[Fukuchiyama no Hen] Filipino Josephine Taniguchi featured in Fukuchiyama City's changemakers series

I just came across this interesting article yesterday. Fukuchiyama is a city near Kyoto which controlled by Akechi Mitsuhide during the Sengoku Period, where he developed the town around the Fukuchiyama Castle which he built.

Akechi Mitsuhide is a famous figure in Japanese history: he rebelled against Oda Nobunaga (Japan’s first Great Unifier) for control of the country.

Translated into English from the Fukuchiyama City website. This is a machine translation so there might be inaccuracies.

“Hen” in “Fukuchiyama no Hen” (福知山の変) means “change.”

The 8th installment of the “Fukuchiyama no Hen” series, which supports changemakers who change the land associated with Akechi Mitsuhide.


Fukuchiyama City, Kyoto Prefecture, which is associated with Akechi Mitsuhide, will welcome Josephine Taniguchi, a Filipino who is struggling for multicultural coexistence, to the latest installment of the city promotion project “Fukuchiyama no Hen,” which supports “changers” who take on challenges in the city and change it. In addition, the city will launch the multicultural coexistence project “Hello! Halo-Halo Project.”

A city promotion project co-produced by citizens, creators, and city officials

“Fukuchiyama no Hen” is a citizen-participation series project in which creators active in the advertising world and city hall officials team up to introduce people who are taking on challenges that surpass Akechi Mitsuhide, who built the foundation of the city. Fukuchiyama’s changermakers are widely disseminated through posters and full-page newspaper ads.

Josephine Taniguchi, who strives to support foreigners after facing cultural and language barriers

The eighth changemaker is multicultural community organizer Josephine Taniguchi, affectionately known as “Karen.” Having faced cultural and language barriers when she moved to Fukuchiyama City, she has devoted her energy to supporting foreigners for many years.

Currently, more than 1,200 foreigners live in Fukuchiyama City, and they are making further changes to achieve multicultural coexistence, or “a world where everyone can be ‘mixed’ and respect each other,” as the title of this work states. The city’s project, in which Karen also participates, has been named the “Hello! Halo-Halo Project” from this year, using the Filipino word “halo-halo,” which means “mixed,” and as a kickoff, two posters of “Fukuchiyama no Hen” have been produced, one in Japanese with furigana and one in English, to widely convey Karen’s thoughts.

Josephine Taniguchi (AKA Karen)

Multicultural coexistence project “Hello! Halo-Halo Project” launched! People who cooperated with “Fukuchiyama Incident” and project members

The motif is the Philippine shaved ice, halo-halo, which means “mixed together”.

The top of the “Fukuchiyama no Hen” visual represents the mind of a changemaker. Karen’s motif is the shaved ice “halo-halo”, a representative sweet of her native Philippines, which symbolizes multicultural coexistence. Halo-halo means “mixed together” in Tagalog. Ingredients unique to the Philippines (ube [purple yam], sago [tapioca], etc.) and ingredients introduced from Spain, America, and Japan (leche flan [pudding], ice cream, ice, red beans) are placed in a bowl and stirred together before eating. With the cooperation of Karen and other Filipinos and producers in the city, this work is a unique Fukuchiyama x Philippine halo-halo that also contains ingredients from Fukuchiyama (Tamba chestnuts, strawberries, black beans, red beans, eggs, rice).

The Halo-halo Project is underway! Hello Hello Exchange Event

The announcement of “Fukuchiyama no Hen” will be positioned as the kickoff of the “Hello! Hello Hello Project”, and we will be actively carrying out activities such as the “Urban Development Seminar for Foreigners to Play an Active Role” on Tuesday, July 23rd, the “Hello Hello Exchange Event with Karen” on Sunday, August 4th, the “Karen’s Idea! Bon Odori Exchange Event to Participate as a Foreigner Group (Dancing Group)” in mid-August, and study sessions. (Co-hosted by Fukuchiyama City and NPO Kyoto Tanba Tango Network)

Fukuchiyama no Hen poster featuring Josephine Taniguchi

“I wish for a world where everybody ‘mixes together’ and respects each other.”

​Fukuchiyama City is currently home to more than 1,200 foreign residents. The circle of support for foreigners has been expanding in recent years, and Josephine Taniguchi (also known as Karen), who is herself a foreign resident, has been actively involved in support activities. Karen’s activities are difficult to describe briefly. From organizing multicultural exchange events to assisting with visa procedures and caring for families struggling with language barriers and children who have stopped attending school, she handles a wide variety of issues, many of which are difficult to grasp and to resolve. When we asked her how hard this must be for her, she responded cheerfully, “Helping people makes me happy.”

Karen introduced us to Halo-halo, a typical shaved ice dessert in her native country, the Philippines. “Halo-halo means ‘mixed’ in Tagalog. It symbolizes the various culinary influences of many countries in the Philippines. A mixture of different ingredients, it has a wonderful assortment of textures and flavors. I believe the same is also true of people and cultures.” Karen wishes for a world where everybody can shine in their own way. It is her strong will to “save someone every day.”

Josephine Taniguchi
(Multicultural Community Organizer)

Cooking assistance: Vivian Nakai, Lisa Ezaki
Ingredients provided by: Ueda Farm, Okuda Farm, Green Farm Sogo, Kobayashi Farm, THE610BASE, Hata Ritsuen (in alphabetical order)