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    to know

    Knowing Tono,  Knowing hidden Japan

    Looking at local history and culture

    from a new perspective brings about new possibilities for

    regional Japan.

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    Tono and its Legends
    Tono is the cradle of Japanese folklore.

    This rich valley that for centuries was at the very center of trade between the Sanriku coast and the inland, is the setting for the renown Legends of Tono, a collection of thrilling folk tales written in 1910 by the  father of Japanese ethnology, Kunio Yanagita.

    Beside their literary value, the Legends of Tono are an unmatchable source of information about lifestyle, traditions and culture in regional Japan up to a century ago.

    Even today the Legends, offer an opportunity to explore many aspects of local culture, such as regional gastronomy, traditional performing arts and crafts, resilience and above all, a unique way of living in harmony with the passing of seasons and nature, that has become a rare treasure in our rushed society.


    WHAT IS to know?

    To know  is a project of reinterpretation.

    We use the Legends of Tono as an excuse to rediscover, update and upgrade the unique taste of rural Japan. Ours is a “polishing” process directed, on one hand, to residents and, on the other,  outsiders. To know wishes to rediscover the uniqueness of Tono and empower the local community so that they can become owners of their past to create a brighter future.

    To know is not a company nor an NPO...we are a platform that aims at self economic sustainability through the implementation of different members-led projects.


    At the “inward looking” level, we organise monthly study sessions for local citizens, collaborate with the local Junior and Senior high schools to help raising a generation of Tonoits pride of their roots.

    On the ‘outward looking’ side, we organise specialised tours based on the Legends of Tono and on different topics, an artist in residence program for national and international artists, concerts and events, and an internship program for international students from different disciplines. We also act as un hub to coordinate different local specialised institutions and key players.

    Please contact us for any information you may need about Tono, Japan’ homeland!


    Study tours / Education / Promotion / Branding
    Archive / Internship proglam 

    Past Activties





    500 Terry Francois St 

    San Francisco, CA 94158

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    Gak Tomikawa 
    Project manager
    Renata Piazza 

    Transition deginer
    Toshie Oikawa
    Local cultural teller
    Eiji Tada
    Local history resercher
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