Heroines for Environment and Rural Support

Growing crops Create renewable energy Raising the next generation of children

Our History

In March, 1994, Heroines for Environment and Rural Support (HERS) was founded by women seeking to provide a network of support for female agricultural workers across Japan. Initially a loose-knit community, HERS was incorporated in 2003 and underwent significant reorganization in early 2014. It now boasts over 160 members nationwide. Our staff consist of young, female farmers actively seeking solutions to some of the broader societal issues facing women in rural Japan. The key areas in which HERS is active are as follows:

Our Mission

  • Fostering the communicative abilities of female agricultural workers Raising awareness of the importance and appeal of the countryside.
  • Actively seeking new methods to promote rural Japan Working towards mutually beneficial relationships between urban and rural communities.
  • Take action to pass abundant nature in countryside on to future generations Promoting the increased use of renewable energy sources in rural communities.

A message from the Director

During my time as an international student in Germany, I discovered agricultural communities that were utilizing renewables (solar power, wind power, and biomass fuel) and working towards energy self-sufficiency. This is not to say that German farmers have entirely overcome the problems pertaining to climate change and energy production - however, the high regard in which farmers and farming communities are held this in is country is admirable.
Today, Japan faces numerous social and environmental issues. In the current climate, what would happen if farmers ceased to exist? If agricultural communities fell into ruin? On reflection, under such circumstances, war and civil strife seem inevitable. It is my hope that those of us who comprise these rural communities will realize the importance of the role we play, express this in our own words, and pursue concrete change. With the founding of HERS, we have taken the first step towards realizing these goals.
Both city and countryside have their role to play in the modern world, but rural communities, now more than ever, must be cherished. With the women of rural Japan at the forefront, and operating on the basis of mutual understanding and cooperation, we are striving to affect positive change.
We look forward to sharing our vision with you.
Eri Otsu


Profile: Eri Otsu

O2 Farm, Kumamoto Prefecture, Minami-Aso

“Agricultural communities can provide more than just food. We must realize their potential as centers of energy production and places of natural beauty, for the benefit of future generations.”

A farmer specializing in organic rice and Akaushi beef production, Eri is currently engaging with the NPO Kyushu Biomass Forum, seeking to raise public awareness of biomass fuel technologies. Nationwide, she is involved with multiple enterprises relating to a broad range of issues, including the relationship between young people and agriculture, support of agricultural communities, revitalization projects, as well as the preservation of traditional cultures. Eri is an activist for the recognition of the Aso region as World Agricultural Heritage System and has delivered numerous presentations on the subject. Eri is also a mother of four and recipient of the Nikkei Woman ‘Woman of the Year Award’, and the Orai Nippon ‘Lifestyle Award’.

Our Organization

Introduction of our organization

Heroines for Environment and Rural Support (HERS)

Establishment & Address
  • Established: 17th Jan 2003
  • Location: Ryohei 1283-3, Minamiaso-mura, Aso-gun, Kumamoto-pref. Japan


  • Director: Eri Otsu (O2farm/ Minamiaso-mura, Kumamoto)


  • Nahoko Takahashi (Yamagata girls farm/ Murayama-city, Yamagata)
  • Miyuki Yoshimura (Fieldworks/ Sakai-city, Fukui)

Executive Directors:

  • Nahoko Niwa (Niwa farm/ Kaizu-city, Gifu)
  • Emi Tani (Inazo farm/ Shibetsu-city, Hokkaido)
  • Misato Fujiwara (Fujiwara farm/ Minamiaso-mura, Kumamoto)
  • Sachiko Matsumoto (Iwaki Otento SUN/ Iwaki-city, Fukushima)
  • Yukari Odagaki (Odagaki Youka Buta/ Hyogo)


  • Erina Inazawa (Nabatake farm/ Sakai-city, Fukui)
  • Kazuo Oishi (Professor of Kyoto university, Kyoto)



This organization provides social business of researching, studying and diffusion of the way of farming and food safety to contribute to conserve environment which promotes sound growth of children.


Active field:

Social education, Environment conservation, Healthy education for children, Communication/Advice/Assistance


Contents of Activities:

Work on exchanging and offering information, human resource training, writing articles for magazines, accepting farm trainees and providing the national meeting once in 2 years to aim higher awareness of actively seeking mainly for women in rural area.


Services Provided:

  1. Developing business: e-learning of sustainable energy
  2. Networking business: the national meeting
  3. Transmitting information business: Message of heroines/ Wear the View
  4. Business of Exchanging urban and rural: Little farmer’s camping



164 members in 2014


Financial information:

Budget: 2,754,903 yen in 2014

6,560,707yen in 2015



Active Girl
To active women in agriculture as leaders.
Tambo fashion show
Promote “Inherit Landscape” with Fashion show.
Litte Fishermans camp
Published the e-learning about “sustainable energy”.
Tambo fashion show
Raise value of rural and agriculture.
little fishermans camp
Little Farmers Camp to raise ability to think and act.