Youth and Agriculture in Japan
国際教養学部国際教養学科 伊藤 毅 教授
The Youth and Agriculture project explores the complex interaction of factors and structural layers affecting the encouragement and retention of youth farmers and new entrants in rural agriculture in different parts of Asia. Globally, young people are increasingly turning away from agriculture and rural futures. Who will be farmers in the future? This issue intersects several critical areas: post-pandemic recovery, climate change, structural mass youth unemployment, younger generation’s reluctance to engage in agricultural industries, food insecurity, agricultural decline and poverty. Existing literature has largely failed to offer nuanced understandings of the complex relationships between young people and agriculture in different parts of rural Asia, as well as the interaction of new and pre-existing factors complicating their engagement with rural lifestyles. Drawing on evidence generated from comparative field studies in rural Indonesia, Japan and Nepal, this research project examines why young people leave agriculture and rural areas amidst rising youth unemployment and declining rural agriculture. In Japan, the research explores pockets of emerging agroecological movements and successful support systems for newcomer farmers and organic farmers in the Japanese countryside. These groups are vital to the revitalization of the Japanese countryside, yet experience a higher rate of difficulty integrating into traditional agricultural settings or sustaining rural agricultural production despite attempts by the local and national government to bolster new entrants and climate-aware agriculture. Insights from the project aims at creating nuanced and theoretical understandings of organic farmers’s sectoral, spatial, and temporal engagements in Japan, as well as potential policy insights for tackling this issue.
This project is a collaboration with Dr. Ramesh Sunam from the Waseda Institute of Advanced Study, Waseda University.