The marginalization of rural Japan between myth and reality
Ralph Lützeler (University of Vienna)
Paper short abstract:
Based on the examination of statistical data on migratory flows between municipalities and on population structures at the rural settlement level in Kumamoto prefecture, this paper questions to what degree communities in peripheral Japan are really threatened by extinction these days .
Paper long abstract:
From the 1990s when the term genkai shūraku, or marginal settlements, started its career as a buzzword, rural areas in Japan have become increasingly associated with decline and even extinction. Several scholars, however, have questioned this view, inter alia pointing to the fact that only very few settlements have in fact vanished (Yamashita Yūsuke), or suggesting that many young outmigrants may keep social contacts with their home village because most of them stay in the region (Tokuno Sadao). Based on the examination of statistical data on migratory flows between municipalities and on population structures at the rural settlement level, which have become available for analysis only recently, this paper attempts to check the plausibility of these counter-arguments. As a case in point, the municipalities of Kumamoto Prefecture and the settlements of Aso City, respectively, were chosen.
Fractured rurality in contemporary Japan