Brian & Sumie  

We both have long had questions around the idea of what it means to have “a life well lived”. Sumie was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan; she had several opportunities to travel abroad before spending over a decade living in Chicago (U.S). Brian was born and raised in a small town in Colorado (U.S), but also spent the better part of a decade in Chicago. One day we happened to meet in a pottery class. While our backgrounds are very different, we have always shared an appreciation for art, creativity and beauty; and felt they play a role in bringing richness into one’s life. In 2010 we left Chicago for Japan so that Brian could experience life in a different culture. We initially lived in Tokyo then Kyoto and are now in Omihachiman, Shiga where we are raising four children and renovating a traditional Japanese house.

While we experimented with some of the same ideas beforehand, it was the house, children and community that helped us bring the ideas together to form Kokono. The Kokono project is part of our ongoing exploration into how to live well with greater thoughtfulness and compassion for others and environment. We are touched by the acts of generosity of people in our community and the kindness of countless others we have encountered in our lives. We would like Kokono to be a means for giving back to the local and global community.

Three core elements of Kokono;

Inspire – We can all find inspiration for living through new experiences and creative expression. We believe the creative arts have the power to bridge differences and connect people at a deeper level. We see this as a great means to spark curiosity and inspiration, facilitate the exchange of ideas and ways of life between cultures and communities.

Play – Being parents to young children we have witnessed how children naturally learn about their world through play. We want to create a place where children can foster imagination by allowing them to follow their curiosity and pursue their own interests.

Connect – We want Kokono to be a place where members of both local and global community can come together to express, exchange and share. We believe the encounter enriches our daily life and opens us up; we hope such connection creates more understanding towards world outside of our own.

はじまり – 2013年、滋賀県近江八幡市の古民家との出会い、それまで無縁だった滋賀県で新しい生活が始まるとは想像もしていなかった私たち。この家とのご縁が私たちをこの地へ導いてくれました。2014年、必要最低限の改修工事を経てこの家での生活をスタート、以来、この家も私達も少しずつ変化を重ねて今に至っています。私たち個々の存在が様々な人達との出逢いや支えのもとに今日ここににあるように、この家も様々な人達の手でここに存在しこれからも沢山の感性に育まれながら変化し続ける場所であってほしい、そんな思いを込めてKokonoが生まれました。

なまえ – 個々の可能性としてここに存在する、それがKokonoの名前の原点です。

ブライアン&すみえ – アメリカで生まれ育ったブライアンと日本で生まれ育ちアメリカで学生時代を過ごしたすみえです。シカゴのアートセンターで同じ陶芸教室に通っていた2人。感性には異なった文化、生活様式や言葉を越え人々の心を繋げる力が秘められていると感じました。そんな私たちが共通して大切にしていることは学び。遊びを通して、日常生活の中から、周りの人達から、置かれた状況や様々な場面に学びのヒントを見つけ毎日の原動力にしています。そんな私たちは現在4児の親として子育てに奮闘中。子供が居る生活から沢山の学びをもらい共に成長する日々を送っています。