Revitalising rurality under the neoliberal transformation of agriculture: Experiences of re-agrarianisation in Japan

Shuji Hisano, Motoki Akitsu, Steven R. McGreevy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Rural places are continually experiencing socio-economic change and the conceptual frameworks of re-de-agrarianisation and re-de-peasantisation were devised to explain agrarian transformations in a broad sense. Following empirical studies from other geographical contexts, this paper revisits the concepts of re-de-agrarianisation and re-de-peasantisation through the historical, theoretical, and empirical lens of agrarian and rural change in Japan. After detailing the circumstances of post-WWII agricultural reconstruction and current rural conditions, as well as outlining the development of the field of Japanese agrarian studies and a selection of the endogenous theories within to explain transformations, contemporary examples and a case study are used to provide a rich contextual account of Japan’s experiences of re-agrarianisation and re-peasantisation. We find that economic, social, cultural, geopolitical, and biophysical conditions in Japan have shaped the processes of agrarian change and bring into focus particular uniqueness of endogenous responses to de-agrarianisation and neoliberal agricultural trends. In particular, socio-cultural pressure to cooperate and identify with local community and place allows “peasant-like” elements to persist despite the strong push toward entrepreneurial and corporate farming. Understanding these trajectories of the transformation of Japanese agriculture would then challenge and/or validate the applicability of commonly accepted definitions of de-re-agrarianisation and de-re-peasantisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-301
JournalJournal of rural studies
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Re-agrarianisation
  • Re-peasantisation
  • Japanese agrarian studies
  • Advanced farming entities
  • Community farming enterprises


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