November 29, 2016
Between Nostalgia and Utopia: Alternative Lifestyles in Rural Japan
The Japanese countryside has for decades seen its population shrinking and aging. But in recent years some regions have experienced an influx of new residents, urban-to-rural migrants, looking for a new life in the Japanese countryside.
This so-called I-turn trend has been increasingly covered by the popular media. Magazines and websites providing information and support for people interested in moving to rural areas suggest that life in the countryside promises a meaningful job, a good work-life-balance, a life close to nature and a small, supportive community. They evoke an image of a nostalgic picturesque ‘homeland’ (furusato), where an ‘old Japanese way of life’ has been preserved. But what story does the individual I-turner tell?