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March 20, 2023

Contributing to community revitalization through Well-being experiences in the metaverse and real-world
~ Starting a demonstration of Social Well-being at Koyasan, which has a rich history and tradition of Japanese culture ~

Tokyo - March 20, 2023 - NTT Corporation (TYO:9432) has started a demonstration experiment on "Social Well-being based on Japanese culture and tradition1", aiming to promote individual well-being and increase community relationship population.
 At the 1st phase, we will conduct a proof-of concept on "Koyasan × Social Well-being", targeting Koyasan ( Koya-cho, Ito-gun, Wakayama Pref. ), which has a 1,200-year history and is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
 Through this demonstration, we aim to support the well-being of people involved in the experience and to promote community revitalization through increased community relationship population by creating experiences that enable them to experience the traditional culture and nature of Koyasan and its relationship with people in the metaverse and in the real space of their living area.

1. Background

NTT advocates the concept of "Social Well-being2" in a distributed society where digital and real worlds are integrated, aiming to research and develop technologies that enable individual autonomy and group harmony are balanced altruistically. We aim for a society where each person and the group are doing well together, transcending the binary opposition between individuals and groups. This is achieved by promoting the idea of valuing not only oneself but also the people and things surrounding oneself, which helps prevent sacrificing oneself for the sake of the group or the fixation of individual values and roles, which can lead to dysfunction within the group.
 As the specific initiative, we are co-creating services and social systems based on well-being with diverse partners who share the concept of Social Well-being. Furthermore, we are working on the research and development of the "Well-being Design Framework", which formalizes the co-creation process.
 Taking into account the high affinity between the concept of Social Well-being and the philosophy that have been passed down at Koyasan, we collaborated with diverse partners3, including Koyasan University, which is a partner related to Koyasan region, to utilize the Well-being Design Framework and co-create experiences that contribute to Social Well-being using Koyasan's culture and traditions.

2. Koyasan × Social Well-being

Through dialogues with the partners using the "Our Well-being Cards4" developed by NTT, we have identified the following three values as well-being factors that can be obtained through the attractions of the Koyasan region:

  1. Connection to nature, history, and people of Koyasan
  2. Self-awareness and metacognition
  3. Connection to others through co-creation and shared experiences

Fig. 1 values provided by this initiative Fig. 1 values provided by this initiative

By utilizing ICT, we have created experiences that allow people to feel these three values in their familiar spaces (their living areas) and in digital spaces (metaverses). For those who have trouble visiting Koyasan in person or are hesitant to do so, we have created an experience that is easy to engage with in a way that suits their preferences. This way, we aim to not only to promote well-being, but also to stimulate interest in Koyasan and contribute to the revitalization of the region through an increased number of visitors.

Fig. 2 two experiences and the value obtained from each experience Fig. 2 two experiences and the value obtained from each experience

・Experiences in living area

Participants can have a visit of the Kongobuji and have experiences of meditation at the Ajikan Dojo within the temple, while experiencing the movements of Koyasan monks by utilizing the vibrotactile transmission technology5 developed by NTT. By providing sensory feedback through not only visual and auditory but also tactile sensations. participants can perceive changes in the world within the landscape through a diverse range of senses. This allows them to have a realistic experience even in their living areas and a well-being experience where they can feel the factors of well-being, similar to the experience at Koyasan. In addition, by circulating the vibrations generated by the movements of Koyasan monks throughout the body as sound and rhythm, participants can feel a connection with Koyasan and experience a knack of the movements of experienced meditators (monks).

Fig. 3 Experiences in living area Fig. 3 Experiences in living area

・Experiences in metaverse

Participants can create their own "Well-being my Mandala" by using "Our Well-being Cards". The "Well-being my Mandala" is composed of photos that they feel represent times when they were feeling good (well-being photos) and expressed in the style of "mandala" that represents the teachings of Koyasan. It encourages introspection based on one's own values of well-being. By sharing their "Well-being my Mandala" with others and engaging in dialogue, they are encouraged to understand each other's values. Through dialogue using the "Well-being Team Mandala" created by combining multiple Well-being my Mandalas, participants can perceive the diversity of well-being values in the group and see themselves as part of it.

Fig. 4 Experiences in metaverse Fig. 4 Experiences in metaverse

3. Demonstration Experiment

In this demonstration experiment, we will conduct experiences in both "experiences in living area" and "experiences in metaverse" at QUINTBRIDGE6, an open innovation facility operated by NTT WEST Corporation, for QUINTBRIDGE members. Through each experience, we will verify individual well-being experiences and the creation of a feeling of connection to the Koyasan region.

・Experiences in living area

The exhibition will be displayed for one month from March 27th and QUINTBRIDGE members can experience it at their preferred timing.
 In the future, we aim to increase the number of places where the experience can be offered at events and permanent exhibitions, so that people can easily experience it in their living areas without having to physically travel, and thereby create and maintain sustainable connections.

・Metaverse Experiences

We will hold the workshop in digital-physical hybrid format at the QUINTBRIDGE 1st Anniversary event7 on March 24th. Participants can create their Well-being my Mandala in the metaverse space, and then share and engage in dialogue it in the physical space.
 In the future, we aim to enable the experience to be conducted in the metaverse space including sharing and dialogue, and thereby create and maintain sustainable connections wherever users are.

4. Future Plans

In this demonstration experiment, we offer an experience for introspection based on well-being values through dialogue with others and sensory experiences. Based on the findings from this experiment, we will improve the experiential content under the supervision of the Research Institute of Esoteric Buddhist Culture, Koyasan University, expand the user base, and conduct feasibility studies for commercialization targeting corporations and foreign visitors to Japan. After that, we will work with NTT group companies to explore and verify the ecosystem for business sustainability.

About NTT

NTT believes in resolving social issues through our business operations by applying technology for good. We help clients accelerate growth and innovate for current and new business models. Our services include digital business consulting, technology and managed services for cybersecurity, applications, workplace, cloud, data center and networks all supported by our deep industry expertise and innovation.
As a top 5 global technology and business solutions provider, our diverse teams operate in 88 countries and regions and deliver services to over 190 of them. We serve 85% of Fortune Global 100 companies and thousands of other clients and communities around the world.
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1Social Well-being based on Japanese culture and tradition: an initiative aimed at regional revitalization of areas with Japanese culture and traditions and providing experiences that contribute to the well-being of each one by connecting with those regions.

2Social Well-being: a connection that enables individual autonomy and group harmony to be balanced altruistically
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3Koyasan University (the Research Institute of Esoteric Buddhist Culture) as a local partner in Koyasan, and ExaWizards Inc. participate as a development partner for ICT-based well-being services

4Our Well-being Cards: A communication tool developed by NTT to verbalize what you and others around you "make me feel good" as a first step toward understanding well-being. The cards describe what makes you feel well-being (well-being factors), and there are 32 different cards in 4 categories in the 2022 edition.
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5vibrotactile transmission technology: technology developed by NTT that measures and transmits vibration information generated by movements or sounds
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6QUINTBRIDGE is an open innovation center by NTT WEST focused on tackling with social issues and contributing to create a better future. From Kyobashi, Osaka, we aim to realize a society where people can feel well-being through connections with companies, startups, local governments, universities, and various partners.
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7QUINTBRIDGE 1st Anniversary event was held on March 24, 2023.
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