By 2030, one third of all homes in Japan will be vacant. An aging population and the concentration of youth in urban areas have caused a massive housing crisis in the countryside.
We will purchase and renovate one of these 空き家 (akiya - “empty home”), breathing life back into a beautiful, culturally rich region of Japan.
This home will serve as a headquarters for our vibrant community of highly skilled global citizens, bringing economic opportunity, innovative practices, and cultural exchange to the area.
<aside> 🏯 Akiya Collective is a non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing abandoned homes in Japan into community-run residencies and art experiences.
Akiya Collective has no beginning or end — these houses have existed long before we have come, and will exist even after. Akiya Collective is a liminal space and gives way to celebrate transient beauty in a more tangible form, existing only in a way that is purposeful, and only to the extent that it can regenerate itself (or otherwise will be regenerated back into the earth: so may it be).
The ethos of this project is centered around revitalization through collective creation. How do we turn an empty space into a vibrant and flourishing space for creatives? These akiyas represent blank canvases, a tabula rasa playground for a community to experiment in and collectively define and shape.
<aside> ❤️ The akiya that we purchase and renovate will be a living and inherited artifact that evolves with each community member that resides in it. Each member will contribute via their unique talents, whether that be art, permaculture, or physical renovations — leaving their mark for future residents to experience.
Essentially, this house will represent a physical manifestation of generational wisdom that changes alongside the community: starting with the first cohort as Generation 0.
We hope that this model will catalyze a feedback cycle of inspiring new builders and creatives from older cohorts. Once a member has helped build or undergone a cohort program (a 1-3 month stay), they receive a membership as a memento, which dually also serves as a governance tool: in other words, a way to co-own and help co-govern the future evolution of the house. Akiya Collective promotes a more long-lasting model for containers for culture and friendship to not only start in the space but grow over time, even after members move out. The shared experience of having lived in the same house becomes a bonding agent for a community to grow and come together again and again.
Community means collective inspiration. When enough people with the same goal come together, an egregore emerges: a being that has its own agency and vitality and inevitability. The greatest duty we have as human beings is to help each other reclaim parts of our own worlds — and this involves spending time with people who bring out these resonant (and sometimes hidden) parts of ourselves. In being mirrors for each other, the opportunity for transcendence arises and the tradeoff between selfhood and friction in belonging ceases to be.
Akiya Collective represents not only a template for self-sovereign communities — a community for shared resources in not only purchasing and starting an akiya community themselves, but also more broadly, represents an experimental container for human flourishing.
<aside> 🌿 In other words, this initiative will focus greatly on the parts of life that has historically elevated well-being: namely, a return to nature, balance, art, and community.
We plan to experiment with different rituals and practices (collectively decided by the cohorts themselves) to understand how to unlock the greatest creative potential in everyone.
We are a team of experienced creatives, builders, nomads who have passions for different cultures + and human experience, and want to manifest it in physical form. As the project was founded by those who have also experimented with non-traditional lifestyles —living in different countries, going on research sabbaticals, completing self directed curriculums, starting + exiting startups— we hope to broaden the scope to co-living and create an intentional community from first principles based previous learnings.
However, we don’t want to do it alone, and believe that there are so many other great insights from our friends and public community that we can share with others with aligned visions. We believe the confluence of cultures and diverse life experiences creates a unique and powerful generative atmosphere where creativity can flourish. We’ve come together from across the globe, with more than 20% of our community native to Japan.
<aside> 🌎 In opening this up to the public, our desire is to allow for a diverse community to engage in an act of building a physical relic that blooms through its multiplicity. In celebrating the act of building itself, also a process and a tangible form, we come together to flourish.
We may have different interests and passions but are united by the raw desire to create — there is no end goal but the journey in itself.
Currently, we have an international community with 1,000+ members, and our contributing team spans multiple continents.
We have been featured on several podcasts / interviews, including a few interviews live-translated into Japanese.