Cultivating relational values and sustaining socio-ecological production landscapes through ocean literacy: a study on Satoumi

  • Takuro Uehara
  • Ryo Sakurai
  • Takahiro Tsuge
Case Study


Sound management of social-ecological systems should reflect diverse values; otherwise, the systems may inadvertently lead to neither fair nor desirable states. Relational values are one of three primary value domains of these diverse values. Since they may strongly motivate care for nature, nurturing these values could be a useful management measure for people involved in management (e.g., policy makers and nonprofit organizations) to realize a desirable state of social-ecological systems. To test this hypothesis, we studied ocean literacy programs at a district junior high school in Hinase District, Okayama, Japan. The district is known as a Satoumi (Japanese coastal socio-ecological production landscape). First, we measured the significance of relational values in the district. Second, we assessed the effect of the ocean literacy programs on cultivating relational values. Third, to test the feasibility of the ocean literacy programs as management measures to cultivate relational values, we used a contingent valuation method, developed in environmental economics, to measure residents’ willingness to support the programs. Our study reveals that relational values are a critical component of Satoumi. Students are promising supporters of Satoumi given the declining and aging population of guardians, a result of the decline in revenues from fishery; moreover, the programs cultivate relational values in students. Residents support the ocean literacy programs, and their willingness to pay for them is connected with relational values. Therefore, ocean literacy can be an effective and feasible management measure for sustaining Satoumi through cultivation of relational values.


Relational values Satoumi Ocean literacy Socio-ecological production landscapes Contingent valuation method 



This study was funded by the Inamori Foundation, the ESPEC Foundation for Global Environment Research and Technology, and the Casio Science Promotion Foundation. The funders had no role in study design, data collection, analysis, or writing of the manuscript. We are grateful to the teachers and students at HJHS, the Fisheries Cooperative Association of Hinase, and the residents of the district for their generous support of this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Policy ScienceRitsumeikan UniversityIbaraki City, OsakaJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of EconomicsKonan UniversityKobe CityJapan

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