May 13, 2006, Alexandra Sonsino
I must be obsessed with Japan these days, but as one of the fastest ageing population, how could i not? This very good NY Times article talks about the disappearing villages of Japan.
The small village of Ogama, made up of 8 ageing residents, actually sold their village to an industrial waste company and with the proceeds will pack up everything and leave. They realized that they could no longer support themselves and had no future within the abandoned community. Although a drastic move, this is sure to be the first of many abandoned communities with the lack of proper care and support from the community or the government.
I find this disturbing in the way that culture will need to be addressed, what happens to people's stories and a place's history when they become transient? The habitants of Ogama are actually taking their tombstones with them! How can we prevent this from happening, from places to lose their trace in history and people to lose their sense of home and culture by being so nomadic. Isn't part of growing old to feel that you have contributed to the growth of your environment? that you have built up to something? What could be done to avoid "villages that have reached their limits"?