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A power grab wins backing from residents, Mother Nature

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The documentary film “Odayaka na Kakumei” (Gentle revolution) depicts the efforts of communities to revitalize themselves with nature's gifts--trees, water and sunlight.

I visited the Itoshiro district of Gujo, Gifu Prefecture, one of the featured communities. Nestled at the foot of the Hakusan mountain range between the Hokuriku and Tokai regions, Itoshiro is regaining vitality through a small-scale hydroelectric generation project.

Itoshiro thrived in the past as a base for pilgrims visiting Mount Hakusan, which is revered as a sacred peak.

It was a bustling community with “inns hosting 1,000 visitors, with another 1,000 ascending the mountain and a further 1,000 descending” on any given day. But after years of young people leaving the town........

© The Asahi Shimbun