Message from the New Chair of the Board

The former chair, Masaoki Hoshino, retired on May 31, 2022, and the new chair, Toshimasa Yamamoto, assumed office on June 1, 2022.

My name is Toshimasa Yamamoto and I am pleased to have become the new chairperson for the ARI Board of Directors. I look forward to working with you.

My first encounter with Asia outside of Japan was when I stayed for a year in Indonesia during my college days in 1972 as a participant on the International Christian Youth Exchange program. After returning to Japan, I visited ARI every year with my church and as a YMCA work camp member. ARI became a place where I could hear the “voice of Asia,” smell the “smells of Asia,” and taste the “food of Asia.” This unique experience, which taught me the importance of “living with Asia,” has continued for more than 40 years until today.

We will soon celebrate our 50th anniversary at ARI. Our most distinctive feature is that ARI is almost 100% self-sufficient in food production through organic farming.
As a vocational school for training rural leaders from developing countries, ARI has welcomed about 30 participants every year, regardless of their religious background, and has produced over 1500 graduates from 61 countries.

The various practices and diverse stories of our graduates are the treasures of our 50 years.
ARI’s motto, “That We May Live Together,” has contributed to building just and peaceful societies through our graduates in many parts of the world.

We are not only a place to acquire agricultural knowledge and skills but also a valuable school that provides “knowledge” and “experience” for living together.

ARI is a community where we encourage reflection on how we live our lives.
In assuming the new position as chairperson, I hope to carry on the will of my predecessor, Rev. Hoshino.

I will do my utmost to enhance the training programs further and strengthen the organization’s financial base. I want to ask for your support and prayers.

Biography of Toshimasa Yamamoto
He has served as a professor, chaplain at the School of Commerce and Dean of Chaplains at Kwansei Gakuin University.

He also served as the General Secretary of the National Christian Council in Japan(NCC – J).

He is currently the senior pastor of Logos Church of the United Church of Christ in Japan and serve as a Board of Director of the Japan Committee of the World Conference on Religions and Peace. His publications include “History of the Ecumenical Movement in Asian” (Shinkyo Publishing Co., Ltd.)

Notice of suspension towards acceptance of working visitors

Thank you for your support to ARI.

The 2022 overseas participants have been unable to come to Japan because of difficulties towards issuing visas due to the influence of COVID-19.
However, there are some participants who have gotten visas, and will come to Japan one after another from this week.

The number of rooms is limited for new participants to implement infection countermeasures against COVID-19.
Therefore, we have decided to suspend the acceptance of working visitors for a while.

We are really sorry for those who were looking forward to visiting ARI.

Acceptance is scheduled to resume after September 2022. We will inform as soon as it becomes available, so please check our website and SNS frequently, or contact us.

We will continue to accept for day-trip visitors and group visits as before.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

“Euodoō – Journal of Rural Future Study” 2022 released

ARI is releasing the 2022 edition of its euodoō – Journal of Rural Future Study today!

Download the PDF here

Euodoō is ARI’s annual journal that features research papers and essays on important topics of the Rural Leaders Training Program: sustainable farming, community building, servant leadership—all with a ‘rural future’ in mind that is waiting to be built!

This time, we present the reflection paper by a recent Kenyan graduate, an academic thesis on ecology by a Japanese volunteer, and an essay on leadership by an ARI staff member. In addition, you can find the speech that ARI’s founding member Dr. Toshihiro Takami delivered upon receiving the 1996 Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding.


  • Martin Gikunda Kirigia: “Sustainable Agriculture and the Community Development Training Program at the Asian Rural Institute”
  • Sôta Ono: “Restoring ‘Wholeness’ in Our Relationship with Nature by Working for Food”
  • Bernard Timothy Appau: “The Community Development Worker as a Servant Leader”
  • Toshihiro Takami: “The Fate of Rural Folks in Urbanizing Asia”

Available Online and in Print

You can download euodoō 2022 here on our website or buy a print edition when you visit ARI.

“Children and Soil” – documentary now online

Please enjoy the latest documentary on our YouTube channel: Children and Soil.

How do children gain awareness of ecology and appreciate the lives of their farming parents?

In this beautiful film, “Children and Soil” (2017), school children in India and West Bengal encounter their home communities’ soil. Soil for building, soil for playing, soil for growing food. How children from different situations see agriculture, how teachers develop school gardens, their different—often contrasting—approaches to learning about nature and farming are documented here.

The 48 minutes film primarily follows the work of ecological teacher-trainers from the Development Research Communication and Services Centre in Kolkata, an organization co-founded by ARI graduate Ardhendu S. Chatterjee.

“Children and Soil” was created by the initiative of Dr. Donata Elschenbroich and Dr. Otto Schweitzer, documentary filmmakers with over thirty years of expertise in educational films from a cross-cultural perspective. Donata has known ARI for over ten years and is an expert social researcher with numerous publications in Germany and internationally.

We are grateful that we can offer this film online for the first time and hope it will invite meaningful discussion.

— An article by Dr. Donata Elschenbroich on school gardens in English can be found in ARI’s journal euodoō
— A lecture by Ardhendu Chatterjee on environmental learning practice is in Japanese also printed in euodoō

We will start accepting visitors

Because the state of emergency will be lifted soon, we will start accepting working visitors from October 13th.

We’re looking forward to seeing you!

* We ask all visitors to stay more than one week.
* Working visitors are required to submit records of body temperature 2 weeks before your arrival. Please apply in advance.

Apply from here:

“Adding Value” – documentary about Ardhendu Chatterjee

A new documentary film is now accessible on our YouTube channel: Adding Value – Ardhendu S. Chatterjee and Food-Insecure Farmers In Search of Hidden Resources.

In this documentary film, we follow rural educator Ardhendu S. Chatterjee as he visits farmers in grassroots Indian communities. Through the perceptive use of natural, living materials, Chatterjee helps farmers practice ecological agriculture to secure their livelihood.

Chatterjee is a 1976 graduate of ARI’s Rural Leaders Training and co-founder of the Development Research Communication and Services Centre (DRCSC) in Kolkata. ARI regularly invited him as a lecturer, introducing participants to a deeper understanding of sustainable agriculture and the interdependent environment.

Adding Value was created by the initiative of Dr. Donata Elschenbroich and Dr. Otto Schweitzer, documentary filmmakers with over thirty years of expertise in educational films from a cross-cultural perspective. Donata has known ARI for over ten years and is an expert social researcher who became interested in preserving and condensing Chatterjee’s wisdom in a film.

We present this documentary as a witness of Ardhendu S. Chatterjee’s impact and as a learning opportunity for everyone interested in ecological agriculture and community development.

We also extend our heartfelt gratitude to Donata and Otto for offering their time and skills to create this beautiful documentary with ARI.

the 50th Foundation Day

Join us September 16th from 9:30am-12:15pm (Japan Standard Time) as we remember and celebrate the foundation of the Asian Rural Institute.

This day will remind us of the passion and sprit of those who dreamed of ARI and made it a reality.

After a time of thanksgiving to God worship, we will hear from graduates around the world share updates of struggles and new discoveries of what is going on in their communities in the midst of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

Hope to see you there!

the 50th Asian Rural Institute Foundation Day

September 16th (Thu) 9:30am to 12:15pm

9:30am Worship ( Messenger: Ms, Tomoko Arakawa, Director)

11am Worldwide COVID sharing from Grads

How to join:

Please join from ARI Facebook Livestream

Our 2020 Annual Report – now available in English!

You can now read our 2020 Annual Report That We May Live Together in English!

The report is a detailed overview of our training, our farm, and our many activities with supporters and learners from Japan and overseas in 2020.

Of course, the report directs particular attention to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. How did it affect ARI, and what actions did we at ARI take to ensure safety?

While maintaining community life, we spent the year without compromising ARI’s values but instead reaffirmed the importance of those values. We want to express our sincere gratitude to the many supporters who enabled ARI to overcome the pandemic’s new challenges.

(from the “Greetings” by Board Chair Masaoki Hoshino and Director Tomoko Arakawa)

We are happy to share this report with you, supporters, partners, and friends of ARI, as a record of our commitment to rural leadership and learning for a livable future.

Harvest Thanksgiving Celebration

Watch all our online events again! ​

Open for Visits

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