Bridging Communities: Sharing Our Memories

Intergenerational story collection in Fujinomiya, Japan.

Project Description

Fujinomiya Map

Bridging Communities: Sharing Our Memories

Fujinomiya, Japan

Oct 2013 – Feb 2014

Explore the collection (Japanese)

Explore the collection (English)


“In recent times, you really felt that Fujinomiya was this desolate place, but I now know this is a truly heart-warming place with so many people”
— High school student

Why was it run?

Fujinomiya Council and Fujitsu Laboratories were concerned about lack of contact and understanding between teenagers and local older people. Working with city officers, they identified a high school in Shizuoka prefectural Fugaku-kan who also wanted to improve intergenerational relationships between their pupils and the wider town. They challenged the students to create an interactive intergenerational event, based around historical photos of Fujinomiya.

  • Fujinomiya Council
  • Fujitsu Laboratories
  • Center for Global Communications (GLOCOM)
  • International University of Japan
  • The British Council

High school students and teachers, local older people and the general public, photographers, newspapers, city officers.

What happened?

The students brainstormed the kind of activities that were suitable for older people and developed the idea of displays featuring hand-drawn maps overlaid with old photos and spaces to add memories.

The students ran their event in the Fujinomiya Shopping Street Station, working with a local street market to attract more visitors. Older people were invited and added their memories to the display, which became richer and richer as more stories were shared.

Old photographs of the area were sourced by local photographers, newspapers, city officers and high school teachers.

The best photos and stories were uploaded to a localised Japanese language version of the Historypin website, and a fantastic film was made to document the event.


“I really loved this. It’s not often you get to speak to such young people these days”
— Participant

“I hope they do this again. So nice to reminisce like this, it’s soothing”
— Older participant

“I really felt that this cross-generational exchange has become more natural than ever”
— High school teacher

What was created?
  • An inter-generational event
  • Physical displays of old photos enriched with stories
  • Digital archive of 371 photos and memories on

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Students took enormous A1 prints of historical photos out to the locations where the photos were taken so that passersby could compare old images with the present day surroundings – creating a real life version of the Street View overlay functionality on


The organisers said:

  • “It was a successful effort to create a space for trans-generational exchange, including with senior citizens with dementia.”
  • “It allowed both elderly people and the pupils to understand their roles in society together better through communication. The elderly people had a chance to talk about their memories with teenagers. The teenagers feel a sense of their place in their community and how they can contribute positively.”
  • “A core aspect of the project was to develop and utilise ICT skills (of both the school pupils and senior citizens), and the Historypin tool was perfect for this.”
  • “It’s not just about creating something for the sake of creating, it can be so much more, a medium that promotes communication across generations, between those with and without a disability, between the locals and the tourists.”
Ongoing activity

The students went on to set up other community projects, including events with elderly people with dementia.

The project partners are planning to develop similar projects elsewhere in Japan, building on this prototype.

Explore the collection