1st Edition

Rethinking Locality in Japan

Edited By Sonja Ganseforth, Hanno Jentzsch Copyright 2022
    306 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    306 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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


    Sonja Ganseforth is Principal Researcher at the German Institute for Japanese Studies in Tokyo. Her research interests include development and sustainability discourses, globalized agri-food systems, small-scale fisheries, and the political ecology of food. Her first monograph analyzed Japanese development cooperation in Palestine (2016).

    Hanno Jentzsch is Assistant Professor at the Institute for East Asian Studies, Vienna University. He works on agricultural politics, central-local relations, and social welfare in Japan. His first monograph Harvesting State Support (2021) analyzed institutional change in Japanese agriculture.