Sustainability and Revitalization in Rural Areas of Japan

2-3 November 2013 at Akita University and Akita International University

Demographic changes such as the aging of society, the birth of fewer children, the migration of young people from the periphery to cities, and the decline of agriculture have led to the increasing marginalization of rural areas in Japan. This symposium is timely and brings together a group of speakers to discuss potential approaches to revitalization, tourism and relocation in rural Japan. The symposium is divided into two sessions. The first session will approach issues of sustainable revitalization and sustainable energy, while the second session will address pertinent issues of the development of infrastructure, tourism and relocation in peripheral areas.


Session 1: Revitalization, Integration and Sustainable Energy in Rural Japan

Saturday, 2 November 2013, 14:00 – 17:00 at Akita University

14:00 Stephanie Assmann (Akita University): Introduction

14:10 Anthony Rausch (Hirosaki University): The Heisei Mergers: Has the Promise been Fulfilled in Sustainable Revitalization?

14:35 Donald C. Wood (Akita University): Thinking Locally and Acting Globally in Regional Japan: Revitalization, Integration, and the Community’s Base

Coffee Break

15:15 Adrian Favell (Science Po Paris): The Aesthetics and Impact of Contemporary Artistic and Architectural Interventions in Post-Growth Japan 

15:40 Sebastian Penmellen Boret (Tohoku University): Memorialisation and Social Reconstruction of Coastal Communities in Post-Tsunami Japan


18:00 Dinner


Session 2 Infrastructure, Tourism and Relocation in the Japanese Countryside

3 November 2013, 10:00-12:45 at Akita International University

10:00 Professor Mark Williams, Vice President of Akita International University: Welcome Address

10:20 Peter Ackermann (University of Erlangen): Tourism as a Future for Local Rail Services? An Analysis of Debates in Akita Prefecture

10:45 Susanne Klien (Modern Japanese Studies Program, Hokkaido University): Life quality ga mechamecha agatteimasu” – Relocating to the Countryside in Contemporary Japan: The Quest for Purpose in Life (ikigai), Post-materialism and a Clustered Lifestyle

11:10 Peter Matanle (School of East Asian Studies, University of Sheffield): From Hashima to Carajas (via Shikoku): Explorations in East Asian Development and Global Environmental Exhaustion


13:15 Lunch (for those who can stay)