TOPCommunityTW ImpactEnvironmentMighty and Mindful: Japanese Eco Influencers, Activists and Organizations Championing the Environment

Mighty and Mindful: Japanese Eco Influencers, Activists and Organizations Championing the Environment

Living in plastic-loving Japan doesn't mean you should give up on your eco values

By Yuka Sato

On your way to a greener lifestyle? Lost in translation with an inflow of information on your social media feed? Do not fret and do not give up. We’ve highlighted some Japanese eco influencers and activists to inspire you.

Instagrammer Ran Nomura Shares Tips on Zero Waste Living

Probably one of the most established eco influencers in Japan, Ran Nomura has built a solid fan base on her Instagram account with over 160,000 followers, an incredible number in such a niche space. “I read this book called Zero Waste Home four years ago and that ignited my interest in zero-waste living,” she notes. “Until then, I never even cared about what happened to all the trash that I took out.”

 

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A post shared by Ran Nomura (@zerowaste.japan)

Soon after, she created an Instagram account and started looking for ways to reduce waste in her daily life. This is where she gets her inspiration for post ideas. From loofah sponge in the kitchen to a plastic-free tofu shop, she provides useful information to her followers in English to help everyone take up a zero-waste lifestyle in Japan.

We asked her how a zero-waste newbie can start their journey. “The rest of my family aren’t Zero Wasters. The more you demand from people, the more annoying it becomes, so I suggest starting small. For example, having your own reusable bag when shopping is a good place to start to reduce plastic waste”.

In addition to her Instagram, Ran Nomura also works as an editor at the news and media website Life Hugger.

 

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A post shared by Ran Nomura (@zerowaste.japan)

YouTuber Sachico Documents a Sustainable Way of Living

Introducing Sachico, a Tokyo-based housewife who started a YouTube channel promoting “slow and sustainable living.” Her videos are an assortment of vlogs, tips and updates on her daily life. Sachico notes, “In Japan, this way of living is still regarded as some sort of a philosophy. There isn’t much understanding around it. That’s why I try to focus on being slow and relaxed when uploading content.”

Sachico started her journey as a minimalist when her husband relocated to Tokyo. Her interest grew into a hobby as she began to absorb more content related to minimalism. Over time, she started incorporating minimalism with sustainability and zero-waste living.

 

So, why YouTube? “I had lots of free time on my hands and there weren’t any Japanese YouTubers like that. Promoting something that is easy to do on a day-to-day basis was important,” she says. “It helps users who want to take up a new lifestyle.”

Sachico actively communicates with subscribers by hosting Q&A sessions and taking up subscribers’ requests as video ideas. She also runs her own podcast and owns an online store called Slow, where she sells clothing “that can be worn a hundred times.”

Environmental Activist Shiina Tsuyuki Raises Awareness

Shiina Japanese eco influencers

In the whirlwind of environmental activism, one Japanese female student has set forth on raising awareness about some of the disasters that humanity is currently undergoing. Shiina Tsuyuki is a 20-year-old environmental activist and a graduate of the Green School Bali, the world’s greenest school located in Bali, Indonesia. As well as numerous public appearances, she also participated in the 25th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 25) and hosted a workshop at JP Morgan, making her by far the most influential activist that Japan has.

“In total, I’ve spoken to approximately 15,000 people so far,” she says. “People would often see me as just another person speaking about the importance of protecting the environment. But I always try to deliver my speech in a specific way so people can feel they learned something at the end and can start making changes in their lives.”

 

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A post shared by Shiina (@shiina.co)

On top of her activities as a public figure, she also owns an ethical makeup brand that she began with the intention of helping her sister, who was suffering from skin issues. Her experience of seeing a trash heap in Bali also gave her a push to start a company that wouldn’t leave a harmful impact on the environment.

“I wondered if that was only happening in Bali,” she recalls. “Later, I got to know that Japan also pays other countries to have its garbage processed. That made me think that it’s a global issue and not just a local problem.”

 

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A post shared by Shiina (@shiina.co)

For readers struggling to find a bilingual community with like-minded people, she recommends participating in events and connecting with the attendees. “Japan lacks information,” she says. “There simply aren’t enough resources. But you can start small by finding an eco-conscious café or exploring various events to socialize with people. Usually, they’re open-minded and ready to welcome you in their community.”

At the end of the interview, she shared her ultimate goal: to stop global warming. She concludes, “I know I can’t achieve this goal alone. But I’m doing all I can while trying to fill the information gap in Japan and focusing on the future”.

Ekolokal Helps Everyone Locate Eco-Friendly Stores

Ekolokal was established in September 2020 to encourage people to live a more sustainable lifestyle. It was launched by Helene Queguiner, host of the Conversations with Green Changemakers in Japan podcast and Noriko Shindo, owner of the vegan website Veggino. They focus on food, with a mission to promote an easy and eco-friendly lifestyle to as many people as possible.

eco local app Japanese eco influencers“We felt that on top of the information shortage, there weren’t any affordable, organic options to begin with. That was a big hurdle,” says Shindo. Their one-stop platform for ethical stores and restaurants helps bring all the information in one place to bridge the gap between consumers and business owners.

Ekolokal has more than 280 stores across Japan and hosts various events and workshops. “To people who don’t know where to start, we suggest taking up our 7-day eco-challenge. For instance, cutting meat out of one’s diet or carrying your own bags or tumblers can be the easy beginning steps to a more ethical lifestyle,” adds Shindo.

eco local app Japanese eco influencers
Map search function on the Eco Local website

The project is growing fast. The aim is to list as many as 1000 stores by the end of this year and prepare for the upcoming fundraising round. “We welcome anyone in our community and hope our small steps will lead to something greater and bigger,” Shindo says in her final message.

 

The influencer trend is unarguably strong, but conscious companies in Japan, big and small, are also trying to become better examples in the business sector. Hopefully, that will continue to improve as we need to be good to our planet. After all, it’s the only one we’ve got.


Learn more about sustainability in Japan:

5 Sustainable Japanese Fashion Brands You Need to Know
SDG Expert Trista Bridges on Achieving True Sustainability in Japan
TYPICA Brings Sustainable Coffee Practices to Japan