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A field of tea plants with Mt. Fuji in the background.
  1. Land Reform in Postwar Japan
  2. Why Japan's Land Reform Succeeded
  3. Wet Rice Agriculture
  4. Transplanting Rice Seedlings
  5. Early Mechanization of Agriculture
  6. Reorganization of Farm Land
  7. Innovations in Fruit and Vegetable Farming
  8. Rice Rationing and Subsidies
  9. Japan’s Shrinking Farm Population
  10. Farm Household Size and the Problem of Succession
  11. Who Farms in Japanese Farm Households?
  12. San-Chan Nōgyō
  13. The Changing Japanese Diet
  14. Dairy Farming in Japan
  15. What Dairy Products Do Japanese Eat?
  16. Beef Cattle in Japan
  17. The Changing Income of Farm Households
  18. Raising Silkworms in Japan
  19. Food Self-Sufficiency in Japan
  20. Food Self-Sufficiency in Rice
  21. Organic Farming in Japan
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Apartment houses next to rice fields, seperated only by a narrow road.
As cities expanded, apartment buildings sprang up in farmers' fields.
Photo from Mainichi Shimbun.
Japan’s Shrinking Farm Population
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, about half of Japan’s population lived in rural areas and half of all households farmed. In 1950, there were over six million farm households in Japan. Even then, about half of farm household members farmed only part-time. During the off-season they would go off to do other kinds of work, a practice called dekasegi. As Japan’s economy recovered in the 1950s and entered the period of high growth, young adults left their farm homes to take jobs in the cities. Many never returned, leaving no one to take over the family farm. Population increased in the cities, and nearby villages turned into suburbs as houses and apartments sprang up in farmers’ fields. Expanding cities and faster train transportation made it possible for more farmers to work at urban jobs but continue to farm part-time. Click on CHARTS, below, for more information about Japan's declining farming population
Special Terms: off-season  |  farm household

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