Jul 28, 2018

Some rural towns are killing themselves.

Some rural towns are killing themselves. photo

When my family went to the river earlier this month, we passed through the town I spent five years teaching English, Kiryu. It was the town I first lived on my own. It is the town that acquainted me with living in rural Japan. As we passed by all the shops along the street, I was reminded of something I had noticed when I first moved there. There are so many shops and storefronts permanently shuttered closed. Very few of the businesses are still in business. Many of them closed decades ago, and very few new businesses moving in. This is a common phenomenon in rural towns. They are slowly dying. Most people who want to set up a shop will take their ideas and their investments to larger towns with more guarantee of people to buy their products. This movement of people away from these smaller towns means less appeal to go shopping in them. If 80 percent of the stores are closed then why would someone take the time to visit these places? In the town I lived, there was another dilemma. Many of the shops were owned by the younger generation, inherited from their parents. It is cheaper and easier to just keep the stores closed than to sell them as real estate for other businesses to come in. And this isn't the only town like this. All across Japan, you will find towns slowing dying from the inside. However, Kiryu isn't quite dying like genkidesuka talked about. It is within a train ride from Tokyo. There are also a number of people with ideas for business as well as larger companies like AEON trying to build. Kiryu is killing itself by rejecting the big business proposals. The smaller businesses don't get enough traffic to keep them afloat and they shutter their gates permanently, too. It is difficult to convince people to live somewhere that feels stagnant and is working against itself to start moving forward.



American step mom with beautiful Brazilian babies. Raising them in Japan. I'm a crafter too