Making Futures 2021

Life Cycles of Material Worlds

The seventh edition of our Making Futures biennial international research conference will be held on 16th September 2021.

Natsumi Tabusa

Aeru Company| Royal College of Art, MA Service Design|

Online community; a new "space" to connect producers and consumers.

The vernacular environment brings a diversity of work to local-embedded producers, but the physical distance from urban areas has made it challenging to reach consumers. Traditional Japanese craftspeople are no exception to this rule. Many of them are family businesses, utilizing techniques that have been handed down from generation to generation and creating products in rural areas for modern users.

In this presentation, Natsumi Tabusa introduces a Japanese online community that aims to promote ways of enjoying craft makers' works within the context of the every day. A social enterprise in its operations, Aeru company aims to connect Japanese traditions to the next generations whilst engaging with the wholesale business of handicrafts. The online community was launched in the spring of 2021 during the pandemic and there are approximately 60 paid-up members from all over Japan, with some participants living abroad.

Once a month, Aeru organizes Zoom visits to producers of pottery, lacquerware, weaving and more around Japan, demonstrating their work and holding talk sessions. This session will reveal how online communications have led to interactions between creators and users and what potential this approach has to achieve sustainable creating and living.


After majoring in cultural studies at Kobe University, Natsumi Tabusa worked in accounting and business management at a major chemical company. From 2015 onwards she has been developing Aeru Company and in the process has launched a new retail shop in Kyoto. She has also developed new businesses as the general manager of Japan West division. She is currently enrolled as a post-graduate in Service Design at the Royal College of Art in London.