Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Society for East Asian Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students
Primary Theme: Social movements
Secondary Theme: Resistance
Departing from the Foucauldian notion of heterotopia as ‘places in which all the other emplacement of a culture are at the same time, represented, contested, and reversed’ as those ‘places that are outside’ (Foucault 1998: 178), this panel explores ‘places of otherness’ that function in non-hegemonic conditions in rural communities in Japan. Whereas rural life in Japan is often associated with the direness of aging, population decline, abandonment and outmigration, we seek to shed light on such ‘places of otherness’ that allow for self-realization, entrepreneurism and open new opportunities of co-operation between highly diverse actors within one locality. In our ethnographic studies, we investigate entrepreneurism of women in farm inn businesses in Akita, culinary entrepreneurism and tourist initiatives in rural Hokkaido, and the interaction of members of cooperative agricultural corporations with local communities. Taking these examples, the panelists show the fragility and fluidity of place and illuminate ways to negotiate differences between locals and non-locals, farmers and agricultural corporations as well as between entrepreneurs and employees. The objective of this panel is to investigate a reality that is highly diverse and fragmented and exists outside common descriptions of rural life in places that are generally categorized as being ‘on the margins of Japan’.