life, which may determine the wearer's experience of him or herself as a particular type of person (like a member), who has particular types of (spiritual) experience. As stated by Mauss (1979), “attention to bodily techniques or habitus – the acquired ability and faculty, is a fruitful way to approach the study of religious culture” (Mauss 1973). In accordance with the phenomenological tradition habitus is seen as a “lived-through structure-in-process, and the product of the power and pre-reflective tendency of the body subject to habituate and maintain structures and experience that has proven valuable or useful” (Crossley 2004:39-40; Merleau-Ponty 1962). Staying with people who wanted to make me feel like “family”, who wanted to make me see the world like they did, I started to act as them (figure 4, 5 and 6 as examples). This chapter is used to explore the transmission of KF culture not to write an autobiography. In KF, like in Focolare Movement (Bowie 2003:55) and other religious groups, the way we dressed and ornamented ourselves, how we smiled and moved around became part of an external performance of bodily techniques. In the context of a spiritual environmental community in Japan a shared experience were mediated through habitus. The lines I will follow tells of being in KF.



Figure 4: Me with the same focus and smile as Aichan.

Figure 5: Our moves are similar as Aichan is approving the salad I have made.

Figure 6: Aichan is controlling that I have chopped the peppers properly, again our move is similar.



There was something sure, but unhurried of the way I learned to move around in KF. Looking back on the video recordings I made in the vegetable fields and the kitchen, I can remember how all the movements were made very slowly. Attention was put on quality, not on quantity. Being in the process of taking care of vegetables and making food, the main aim was not the result of producing meals for the community, but expressing and growing your spirituality. Or said by Michiyo in her presentation; “The purpose of Konohana Family is cultivating one's spirit rather than cultivating crops.” This habitus was transmitted through members who were showing how the work should be done. Also, compliments were given generously when someone had preformed well. For example my salad was admired and given complements, if I had spent time wreaking the salad, and when Chisan was about to finish the bento boxes, members of both the kitchen team and people with other tasks used to come by to see, after which they exclaimed; segoi (すごい awesome), Kiree (綺麗 beautiful) or kawaii ( か わ い い cute). In the vegetable field Tatsuya taught me to plant with the hearth, meaning that I should be careful with the seedlings and make the field look beautiful. All the fields were prepared very carefully before we started transplanting the small seedlings, with exactly 25 cm. between each of them. When asking why it was necessary to do the planting so precisely he answered “all the work we do express our heart.” So being careless and imprecise would express an unconcerned heart, “soul”, or 'state of mind'. According to Ingold the straight line is a phenomenon of modernity, not of culture in general (2007:155). In KF the straight lines of human agriculture is seen as part of nature because human activities are considered natural as long as the practice is carried out with a "pure heart". In this way the clear distinction between nature (non-human) and culture (human), that has been so dominant in Western thought and science, is avoided. Culture is not put up against nature, since culture is seen as part of nature and vice versa. Like elsewhere there were social straightening devices present in KF, especially concerning gendered bodily performance. In the following section I will elaborate how this was reflected in practice.

8 Belonging This section will deal with belonging in KF. According to Judith Butler (1990), our action and behavior constitute our identity, not our biological bodies. Following this logic, all forms of identity can be interpreted as dependent upon performative constructs. This enables us to explore 'performativity' and 'belonging', like Vikki Bell (1999) has done in her work on identities, as embodied and how lines are produced and reproduced. Through my own experience of KF



'straightening devices' – which keep things in line (Ahmed 2006:92), I want to show how a feeling of belonging is created in a community through 'performances', actions and behavior. Through my whole stay in the community I got the feeling that the KF members wanted to 'make me more feminine'12, through compliments about weight loss, hair cut, wearing of kerchief etc. I also observed that Erika changed her clothing style for the course of time in KF. To start with, she was mostly wearing pants, jogging clothes, and in particular I noticed what I perceived as her cute shorts with fishes on. After some months she was wearing far more dresses and skirts and what I saw as a more dressy and feminine style. However, there were room for individuality. E.g. Tommochan's clothing style tended to be more 'masculine' with classy or traditional shirts and trousers, and Lovechan seemed to hold on to her 'hippie style' with harem pants and batik patterns. Actually, I was also wearing harem pants when I first arrived in KF and Lovechan commented that we had the same style. Later, when visiting Tokyo for a workshop, together with Michiyo and some other KF members, Michiyo told me how the asphalt streets felt more familiar to her than the fields in Fujinomia, and how she used to walk around in the business area of Tokyo with stilettos and expensive handbags. So for her, the dress code in KF was dressing down, with no make up, perfume or high heels. In these reflections about gender, I find it relevant to share with you that I, after some years of figuring out, identify myself as a lesbian. Being a queer researcher in the context of a community and culture where I was unsure how my otherness would be handled was sometimes personally challenging. Throughout my fieldwork I tried to be true to myself but I also wanted to integrate in order to make the research participants trust me. So through a more 'feminine' hair cut and other 'social shaping mechanisms' the research participants attempted to integrate me into the heterosexual community. Both anthropologically and personally I think it was prudent not to front my sexual orientation during my fieldwork, as I am afraid that it would have taken attention away from everything else in the field, and I would not have gained the same opportunity of getting close to the people in KF. As Sarah Ahmed writes in her book Queer Phenomenology; “Orientations shape not only how we inhabit space, but how we apprehend this world of shared inhabitance, as well as “who” or “what” we direct our energy and attention toward.” (2006:3). Since my research was not about sexual orientations, I did not find it relevant to share this information with the KF members but I still acknowledge that my own orientation does affect the way I inhabit space and the 12The concept of gender, and consequently of femininity and masculinity, is problematic. Masculine and feminine it is not used as the ends of a bipolar scale but as a multidimensional phenomena that can be seen in a intercultural perspective (Johnson, Jackson, and Herdt).



data I am able to collect. In the case of Erika and me we experienced a socialization to appear more feminine dressed. In the case of Michiyo's, and several other women it was a matter of dressing down from high heels, fancy clothes, make up and perfume. Showing that, regardless of sexual orientations, age, and class there is a strong group identity in KF connected to the visual appearance of the body. Shortly after I arrived to KF a male member in his later 30s, Hiroshi, told me I looked like Keanu Reeves (figure 7). Not being very familiar with actors, what struck me was that I was compared with a male actor. I was wondering if it had any implications for how I was viewed in the community, and wheather it was meant as a compliment or not. I did not think too much about it though, before I were again compared with an actor; Audrey Hepburn (figure 8). It was about 1 1/2 month after I entered KF, and Chiichan – the hair dresser of the community, had cut my hair. After my request about a hair cut she had, together with my roommate Marineh, looked up hairstyles online and chosen one for me. As I sat in the hairdresser chair, Tatsuya - a "ladies' man" who had several times been described by other members as "sticky" because all the women seemed to be attracted to him, came by and said to Chiichan that I wanted a Mowhak hairstyle, such as several male members had received lately. I just smiled and laughed. He was a bit right, since I tend to prefer Mowhak inspired hairstyles for cute haircuts, but in order to follow the lines in KF I wanted to follow whatever the hairdresser had decided. Choosing a male hairstyle would probably separate me from my research participants and made me 'matter out of place', more than I already was as a Scandinavian researcher with poor Japanese language skills. Or as Sarah Ahmed would have said it; “[a queer body] affects what we can do, where we can go, how we are perceived” (ibid:101). The haircut would therefor be of significance in my relation to others in the community. The day after my haircut this theory became supported by practice. For sanitary reasons I had taken on a kerchief, like it was expected from those taking a role in the kitchen. When meeting Koherochan, the wife of Hiroshi (who gave me the Reeves compliment), told me I looked like Audrey Hepburn. I thank her for the compliment and took it as a proof that I was now regarded as having a more feminine look. Although, I was unsure what this implied in terms of my role in KF. However, my new hairstyle made me feel more in line with KF members, which in turn made it easier for me to be part of KF's lifeworld, essential for my research of time- and place perceptions in the Japanese community.


MAKE A PLACE – DWELL IN TIME Figure 8: Audrey Hepburn

Figure 7: Keanu Reeves

One way of noticing the effect was through the compliments I received in the following, mainly from female members who thought that I looked really cute (kawaii 可愛い ) with my new haircut. Kawaii, an adjective meaning cute, adorable and lovable, is an important aspect of Japanese material culture and a key 'affect word' (Clancy 1999) used to describe things, such as animated characters, infants, animals, and natural objects, that have certain qualities and features. Kawaii is rooted in a sociohistorical aesthetic for things that are small, delicate, and immature, as evidenced in early Japanese art forms and literary writings (Yomota 2006). It is said that Japan has undergone a kawaii boom since the 1970s, which is recently spreading across Asia and the West through Japanese animation, comics, and cute goods like Pokemon and Hello Kitty. While transcending age and gender to a degree, kawaii is especially associated with femininity (Kinsella 1995). Media and literature offer advice to young women on how to dress and behave kawaii (McVeigh 1996). Such behaviors include making a peace sign with the fingers while posing for a picture, done by nine (6 female and 3 male) members at the family picture (figure 9). Kawaii is associated with polite, gentle, and innocent behaviors – norms associated with femininity in Japan (Loveday 1981). In KF femininity was regarded very positively as the feminine was seen to match well with community values connected to using the senses, sharing love, creating beauty, being happy, cute and peaceful. Furthermore, Isadon claimed that he came from Venus – the planet of love and femininity.



Figure 9: Family photo taken at Miyanoshita.

The socialization into a certain world of values occurs through exposure to pieces, parts, and incomplete definitions of a worldview (Burdelski and Mitsuhashi 2010). There is rarely anything systematic about it. Much of what is communicated to us about the social world is done so in such a subtle, insidious manner that the dynamics of socialization are sometimes difficult to pinpoint. Images that we are repeatedly exposed to and that exist on the margins of our awareness eventually reach the point of becoming automatic and instinctive sentiments (ibid). Speaking of the new sociopolitical norms that the late 19th-century Swedes were expected to internalize, Jonas Frykman write that “The important cultural codes were transmitted more effectively through trivial everyday routines than through cultural preaching” (1987):271). The same could be said for how compliments about being cute communicate important cultural assumptions about gender relations. Embedded in the objects of everyday life that are unthinkingly and incessantly used, this sentiment is hardly questioned, only felt (McVeigh 1996). Cuteness can be seen as an expression of a sociopolitical theory visible in the commodities of everyday life that touches upon the relations between the powerful and the less powerful in family structure, the ubiquitous hierarchical junior/senior relations, and in male/female 33


relations. Being cute toward those with a more powerful position than yourself is often a way of obtaining favors and attention, while displaying cuteness to one’s subordinates is a method of appearing non-threatening, thereby gaining their confidence. In Japanese society vertical relations, such as kôhai 後輩 /sempai 先輩 (’junior/senior’) and seito 生徒 /sensei 先 生 (student/master’), are extremely important, forming the basic social structural constituents from which Japanese build their social world (Nakane 1970). These structures where also present in KF, even though they were downplayed and not recognized in the community's self-understanding. The sentiment of cuteness seemed to be used to soften these superior/inferior relations, like McVeigh (1996) has remarked in his paper on authority and gender in Japan. 'Softening' in this context does not mean that the vertical lines of control are weakened, on the contrary, the lines of power are reinforced since they become emotionally charged with positive feelings of loyalty and commitment. The body, particularly through a form of community socialization or habitus, becomes the vehicle of a shared culture, and mediates the possibility of a shared experience. This can also be seen as a plausible explanation of why the KF members wanted to 'shape' me in the direction of their interpretation of the feminine. Showing that the experiencing embodied subject is gendered, and engages with other gendered subjects in discourses framed by relations of power within a given cultural context (Bowie 1993). During my fieldwork I could remain at some level the observer, and regard all experiences, positive or negative, as relevant data, but I also became formed by the worldview in KF which included certain ways of understanding the self. In particular my understanding of my own body changed, so that I saw it as being too big. Never before had I been on a diet, but in KF I started to think about getting as few calories as possible while I burned of as many as possible.

Figure 10: Isadon dressed with wig for fun, next to him is Lovchan and little Takomi.



Mauss (1979) stresses the importance of education and imitation or mimesis when discussing the ways in which a society educates its members in the techniques of the body. There is a tendency to imitate actions and attitudes of people in positions of authority, or of individuals in whom one has confidence and whom one wishes to emulate. For me this meant the respected members of KF, and it can explain why I started to think, act, taste and look in accordance with existing norms. Isadon, was clearly the main source of authority on all that pertains to Konohana Family and its charism. The powerful presence of Isadon at the center of the community does not allow for much critical reflection, even though he himself quite often talked about how members should maintain the community and its spiritual development after his death. His power is however downplayed' by cuteness, since he regularly show himself as childish – playing around and joking (figure 10 as an example). He also have a look that on the Japanese scale will be referred to as cute (McVeigh 1996), since his forehead is wide, highlighted by the lack of hair on top and his white skin – features of an infant. These examples has showed how performativity is used to create 'belonging' and group cohesion in KF. In the following chapter I want to elaborate the concepts of 'place making' and 'dwelling time' in KF by using examples from daily practice and some of the many stories that were shared during the time I resided in the community.

Part 三 Make and Dwell Looking into place making in KF I realized that the narratives and practice could not be explained without the aspect of time – that is why this chapter will be used to show how place making in KF is connected to the way they dwell in time. Following Ingold’s concept of the ‘dwelling perspective’, I see time dwelling as an attempt to reconcile the separation between man and temporality by imagining temporality as a continually unfolding story. The temporality bears witness to the passing of humans; it contains a living memory of all who have lived in it. This perspective is useful in our understanding of life not limited by death, opposed to Heideggerian theory of being-toward-death, that is essential in order to analyze time within a cosmology of reincarnation. By following the stories in KF, this chapter will unfold the link between spirituality and time, and answer why it is relevant to see time dwelling as connected to place making and nostalgia. As with my research, it all starts with place, but I will show how the place made by the KF members can not be understood properly without an understanding of the time they dwell in. 35


9 Sacred Place

Figure 11: KF members after taking “family photo”.

From the first days in the community I got the impression of Fujisan's importance, through their acts of showing me the view towards the mountain and pointing it out to me whenever we were passing it or seeing it in a new context. The old woman from the children's group showed it to me from the room where the youngest children were playing, by subtracting the curtain and stretching a bit on her toes. Those who worked in the fields asked me to look at Fujisan when it was shrouded in spectacular clouds, or it just appeared extra clearly. Nonchan from the kitchen was exited to take me outside an early morning in October to see the first snow on the peak of Fujisan. This mountain was always present as a place marker. Fujisan was also included in the narratives of the community. Only three days after I arrived to KF, Isadon and Yoko talked in the Otona meeting about the experience they had in the morning. Yoko told us that Isadon had come to her and said “Look at Fujisan!” Whereupon she went out to a balcony with some members and encountered the marvelous scenery of Fujisan, the sunrise and some beautiful clouds. Yoko saw it, and she later asked her soul group what it meant. Otherwise, members of the field team often took beautiful pictures of Fujisan, it could be in red light or with 36


special formations of the clouds, and shared it with the rest of the community at the Otona meeting. Visually Fujisan's importance was manifested by its presence in the drawings I collected, and generally in the holy mountain was used in representation of the community on their webpage, facebook and brochures. In 18 of the 59 drawings I collected, as part of my research methodology, Fujisan was present. In the following sections I want to introduce and analyze two of these drawings. First by looking closer at the concept of ma, secondly on how KF members situate their place in the universe. Then the chapter will be ended with a narrative that more clearly tells about time in KF. Ones a year the members gathered in front of Fujisan in the honour of the digital SLR camera13 that was carefully tuned and programmed with self timer. In the days up to the photo-shoot weather conditions and schedule was discussed during Otona meetings. In order to gather all the members and get a clear sky with view to Fujisan we would go early to the “sacred place” - our location. In order to be there on time I got up at 5.40 am, and 20 minutes later we all started moving by foot, bicycle or car. Miyanoshita ( 宮 の 下 ) (figure 11), was about 1 km. away from Himawari where I was staying. Miya means temple or shrine and is the same word as in Fujinomiya (the area). The direct translation of Miyanoshita is below the shrine/temple and is the original name of the KF's sacred place. Fifteen years ago, Isadon and J. G. started to look for a “sacred place” and they both independently found this place, but it had another owner. During Otona meeting they discussed about the place and the next day all the members went there. Isadon tells me how they all thought:

Ah, I want this land! They everyone shouted to Above. Like small children, we were shouting to the Above; I want this! And the next day, a miracle occurred. When I went to the chicken farm in the morning, the real estate guy came to the chicken farm. What's up, I asked him. And he answered, don't you need land? Actually I wanted land, and he asked me; where? He showed me a map of land, and I pointed at the map, and he told me that he wanted to sell me the land (Oct. 25 th). The owner of the land had told him to sell the land five years ago. Isadon gave a low offer for the land, and told the real estate agent that he was not in a hurry, one month later the owner agreed for the price he had offered. “When I told the story to the other members they thought; oh, Kami (God) listen to our wish, this is a gift from Kami. Moreover, we thought; we are not buying this land for ourselves, but for people in the society. So we are not going to use our own money.” So Isadon got in touch with Kochan and his wife Kyokochan who were not yet members and asked if they wanted 13One of four SLR cameras that the KF members shared.



to buy the land. They did not have the money but Isadon made them ask their parents. So it was Kochan's father who bought the land with the idea that they would one day come and live with their son, and the land is still in Kochan's name even though the land is now community property – as Kochan became a member shortly after the land was bought. “I predicted that the land was for the people in the society, so we did not have to pay for it, and that was right. Sometimes I say funny things, but in the future it becomes true,” Isadon stated like a prophet. This is one of several stories, told by Isadon and other KF members, about being in need of something and getting it – seen as signs of divine powers helping and supporting them as community and as proof that KF is a place in accordance with the divine powers.

10 In the Universe Mt. Fuji is an area popular among religious groups. For the founder, the place had significant meaning: “ the start KF was established near Fujisan, and it has a very special purpose, because Fujisan has a special meaning. However, the spirituality here, could be anywhere. Everyone has a spirituality within themselves...” So KF is seen, by Isadon, as both a particular and universal place, similar to other global places. Marc Augé (1995) claims that super modernity (our time) requires a radical change in the way we think about place. He argues that place, traditionally, has been conceived as a fantasy of “a society rooted in the immemorial the permanence of an intact soil.” But such places, according to him, loose meaning and is replaced with 'non-places'. He talks here about places for circulation, consumption and communication, such as shopping malls or trains - places where people coexist without living together (ibid: 110). It is just the super modern kind of place, non-places, which Ecovillages can be seen as a reaction against. Locations in the post-modern 14 world is different from what they were previously, which has led to concern (Cresswell 2004:49). The phenomenon of Ecovillages can possibly meet the needs of (post)modern people who feel isolated and disclosed in the global village, or said by the villagers themselves, they can “reverse the gradual disintegration of supportive social/cultural structures and the upsurge of destructive environmental practices on our planet” (GEN 2013). Still, people all over the world make their places special by the way they talk and think about them. KF not an exception. This is how Isadon explain the uniqueness of his place:

14Modern, post-modern, super modern all terms that tries to grasp our time.



1000 years ago I came from Venus to the Earth, and first I came as a human being to India. I had a very sever training - that was my start as a human being. I had many reincarnations, and [I vent] from India to the hearth of the Earth, which is Japan... Mountains of Himalya means mountains of humans will, and Fujisan is the mountain of gods will. So the mountains of Himalya and Fujisan has very special meaning on Earth. The mission on Earth started on Himalaya first, and this one could be the last on Earth - near Fujisan. That is why Konohana Family was founded near Fujisan, as a start to spread the spirituality (Sept. 7Th). What might be most conspicuous for a Western scholar is the conception of time, how Isadon talk about himself in a different life 1000 years ago. Common to cultures with belief in reincarnation, rebirth stories were present in KF, although not everyone could remember from their past lives, and Isadon's memory were especially good. This aspect is also central because of the representation of time have performed a central function in the construction of difference between Self and Other. “Notions of rebirth and the concept of cyclicality, rythmicity, and concreteness, have played a crucial role in orientalist representations of an exotic and inferior Other opposed to the West” (Gupta 1992:191) and “the representation of the western Self depend on the deployment of discourses on time that implicitly construct and reify differences” (ibid). While the selfrepresentation of the western industrial economies has been of abstract, linear time, and societies that has moved away from the 'task-orientation' of the farmer and the 'rythmes of nature', the notions of rebirth has been linked to a deepseated fatalism (ibid:192) that could explain the poverty in the developing world. It is then interesting to look at the highly developed Japan that seems to mix the two notions of time: he traditional toki which has a wider range of meanings than the English time; duration, 'point in time', and 'just in time', and jikan the Japanese word used about western time that was adopted in the second half of the nineteenth century. Jikan therefore relates to the objectified and externalized time, according to which day-to-day life is organized (Shimada 1995:253). Whereas jikan can be seen as a noun and be used to measure time, like san (three) jikan, toki can not be used this way. Toki can be used to say ano toki (at that time) and toki doki (sometimes). The two concepts of time coexist in Japanese society and jointly construct the meaning of temporality (ibid). Never have I experienced such an extreme time precision as in Japan, where all trains arrives and leaves by the exact timetable and every event is planned down to the least minutes. KF narratives are based on a similar discourse about time as found in the industrialized West, the one about the contrast between “natural” rhythms of work in nonindustrial societies with the flattened, homogenized, emptied out beat of capitalist time-discipline. As Gupta ask; “how is the daily routine of the commuters who leave their home at dawn and return at sunset



any less rhythmic than the circular path traversed by the Nuer in Africa taking his herd out to pasture?” (Gupta 1992:200). Similarly I ask; how come the KF members feel that their schedule is less stressful than in any another Japanese company? I want to show how supirichua (spirituality) is used in KF to create another feeling of time, even though the time practice is not much different from a Japanese company in the city; both shaped by the 'cyclic time perception pattern' where time is perceived as “an eternal ring of past, present and future, indicating continuous rebirth” and “a time pattern where the past and the future exist simultaneously in the present” (Karppinen-Shetta 1996:152). This polychronic time (characterized by doing many things at once, changing plans often/easily, and building lifetime relationships) also helps to explain the world view in KF that can seem unfamiliar to a Westerner that is used to a linear time pattern and the "time is money" attitude of the industrialized monochronic time (do one thing at a time, concentrate at the job, accustomed to short-term relationships) perception (ibid:153). As Japan is becoming more and more industrialized and relate to international standards for working hours, a shift is seen from polychronic to monochronic time, however both time perceptions coexist. It is therefore my argument that to dwell in the polychronic time is an important part of KF's protest against the "modern" and industrialized. As KF has moved away from traditional family structures and religious practices it seems like they through 'spirituality' are acknowledging that: “Being 'higher' and 'greater' than the individual self such transcendent, collective, supra-self orders serve as people's primary source of significance” (Taylor 1989). Konohana family is an example of: “What matters is living life-as a member of a community... What matters is life which stand over and above the individual self and bestow meaning upon life” (Heelas and Woodhead 2005:3). “These higher authorities serve to direct one's life and accord real value to it when one performs one's duties or fulfills one's obligations” (ibid), so that transplanting onion a cold winter day does not feel unsatisfactory for the 'modern' human being, that is not only concerned about food and shelter but more so; the meaning of life. Spirituality and toki is connected to the way KF members organize their time – in polychronic time, and how they dwell in their everyday work. This shows how time conception and belief is affecting how people dwell in time. Like in the Shintoistic notions, mountains is seen as places of access to the spiritual world beyond (Pilgrim 1986). This can be understood by this drawing (figure 12) that I made in collaboration with the research participants. It represent how ki is led up to the above through Fujisan as the KF members visualize the holy mountain in the middle of the circle (figure 13) that they made after every Otona meeting, and how Fujisan serves as a fountain of ki.



Figure 12: The drawing visualize that the KF members has gathered around an imaginary Mt. Fuji and is directing their energy up through the mountain, while they also receive spiritual energy from Above through Mt. Fuji.

Figure 13: KF members gathered in the spiritual circle.



Figure 14: J. G.'s drawing.

I came to see J. G.'s drawing as a representation of the Japanese term ma ( ), a word rich in meaning and ambiguity, who “basically means an 'interval' between two (or more) spatial or temporal things and events. It also carries meanings like gap, opening space between, time between and so forth” (Pilgrim 1986:255). In this sense ma is like time, not only objective or descriptive part of reality but modes of experience. Ma can also be seen as place making that includes not only form and nonform (as empty spaces) but as imaginatively created or perceived in immediate experience (Nitschke 1966:152). This is the kind of place that occur in the imagination of the human who experiences these elements - an atmosphere caused by the external distribution of symbols (ibid:117). In this way past and future, time and space, meet in the present, where “time [is] not perceived as an independent reality from nature [or space]” (Kitagawa 1980:39). An aspect that might explain why the drawings made by the KF members more symbolically, than physically, expressed their place. The Chinese character who constitute the written word ma is made up of to elements, outer character meaning gate or door (mon) and the inner character meaning either sun (hi) or moon (tsuki). Both present in the drawing above. The visual image shows a light shining through a gate or door. So the characters representing ma can be seen present in the drawing of the sacred mountain, which indicate that the drawing is a representation of ki. Because ma refers to an interval experience of time, that exist between two things, spatial or temporal. Since time in ma is



not independent from nature or space, and the mountain is sacred, the drawing is seen to indicate a connection between the human and the spiritual.

11 Time in Universe The drawings of KF does not show how the buildings are situated apart from each other, but show how the members imagine their place in the Universe - a topic that also is expressed in the following drawing:

Figure 15: Hitomi's drawing.

Hitomi joined the community in 2008. She is a tall, slender woman with long dark hair and a fringe that reaches down to some large, expressive eyes. Her remarks are often sharp and she is aware that other members can feel frightened by her direct approach. She used to work in a department store. In KF she is taking care of guest support, design and sale. Two years ago her son Aska was born, but she is not married and no one spoke of the father of her child. In a Japanese context it is normally practically difficult to be a single mother but not in KF where the child care is taken care of 43


collectively. Hitomi's drawing sum up many of the topics that where present in KF; connection to the universe, spreading their message around the world, child care, music, and food production. I will use this drawing (figure 15) as a starting point to show how KF members see their place con nected to time in the universe. One explanation was given during a “golden hour” held at the Otona meeting December 4th, by Mikako – a musician who in KF also is responsible of poultry, architectural design and the orchestra. Together with Yoko and Isadon she played an important leader role in the community. To use the term of a care guest, she was part of the “Trinity”. Explaining about the Heliocentric calendar, that I will return to in the next section, she said: The first two characters in the japanese word for universe, is Chinese characters: ⇥⇤. The first one means space and the second means time, so the universe describes time and space. In heliocentric calendars the universe is unlimited, and it also mean journey, freedom, peace, identical and final space – so that is the meaning of the universe in heliocentric calendar. If we just see the human beings as models, the size is different but the system is the same (Dec. 4th). The notion of space and place in KF is linked to their view on the universe and our place in it. What is in the physical world (like the body and buildings) is less important than what is in the spiritual world (the spirit/soul, gods, energy). Still, the body is linked to the universe and all is connected, this was what Mikako wanted to explain by her story. Photos of the similarities in the body and the universe was shown to emphasize this connection, how the shapes in the universe is also present in our body. In one of the KF songs, it is said that “we are the universe”, and that “we were born there and are going back there,” there referring to the universe. In this sense, place in KF is not limited to the local community, but seen in connection with the notion of the infinite universe. Still, the local place is important for the identity of the community and it's members, like the importance of localization close to Fujisan. Despite the focus on local place, the KF community takes action that reach beyond the concerns of a specific locale, and is universalistic compared to most Asian Environmental movements. In Asian societies, especially the ones influenced by Confucianism, such as China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam, most environmental groups is run by people who is involved because of a practical reasons and not some sort of idealism (Kalland and Persoon 1998). In a community like KF, these forces are joined since some of the members are there for practical reasons, like in need of mental support or child care, while other has been looking for a place that could offer answers to spiritual and environmental concerns. I have chosen to share KF members into three main groups: 44


1) Seeking spiritual growth and harmony with nature, 2) Wish to live sustainable, and 3) In need of community and care. Practice and narratives from all three groups are represented in this presentation, but the dominant discourse based on "spirituel growth and harmony with nature" in KF is also more evident in the thesis. It should also be noted that the environmental issues are bound with other issue and frequently used as cultural critique and political resistance by KF members – who see their community as a “new model of life”. In the following I will return to the local and discuss the role of goddess Konohana Sakuya, which are considered to symbolize eternal life and utopia, in the making of KF. Both the use of goddess symbolism, creating model for a new way of life and the critique of industrialized society are all characteristic of the spiritual environmentalism that the next chapter will deal with. Eternal life and utopia are central aspect in KF time dwelling, aspects that will be evident if we take a closer look at the goddess who hold this symbolism and has given the community its name. In the following section we will move away from the differences between 'East' and 'West', and use the goddess that has given name to Konohana Family to look at the similarities in the Global Ecovillage Network; specifically the use of goddesses in their symbolism and rhetoric.

12 Goddesses Konohanasakuya-hime (木之花開耶姫 ) in Japanese mythology15 is the blossom-princess and symbol of delicate earthly life. She is the daughter of the mountain god Ohoyamatsumi (Aston 2005) and often considered an avatar of Japanese life especially since her symbol is the sakura ( 桜 cherry blossom). In Japan, cherry blossom symbolize the transience of life, an important part of the belief in reincarnation. The short but brilliant cherry blooming season is a natural process that is used metaphorically to describe the human life (for more details see Ohnuki-Tierney 2002). Konohana is also the goddess of Mount Fuji and all volcanoes, seen to be guarding the Mt. Fuji-region (Takeya 1998 in Miyazaki 2005). The goddess was not often mentioned in daily life, except her name used in the community name. Still, she and her symbolic was used by the founder to tell about how he see his place: Konohana 木の花, it actually means three kinds of flowers; Japanese plum (ume) who 15 Kojiki is the oldest chronicle in Japan dating from 8th century (711-712) and was composed by O no Yasumaro on the request of the Empress Gemmei. It is a collection of myths concerning the origin of the four home islands of Japan, and Kami. Nihon Shoki , the second oldest book and more detailed, is together with Kojiki the source of inspiration behind Shinto practices and myths. Konohana Sakuya appear in both Kojiki and Nihon shoki.



also have the meaning of long life expectancy, Cherry blossom (sakua) who also mean Japans soul, and the last one is Peach three (mome) who also symbolize utopia. The three flowers represent the Japanese spirit. They all bloom beautiful and die quickly... Japanese plants show eternal life and bring utopia to the world. So Konohana has such a meaning behind it's name. And Konohana Sakuya expresses the beauty of life, and the fragile life. A kind of clear life. This is exactly what I want to express in daily life. When I heard the name of Fujisan's goddess, I knew that was the right name (Oct. 25Th). Giving name to a place is place making in itself. By naming space it is given meaning and become place (Cresswell 2004:9). Space in anthropology and human geography can then be seen in distinction to place, and essential for our way of making sense of the world. Naming is therefore a way humans invest meaning in in a portion of space and then becomes attached to it in some way (ibid:10). The story of Isadon shows how community identity is build into the name and its symbolic. Naming place is a 'bringing together' where 'placeness' occurs from the naming (cf. Heidegger 1968). This process of identification is an essential marker of cultural activity and utilized in differentiation of places and in the process of identification of place where people get the feeling of belonging. The story about a goddess is not unique within the Global Ecovillage Network. May East, who is Findhorn's Executive Director and proclaimed ecofeminist, also use the image of the goddess in her stories: It seems that humanity’s first images of divine power were great mother goddesses with wide hips, fertile bellies and full breasts, concentrated in the drama of birth, nourishment and fertility. The story of a great primeval goddess is told in the ancient Palaeolithic caves, the most sacred of place, the sanctuary, the womb and the source of The Great Mother’s regenerative power (2012:37). So the naming of KF after a goddess, writes nicely into the global Ecovillage discourse, where goddesses is used to visualize the spiritual aspects of their eco-politics. Many Ecofeminist, like the pioneering theorist Carolyn Merchant, places great hope in the myriad material and moral connections that women qua women is seen to have to nature. This hope is translated into a prescription for change founded on the “intimate knowledge of nature” (Merchant 1996:16), which comes out of women's daily caring practices and leads Merchant to call for a “partnership ethic of earthcare.” The daily “caring practices” part of this assertion is important for many ecofeminist who want to avoid making “essentialist” claims about women's biological nature (i.e., that there are essential qualities that all women share by virtue of being female). Therefore, these theorists emphasize that the link they make is a “socio-material and experimental one: women's mothering 46


and caregiving work is seen to mediate the relationship between people and nature and thereby engenders a caring stance towards nature” (MacGregor 2011:4). A similar connection is made between women's caring for people and their environmental concern (Mies and Shiva 1993; Salleh 1997; Mellor 1992; Mellor 1997; Mellor 2000). The connection between women and nature have also been important in structuralist research on gender relations, since women has been linked to nature in many societies, while men has been seen as more cultivated. A differentiation that has legitimated male dominance, since the cultivated has been seen as better than the wild/natural. However, it was Lévi-Strauss (1971) who introduced nature-culture dichotomy as a parallel to the public-private dichotomy (Ortner and Whitehead 1988). A theory which can be useful to think with, but too schematic to grasp the whole picture. It seems to me that Ecofeminism is using the same starting point, that women are closer to nature than men, only that in their case this is considered an advantage. It seems like an oversimplified theoretical access since the distinction between nature and culture is not universal. For example, in Shinto Kami (divinity/god/spirit) is not separate from nature, but is of nature, possessing positive and negative, good and evil characteristics. Like it is said that “Japanese plants show eternal life and bring utopia to the world”, the KF members is also aiming to be a flower that can blossom and show the world a “New Model of Life”. Following the calendar of the universe, the spring should come in 2031. The end of 2012, with Winter Solstice the 21st of December, was seen to represent a big ceremony (the English word expressed in Japanese: セレモニー) in the universe because of the midwinter of the galaxy. On earth this ceremony would be expressed by human beings and other creatures, and it was believed that the way of thinking on earth would be changed from December 21 th 2012 because the midwinter in the galaxy would be like a step towards the new era. An era that they believe will begin in year 2031 (after Isadon's death that he has predicted will be this year) and then people will let go of the material existence and realize that the life is very spiritual. Different spiritual groups had claimed 2012 to be a great year of spiritual transformation or apocalypse. Many had interpret the completion of the thirteenth B'ak'tun cycle in the Long Count of the Maya calendar, which occurred on Dec. 21, to mean there would be a major change in the world order. Even world leaders, like the Bolivian president Evo Morales spoke about this change at an UN General Assembly in September 2012: “According to the Mayan Calendar the 21st of December marks the end of the non-time and the beginning of time... It is the end of individualism and the beginning of collectivism... the 21st of December this year.”16 In such, the ideas in KF is part of a global trend where spirituality is combined with tradition to mediate about the changes people hope will occur here and now. This 16Excerpt from English translation of the speech (webtv.un 2012)



connection between time, place and nostalgia is further presented in the next section.

13 Another Time It is late at night, both me and my room mate, Marine, has gone to bed after another long meeting. Marine initiates the conversation by telling me that she got up at 10.30 yesterday, which is much later than most of the KF members, who mostly get up between 6 and 7 am every day. I answer: “Yeah, me to very late. I was thinking to get up earlier, but I saw you sleeping and it was tempting to continue sleeping a bit.” After talking about the fact that my daughter would wake me up if/when she shared room with me, we continued our conversation about sleep, or should I say time:

Marine: Yes, it’s essential [to sleep]. Katja: Yeah, but I guess, working full-time in the field and attending the meeting in the evening does not give you much sleep. Marine: Yes, but her you can take rest whenever you want, you are free. Katja: Yeah, the first month I was working very hard but now I am getting better at getting rest when I need it. Marine: That was one of the reasons why I came to KF, because before when I worked as a teacher, I had to follow very precise programs and many times it made me sick – so sick I had to go to hospital. Katja: Ah? Marine: Yes, I felt that I could not rest when I had a cold or something, because it would be bad for the other people I was working with. So (counting) in that time it happened five times that I had to go to hospital because I was ill. Katja: Ah, I also did once (and I am telling her about the time I got blood poisoning because I focused on exams instead of seeing a doctor). But I guess I learned from that… Marine: Yes, here you can take rest whenever you want. It is all free. Living here, or leaving, it is free. It can be that some didn’t realize this but that is how it is. Katja: Mm yes, I am starting to realize so, but in the beginning it was very hard. Marine: Mm Katja: I feel that I needed some time to adjust to this place. How was it for you when you first came here?



Marine: Mm, first time I visited Konohana Family was 10 years ago. But I moved here 3 years ago, and I adjusted very quickly because I knew this lifestyle already. Katja: How long time? Marine: Mm, about 1-2 months. Katja: Ah, you think that is normal? Marine: Eh, I don’t know. Some people do not adjust and do not feel free here so they should leave. Staying here is free. For Marine, living in KF means being “free” of the fixed time schedules and the sickness she got from a stressful life in regular society. There was an attempt to create another temporality opposed to the “fast city life”. Still, the “freedom” that office working and homework helping Marine spoke of was highly regulated by the community expectations which was expressed both in expressive and indirect forms. For instance, if you were working on the fields you had to get up and be ready at seven, in order to reach one of the cars who were used to drive out to the fields where they needed a workforce on that particular day, be it for harvesting, planting or weeding. Another, more ambiguous example is the evening meetings that members were “free” to attend or not. It was still a strong expectation that one would attend the meetings unless one was ill. It was sometimes discussed or commented upon, during the meetings, if someone was skipping meetings for no good reason or if they were attending only physically but not staying awake during the long hours of communal sharing. We can see ideas about “free time”, put forward by Marine, as a nostalgia who is used prospective (Boym 2001:8) in the creation of place. So “the fantasies of the past, determined by the needs of the present, have a direct impact on the realities of the future. The consideration of the future make us take responsibility for our nostalgic tales”(ibid). Through combining personal stories with a collective memory the KF members is creating their community. There is an utopian dimension of this nostalgia creating a new feeling of time and place. Although the KF members is busy telling themselves and others about their uniqueness, in their rebuilding of an “ideal home”, it is paradoxically the same as the core of the 'imagined communities' of people who were never in face-to-face contact (Anderson 1983). Maybe not remarkable, as their community is a response to the imagined community of the nation-state. Although KF is a community where the imagination is not needed, since all the members know each other, they are still part of a larger imagined community: the Global Ecovillage Network. It can be that their narratives does not directly use the Ecovillage discourse, but their community is clearly an example of the attempt to create a home – 49


away from the stressful city, away from industrialization and “modernity”. It is modernity at large. The kind of modernity that is irregularly self-conscious and unevenly experienced rather than one single moment of break between past and present, representing a single tendency. Imagination can be seen as the property of collectives, creating 'communities of sentiment', groups that imagine and feel things together (Appadurai 1990). Electronic capitalism (like film, video, internet) has produced forms that exceed both the potential of the printing press to bond communities and nationstates, working transnationally and internationally. These communities carry the potential of moving from shared imagination to collective action. The transformation of everyday subjectivities through media and imagination is not only a cultural fact, but deeply connected to politics, through the new ways individual interests crosscut those of the nation-state. The nostalgia in KF is not only connected to dislocation of place but also with a changed conception of time. KF is a place – a home – that is both physical and spiritual, where place is connected with time. The narratives found in KF was not actually about “the past”, but rather about universal values, family, nature, homeland and truth. They were creating a 'restorative nostalgic' lifeworld (Boym 2001:13). Through narratives and praxis their community were created as an absolute truth, where their praxis where seen to reflect truth and tradition, not nostalgia. Creating a community in response to industrialization, materialism and individualism is a modern phenomenon. It is part of “the shared world of modern reinvented traditions and transnational individual dreams for reform and improvement. While the story that the nostalgics tell is one of local homecoming, the form of that story is hardly local” (ibid:18). What I want to say, referring to Boym, is that the utopian ideas in KF do not come from a nostalgia of the past, but from a different way of relating with self, time and place. The notions about lived life in KF is not seen as local but as a universal truth that they wanted to share with the world. To explain it further; the KF project was concerned with making a “New Model of Life” and to do so they were 'inventing traditions' (E. Hobsbawm 1983). Through “a process of formalization and ritualization with references to the past” (ibid:4) traditions were invented, and thus a special sense of time and place. No one mentioned a former place or a passed time they longed back to, rather they were speaking about the time that would come and the importance of their place in the future. Mythology, like naming the community after a goddess, and narratives about past lives was used to connect to history, and thereby incorporate value systems and conventions of behavior. This chapter has shown how KF is a reaction against the “modern” and 'monochronic' way of living with time. The KF members aim to show the world a way of living with time, which is 50


more in “harmony with the universe” than how they perceive temporality in society at large. Their dwelling in time, like dwelling in being, is connected to spirituality; their belief that everything is connected, similar to the concept of reincarnation and polychronic time. So the way they dwell in their every day practice and time, is affected by their understanding of spirituality, that is also connected to the place where they live. The spirituality then becomes very much present and concrete through their actions in the community and the narratives connected to the landscape – in particular Fujisan. This way of living is understood as more “harmonious” and less “stressed”, because their way of relating time to spirituality and place. The KF members try to express their spirituality in everyday life, like in the narrative about the goddess Konohana Sakuya. Different from the Western Ecofeminist, they do not see the goddess as a mediator between humans and nature, since Kami is also nature. Being in harmony with nature is understood as being conscious about the spiritual powers in the universe. The nature and plants brings utopia to the world, which paves the way for a new understanding of time and space that they believe will bring a new and better way of living to the world. This section has showed how KF is thought to be a place in accordance with the divine powers; how Isadon came here 1000 year after he was born in Himalaya, how cheep land was given to them, and how their community is growing because of the will of Kami. These examples shows us that a temporality based on reincarnation is used in both place making and time dwelling. In the following chapter I will continue to look at spirituality, now in relation to global environmentalism.

Part 四 The value of location “In a community where we live with each other in harmony, each person dedicated to the groups responsible of either diet, housing and living, clothes, child care, nursing care, medical care, or farm maintenance, we work and live with each other taking advantage of the characteristic of each other and make a sensible place.”17 Does it sound familiar? It is not a description of Konohana Family, but another Japanese community; Yamagishi. It was the stories about Yamagishi that made me aware that there existed an 'Other' in KF. This chapter will situate KF between Nagoya – the city that the first members came from, and the metropole of Tokyo – that globally has become a symbol of “modernity”. It will show that the picture is more nuanced than KF against the big city. 17From (yamagishi.or 2013)



Furthermore I will outline how Yamagishi play a central role in the creation of group identity in KF.

14 Origin The founder and the other early members of Konohana Family came from Nagoya – the third largest city in Japan and the largest in the Aichi prefecture (see figure 16). Later on, people from other Japanese cities joined the community. Some were native city people and had grown up in the middle of Tokyo, others had grown up on farms before moving to education and work in a city.

I used to live in Nagoya, a city with a population of 2,800 000 inhabitants... the same number of population as this [Shizuoka] whole prefecture, and then I moved here. I thought, living in a city was just a temporary thing. After I moved here I decided to have a plan to receive what comes... Today I am very happy to live in a way that is very appropriate according to my soul. This place is near Fujisan and it is easy for guests to come here, even for foreign guests, it is not so far from Narita airport. The most important reason why KF live here is because it is on the foot of Fujisan, so I am sure that the best place is given to me (Isadon, Nov. 25.).

Figure 16: Map of the Japanese prefectures.

So the ideas about places are linked to both individual and relational aspects. In this case, Isadon see KF as a better place than Nagoya because it is good for his soul. He also sees KF as having a good location; not only is it located close to the sacred mountain of Fujisan, it is also relatively close to Tokyo and Narita airport – making it convenient for urban and





convenience is seen as part of gods plan. Not the god as creator but as generator with a relative lack of opposition between gods and humans (like the conceptions found in Konjiki 712 A.D.



And Nihongi 720 A.D., analyzed by John Pelzel exposed in Lebra and Lebra 1986). Further, places play an important role in the expression of values, as with Nagoya that is used as an example of 'the Other' – it express the city life that KF is a reaction and contrast to: [Nagoya] is a place where current human beings can earn money. So for such people it is a good place. I owned a company and I was very eager to earn money, when I was younger. So at the time it was a very good place for me. I earned a lot of money that I used to develop this community (Isadon, Nov. 25.). This statement creates a distinction between then and now, them and us. The time when he was eager to earn money opposed to now that he pays more attention to his soul. The narrative is used to distinguish then from now, and also separate them; the materialist, from us; the spiritual beings. Still, when talking about economy in KF it is stressed that money in itself is not bad, it is just that they should be in flow. If people keep their money to themselves society will experience constipation. Returning to Isadon, he grew up in the countryside, in a very remote area. He thinks it would be difficult for young people to live there. Reflecting on his geographical background, he think it is an advantage that he has learned to live with nature in his childhood and later learned to appreciate the qualities of the countryside through living in a big city like Nagoya. Another example on how the knowledge of places is linked to knowledge of the self is through Isadon's descriptions of Nagoya and KF. In these narratives he is “grasping his own position in the larger scheme of things, including his own community” (Basso 1996:34). Some members share this background, with a childhood on a farm, and has learned about farming while growing up. Other members, like Tatsuya who grew up in a small apartment in Tokyo, has been dreaming about the countryside paradise since childhood and learned about farming through books and lectures. Some, like Michiyo and other office members use the skills they have acquired in the city to run other parts of the community. Unlike many Western Ecovillages, the 'imagined community' (Anderson 1983) that KF is part of, this Japanese community has members from diverse backgrounds. It is said that Ecovillages tend to be homogenous – consisting of middle class, college-educated families (Kirby 2003; Schaub 2000; Meltzer 2000) but this is not the case in the Japanese example of an Ecovillage. Rather, KF consist of a mixed group of uneducated/self-educated, college educated, ex-prostituted, craftsman trained and etc. Even though several have a college education this is not highly valued among the community members. Life-learned wisdom seems to be more appreciated than academic knowledge. This was expressed in how the parents provided advices to the children and also how I 53


was advised by some members to start my own café in Denmark, instead of finishing my master degree. The latter might have been said as compliments to my cooking but generally there was put less value on theoretical education than the spiritual growth and daily activities, like preparation of food, child caring, giving consultations, etc. This approach shows that a different scale is used to assess competencies in KF than in Nagoya - and cities in general. It is not CV and formal education that is valued, rather it is interests and personal experiences (these can also be based on formal education) that determine what roles the members occupy in the community. Nagoya – as place, is helping KF in their process of defining themselves through its position as a contrast: Nagoya is used to show that the KF members are not like those living in the city. The narratives from Isadon makes it clear that he think KF as a place where people are not interested in economical growth but in spiritual growth. He shows this by pointing out that Nagoya was good for him when he wanted economic growth, but now he has changed because of the messages from God. Nagoya thus describes both KF as place and Isadon as a person, which we can be seen a bit like two sides of the same case. It is a narrative that shows how “place roots individuals in the social and cultural soils from which they have sprung together, holding them there in the grip of a shared identity, a localized version of selfhood” and how “selfhood and placehood are completely intertwined” (Basso 1996:146). It shows how the interior landscape of mind, spirit and morality is composed of places, place names, and stories that teach about the relationships between people and between people and places. So not only places, but also the people that creates them, becomes defined in the process where antagonisms are used in the identity construction. I want to show this process, and how places are linked to values by using two other examples; firstly Yamagishi – as 'the Other' and secondly show how Tokyo is an image of the materialism that KF is a reaction to.

15 The Other Tamichan had been staying in KF since August, just some weeks longer than me. She is a middle aged woman with short dark hair starting to get grey. Tamichan used to participate in the kitchen work but when needed she came to the fields for harvesting or transplanting. If she was not needed anywhere she spent time corresponding with her husband and friends in Yamagishi. The text messages she would mostly keep to herself but the e-mails was often shared with us during Otona meeting. Personal issues, feelings and ideas were distributed through these readings. Through many small comments about Yamagishi I began to understand that this place played a special role in Konohana Family – the role of 'the Other' - the place they saw as opposed to their own community. 54


Tamichan puts it this way in an answer to her Yamagishi friend; “I can not really express in words how it feels to be here in this [KF] community, but among Yamagishi people there is a difference between what they say and what they do” (Tamichan, October 28 th). She was supported by a female KF member; “Yamagushi has the exact same goal as us, but what they say and what they do is total contradictions” (KF member, October 28th). Then Tatsuya, who were the facilitator of this meeting, told us about his resent Yamagushi experience: When I went to the Yamagishi community the other day 18, I felt a releasing energy... Because of this energy people is just leaving from there, that was what I felt. When I saw people eating in the dining hall of Yamagushi community I noticed how the communication had failed. If they don't change the circle of the releasing energy they will go down. But I also felt that there need to be a lot of energy to change it (October 28 th). The comments were used to make a distinction between Konohana Family and Yamagishi, between how the members liked to see their own community compared to the mistakes of the community that they related to and received members from. Yamagishi is another Japanese intentional community model with commencement in Kyoto 1953, that today consists of twenty-eight “branches”19 in Japan. It should here be noted that I did not realized that the Yamagishi talked about in KF was not one particular community, but a whole network of communities, before after my fieldwork. Yamagishi was mentioned almost daily by members and guests (that had experiences with Yamagishi), as an example of what they saw as inappropriate for a place with high intentions. It played the role of 'the Other'. In daily conversations Yamagishi was talked about like a concrete place that people travelled to and from, it was much later, in an additional online interview with Michiyo I came to understand that KF's 'Other' was a network of communities in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the US, Australia, Switzerland, and Brazil. But the community Tamichan came from was Toyosato, in Tsu City – Mie Prefecture (figure 25), that is one of the largest Yamagishi villages in Japan, and also has a headquarters function 20. One practice used in KF to guide and help people was the reading of their personal heliocentric calendar - chikyureki ( 地 球 歴 litterary; planet history), that was made by looking at how the planets were situated in relation to each other at the moment the person was born (appendix 2 shows how the different constellations of planets are interpreted). It was firstly used to help people who came to KF seeking help, due to family issues or mental illness. Mikako used a 18Asking how far away Yamagishi were, I was told that it was 3-4 hours by car. Upon request it seemed like it would be difficult for me to go there, so I decided to stick with the stories about 'the Other'. 19Each branch has its own financial account, and an agricultural cooperative association organized by region. 20More info:



computer software to make the chikyureki of the person in need, and she and/or Yoko would assist Isadon in the consultations. It was said that the members in KF did not need this help because of their lifestyle in the community and the way they worked with themselves every night during Otona meeting, but while I did my fieldwork in KF this perception changed. The French girl Pauline, the American guy Andrew, and myself (see appendix 3) all got our calendars during September, and the knowledge from the chikyureki was used in the conversations. This made some KF members claim that they also needed to see their chikyureki, since they were experiencing problems. The first member to have his personal calendar exposed was Nakanon. Reading his chikyureki we could understand about his love troubles; why his recently exposed love for Tomochan was not reciprocated. A more typical trait in the interpretations of members personal calendars was how they showed that people living in KF was in need of the community, in order to dispense their potential and avoid problems in daily life. Also in this practice Yamagishi was used to create KF place 'identity'. In the reading of Dekochan's chikyureki Isadon said: Here, in this community, she [Dekosan] can develop her spirituality even though it is difficult for her because of the dotted line between her and Earth, and Neptun that is off [in her Heliocentric calendar]. If she was in Yamagishi and wanted to develop her spirituality it would be difficult for her. Before she became a member here, her mind and character wasn't so nice. But right now her mind got stable (Isadon, Oct. 31 th). So even here, in the reading of a personal calendar, the distinction between the two communities were made clear. As Dekochan had earlier been a member of Yamagishi, it could be clarified that Dekochan did not just need any community to develop her spirituality and be “good”, she needed to stay in Konohana Family. KF as place was considered to have a positive affect on Dekochan. In comparison with Yamagushi – a community with similar values, the uniqueness of KF could be made clear. It was in particular one quality that was seen as the major, important difference between the two communities; KF's ability to put their words into practice, a trait that was also pointed out by Tamichan in her earlier statement. This practice made the members see KF as a better place for developing ones spirituality and a “true model for a new society”. Instead of mainly creating place through imagining it as a community connected to other Ecovillages in the world, which was my pre-notion based on their web-page, the Ecovillagers in KF mainly talked about their place as connected to the universe and as a counterexample to Yamagishi. Using theories from the British social philosopher Gillian Rose (1995), we can see Yamagushi as an example of the need to use symbolic contrasts between 'our place' and 'their place'



in the creation of collective identities. These contrasts tend to be expressed in terms of 'paradigmatic oppositions' (Shields 1991), such as marginal/central, primitive/civilized, industrialized/natural. Rose argue that “place identity derives not only from individuals' attachment to their immediate environments, but also from their 'dis-identification' with others' places and from their relationship to dominant ideologies.” (G. Rose 1995:92). This explains the phenomena of using Yamagushi as 'the Other' in KF, showing how place-myths are united into a system by their relative differences from one another even while they achieve their unique identities by being 'set-off' against one another (ibid). Through the contrasts of spatialised identity, communities may distinguish themselves from other social collectivities (Cohen 1986). These social theories follows the logic of Fredrik Barth's (1969) boundary theory where he takes a stand against the idea that group members share an essential culture. As pointed out in the previous section this culture is 'imagined'. Following the logic of Barth there are no objective differences that separates a group, as KF, from another group, like Yamagishi, and using this access we can avoid seeing a community as a 'bubble' isolated from others, maintained by a group identity without contact to others. The example of how Yamagishi is used as 'the Other' in KF shows that borders and boundaries are created in interaction with other groups (cf Barth 1969:9-10). Furthermore, this example shows how “humans cognitively territorialize the world in their process of dwelling in the world” (Shields 1991:264-65). In such KF members does not only dwell in time, but also in the group identity created by the distinction they make to a community that share many of their values and goals. Talking about 'the Other' in KF, I want to make it clear that we are all using 'the Other' in the process of defining ourself. Also in anthropology we use the Other to say something about ourself. Like Yamagishi was the Other in Konohana Family, the Other is part of an anthropological paradox: On one hand we dogmatically insist that anthropology rests on ethnographic research involving personal, prolonged interaction with the Other. But then we pronounce upon the knowledge gained from such research a discourse which construes the Other in terms of distance, spatial and temporal (Fabian 1983:xli). It is also in this process of representation that the aspect of time become present. By writing our ethnographies into a Western understanding of time, we are again creating a distinction between us – the West and them – the Rest, as it has been demonstrated and problematized by Edward Said in Orientalism (1979) and by Johannes Fabian in Time and the Other (Fabian 1983). It is through the awareness of time as carrier of significance, a form through which we define the content of relations between the Self and the Other, that it is possible to make anthropology scientific, not through 57


keeping object and subject apart. Despite Said and other critics of how our discipline has used the Other as an object, both myself and other ethnographers might still have a naive faith in distance. Or said by Johannes Fabian: “Anthropologists should perhaps not think of representation in the first place as some enabling capacity of the human mind but, more modestly, as something that we actually do, as our practice” (Fabian 1990:756). So in a similar way that KF is making themselves a community, with Yamagishi as their Other, I am making myself an anthropologist through analyzing data from KF. The urge to write ethnography can be seen as a making of then into a now and it is in this move from then to now that the making of knowledge out of experience occurs (ibid). Thus, being aware of the othering in ethnography and in my own work, it seems more productive to go on with anthropology than to stop writing about the Other. Following Fabian, we can only produce ethnographic knowledge because our mind is capable of being intersubjective and through communication with a real other. That is what I have aimed in this thesis, by addressing both temporality and the use of the Other; I have been in an ongoing communication with Konohana Family's 'Lifeworld' to make the Other present.

16 Tokyo They call this place an “amusement district”. The giant digital screens fastened to the sides of buildings fall silent as midnight approaches, but loud-speakers on storefronts keep pumping out exaggerated hip-hop baselines. A large game centre crammed with young people; wild electronic sounds; a group of college students spilling out from a bar; teenage girls with brilliant bleached hair, healthy legs thrusting out from micro mini-skirts; dark-suited men racing across diagonal crossings for the last trains to the suburbs.21 There was not much talk about Tokyo in Konohana Family. In general, the material places were not much talked about. It was the mental and spiritual issues which was in focus, and it taught me, in practice, to view the concept of place from a more abstract point of view. This section brings us to the feelings connected to Tokyo. Because of the antipathy towards the “modern” and industrialized I took it for granted that the KF members disliked Tokyo which is often used by mainstream media as a symbol of “modernity”. My pre-notion was far too simplified. The first to surprise me was Michiyo, the one that had told me that “modern” was understood negatively in KF. In October we went on a trip to Tokyo, because KF members and Next GEN Japan – students involved in the Global Ecovillage Network, were holding a workshop. We were walking down the street, from Cafe de Clie at Sakuragaoka Shibuya Square in Tokyo's business district, towards a fancy hotel where 21 Excerpts from the book After Dark, by the famous Japanese writer Haruki Murakami.



representatives from KF had agreed to meet up with the organizers from Next GEN. Michiyo told me how she felt much more at home in the streets of Tokyo than in the rural area where KF is located. She explained how she felt more comfortable in high heels and make-up than in dirty boots and a straw hat against the sun. She told me that she found life in KF much harder than the city life, still she wanted to stay in KF because life there taught her something much more valuable than what she could get from the international corporation that she had used to work with. There was a contradiction that I wanted to understand. What was it about KF that made people want to stay there, even though it felt like a difficult challenge. More than a month later I was about to travel to Tokyo again, I had to leave Japan and return in order to extend my visa. I was using the opportunity to talk about Tokyo, in my endeavor to understanding the members' perceptions of the place. Some, like Tatsuya, who grew up in a small Tokyo apartment, where happy to live his “dream life” in KF – a place where he could dispense his hobby of agriculture. This might be the typical image of the nostalgic who has found his place, and dream has turned into reality. But there were yet other examples in KF, like Tomochan's narrative:

I actually love Tokyo. I can feel the pulse in my body when I go there. I like to walk in the streets and feel the city. It is what I am used to from growing up, so it feels so well known. But with Haru [my son] it is difficult. In the busy streets people don’t care if they bump into your child, and they don’t even apologize. I go there ones a year [for New Years] to visit my family, but after 2-3 days I had enough and I am longing back to KF (Nov 21th). Her statement is an example of a love-hate relationship to a place. There is a contradiction between the love and the ability to stand it. It might be that she loves to feel the pulse of Tokyo and recall the memories from her childhood and youth, but then she starts to remember how it felt like when Haru was little and she returns to her home in KF. She is not the only one who feels ambivalent about the metropolis. Walking in Shinjuku district of Tokyo, that the quote at the beginning of this section describes, I felt overwhelmed by all the people and illuminated billboards. I was there to look for a store well know for its wide range of photo equipment. It was hard to find Yodobashi, even though I had been told that it was located near the metro station. The people in the street seemed too busy to help me, so I went into a small shop to ask for directions. Out on the street again, I felt like in a jungle of busy people and fast vehicles. I found that Yodobashi in Tokyo was a four floor store, but despite the size they did not have the polaroid filter I searched for. I returned empty handed, with an experience richer, to Shinjuku station – that in reality is a large shopping mall. No one met me with 59


their big smiles to incorporate me into their family, like when I first arrived in KF, instead I felt like a solitary individual among all the busy people. Other areas though, like Harajuku where teenagers do cosplay (costume play) – dress up in eccentric costumes to resemble anime characters, Lolitas or punk musicians, and hang out around Harajuku station fascinate me. I enjoy the side streets of this district which are lined by many trendy shops; some with only kawaii (cute) accessorize, others dedicated to dog clothing. I like the stores with used clothes, the crepe stands and the small restaurant with biodynamic food (whatever that involves). Also I like the calm area of MinamiSenju, one of the poorer sections of the city that mainly laborers inhabit. Maybe it is the lack of metropolitan atmosphere that make me feel at home in this area, where I at several occasions has found peace at a cheep and nice hostel; with a toilet dedicated to Hello Kitty, another to “nature”, and always free tea in the tiny lobby where guests are sitting on pillows on the floor that is covered with tatami22. Unlike Michiyo and Tomochan I do not feel at home in Tokyo, it is to a greater extent a place which feels extremely overwhelming and highly fascinating at the same time. Japan (unlike Norway) is one of the most urbanized societies in the world. An almost continuous urban belt has developed stretching from Tokyo in the east to Kita Kyushu in the west. It makes a 'megalopolis' comprising some 78 million people or 63 per cent of the Japanese population (Karan 1997:23-5). Almost two-thirds of the national population live on just 3% of Japan's land (ibid.). This integration affects rural space, as well as urban space, as the megalopolis absorbs much of the arable part of rural Japan. These rural areas in turn take on a quasi-urban character whereby local livelihoods come to be based on urban-type employment in conjunction with part-time farming. According to William Kelly's formulation; “the age of rural Japan is over, and in its place there exists only 'regional Japan'” (1990) – a derivative space wholly subordinate to the megalopolis. This development has profound implications for upland areas of Japan. One of the features of post-war Japan has been a national preoccupation with the rural village as a spiritual home, or furusato (frequently written ふるさと with hiragana23), an unchanging locus of affective belonging in a rapidly urbanizing society. This might also help explain the occurrence of KF as a spiritual community in 'rural Japan'. Furusato literally means old village, but its closer English equivalents are home and native place (Robertson 1988:494). Today, furusato is one of the most popular symbols used by Japanese politicians, city planners, and advertisers. The process by which furusato is evoked into existence is called furusato-zukuri, or home/native-place making (ibid). 22 A type of mat used as flooring in traditional Japanese-style rooms. 23 One of the three Japanese writing systems: the Chinese Kanji (漢字) characters, hiragana (ひらがな / 平仮名) and katakana (カタカナ / 片仮名) – both syllabic scripts. Hiragana represent the sound furusato itself as a thing, rather than provide visual apprehension of an “old village”, as the kanji characters would.



Bringing us closer to one of the core issues of this paper: place making in Konohana Family. Furusato-zukuri can be seen as a process by which culture, as a collectively constructed and shared system of symbols, customs and beliefs, is socially reproduced. KF is then a place created because of the longing for the rural village as spiritual home. As in most industrialized societies, the rural is, in some way or the other, portrayed as idyllic – as the image of what we are longing for: our nostalgia. In this way, “places becomes images of association who can express ideas and convey a complex set of associations without the speaker having to think deeply or specify exactly which associations or images she intends” (Shields 1991:46). Looking at Ecological intentional communities in the West, aspirational ruralism is characterized by middle-class in-migrants who intend to “defend their physical and emotional investment in rural localities” (Woods 2003:318), represented by their construction of the rural idyll – or should we continue to call it nostalgia? Seeing KF as one of the many ecological intentional communities that has occurred all over the world in the last decades, it can be perceived as a break from the modernist mode of politics. Not only a break from Tokyo specifically, but from what a place like Tokyo represent: consumerism, materialism, stress and ego. KF is an attempt to create place and time guided by spiritual and environmentalist principles where the characteristics of Tokyo does not match. This section has explained how KF was started with a group of people coming from the big city Nagoya, but is more than just a reaction to the “modern materialism”. The Narratives in KF shows how places are linked to both individual and relational aspects. In section 23 I showed how they in KF use Yamagishi communities as 'the Other' to show what their group is not, and how their own place is affecting people positivly. Tokyo is perceived both as a place where some of the KF members feel “more at home” and by others as a “place where one can not live”. The nostalgia, deriving from Furusato-zukuri (and indirectly the global flows) is used to reproduce a collective with shared values, system of symbols, custom and beliefs. In the following chapter I will continue to analyze how notions of place play an important role in the expression of values and belief. I will use several examples to show how the spiritual beliefs in KF determines their practices related to environmentalism and the Global Ecovillage Network.



Part 五 Spiritual Environmentalism In late November KF members started planning their first Hanamatsuri ( 花 祭 り Flower Festival) that would be held in February 2013. I was told that it was the “traditional” festival to celebrate the revival of the sun power before and after the Toji - winter solstice. According to official festival organizers the first practices originate more than 700 years ago and have been kept in the same style for 400 years24. Relating to our knowledge about how people generally 'invent traditions'; in “a process of formalization and ritualization, characterized by reference to the past” (E. Hobsbawm 1983:4), the Hanamatsuri festival has probably not been conducted precisely the same way through all the years, but the organizers want to keep the tradition alive by recreating a performance that can accommodate the idea of the “traditional” ritual. The festival is performed through music, dance and play where myths and symbolism are in focus. The most important aspect from KF point of view was, however, how “evil” is equally important to “good” in order to create “harmony”. A male KF member that was going to play the devil explains: “It is not so difficult but the performance is very important. If we don’t understand the spirituality we can not communicate the message.” These perceptions are in line with the Japanese understandings of good and evil. In contrast with Western and Chinese philosophy the moral standards in Japanese philosophy are more or less relative (Eisenstadt 1995:191). Evil is necessary for the cosmic balance, in the same way as dark is required to see light. Without evil we can not know what is good and evil is thereby a necessary condition for good. This is similar to the Sinhalese demon celebration in Sri Lanka described by Kapferer (1983), which also symbolizes an encompassing cosmic whole. Both the Hanamatsuri that were going to be held in KF and the demon ceremonies in Sri Lanka have connection to Buddhist tradition and belief, and both practices have an ancient lineage although they are no longer a modern practice (ibid:321). This shows an essential part of the worldview that was cultivated in KF and how spirituality was used in the “socialization, the inculcation of beliefs, value systems and conventions of behavior” (E. Hobsbawm 1983:9). Returning to 'spirituality' it is a rather diffuse sentiment or belief in transcendent forces that may or may not directly influence the individual’s life. While organized religions may include spiritual elements, 'spirituality' is highly individual even in a community like Konohana Family where everything seems to be done the communal way. First the theoretical term 'spirituality' will 24Annual figures provided by brochure (Toei. 2012)



be elaborated followed by views on supirichua in KF that will be accounted through narratives and examples of practice. Contemporary spirituality makes it possible to join a spiritual or religious group, to practice yoga or move in with Konohana Family. This makes the Japanese community part of a global trend where beliefs in faith healing are increasing. The trend of so-called 'do-it-yourself religions' and 'diffuse religions' that involve choosing elements from different religions irrespective of dogmatic positions (Varga 2007:145). Mixing elements from Shintoism, Buddhism, Christianity, New Age and possibly other religions and philosophies, the KF members were striving to connect with “the inner depths of their unique life-in-relation” and by such they follow the 'modern' trend of subjective-life (cf Heelas and Woodhead 2005:4). A change that makes “individuals emphasize their personal experiences as their source of meaning” (ibid:11). Not to say that subjective-life is new to human history or culturally specific, but to emphasize that there has been a 'modern' turn towards an understanding of self and culture in direction of a 'person-centred' and 'self-centred' understanding (Heelas and Woodhead 20054; E. J. Hobsbawm 1995; C. Taylor 1989;1991;2002). An such KF members are following the 'modern' trends, although some of their practice and narratives shows an aim to create a place and be in time opposed to the “modern” notion of time and place. Spirituality and KF are both phenomenas based on the 'modern' worldview of the subjective self. During my research of spiritual experiences in KF my focus was kept on understanding the bodily experiences in a larger perspective, that can tell us something about how people create places through embodiment, practices and narratives. The anthropological focus on the “individual as an acting subject and creator of social relations and notions as well as representation of the world allows us to connect the individual religious experience with the historical and political processes that make up the context” (Ryle 2004:259). Combining the phenomenological experiences and collected narratives with history and theory, this paper takes steps towards a deeper understanding of how 'spirituality' can be part of the social creation of place and time. Chapter five takes a closer look at the prioritization of “communal harmony” and what I call spiritual environmentalism. The following examples will be used to explain spiritual environmentalism in the glocal context where KF is situated. To do so we will look at their “holistic” worldview, the messages KF are receiving from “spirits Above”, their Japanese view on the connection between humans and nature, an explanation of how spirituality is related with environmentalism.



17. Holism The universe is the world of light We were born there and are going back there All of us are here on this planet for a reason Those who are bound by the mind and the body Open the door of your mind and let the new wind enter Your future is waiting for you to open its door Even if no one notices we always belong to the universe, eventually you will realize that some day 25 This is how KF members use lyrics to explain the relation between them and the universe. Songs like this are a key way in which the spirituality and worldview is transmitted to members and visitors in the community. The songs are in Japanese but some of them have English chorus and all are translated into English so guests and helpers from abroad can hear the lyrics during concerts. When I first entered the community a welcome concert was held and an English version of the Konohana Family Song Book was handed to me. The music is mostly made by Mikako who writes the lyrics and the initial melody and she is also the main singer. She gets feedback from the other members before a song is completed. During concerts an atmosphere of concentration aimed at the music was created by the members. This was done by projecting pictures and lyrics on a canvas behind the band and by inserting rows of chairs in front of "the scene" where guests were placed in the bottom row. During songs with fast rhythms, some of the children sat on the shoulders of adults but when the lights got dimmed and a quiet song was presented everyone sat down quietly. The songs impact the members emotionally, some songs more than others and especially “On this Planet”, that was mostly used as a final song. Each time the band started to play the song, Erika, a woman in her late 20s, that came to KF almost at the same time as me and often functioned as my translator, would start to get tears in her eyes. It was difficult for her to explain why but on November 3rd Erika took me with her to sing this song in the choir and I felt like I could understand why she felt touched. Singing with the members in the choir felt nice and I seemed to know most of the lyrics after all the concerts I had been attending since my arrival. I sang in Japanese: “Given this eternal life, we live on this planet. Given everything from the beginning, we live on this planet. We live on this planet. We live on this planet...” Most of the choir were moving quietly along to the music - swaying from side to side. Participating in the singing made me feel like I was a part of the community. Erika seemed happy even though she had tears in her eyes. Tomochan stated; 25 Excerpts from “Children of the Universe” - KF Song Book.



“Sometimes we forget that we are living together, but the text reminds us that we are with everyone.” The use of music for providing religious feelings are not unique to KF. Connel (2005) has written about Australia's popular Hillsong megachurch and shown how their sermons are characterized by visual and musical interludes demanding audience participation, demonstrating the ways in which the church commands the senses to religious experience. My own emotions were also effected, especially by the more rhythmic songs that gave me the opportunity to dance. Moving around to music always make me in a good mood, especially when it is in communion with others who encourage you with their smiles. It strengthens the sense of community so the concert can be seen as a tool to create place through practice. It is a part of what makes the members feel like there is no division between work and leisure. The concert is both a promotion activity of their 'company' as well as a leisure activity. In accordance with the polychronic sense of time, found in cultures influenced by Hinduism and Buddhism, the KF members do not feel a need to have leisure time or vacation. The songs were also used to communicate KF worldview. A belief system that similarly to most New Age inspired spirituality is based on belief in reincarnation and the possibility of gaining knowledge through different lives in different times and “other-worldly” dimensions. As said in the Children of the Universe that started this chapter: “We have come to this planet from the universe. The universe is the world of light. We were born there and are going back there.” According to this view we as human spirits, are only visiting the earth from the universe. They further believe that we all have a part to play in the divine plan, expressed with: “All of us are here on this planet for a reason.” It is a worldview they will describe as “holistic” an access to the world who’s importance is stressed by their holistic calendar (see figure 17). Holism is not just a worldview used in KF, it is also a fundamental principle of anthropology although the term is understood differently in the two contexts. 'Holism' in anthropology has been fundamental for our access to the world and the studies of it since Malinowski and Margaret Mead. But as Ton Otto and Nils Bubandt (2010) has pointed out; it is so fundamental that we rarely mention or discuss its premise. Furthermore, “holism also appears to smack of New Age naïveté and political correctness to boot - at a time when it seems that every scientist and their healer are turning "holistic"” (Fodor and LePore 1992; Smuts and Holst 1999; Caruana 2000; Diamond 2001; M. C. Jackson 2002; Pellegrini et al. 2003). Something we also see the example of in my research of Konohana Family, where both researcher and research participants share ideas about the importance of looking at the world in holistic terms, even if we give the term different meanings.



Before going deeper into “holism” from Konohana perspective I will clarify the anthropological approach to the equivalent; as “a phenomenon [that] has meaning, function, and relevance only within a lager context, field of relations, or world” (Otto and Bubandt 2010:3). It is therefor my aim to look at “holism” in KF from a 'holistic' perspective, that is by placing KF worldview into a larger context. Holism in KF is characterised by looking at the world from the bigger point of view; from the universe or the solar galaxy. This involves “utilizing the wisdom” of the holistic calendar, and practice a life in “harmony” with humans and other creatures.

Figure 17: Heliocentric calender made and used in KF.

Because the KF members are not only concerned by the calender showing the changes on earth but also in the universe they made their own calendar which takes this aspect into consideration and show the seasons and changes in the solar galaxy. “Holism” in KF is to look at oneself from outside – from the universe - and that is what their calendar attempts to do. It aims to see time on earth from the universe where everything is circular and following it's own logic of seasons, movements of 66


planets and our destiny managed by the divine powers. The arrows moving to the left show how time – days, seasons and years - are moving circularly both on earth and universe. We can recognise this circular image of time from e.g. Hinduism where a wheel has been used to represent the repeated eternal time that could shape human destiny (Coward 1999). Differently from typical Hindu thought this cycle of transmigration is not perceived negatively in the KF perception of time. The spiral does not imply a pre-established harmonious stability but suggests a continuous change through repetition with variants. What the KF members strive to do is to live in “harmony” with the “flow” visualised by their calendar. In the following section I will explain how contact with “Above” made the members aware of the “flow in the universe” and thereby prepared for the time – “the new era” or spring in universe, that they saw us move towards, in accordance with their calendar.

18 Messages from “Above” Yoko is a well-proportioned slender 35 year old woman who dresses more sexy and teenage-like than the other women in the community. I have been told that she had a period of “not dressing this way” and working in the fields when she came to KF but by the time I arrived she had apparently found (or got) another role in the community. Yoko is a former English lecturer and has previously lived with her Chinese ex-husband in the United States. She has a four year old daughter with a former member of KF who comes to visit every once in a while. In KF she is responsible for some of the translation work as well as care and support with Isadon. She has lived in KF for four years and started to receive messages from “divine team” on March 20th 2012 – the same day as Takumi (the youngest child in the community during my fieldwork) was born. I was told by Yoko that she and Isadon were asking Takumi's tamashii (soul 魂) about his name and the tamashii said to Isadon: “My soul father please name me with your will.” Yoko further explain “the name Takumi came down to Isadon and it means to think and do something with your will. I [Yoko] received the messages from divine team when they wanted to tell us something, but I don't think I needed to communicate with them before. However from that day on I started to communicate with them at my own will and mutual communication began.” Tamashii could be called Kami (God), “human beings”, “animals” or “plants”. All the beings have Tamashii in them. I have decided to characterize this practice as 'mediumship' because it was talked about in KF as Yoko was “receiving messages from Above” and she was only called by her name. I want to point out that shamans that could communicate with Kami has been an important part of early Shinto practices and the majority of 67


these shamans were women. Yoko's practice in KF can therefore be seen as an extension of this tradition. It is also worth mentioning that her daughter was named Himiko like the shamanic queen that ruled parts of the Japanese islands in the third century C.E. It is written that Himiko “received divine oracles and communicated these oracles to her younger brother who was the only male allowed to see her” (Sharma 1994:96). A practice similar to Yoko receiving divine messages that she communicated to the community. During the four months I stayed in KF we received 11 messages from Ten (the divine, above, 天). Ten is understood as the laws of the universe. All human beings were created from these laws, exist in these laws, and will get back to these laws. In the last message, on October 24th, it was said: We don't feel that we have to give messages in particular as divine team, looking at your daily life recently. We are not sure how we are going to collaborate from now on, but if you put importance on your intuition every day special messages from us would not be necessary... We were able to gain lots of learning and joys through communicating with you for the past 7 months starting last March and now we are looking forward to moving to a new stage. This and previous messages were received by Yoko during her sleep – where she went into meetings with the souls Above, subsequently these messages were written down by her and shared at Otona meetings. Yoko explains that “the new stage” has not yet occurred and to what this stage means she replays: “I'm pretty sure that even divine team hasn't known exactly what it means since both divine team and human beings have been creating the story. What I know is when Konohana members' spirituality reaches a certain level we will understand what it means. We are still in the process.” Her own experience of the new stage is expressed in this way: I feel the existence of divine team all the time so I don't think I need to communicate with them with words now. It also means I feel the boundary between divine team and me is about to disappear. Moreover considering the current level of Konohana members' spirituality I believe it is time for each of us to try to communicate with them instead of only Isadon and me bringing the messages and it is possible. Therefore I'm really looking forward to experiencing the new stage where there are no boundaries between divine team and us!26 These messages can thus be seen as part of a development step for KF community. One of their possible steps towards the “new era”. These messages came from Above precisely in 2012 as part of the spiritual preparation before the mid winter in the universe. The messages were taken seriously 26 Excerpts from interview in the wake of my fieldwork, conducted on June 5th 2013.



by the KF members and had concrete impact on how I and others were perceived in the community. Like Nils Bubandt (2009) I see these spirits and their messages as 'methodological real', in the sense that they have real impact on people and their social interactions. Regardless of the role the messages had on the processes in the universe they did affect Yoko's role in the community as she with her ability to receive messages from Above possessed a large spiritual capital that gave her a special role in KF. For instance she and Isadon got a salad made specially for them every day for lunch and dinner. Other members were also getting special treats for birthdays, when sick or when going on a trip, but no other than the 'spiritual leader' and the 'medium' were given this kind of special treatment on a daily basis. Yoko translated the messages into English, not only because of my presence in KF but also for the other foreign guests. The messages were often directed specifically towards one or more guests. Like the message to Pauline from above: The reasons why we created the Konohana community is to show that human beings are able to evolve so dynamically with many different kinds of people living together and to express ONENESS AND DIVERSITY OF THE UNIVERSE at the same time. Both of us decided to put YOU into this community for a while to see that even a foreigner can be part of it. The message can be seen as an example on how the KF members, together with the spirits Above, create a feeling of a “place in the universe”. Implying that KF was not just made as a place on earth, but created as a spiritual place in the universe through communication with the spirits. Another message; it is came to Yoko when she was looking at Andrew as he was singing the song On this planet during one of the concerts. Ayoung and Doo-Yeon two young women from South Korea got a message telling them that they were the Messangers of Harmony. Other messages were directed more broadly to all members and guests in KF teaching us the structures in the Universe and encouraging us to learn about our soul. These are examples on how the spiritual forces are involved in everyday life through the messages received by a 'medium'. This is how the spirits become “constitutive actors within the society” (Bubandt 2009:312). As Bubandt was present when the spirits spoke through others and was urged to converse with them, I was in touch with the spirits in Konohana Family through Yoko's messages that were directed to me. The spirits affected my ability to do research in KF in a positive direction when they urged all members in KF to communicate with me despite the language problems: Even if some of you do not understand what [Katja] says and communicate well due to the language barrier, it does not mean you cannot make a contribution to her activities. 69


To keep changing yourself AT EVERY MOMENT would be the biggest contribution not only to her research but also to the earth! That also means to embody the system of the universe itself. This message affected my research positively since all the members wanted to follow the advices from the souls Above and therefore became eager to communicate with me in any way possible. Similarly to the Bangwa of South West Cameroon (Bowie 1985) KF members spoke about friendship in the spirit world, for instance when explaining the connection they feel towards foreigners who are visiting them and when Yoko went to "meetings above" she joined her "soul group" – spirits she felt familiar with. Robert Schwartz (2009) explains the emerging comparative ethnographic picture that involves the idea that people do not progress through their lives or cycle of lives alone, but with a group of friends or "soul group" with whom they often choose to reincarnate in order to provide support, and to learn certain predetermined lessons designed for spiritual growth. In KF this was understood as; spirits come down from above, receive their bodies, live on earth, and get back to above again. By receiving the body in the process, they gain the recognition of their individuality and experience various lives based on the contents of the recognition. On earth they will realize the structure of this world through the experiences they get, before they go back to this world itself. Whereas other anthropologists might have difficulties with making their informants share their thoughts with them, I was constantly told stories and explanations from the KF members who wanted me to see the world as they did. From the beginning of my field work I was included into a community where personal problems and deep feelings were shared by all. I would not build individual relationships with key informants but habituate myself a practice where I had to open up to an entire group of 86 people at once. The sharing of thoughts or emotions with only one of the others in the community was not an option as it was against their ideas about how harmony in communities were created. Living in Konohana Family was thus an exercise in trusting everyone in the community despite the lack of knowledge of each individual. My research therefore shows insight to how it is like to enter a community based on spirituality, where the harmony of the community are given higher priority than individual preference – or “ego” (jiga 自 我 ) as it was called in KF. In the next section I will elaborate on the significance of some of the spiritual experiences I had in KF.



19 Spiritual experience Kochan sits down across from me at the dining table in the large common room. He is in for lunch a bit later than the others and is saying the prayer quietly by himself: “I exist. That is because I am you. And you are I. I do my best. Hoping that people will become aware of your will.” 27 His eyes are closed and his hands are pressed together in prayer. A symbolic gesture of reverence that symbolizes the unity of body and mind (Schumacher 1995). “Itarakimasu” (いただきま literary, I humbly receive) - the pre-meal prayer is ended with a saying as common in Japan as “bon appétit” in France. This is during my first period of religious fasting, so I am sitting at the table with the others, drinking tea and taking some salt. Kochan tells me that he used to do fasting once a month, each time a week: ”I did once a fast where I did not only [abstain] from food but also from water. It was so hard!” Then he explains how he became very sensitive to air humidity: “I could feel it with my skin – my body became as an measuring instrument. It was a good experience.” Kochan tells about how the fasting made him realize many things, including the concept of time: “Sometimes it is good to have special time, like fasting, to look at myself, to meditate, or connect with divine. Although I think it's better to have a connection with divine in daily life and look back on myself and think about the universe.” In this sense fasting could be used to create “special time” or what in monochronic time would be called spear time. It also shows how 'spirituality' is the dominating factor in KF – how the concern about “connection to divine”, personal “growth” and focus on “harmony in the universe” are seen as more important than physical health and ecology in the dominant discourse. Isadon explained me why they are vegetarians in Konohana Family in one of our meetings 28. In an explanation with many aspects, one of them was a distinction between society at large where people eat meat and Konohana Family where they are vegetarians. The respective diets are seen as important for humans mental state. The meat eating people in general society get depressions and other problems while members in Konohana Family can live harmoniously because of their vegetarian diet. To emphasize this Isadon and Yoko showed me the Chinese character 29 for food: 食. Food consists of two characters: person; 人 and good; 良 . “So good food means good and harmonious person” Isadon stated. This made me think about Mitchiyo who had been fasting the recent days because she wanted to become healthier. I was wondering if Isadon thought this was a 27 Excerpt from the English translation that hang on the sliding door into the dining room, along with the Japanese edition of the same grace. 28 On November 1th 2012. 29 Chinese Kanji is used in Japan, together with Hiragana (for native naturalized Japanese words) and Katakana (used for foreign words and names).



bad idea since food was associated with good person. Then he told me about the role of fasting (danjiki 断食 ), where one reason for fasting is the health, the other is “people do not only live from food; people live from the energy.” The character for prana – life energy; 気 is similar to sickness; 病 . That means that when you are sick your prana is sick. “Sickness means unsuitability of your

mind... and in order to create a peaceful society it is important to look back at oneself... and control ones emotions, desires and greed.” Starting the first, three day long, fasting I was told to drink konohana kin juice 30, “protection tea”31 (hodjicha 保ぢ茶), replacement (genmei 言明) coffee32 and take salt and honey when needed. I felt excited about getting the experience of fasting as I had never done something similar before. Rather I was used to think that it was important to have regular meals to avoid drop in blood sugar level, good for for keeping a stable mood. Having heard about religious experiences connected to food like the ecstatic feeling during feast after fasting, I was looking forward to experiencing it myself, even though this fast would not be followed by a feast. Rather it was considered important to start eating very gently after the fasting. More essentially the purpose of fasting in KF was to realize that we do not need food to live, since there is “life energy” and when we know this there is no need to fast. Isadon's wife Aichan – the leader of the kitchen held the record of fasting in KF with 16 days, and during her long fasting she had stated “I could go on for ever.” Since I started to consider the fasting the day before it seemed like my body and mind were prepared for spending three days without food. On November 2 nd the first day of danjiki I felt more cold than normally, like the body was directing the energy towards the most essential parts and kind of cut off hands and feet that were less important. I was surprised to experience that I did not feel bad without food, rather more "clear" in a strange way. The second day I felt tired in the morning so I listened to a self hypnosis app I had on my mobile and then I took sit-ups - a habit I had started after comparing my body with the other female bodies in KF. During the fasting I sometimes thought about one of my closest friends in junior high school who developed anorexia. I also had to admit to myself that I was feeling an increased desire to lose weight and get more fit. This shows how the self is not merely as conscious, intelligent mind or intellect, but as experiencing embodied subject (Cohen 1992; 1994). During the fieldwork in KF I started to get much more conscious about my body. Through the daily bath with the other women in a showering room with large mirrors I 30 A micro-organism mixture made by fermenting herbs and orange peal (appendix 3). 31 Both the brown “protection” tea, green tea and black tea were produced in KF. Hodjicha was always accessible in large pots, ready to drink. 32 Made in KF from roasted rice.



began comparing my body to the others. Almost all the female members were very skinny and it seemed like the bodies of the other mothers showed no marks after pregnancy. The daily sight of these bodies which had by now become so familiar to me gave me a desire to appear as them. Therefore I started on a diet for the first time in my life. I provided myself with smaller portions of food than ordinary and stayed clear of tempura and other foods fried in flour and rise oil. Doing so I acted similar to most women in the community. I also started to do sit-ups every day and whenever possible I joined those who exercised: Like the two young women doing yoga every day in the lunch break (while others were sleeping) and the older women who did traditional Japanese morning gymnastics. I did not see major changes on the scale before my second danjiki was completed but I got comments on the physical change initiated. At an evening meeting in the last weekend of October, J. G. commented that my face looked more narrow and also showed this by using facial expression where he sucked in his cheeks. Judging by the smiles from both him and my translator Erika I understood this remark as a compliment. These examples illustrates how knowledge is created in the process of engagement between individuals. It also shows how the body is an interpretative medium that can highlight the existence of multiple narratives and the interplay between them. Since I had a different internal experience than what I external expressed in the community we can assume that others who used danjiki in KF, or others that have spiritual experiences, might have multiple narratives. As Johannes Fabian puts it “some of our best research is literally carried out while we are 'out of our minds'� (Fabian 2001:31-2). This proves that fasting was not only spiritual, although it was the desire to experience "spiritual growth" that lead me to abstain completely from food. The self is not a disembodied mind but an embodied person situated in the materiality of a body which in turn exist within an historical cultural world. Mauss wrote (1979:122) about what in contemporary terminology might be called 'embodied knowledge'. An attention to bodily techniques or habits, learned ways of acting that become internalised and normalized to appear natural, is one potential fruitful way to approach the transmission of a religious culture. From this perspective the use of the body is consciously and unconsciously transmitted and imitated or resisted as part of religious socialization. Following this logic religion does not exist in some disembodied realm. The "experience of the divine" is rather perceived through the mind and body but is seen to add up to more than the sum of its parts (Bowie 2003:55). Stephen Katz (1987) argues that language and culture have ontological and hermeneutical salience. For that reason a Buddhist and a Christian will not just describe a "mystical experience" in different terms, but experience the world including the 73


interior world differently. It is important to be aware of these aspects of phenomenological research in order to use the body as a medium of interpretation for spiritual experience. By combining the narratives from the research participants, like Kochan's experience with danjiki with my own experience of KF practice it becomes clear that there might be physical aspects of the practice that is downplayed in the narratives used to explain the experience. As the spiritual discourse is dominating in KF, the narratives about the spiritual experiences and interpretations of those who are brought up in conversations about danjiki. Through sharing my experience of danjiki, that was not only spiritual, my aim has been to give a broader picture of the embodied spirituality in the Japanese community. In the next section I will use Tatsuya's drawing, and his explanation of it, to how how the aspect of “feeling” body can be related to the narratives about the spiritual cosmology.

20 “I feel it” Figure 18: Tatsuya's drawing.

Nani core (⌅⇧⌃⌥) “What is this?” Tasuya asked me in a childish and informal way. I gave him the same question while laughing as it is his drawing of Konohana Family we are looking at (figure 18). He starts pointing and name the various aspects of his illustration: “Mt Fuji, the Solar system, planets and Circulation/cycle (junkan

⇥⇤ ⌅ ⇧ Looking at the

larger structure we see a seed. Tatsuya explains that he “doesn’t really know but something will be born out of it. Something new. I sense that something new is going to come out of what we/us are doing”. He furthermore points to the lines and circles in the drawing to make me aware of the “obvious”; that they represent yin and yang. As I have many times been struck by the platitude of which yin and yang was spoken about I used the opportunity to ask how he came to this knowledge. Both Tatsuya and Erika



who is translating, find my question about “how he came to know about yin and yang” strange. So after some doubt in the translation process Tatsyan answeres: “Well, I feel it. Also I learned from books and people. But sensually (kankaku-teki ni ⌃⌥

) I know it by my intuition (chokkan ⌦

⌃ ).” He further states that this is; “Not a special thing – the drawing - that’s the image inside of

me”, and; “the story comes out of the big stream/flow.” Tatsuya's explanation and drawing reflects a perception of the world that is both typical and untypical in the Japanese context. It is typical in the sense of a dualistic universe where opposing forces simultaneously present in a universe where the negative elements are as integral as the positive elements (Eisenstadt 1995). It is untypical because most Asian societies especially those influenced by Confucianism, tend to be guided by particularistic rather than universalistic norms (Callicott and Ames 1989:15). Latter means that few environmental groups in Asia reach beyond the concerns of a specific locale. What is seen in the example of Konohana Family is an Ecovillage that did not start out with some sort of idealism linked to global environmentalism but a spiritual community that has been linked to the Global Ecovillage Network due to their spiritual universalistic approach and way of living in “harmony with nature” - including humans. This is an example of how the local context affects the local particularity in the global phenomena. A tendency has been to follow the perception of people in Asia as living in harmony with nature (Callicott and Ames 1989). Although nature and the moral order has been entwined in the Confucian worldview the man-made appearance and over-exploitation of the environment has occurred in Asia since pre-colonial times (Kalland and Persoon 1998). Tales told in KF might be seen as part of the 'religious environmentalist paradigm' (Pedersen 1995) where Shinto, Buddhism, Japanese mythology etc. are used to make environmentalism “traditional” and opposed to “modern city life”. In the last decades there has been an increasing focus on environmentalism worldwide and the “green” has become one of the most powerful movements. Environmentalism has also become fashion in the East (Lohmann and Rigg 1995). This fashion allows “city intellectuals” to take part in a powerful discourse to gain them international support and prestige (Kalland and Persoon 1998b:19-21). Konohana Family is not particular in framing the environmental issues in religious terms rather it is common among Asian movements. The religious framing makes the environmental discourse localized. That might explain why KF are using quite different discourses in their representation dependent on their audience. At their web-page and other materials that reach a larger international audience their discourse is very similar to any other Ecovillage in the world. Listening to the oral narratives in KF a much more particular and spiritual discourse is being 75


expressed. KF worldview, similarly to the 'religious environmental paradigm', “provides people with an opportunity to define their identities within, but also in contrast to an evolving 'global village'” (Kalland and Persoon 1998b:22). Through imagined traditional religious values, the only Japanese Ecovillage listed in the Global Ecovillage Network has been created. Where it is otherwise difficult to raise cultural criticism the environmentalism merged with spiritual ideas can be used to do this. In a balance between the spiritual obscure and the environmental mainstream KF is an interesting example of both local and global trends. After all these examples and explanations it is now time to summarize and give some bids on what has been harvested and what might sprout on the basis of the data and analysis I have presented.

Part 六 To wind up Like other places Konohana Family consist of a meshwork of story lines, the same is true for this thesis. This last chapter is used to gather up the examples and clarify what can be harvested from this study of time and space in KF. The smiles, “love” and care are important aspects of the practice that create place in KF. The feeling that “everyone is important” play an essential role for those who has joined the community because of their need of help and an alternative “family”. Status differences are reduced by seeing different people as a positive part of what make their community harmonious. Different from Ecovillages in the US and Europe, the different social groups are represented and coexist in the Japanese community. As KF is striving to be an example and an alternative to main stream society they have 'invented' a new type of family pattern in the community. By giving the children a communal upbringing they are able to learn different perspectives and receive “love” from many “parents”. The KF parents think their raring pattern will equip their children for the “new era” and society to come. In this process the children should learn to be independent, free and tolerant. 'In line' with national and global context, the local 'invention of family' occurred in the 1990's as a response to the “crisis” in the Japanese family. There was a need of finding another family structure than the nuclear family with a working dad and mother taking care of the children, as the Japanese society was moving towards Westernization. Like with “traditions” in KF the family became 're-invented'. Furthermore, the family structure, as everything else, has to be seen in relation to KF spirituality. The creation of a spiritual family community came parallel with the discovery of how spiritual family firms created values and culture that promote 76


employees' feelings of joy and completeness and thus a higher productivity. In order to understand the 're-invented family' it is important to relate to both local history and global trends, like the Japanese concept of amae (dependence) and the occurring use of spirituality in the global workplaces. The family concept in KF is part of their spiritual cosmology where all the spirits in the universe, and people they have not yet met is part of their “family”. This worldview explains why I was met as a “family member” from the very beginning – even before I entered the community. Through showing my own transformation and experiences in KF I have shown that the bright smiles, slow movements and other bodily expressions was part of the consciously and unconsciously socialization among us that stayed in the Konohana Family. Furthermore, our way of dressing and moving around became part of an external performance of bodily techniques. This habitus was also connected to the spiritual beliefs about expressing our “heart” and “soul”. It was therefore important to perform well in order to gain 'status' in the community. It could be interesting to go deeper on this aspect. Through comments and practice connected to dressing and hairstyle, as well as weight loss and being kawaii, I became socialized into a world of values – into a community organized as a 'spiritual family company'. I have also shown how “cuteness” was used to downplay the power relations in KF, in such a sense that the 'spiritual leader' was not directly spoken of as a leader. Even though he had the final word in the decision making, he downplayed his power by 'being' kawaii. Through creating another feeling of temporality the KF members escape materialism and industrialization. The KF members make their place by dwelling in their own time – in between seasons in the universe and the eternal life of the soul. I have shown how KF is part of a global trend where spirituality is combined with tradition to mediate about the change people hope will occur here and now. This is a way of connecting time with values and beliefs. Both the nostalgia of the past and the longing for a “new era” demonstrates that people want to change the society in which they now find themselves, they want to create rooted place, and a temporality beyond the rush of the industrialized city. KF is a reaction to the “modern” and 'monochronic' way of living with time. Their dwelling in time is, like their place making, connected to their spiritual beliefs about reincarnation. Part of the daily narratives was also Fujisan – the iconic mountain that was precent as a place marker for the members that were always aware of its beauty. I have shown how this can be seen as a connection to the 'modern' longing for place. In such, Ecovillages is a response to the 'modern' feeling of 'loosing place' that has emerged with the increasing occurrence of places where 77


people feel like they coexist without living together (to follow Augé). The phenomena of Ecovillages is global and these villages are imaginary connected, to a certain extent, the ecovillagers also makes their places special through their narratives about themselves and their place. I have shown how time is a necessary aspect in order to understand the notion of place in KF. Furthermore, I have explained how spirituality is used in KF to create another feeling of time and place. I argue that KF is as much a reaction to the changing understanding of time in the Japanese society at large, as it is a protest against 'non-places'. Polychronic time perception and spiritual views affect the way KF members dwell in time. It has also been central to show how the Japanese context, with its notions about time and place, is necessary in order to grasp the worldview in KF. This has been explained by the concepts of ki and ma. With ma, past and future, time and space, meet in the present. Time in this notion is not separated from space and can explain why the KF members think their place more symbolically than physically. Furthermore, the consept of ki explains how solid objects has voids that can be filled with ki from the soul – Kami. These notions emphasizes that the perceptions of place and time are determined by cultural and spiritual beliefs. I have wanted to show how place making in KF is not just about distinguishing themselves from the big city, but more so how the ideas about places are linked to both individual and relational aspects. In such, places play an important role in the expression of values: showing a reaction to city life, a different view on competencies, and the interest in spiritual growth instead of economical growth. To say it simple; place and person are connected. Places and the people who create them are defined in the very process of place making. KF was seen to be in oneness with the universe, unlike Yamagishi who represented everything they wanted to distance themselves from. Both people and places that represent materialism are used to create community identity in KF. Typically enough, if we relate to Barth's study of national demarcation, it is the place that most closely resemble oneself that are most central to the process of creating identity - and in this case; place. The Furusato-zukuri – the idea about the rural village as a spiritual home, is a Japanese expression of the kind of nostalgia that make people dream about the countryside. It can be seen as a process by which culture, as a collectively constructed and shared system of symbols, custom and beliefs are socially reproduced. Places becomes 'images of association' who can express the ideas and convey a complex set of associations without having to think deeply. Through nostalgia – our longing for another time and place, phenomenas as the Ecovillage has occurred. KF is an example on how the phenomenon of Ecovillage is interpreted in a Japanese context where nature is included in the cultural aesthetic, partly reflected in the way children are socialized in accordance with the 78


uchi-soto (inside-outside) axis. Local philosophies and global trends interplay with how people in KF act and think their place and time, which expresses the glocal context that I have explained and analyzed. Spirituality, as a belief in transcendent forces that may influence the individuals life, is the dominating factor in KF. Supirichua (“spirituality”) has been showed through examples of practice, and the academic term 'spirituality' has been used in the theoretical discussions. I have with the use of practical examples and dissemination of narratives presented how KF is following the 'modern' trends, although some of the examples represent a desire to create place and time in contrast to the “modern”. Spirituality and Konohana Family itself, is based on the 'modern' world-view of the subjective self. In KF understanding Above is not another world but an unseen aspect of this world that affect the way the KF members experience time and space. Seeing themselves as Tamashii (spirits) on earth make them dwell differently in time than people occupied with the world of materials. They act as if they are not in a hurry when they cook or plant because they see all their actions as expressions of their inner harmony or disharmony. KF offer an alternative to mainstream religion and can be seen as part of the 'modern turn' towards 'subjective-life', since the community is based on a spirituality that emphasize personal experiences and their source of meaning (following Heelas and Woodhead 2005). Through spiritual experiences, I have illustrated how knowledge is created in the process of engagement between individuals, and how the body can be used in research to highlight the existence of multiple narratives. Like in the example of danjiki, that I experienced as part of both physical and spiritual change. I imagine that some of the unshared (in the community) thoughts I had during the fasting can indicate to that there are also narratives that we do not share in the group that we want to be part of. Through 'imagined traditional religious values' the only Japanese Ecovillage, on the list of the Global Ecovillage Network, has been created. Environmentalism merged with spiritual ideas can be used to raise cultural criticism in a world where it can otherwise be difficult to ask questions about materialism and consumption, because of an economic system based on the premise of economic growth. The centrality of spirituality in KF also affected my ability to do fieldwork in the community, confirming that the spirits in touch with KF were acting actors who took part in the process of making place and giving the feeling of time. KF as an example of the Ecovillage phenomena shows how, in this particular case, local and global – practice and ideas are intertwined in a meshwork of spirituality and environmentalism. This has been a phenomenological journey into and through the 'spiritual ecological' community at the foot of Fujisan. 79



kyodo tai 共同体 – community (cooperative body) Kami 神 – god ten 天 – above/ heaven tamashii 魂 – soul(s) rei 霊 / seishin 精神, or tamashii 魂 could be used – spirit kokoro 心 – Mind/ Heart shinjiru 信じる – To believe ma ま – interval, gap, opening, time/space between desu です – is/are/I/is the ki/ke/ch'i 氣 – the circulating life energy, in Chinese philosophy thought to be inherent in all things mon 門 – gate/ door hi 日 – sun/ day tsuki 月 – moon Haru matsuri 春祭り – Spring festival chikyureki 地球歴 – planet calendar/ personal heliocentric calendar


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1. Four things I was concerned with in Konohana Family, by Sobue Suzuko 2. Explanation of planet constellations and symbolism (2 pages), collected in KF 3. My Chikyureki, showing how the planets were placed - in what constellations, at my birth. Made by Mikako in KF.


Four things I was concerned with in Konohana Family 1. Children are taken care of separately from their parents. I worry that they grow up without their mothers love. During parenting time in Konohana Family many children wanted skin ship hard. It is due to lack of parents love, I felt. I felt that small children were scolded too much. I think it is better for children to be taken care of more freely. I thought that the relationship between children and their parents hat to be tighter. 2. They have few their own free time for reading, hobbies and so on because of many works and meetings and they had no private rooms. They seemed they lost their freedom. 3. Though it is an eco village, there was no facility like solar panels and children (adults too) seemed they were few interested in nature. 4. Many people who had had mind problem recovered in the Konohana family. But I worry such people will not be satisfied with their life there and will have another problems in future. What will they do at that time? Sobue Suzuko

Sammendrag Her følger vi linjene inn i det Japanske fellesskapet Konohana Family (KF) for å lære om det å skape sted og dvele i tid, som en reaksjon på det 'moderne' samfunn hvor steder føles fremmedgjorte og tiden blir en handelsvare det konstant er mangel på. Gjennom eksempler på praksis som benyttes i stedsskapelsen av det 'spirituelle økologiske' fellesskapet, blir det vist hvordan sted skapes i 'post-moderniteten'. Historiene, som gladlig ble delt i Konohana Family, blir brukt til å forklare hva som menes med det å 'dvele i tid'. Det blir argumenterer for at KF er like mye en reaksjon på den skiftende forståelse av tid i det japanske samfunnet, som det er en protest mot 'ikke- steder'. Det blir vist hvordan den japanske kontekst, med sine forestillinger om tid og sted, er nødvendig for å forstå verdensbilde i KF. Dette blir forklart med begrepene ki og ma. Med ma kan fortid og fremtid - tid og rom møtes i nåtiden. Tid i denne forestillingen er ikke atskilt fra universet, og kan forklare hvorfor medlemmene av Konohana Family tenker deres sted mer symbolsk enn fysisk. Videre forklarer konseptet om ki hvordan faste gjenstander har hulrom som kan fylles med ki fra sjelen - Kami. Videre, blir det forklart hvordan landskap og tidsfornemmelse blir knyttet sammen med en spirituel skapelse av sted. Gjennom nostalgi - vår lengsel etter en annen tid og et ruralt sted, har spirituelle og økologiske fellesskaper oppstått. KF er et eksempel som viser hvordan fenomenet økolandsby blir fortolket i en japansk sammenheng, der naturen er inkludert i den kulturelle estetiskken. Lokale ideer og globale trender påvirker hvordan folk i KF handle og tenke sin plass og tiden som del av en større helhet, noe som uttrykker den 'glokale' sammenhengen som jeg har forklart og analysert. Det blir også vist hvordan 'det Andre' blir brukt til å skape identitet og fellesskap. Jeg analyserer hvordan kreasjonen av stedet ikke bare handler om å skille seg fra storbyen, men mer om hvordan ideer om steder er knyttet til både individuelle og relasjonelle aspekter. I Konohana Family benyttes både mennesker og steder som representerer materialisme til å skape fellesskapets identitet. Slik kommer steder til å spille en viktig rolle i hvordan verdier uttrykkes. Sted og individ kobles dermed sammen og defineres i den samme prosess. Det sentrale poenget er å vise hva som menes med 'spirituell økologi', og hvordan dette fenomen er relatert til tid og sted i Konohana Family. I KF forståelse ses «det hellige» ikke som noe utenomjordisk vi ikke har kontakt til, men som en usynlig del av denne verden, et aspekt av deres verdenssyn som i stor grad påvirker måten KF medlemmer opplever tid og rom. Å se seg selv som Tamashii (ånd) på jorden gir en annen tidsfornemmelse, enn de mennesker som er opptatt med den materielle del av verden kan oppleve. Det gir seg uttrykk i at KF medlemene ikke agerer som om de

har travelt når de bearbeider fødevarer eller planter ut stiklinger, dette som ledd i at alle handlinger ses som uttrykk for indre harmoni eller disharmoni. Dypest sett, handler 'spirituell økologi' om at det er den spirituelle premiss som ligger til grunn for all praksis og fortelling om selvet og stedet i KF. Videre blir det understreket at en forståelse for deres tidslighet i universet er nødvendig for å forstå den livsverden som medlemmene i KF har skapt. KF tilbyr et alternativ til tidligere religioner og kan ses som en del av den 'moderne vending' mot det subjektive liv. Gjennom åndelige opplevelser, har jeg illustrert hvordan kunnskap skapes i relasjoner og hvordan kroppen kan brukes i forskning for å markere at det finnes flere fortellinger. Gjennom å vise min egen transformasjon og erfaringer i KF har jeg vist at de kroppslige uttrykk var en del av bevisst og ubevisst sosialisering. Vår måte å kle oss og bevege oss rundt ble en del av den eksterne utførelse av kroppslige teknikker. Denne habitus ble også koblet til de åndelige forestillinger om å uttrykke vår "hjerte" og "sjel." Ved å gi barna en felles oppdragelse lærer de forskjellige perspektiver å kjenne og det å motta «kjærlighet» fra mange. Foreldrene mener dermed at de utstyrer sine barn for den «nye tid» og samfunnet framover. Det blir vist hvordan familien 'reoppfinnes' i Konohan fellesskapet, og vordan dette henger sammen med de lokale og globale strømninger. Familiestrukturen, som alt annet på dette sted i denne tidslighed, må sees i forhold til spiritualiteten i Konohana Family, da spiritualiteten determinerer alle historier og praksis. Make a Place – Dwell in Time er en fenomenologisk reise inn og igjennom det 'spirituelle økologiske' fellesskap.

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