NEMURO, HOKKAIDO – A Buddhist temple in Nemuro, Hokkaido, is seeking to redefine its role in the community amid a rapid decline in followers. Nemuro Betsuin Temple of the Shin Buddhism Otani sect began a series of meetings with volunteers last June under the moderation of Ryo Yamazaki, 42, a self-styled community designer, to re-evaluate the temple's functions. Around 40 people attended the fifth meeting, held recently at the temple. A range of events have been tried, including live music, and finally it was decided that the temple should host a cafe. The upbeat meetings energized participants, especially elderly people.