Kombu Hosu! Hosu! Virtual Kombu Kelp Drying by Geometry Japan

Date: Jul 2019
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Rishiri Town, which is located on the northern side of Hokkaido, Japan has created a web app to help prevent the extinction of kombu kelp.

Kombu kelp is one of the most important ingredients in Japanese cuisine as it is used to make soup and is the seasoning for rice to be made into sushi.

The ingredient is touted to disappear from dining table in 20 years because of the labor shortage that Japan is going to facing with an ageing population because drying kombu kelp requires physical labor, which is not appealing to the younger generation.

The situation is much worse in Japan in Rishiri Town, where there is an abundant of kombu kelp off the coast of Rishiri Island. As of March 2019, there are over 41% people over 65 years old.

That means the locals have not been able to collect and sell much as they do not have enough manpower as many part timers leave in the middle of the kombu kelp drying season when they realised how much hard work it is.

With the help of Geometry Global, the town worked to address the situation with a web app called “Kombu Hosu! Hosu! Virtual Kombu Kelp Drying” to let people virtually experience kombu kelp drying and promote the task of ‘actual’ kombu kelp drying.

The web app uses game-style content allowing job applicants to experience the challenges and the beauty of the job. Users can dry 3 meter-long Kombu kelp, which is the average length of the actual Kombu kelp, by shaking the phone while keeping the phone close to them.

Once started drying kombu kelp, a virtual fisherman captain guides the user throughout the drying process, encouraging in both strict and sweet manner. After the mission of kombu kelp drying is completed, he tells the user to consider the seasonal job opening.

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