Agriculture and Rural Community in a Social and Familial Crisis:
The Case of Abandoned Rural Community and Invisible People in the Postwar Settlement in Shin-Nopporo
Asian Rural Sociology, IV(II), 2010, pp.531-544

There are few researches done on the abandoned rural communities in Japan. Rural sociologists observed rural communities as spaces where people live. However, rural communities have also been observed as spaces which are nearly uninhabited.

This paper highlights an abandoned rural community in Hokkaido which was earlier constructed as a postwar settlement project of Japan. The Japanese empire collapsed and lost its colonies in 1945. Not only did Japan lose colonies that had supplied food to the mainland, but many Japanese people have also repatriated causing serious food shortages. These events gave way for the launching of the postwar settlement project.

The abandoned rural community is invisible because of two aspects. First, today the area where the community was located is a part of a forest park. Few ordinary people know the fact that there was a community in the forest. Second, certain members of the community have yet to be observed by any researcher because they could not find the people in any documents or interviews.

This paper discusses the reason why the community itself and the people of the community are invisible. It is an important way to approach this issue from the context of the history of Hokkaido because the modern history of Hokkaido is the history of settlement and development.

Alain Corbin described the story of “Pinagot’s forest” based on fragments of documents about the craftsman Lous-François Pinagot who lived in the 19th century and who personally recorded nothing. This paper describes a story of a forest based on documents and interviews of the invisible people who had lived in the rural community and left afterwards. This paper clarifies the roles of the postwar settlement, rural community and agriculture to people who lived in and passed through a postwar settlement rural community.

(Update: 2020.03.10)