JVCKENWOOD Design Corporation conducts activities to connect people and nature, people and community, through sound.
Forest Notes is one of the representative activities of such kinds.
While people are able to enjoy convenient fun lifestyle thanks to the spread of recorded music and portable music players, they are having fewer and fewer chances to hear natural sounds of changing seasons. We consider that a new sense of value to understand, be impressed by, or conserve nature will be born by sharing “sounds” on the Internet, retrieving a sensitivity to nature that has been lost because of “sounds.” Also, musical instruments such as guitars, pianos, and violins are made from wood, which is a precious resource of forests. Connecting human mind to forests is important in order to pass such instruments down the generations.

Forest Notes - live streaming forest sounds

“Forest Notes - listen to the voice of forests” is an online live streaming service to broadcast the voice (sounds) of forests 24 hours a day, 365 days a year through microphones placed in the forests within Japan (5 locations). It used to be a paid service when it was launched in 2013, but since fall 2017 has been a free service offered to everyone. In addition, by utilizing YouTube and collaborating with Primeseat, who provides high-resolution audio streaming, we are currently conducting a live streaming project in cooperation with the Okutama area of Tokyo and Ichihara city in Chiba Prefecture (Ichihara Art x Mix).

About live audio

Sharing the “voice of forests” online makes us realize that forests are full of life.
Resident birds such as the Japanese bush warbler change their cries by season: their call note in winter changes into weak cries in spring (practice), then shifts to normal tweet. Summer birds such as the blue-and-white flycatcher fly a few thousand kilometers from their winter home in Southeast Asia in order to reproduce in spring, then fly back to where they came from in the fall. Winter birds including daurian redstart travel from Siberia or other areas across the ocean, then go back in spring. Fall is the mating season of deer. High-pitched roars of stags echo across the night forest. By hearing the voices of those wild animals, we can share moments of great seasonal movement and change of animals on the planet.

Buzzing sounds of forests are also an important sound element to feed the imagination. Swirling wind is the breath of the earth. Rustling of tree leaves and dripping sounds of rain or water droplets. Stillness of deep snow and the forest itself, as well as sparkly dripping water melted from icy branches and leaves. Murmur of a stream from melting snow in spring, tense feeling while a typhoon or thunder storm is approaching during summer, or the song of insects all night long; these sounds let you think of each forest’s unique appearance.

This series of activities is conducted by sharing information with Mr. Yoshihiro Kawasaki (Tokyo University of the Arts), who is a pioneer of field recording, and Cyberforest research team (Tokyo University), who has been archiving sounds and images of forest ecosystems for a long time, since 1997. In cooperation with experts in each field, we aim to provide high-quality sounds by which listeners can feel the atmosphere of a forest.

Mr. Yoshihiro Kawasaki (left) and Professor Kaoru Saito of Cyberforest research team (right)
At “Forest Notes - Forest of sense 2014” (organizer: JVCKENWOOD Design Corporation)(right), a talk session was held on natural sounds and soundscape. At ITOKI Tokyo Innovation Center SYNQA

Forest Speaker

Adopting the amount of oxygen that an average-sized tree in a Japanese forest produces within a day, which is a volume of about 30L*, as a design concept, the dedicated speaker visualizes an invisible function of plants called “photosynthesis.”
(Sales ended in fall 2017; they are only exhibited at events now)

*Calculated from 20 kg per year of immobilized amount of CO2 per tree (investigated by JVCKENWOOD Design Corporation)

Concept and design development

The design concept of the speaker was created in a dialogue with OAK VILLAGE Co., Ltd. and Sei Plus Co., Ltd. in Hida Takayama. We conducted a workshop with staff members of these two companies to observe the ecosystem in the forest, plant lindera, which is a raw material of forest aroma, and share manufacturing techniques to utilize characteristics of wood. This experience led us to the concept of visualizing photosynthesis and the design of the speaker.
The cabinet is handmade with traditional techniques under the consistent management by craftsmen in Hida Takayama throughout the entire process including selection of materials, drying, processing, assembling, and finishing.

Design Award

Forest Notes is highly appreciated for its service and concept, and has received many design awards.

JAPAN WOOD DESIGN AWARD 2019

Design for Asia Awards 2014 Grand Award/Gold Award

JIDA Design Museum Selection vol. 15 (2013)

Lohas Design Award 2013 Grand Award for product category

Regional partnership

Forest Notes is a currently ongoing project. We keep seeking various communication methods to enjoy and utilize sounds of nature with local communities. Also, we will support promotions of local visits or tourism by communicating local information via SNS, or think of events that can lead to sales of agriculture products or woodworks utilizing resources in the area.

● Morotsuka-son, Miyazaki Prefecture

In cooperation with the Tourist Association, we have conducted promotions: providing sounds of Morotsuka-son to eco-tour participants (post cards and bookmarks with QR code), sales promotion of FSC® certified shiitake mushroom, creating atmosphere at food and products fair, and audio presentation. Efforts with Morotsuka-son More details →

● Okutama project

Okutama project, encouraging utilization of materials produced in the Tama area, in collaboration with the experimental forest of Tokyo University of Agriculture and local architects. We are implementing an experimental live streaming service on a YouTube platform with PRIMESEAT, who provides high-resolution live streaming, for the purpose of research of regional ecosystems, creation of an opportunity to use materials produced in the Tama area, and utilization in tree breeding. More details →

This is an experimental project, and may be changed or terminated without notice according to circumstances.

● Working with Boso Satoyama Art Festival Ichihara Art x Mix

In collaboration with the Ichihara City Art Festival Promotion Division in Chiba Prefecture, our company had charge of Ichihara Forest Live Streaming, which was a part of artwork exhibited at Satoyama Art Festival Ichihara Art x Mix 2017, “Mori Radio Station x Shinyukai.” (the total number of visitors during the exhibition was 7,240) In addition, we worked with local community “Shinyukai” to conduct a miking workshop (March 2018).
We will continue to cooperate in “Ichihara Art x Mix 2020,”which is scheduled in 2020.

This is an experimental project, and may be changed or terminated without notice according to circumstances.

Local sceneries and event plans are available via SNS

Information about seasonal local sceneries, tradition, wildlife, and event plan of eco-tours is available via the SNS of each region. Forest Notes official SNS also provides information about regions with commentary on live sounds for listeners to enjoy both information and forest sounds.
There are additional events coming up, such as a food and product fair in Tokyo. Follow us♪

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