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