The maintenance of farm households by non-agricultural employment: A case study in Takasato-mura, Fukushima Prefecture, Northeastern Japan

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This paper aims to clarify the process of pluriactivity and the dynamics of farm households maintenance from a detailed case study in Natsui and Kotsuchiyama settlements, which are lokated in Takasato-mura, Aizu Region, Fukushima Prefecture, Northeastern Japan. The author especially focuses attention on the types of non-agricultural work carried out in these settlements and their social significance with regard to the farming community. The results are summarized as follows. 1) In the study area, pluriactivity began in the 1960s with seasonal migration of first-generation males to the metropolitan area. They reverted to full-time farmer in the 1980s, and they were the first generation who benefited from agricultural mechanization and as a result maintained consistent commitment to agriculture. These settlements have been behind other parts of Japan in respect of household changes towards pluriactivity, and farm households are characterized, by in particular, an aged labor forse. Thus, these settlements retained a state of 'moratorium', not only in terms of household numbers but also in agricultural productivity. 2) For the second-generation, the children of the first-generation who succeeded households, employment in the public sector, the Agricultural Cooperative, and other suth occupations has become important. These employment opportunities were essential if the farming community was to maintain households at the time. Especially, female members of the second-generation rarely engaged in agriculture, whereas males engaged in farming as a secondary activity. 3) Such processes are apparent in both Natsui and Kotsuchiyama settlements, regardless of their locational and agricultural difference. This suggests that the common social and historical paths of these settlements were the major factors in maintaining the menbers of households, amid the transformation of rural society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-549
Number of pages21
JournalJapanese Journal of Human Geography
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Aged farm labor force
  • Local employment in public service and the agricultural cooperative
  • Process of pluriactivity
  • Takasato-mura

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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