Rethinking Locality in Japan: What is Local?


Edited by Sonja Ganseforth (DIJ Tokyo) and Hanno Jentzsch (University of Vienna)


This book inquires what is meant when we say "local" and what "local" means in the Japanese context.

Through the window of locality, it enhances an understanding of broader political and socio-economic shifts in Japan. This includes demographic change, electoral and administrative reform, rural decline and revitalization, welfare reform, as well as the growing metabolic rift in energy and food production. Chapters throughout this edited volume discuss the different and often contested ways in which locality in Japan has been reconstituted, from historical and contemporary instances of administrative restructuring, to more subtle social processes of making – and unmaking – local places. Contributions from multiple disciplinary perspectives are included to investigate the tensions between overlapping and often incongruent dimensions of locality. Framed by a theoretical discussion of socio-spatial thinking, such issues surrounding the construction and renegotiation of local places are not only relevant for Japan specialists, but also connected with topical scholarly debates further afield.

Accordingly, Rethinking Locality in Japan will appeal to students and scholars from Japanese studies and human geography to anthropology, history, sociology and political science.

  • Part 1: (Re)lating Localities as Lived Spaces in Japan
    • 1. Locality in Shōnai: Scale, Containers, Fields, and Horizons | William W. Kelly
    • 2. Localized yet Deterritorialized Lives in Rural Japan: Fragmented Localities, Mobility, and Neoliberalism | Susanne Klien
    • 3. Rur-bane Relations: Assemblage and Cosmopolitics in Central Hokkaido | Paul Hansen
    • 4. The Meaning of Place for Selfhood and Well-being in Rural Japan | Wolfram Manzenreiter & Barbara Holthus
  • Part 2: Local Social Worlds at Risk
    • 5. Localizing the Nuclear: Risk Normalization and Sense of Place after Fukushima | Tarek Katramiz
    • 6. Mapping the Local Economy of Care: Social Welfare and Volunteerism in Local Communities | Isaac Gagné
    • 7. San’ya – The Making and Unmaking of a Welfare Quarter | Hanno Jentzsch
  • Part 3: Localities under Contestation
    • 8. Defending the Local: Resident Activism against Municipal Mergers in Postwar Rural Japan | Sven Kramer
    • 9. Local Governance of Public Transport Services: Maintaining Identity and Independence after the Heisei Mergers | Timo Thelen & Hitoshi Oguma
    • 10. Territorialized yet Fluid Locality: Reform, Consolidation, and the More-than-Human in Japanese Fishery Cooperatives | Sonja Ganseforth
    • 11. The Reinterpretation of Locality and Place in the Wine Industry of Yamanashi Prefecture | Aaron Kingsbury
  • Part 4: Local–National Dynamics
    • 12. Furusato Nōzei Tax: Local Place in National Tax Policy and the Dynamics of Locality | Anthony Rausch & Junichiro Koji
    • 13. Uprooting the Political Landscape: How Municipal Mergers Untethered the Local from National Politics | Kyohei Yamada
    • 14. Competing Conceptions of Local Democracy in Japan | Ken Victor Leonard Hijino
  • Part 5: Coda
    • 15. Earth is our Locale: Decentering and Decelerating the Human in the Anthropocene | Peter Matanle

First Published: 2021
eBook Published: 20 July 2021
Pub. Location: London
Imprint: Routledge
Pages: 306
eBook: ISBN 9781003032137
Subjects: Area Studies, Environment and Sustainability, Geography, Politics & International Relations, Social Sciences


Ganseforth, Sonja., & Jentzsch, Hanno. (Eds.)
2021   Rethinking Locality in Japan: What is Local?. London: Routledge.