Abstract – Özşen

The Family, New Actors, and Social Relations in Contemporary Rural Japan

Tolga ÖZŞEN (Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Turkey)

In recent years, the contributions of regional actors such as older people and rural women in rural communities have been discussed. Most of those discussions focus on geographical borders while discussing the community’s present and future. Based on this understanding, whether someone is a member of the village is another evaluation point for community issues. Besides, most discussions regarding the sustainability of rural communities focus on agricultural production, which is conducted by local residents. However, because the present-day Japanese rural community is a mobilized society, the above-mentioned essential points mentioned before no longer completely reflect an actors’ social relations and contributions. Moreover, the current framework does not cover all actors who may tangibly and effectively contribute to the rural community, such as second and third generation kin living in urban areas (tashutsushi) or newcomers to the community. Therefore, we first focus on reconsidering terms such as family, social relations, and kinship by changing the current framework from an understanding based on “physical border” to a relation-based mobilized family / community understanding. Second, after reorganizing the framework, we introduce actors such as tashutsushi, newcomers from urban areas (termed the “I-turn” population), foreign population such as spouses, and agricultural trainees, who have not been considered previously as actors in the community’s future from the viewpoint of social relations and production capability.