Urban Migrants in Rural Japan

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Offers an in-depth ethnography of paradigm shifts in the lifestyles and values of youth in post-growth Japan.

2020 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

Urban Migrants in Rural Japan provides a fresh perspective on theoretical notions of rurality and emerging modes of working and living in post-growth Japan. By exploring narratives and trajectories of individuals who relocate from urban to rural areas and seek new modes of working and living, this multisited ethnography reveals the changing role of rurality, from postwar notions of a stagnant backwater to contemporary sites of experimentation. The individual cases presented in the book vividly illustrate changing lifestyles and perceptions of work. What emerges from Urban Migrants in Rural Japan is the emotionally fraught quest of many individuals for a personally fulfilling lifestyle and the conflicting neoliberal constraints many settlers face. In fact, flexibility often coincides with precarity and self-exploitation. Susanne Klien shows how mobility serves as a strategic mechanism for neophytes in rural Japan who hedge their bets; gain time; and seek assurance, inspiration, and courage to do (or further postpone doing) what they ultimately feel makes sense to them.

Susanne Klien is Associate Professor of Modern Japanese Studies at Hokkaido University, Japan. She is the author of Rethinking Japan's Identity and International Role: Tradition and Change in Japan's Foreign Policy.

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