Hackerfarm in Kamogawa

December 30, 2015 2015年12月30日

Craving a bit of fresh air and a natural green landscape, three friends all coming from a background in technical engineering ventured out to Kamogawa, a small city just outside of Tokyo, to find a place where they could produce cheese. Yes, that’s right. Cheese! The endeavor turned sour however, when local dairy farmers refused to sell the hackers raw milk, as it meant they could have faced losing their licenses. We visited Chris Akiba Wang, one of the founders of Hackerfarm, to find out what this group of hackers has stirred up in this seemingly sleepy farm town.


Hackerspaces are technology-focused collaborative sites. There are many active labs spread all over six continents, with the most concentration of them found in Europe. In Kamogawa, a city situated southeast of Tokyo across the Tokyo Bay in the Chiba Prefecture, Hackerfarm have settled down to create their very own hackerspace to focus on agricultural technology to facilitate the needs of their small community.



Automating agriculture is preserving the traditions of an ancient practice. “Many of the farmers I know are in their 60s and 70s, and are actually considered to be young,” Chris tells us. Traditional rural farming’s physical dependency on natural resources is alleviated by unique technology, such as their patented techrice, an innovative cloud-based service that provides technical support to rice farmers. Simultaneously, this collaboration is a platform for cultural bonding between the young and old, the physical and mechanical, the traditional and creative.



Not limited to their technical expertise, Hackerfarm has made it a point to increase the engagement between very dissimilar communities, such as between farmers, artists, engineers, and volunteer workers. Some visitors have even relocated their families and now live within the Hackerfarm community, which is quite feasible at the cost of $150 per month for a kominka (a traditional Japanese house).



Chris continues: “We also have a lot of non-Japanese members, so it provides a bit of an international worldview. In Japan, things sometimes have a tendency to get a bit isolated, where each community hangs out only with its own group without too much intermingling. The others and I have made it a point to try and bridge the gap between the different communities here and attend gatherings, as well as inviting them to our events or barbecues where we all just get together to eat, drink, and talk.”



Hackerfarm’s concept in Kamogawa rediscovers all of the resourceful values and benefits of rural living. “It’s really interesting because you’d never expect to have so much tech talent and foreigners congregated in the countryside,” Chris admits. “As much as we contribute to various events out here, the communities are great and give right back to us.”


1627-1 Kozuka
Kamogawa-shi, Chiba-ken 296-0233

Website: hackerfarm.jp
Flickr: akiba/hackerfarm

日本国〒296-0233 千葉県鴨川市金束1627-1

Flickr: akiba/hackerfarm

Contributor: Alessandra Marconi

寄稿者: Alessandra Marconi

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