Local festivals make comeback as urban to rural shift begins
Osaka – A recent study show that a massive shift has occurred in terms of residence with a significant percentage of the population opting to live in rural prefectures. At the beginning of 2017 Japan’s 94.5% of Japan’s population were crammed into the urban centers. Although this number was predicted to rise to 98% by 2040, in the aftermath of the infection, the urban population has instead dropped to the 1965 level of 68%.
With this shift, local festivals have begun to make a comeback, with the remaining older generation introducing a whole new generation of younger people to the old songs and traditions of Japan.
When asked about the festival, 26-year-old Daisuke Sugimoto, who recently moved from Osaka City to Hidaka said that he had some memory of similar festivals from when he was a child, but had been out of touch for a long time. After experiencing the hardship of the previous months, the songs, dancing and atmosphere of the festival made him feel both nostalgic and proud. “I used to work in a bank. When the infection began I realized just how out of touch I was with nature and dependent I was on the city. I’m now making rice, have a vegetable garden and am still able to work online instead of going into the office. At the same time, I am re-connecting with what it means to be Japanese.” When asked about Japan’s future, he said that he believed that the Japanese are unique in their ability to overcome challenges and will come out of this stronger than ever. Many young people in attendance at the festival told similar stories and expressed the same sentiments of sadness for their losses mixed with a renewed feeling of pride in Japanese culture and resilience.
Japan’s future looking better than ever
Tokyo – Despite the stream of bad news coming out of Japan, a silver lining has been identified in the recent census. Preliminary research suggests that Japan’s ageing population may have been completely reversed, and despite the massive drop in the population, the current numbers may prove to be more sustainable in the long run. Previously, Japan’s median age of 46.9 was projected to rise to 50 by 2025. Although many people are presently without permanent living arrangement and exact numbers are difficult to ascertain, the estimated median age has now dropped to the 1965 level of 24 years. The is primarily due to the fact that people over the age of 55 seemed to have been more susceptible to the infection.
Only last year Japan’s ageing population posed a significant threat to Japan’s economic and social future, as the dwindling number of young people would have struggled to support the growing number of retirees. Most developed countries face a similar problem, as richer countries tend to have lower birth rates, but the numbers are offset by immigration. In Japan’s case, government resistance to increased immigration has been consistently strong, even in the face of alarming statistics.
Despite a drop in Japan’s overall workforce, the overall population appears to have fallen from 127 million to the 1955 level of approximately 88 million, which is higher than previous estimates suggested. Although workforce productivity has dropped, Japan is on track for it’s third societal overhaul in the past 150 years after the modernization that occurred during the Meiji restoration and the post WW2 recovery.