Project Contributors

Introducing our staffs who created this Amami Horizon website.
We teamed up with photographers, editors, translators, and media researchers from all over the world.

Our team


Futoshi Hamada

Professional photographer and videographer

Born in En, Tatsugo Town, Amami Oshima in 1953. Graduated Tokyo University of Photography (currently Tokyo Polytechnic University).
After employment in the Photography Department of Kodansha, Ltd., photographed Europe and the Middle East as he toured countries in these areas. Returns to his native Amami Oshima in 1980. As he starts to capture the nature and culture of Amami, Hamada is exposed to the Amami Black Rabbit, a special national natural treasure. He makes it his life’s work to capture the life of the nocturnal rabbit on film.
In 1996, Hamada succeeds in capturing the world’s first video of the Amami Black Rabbit (Pentalagus furnessi) raising a kitten.
Awarded the 16th Anima Prize by Heibonsha Publishers, Ltd. in 1999. In 2017, his work Child-raising of the Amami Black Rabbit (Pentalagus furnessi) won High Honors in the video category of Nature’s Best Photography Asia in 2017, and is shown year-round at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in the United States. In the same year, Hamada receives the 68th Minami Nihon Culture Prize from Minami Nihon Shimbunsha, and wins the 51st MBC Prize and other awards the following year in 2018.
Co-production and appearances on television broadcasts include NHK’s Ikimono Chikyuu Kikou, Chikyuu Fushigi Daishizen, Daauin ga Kita, and Bi no Tsubo, among many others. Photography collections include Tropical Amami kara Minamikaze, Toki wo Koete Ikiru Amami no Kuro Usagi, and Amami: Hikari to Mizu no Monogatari (Shogakukan Inc.), as well as Mura: Amami Neriyakanaya no Hitobito, Seimei Meguru Shima: Amami, and Amami no Shoku to Bunka published by Minami Nihon Shimbunsha.


Yuriko Hamada

Project planner and editor-in-chief

Born in Tokyo in 1953. Graduated Tokyo Woman’s Christian University. After working at a major general publisher, emigrates to Amami Oshima after marriage and becomes a freelance writer and editor for trade papers and ladies’ magazines. While assisting her husband Futoshi Hamada in photography, Hamada also worked in planning and editing a sightseeing poster and brochures for the Amami group of islands among many other printed materials.
In August 1995, she becomes the editor-in-chief of Horizon, a magazine passionately dedicated to the Amami archipelago and launched to cover the nature, culture, history and life on the islands.
The publication was awarded Honorable Mention in the 13th Zenkoku Taunshi Festibaru (sponsored by NTT West Japan) in 1997, and the Local Communication Prize the following year. Last published in 2014, Horizon magazine survives in eBook form in 40 issues to date.
Co-authorships include Manten no Hoshi no Gotoku…, a magazine commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Reversion of the Amami Islands to Japan (published by Kagoshima Prefecture), as well as Amami Archipelago Tourism League Guidebook, Seimei Meguru Shima: Amami, and Amami no Shoku to Bunka, all published by Minami Nihon Shimbunsha. Former Kyodo News Enterprise correspondent. Instructor of Amami City Lifelong Learning Course. 


Ayumi Hamada

Project manager

Born in Amami Oshima in 1982. 2001 graduate of Kagoshima Prefectural Oshima High School. In 2006, Hamada graduated from Lane Community College in the United States of America. Worked in the USA as concierge and reception at a Marriott Hotels subsidiary before returning to Japan in 2008. Employed at Four Seasons Hotel Chinzan-so Tokyo. After serving as database administrator at the Tokyo International Film Festival division of the nonprofit organization UNIJAPAN since 2011, Hamada became systems administrator at UNIJAPAN.
Serving as executive director of Airport TV Network Japan Co., Ltd. since 2018. In the current project, Hamada served as project manager, responsible for translations and communication with translators, designers and other contributors inside and outside Japan.


Dr. Evangelia Papoutsaki

Researcher of media studies

Dr Evangelia Papoutsaki is a New Zealand based researcher, the Convenor of the Small Island Cultures Research Initiative (SICRI), former International Research Fellow at Kagoshima University Research Center for the Pacific Islands, and Editor in Chief of e-Press. She has extensive research experiences in the Pacific Islands and engages in large research projects with island media and communication focus.
During her fellowship in 2017 she conducted her fieldwork in the Amami Islands in collaboration with Professor Sueo Kuwahara. As part of this research, she investigated the islands’ media and used Horizon magazine as one of her case studies. She considered the contents of high quality, and given the lack of information on the Islands in English, she recommended the contents to be translated into English in an easily accessible online platform. In this project, she acts as the English Language Editor overseeing the development of the platform and developing new content in the future.
University of the Ryukyus Repository: Essay about Photobook “MURA” by Dr. Evangelia Papotsuaki


Sueo Kuwahara

Professor emeritus at Kagoshima University

He was born in 1955 in Amami Oshima. He majored in cultural anthropology at the graduate school of Tsukuba University. In May 1990, he became a lecturer at the college of liberal arts of Kagoshima University, and after working as a professor in the Faculty of Law and Letters and the Center for General Education, he became a professor emeritus at Kagoshima University in April 2020. He did his anthropological researches in Southeast Asia, Micronesia and the Southeast Islands of Japan. His books include Cultural Anthropology of the Amami Islands, The Islands of Kagoshima (co-authored) and so on. He started a collaborate research with Dr. Evangelia Paposaki on communicative ecology of the Amami Islands in 2017, and also payed attention to Amami’s town magazine “Horizon”. In this Horizon HP project, he is acting as a proofreader and translator.


Shelley Sechler

Japanese to English translator

Born in Pennsylvania State, United States of America. Dispatched as an assistant language teacher (ALT) to Kagoshima Prefectural Oshima Bureau of Education from 1995 to 1998. Worked at 7 junior high and high schools on Kikaijima and northern Amami Oshima before offering English conversation classes at 5 locations on Amami Oshima. Passed Japanese Language Proficiency Test Grade 1. Former Amami City Council for the Protection of Cultural Properties committee member. English Civilian Interpreter for the Kagoshima Prefectural Police.
With about 18 years’ residence in Amami, Sechler has leveraged knowledge of Amami nature and culture in translating tourism pamphlets and other content in the past. She is currently an active freelance Japanese-English translator in the United States of America.


Hisako Kiire

Translator, interpreter

Born and raised in Shiga Pref. Taught English at public high schools in Shiga for 8 years. Completed a master’s course at Warwick University in the UK. Moved to Amami Oshima due to marriage after coming back from the UK. Ran a private English school on the island for 8 years. After moving to Okinawa, started free-lancing as an interpreter while working at the Okinawa Language Center. As part of free-lancing, also worked at various institutions including JICA Okinawa Center, Okinawa Prefectural University / Graduate School of Nursing, etc. as a temporary interpreter/translator. Moved and lived in Australia for 6 years(After earning a master’s degree in Japanese interpreting/translation from the University of Queensland, worked free-lance as an interpreter in Sydney). Based in Tokyo since 2018, worked at Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan, GE Healthcare Japan and other foreign affiliated companies as a temporary interpreter/translator. Currently, undertaking an interpreting/translation contract with an American IT company based in Tokyo. (100% WFH in Okinawa)


Mutsumi Kanazawa


Born in Tokyo. Sophia University, Tokyo (BA), University of Alaska Anchorage (Ed. MA, minored in cultural anthropology). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, NZ (MA in International Communication, with emphasis on intercultural communication and immigrant history). Worked at Sony Corporation, Embassy of Ireland, Embassy of Switzerland, the United Nations University, Delegation of the European Union. Emigrated to New Zealand in 2010. Currently work as a freelance consultant, researcher and translator. During her days in NZ, studied under Dr Evangelia Papoutsaki, who recommended Mutsumi for this project.


Masaki Inoue


Born in 1968 in Fukuoka. Moved to Amami Oshima island in 2001 after living in Boston and Tokyo. MA from Sophia University (Tokyo) and BA from UMass/Boston. Translation specialist with experiences working for various projects, including those of Microsoft, Amazon, as well as of machining tools and medical equipment. His academic training in anthropology contributes to translation projects related to Amami islands’ tourism. An instructor of Amami City’s adult education.


Chuck Clenney


Born in 1985 in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in Kentucky, USA. In 2009, Chuck came to Japan as an ALT and spent two years living in Gunma Prefecture before returning home. In 2018, Chuck moved back to Japan to Amami Oshima as an ALT in Setouchi Town. While working at 13 elementary and junior high schools, Chuck assists with English interpretation for international visitors and diplomats and also helps write English translations for local tourism programs, etc. As he began exploring Amami’s rich Shima-uta musical heritage and ancient history, he began hosting a radio show in Setouchi in a mix of Japanese and Amami Shimaguchi. Currently, he runs a company helping Japanese musicians promote their work internationally. Passed Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) level 2.


Minoru Satomura

Representative at

Born in Naze in 1972 and grew up in Tatsugo Town, Amami Oshima. Moved to Tokyo after graduating high school, and starts to produce online content in 1995. Returns to his native Amami in 1999. Establishes ADVANCE WEB STUDIO in 2003. Currently active in website design, renovation and SEO and photography set scenery for events, products, cooking and weddings, Satomura also lectures at Amami Jouhoushori Senmon Gakkou. Horizon website designer.


Yasunari Nihei

WEB director

Born in Niigata in 1976. Worked as an e-commerce site director at a web production company and major trading company before starting his own business. In 2007, Nihei launches an independent web consulting business called almost new. In 2012, Nihei relocates to his wife’s hometown of Amami Oshima. There he plans and publishes Kyora, a free magazine reporting on island features from original angles. Dealing with planning and sales promotion both inside and outside the island in the consulting business, Nihei also works in branding, contributing to increased sales and improving a company’s public recognition. Co-designer of the Horizon e-magazine website.

Special thanks to Terumi Yamada and Taeko Yamada