Abstract – Prochaska and Kieninger

65+ Being Old in Rural Japan

Directors:  Pia KIENINGER & Isabelle PROCHASKA-MEYER

Japan has the highest proportion of elderly worldwide – every fourth person is aged 65+. Based on an ethnographic study on „Active Aging in depopulated communities“ conducted by researchers from the University of Vienna, this reportage focuses on the daily life and challenges in three aged villages in the Japanese Alps. The story centers on two single-living seniors: There is 84-year-old Shimako with her husky voice, who grows vegetables and whose passion is gateball. She meets her neighbors for tea chats and joins the village choir and gymnastics course. And there is 93-year-old Gen’ichi, the oldest villager with a driving license, who composes short poems on daily events. He appreciates being free in old age, deciding for himself when to get up and when to work. In between the portraits, the narrator gives general information about life in rural villages, local supply, mobility, welfare, and communal activities.