A peer-reviewed paper ” Revitalising rurality under the neoliberal transformation of agriculture: Experiences of re-agrarianisation in Japan” co-authored by Prof. Shuji Hisano (Kyoto University, Project Member), Prof. Motoki Akitsu (Kyoto University, WG2 Chair) and Project Leader Steven R. McGreevy was published on an international journal, Journal of Rural Studies.
Abstract: Rural places are continually experiencing socio-economic change and the conceptual frameworks of re-de-agrarianisation and re-de-peasantisation were devised to explain agrarian transformations in a broad sense. Following empirical studies from other geographical contexts, this paper revisits the concepts of re-de-agrarianisation and re-de-peasantisation through the historical, theoretical, and empirical lens of agrarian and rural change in Japan. After detailing the circumstances of post-WWII agricultural reconstruction and current rural conditions, as well as outlining the development of the field of Japanese agrarian studies and a selection of the endogenous theories within to explain transformations, contemporary examples and a case study are used to provide a rich contextual account of Japan’s experiences of re-agrarianisation and re-peasantisation. We find that economic, social, cultural, geopolitical, and biophysical conditions in Japan have shaped the processes of agrarian change and bring into focus particular uniqueness of endogenous responses to de-agrarianisation and neoliberal agricultural trends. In particular, socio-cultural pressure to cooperate and identify with local community and place allows “peasant-like” elements to persist despite the strong push toward entrepreneurial and corporate farming. Understanding these trajectories of the transformation of Japanese agriculture would then challenge and/or validate the applicability of commonly accepted definitions of de-re-agrarianisation and de-re-peasantisation.
Keywords: Re-agrarianisation; Re-peasantisation; Japanese agrarian studies; Advanced farming entities; Community farming enterprises
•The experiences of Japan’s agricultural development provide a rich context for re-examining de- re- binary categorisation.
•Rural change in Japan indicates that the boundaries between development pathways and farming modes are varying and blurred.
•The de-peasantisation process typical to the development of a stratified agriculture was largely avoided in Japan.
•A re-agrarianisation at all costs approach to stem the decline of agriculture has engendered hybrid-moded farming entities.