Japan’s New Ruralities: Coping with Decline in the Periphery


New publication edited by Wolfram Manzenreiter, Ralph Lützeler, and Sebastian Polak-Rottmann in the Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese Studies series. Available as hardback, paperback, and eBook.

Japan’s New Ruralities: Coping with Decline in the Periphery features the combined outcome of 15 research projects, some by anthropologists, some by social geographers, some by names familiar to probably all of you, some by new faces of upcoming scholars. All their accounts are fascinating case studies of what it means to live under the centripetal forces of power that severely restrain and shape rural self-determination. "Peripherialization“ and "Global Countryside“ are two key terms that we have used to discuss the relations between autonomy and heteronomy and to link the case of Japan with wider theoretical discussions within rural studies.

Seeking to challenge negative perceptions within Japanese media and politics on the future of the countryside, the contributors to this book present a counterargument to the inevitable demise of rural society.

Contrary to the dominant argument, which holds outmigration and demographic hyper-aging as primarily responsible for rural decline, this book highlights the spatial dimension of power differences behind uneven development in contemporary Japan. Including many fi eldwork-based case studies, the chapters discuss topics such as corporate farming, local energy systems and public healthcare, examining the constraints and possibilities of rural self-determination under the centripetal impact of forces located both in and outside of the country. Focusing on asymmetries of power to explore regional autonomy and heteronomy, it also examines "peripheralization" and the "global countryside," two recent theoretical contributions to the field, as a common framework.

Japan’s New Ruralities addresses the complexity of rural decline in the context of debates on globalization and power differences. As such, it will be of interest to students and scholars of sociology, anthropology, human geography and politics, as well as Japanese Studies.

The full reference:
Manzenreiter, W., Luetzeler, R., and Polk-Rottmann, S. eds. 2020. Japan’s New Ruralities: Coping with Decline in the Periphery. London/New York. Routledge. 

More information (details about the TOC and how to order the book) is available at the publishers website:

The e-book can be found here (Available on Taylor & Francis eBooks):

Japan’s New Ruralities (Cover)

Japan’s New Ruralities (Cover)