Yakushima Baton for the Future Project (tentative)

projectTo a place where we can connect with people and the world and learn from each other.

Ohzora High School has more than 10,000 active students across Japan, many of whom visit Yakushima each year as part of their lesson requirements.
Yakushima's unique climate and natural features, which cannot be experienced in everyday life, engage visitor's five senses and provide an opportunity for self-reflection and for learning to connect with people and nature. This experience is possible not only because of the contact with nature, but also because students from all over Japan can meet in Yakushima and share their sensations and emotions with each other.

While we do practice education through various hands-on experiences at our main school in Yakushima and Senvus Village, the "Yakushima Baton for the Future Project" was launched based on the idea that Yakushima itself, not just the school campus, is a place of learning.
※The project name is tentative.

This project will create cultural values for the future of Yakushima by utilizing the Yakushima main school not only as somewhere where students spend their time, but also as a place to receive visitors from overseas and conduct international exchange, and finally as a place to learn about the culture and industry of Yakushima together with local residents.
We are working to make the Yakushima main school available as a welcoming space where students and adults can learn together through local exchange, international exchange, and multi-generational education.

Toward the realization of a place of connection and learning

The Yakushima main school is located on the south side of Yakushima Island overlooking the mountains and the sea. The school, conjuring an image of a blue bird soaring through the big sky (Ohzora means "big sky" in Japanese), is visited by many students throughout the year. With the launch of the project, a new school building will be constructed in order to make it a place not only for students to learn, but also an open place where they can connect with people in the community and the world.

When considering who would create this place with us, we had three important points in mind.

1.To value the local character of Yakushima and to provide a special experience that can only be had here.

2.To be able to convey a message to the children on campus and transmit it to the society.

3.To be able to communicate not only within Japan but also with the rest of the world.

Kengo Kuma's design philosophy of "architecture of defeat" and "soft architecture that integrates with nature" overlaps with our vision, and we decided to commission him to design the new school building.

Kengo Kuma Profile



Architect, born in 1954. Graduated from the school of Architecture at the University of Tokyo. After working as a professor at the University of Tokyo, he is currently a Distinguished Professor and Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo. He was struck by Kenzo Tange's Yoyogi Indoor Stadium, which he saw during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and aspired to become an architect from an early age. During his graduate school years, he traveled across the Sahara Desert in Africa to research settlements and became fascinated by the beauty and power of settlements. After working as a visiting scholar at Columbia University, he established Kengo Kuma & Associates in 1990. He has designed buildings in more than 30 countries and has received various national and international awards (including the Architectural Institute of Japan Award, the Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award from Finland, and the International Stone Architecture Award from Italy). Aiming to create architecture that blends in with the local environment and culture, he proposes gentle and soft designs on a human scale.

2023.06.07Architect - Kengo Kuma
School Principal Kenichiro Mogi
Kickoff Conversation

"Surely there will be something that resonate with young hearts"

The commission of Kengo Kuma was decided, and the kickoff conversation was held on June 7, 2023, at the Aoyama office of Kengo Kuma & Associates.

When Kengo Kuma visited Yakushima Island to inspect the site, he went empty-handed into the deep grass. He said, "I'm trying to experience the place as empty-handed as possible, to feel a direct connection between the place and myself. Yakushima was a magical place where the place itself pushed me and ideas came to me one after another.".

When asked what kind of design image he had in mind, he was able to talk about how he could incorporate the local nature of Yakushima. "The nature of Yakushima and the materiality of wood go very well together, so I would like to use a lot of wood. I want to create a place where students who come here can directly feel the trees."

In response to Principal Mogi's comment that "the building will probably be the most widely used Kengo Kuma building by young people", Mr. Kuma shared his vision of what kind of place it will be, while also sharing his own thoughts on students and modern education.

"Surely there will be something that resonates with young hearts when they come into direct contact with my architecture. They will spend time in the midst of architecture that communicates through material textures that transcend words. I hope something resonates within them."