Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien nav lang search
Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
Moving to rural Japan – Film Screening and Discussion



DIJ (access)


To participate please register via email to

DIJ Mailing Lists

Please subscribe below to stay informed about our research activities, events, and publications:

    Choose Subscription:

    = required field

    Moving to rural Japan – Film Screening and Discussion


    Sonja Blaschke, freelance journalist
    Tomoo Matsuda, Mitsubishi Research Institute

    Japan’s regions have been challenged by demographic decline and an aging population for some decades. Despite or even because of these challenges, a small number of people from urban centres of the country decide to move to rural areas. This DIJ Forum combined two different perspectives on migration patterns from urban to rural Japan. Filmmaker Sonja Blaschke introduced her film “Reisfeld statt Tokio” (in German, with English subtitles; 30min), highlighting the story of a young urban woman and her new lifestyle in a small village in the mountains of rural Japan. Tomoo Matsuda then introduced cases of urban professionals who decided to live temporarily or permanently in Japan’s countryside. Challenging the traditional pattern of migration to the nation’s capital, he illustrated the concept of “gyaku-sankin kōtai”, exploring the merits of moving to rural areas.

    Sonja BLASCHKE is a multilingual freelance journalist, online news editor, guidebook author and TV producer from Germany based in Japan. She reports mostly about East Asia, especially Japan and Taiwan. In 2022, she directed her first TV documentary “Reisfeld statt Tokio” (Rice Fields Instead of Tokyo) about young people moving from Tokyo to a remote mountain village to take up rice farming.

    Tomoo MATSUDA is a research director at the Mitsubishi Research Institute (MRI) in Tokyo, focusing on active aging and local vitalization. He has been serving as advisor to many municipalities, including big cities and small towns. He proposes new rural lifestyles to urban employees – an approach he calls “gyaku-sankin kōtai” ( He has been a visiting professor at Kochi University since 2014 and also serves as an advisor to Toyama city, Hamamatsu city, Isen town, and Otobe town.