Aging villages in dire need of attention

image from the book of M. Kajii

It may look like an unfamiliar parallel universe for many city dwellers.  But, this is REAL.  You can see how the countryside of Japan, one of the world's most materially developed country, looks like and how older people continue farming practices.

You see, living in a remote rural village is not easy.  Rural elders have to do everything by themselves.  They have to shovel the snow in winter, prepare their own meals, heat the evening bath, etc.  Rural people are hardy souls as they need to be.  The next photo shows a septuagenarian or octogenarian granny, who is probabaly suffering osteoporosis, though she continues hard toil.  But, what if she becomes a housebound?


Mr. Syoin KAJII is a Buddhist monk and an award-winning photographer who lives in Sado Island, Japan.  He recently published a book entitled Genkai Shuraku. Marginal Village (Publisher, Tokyo: FOIL, Co., Ltd, 2008).  Genkai Shuraku literally means “the villages that have reached their limits.”  

Genkaishuraku vu par Kajii-san

Last February I wrote an article on kaso villages, entitled “Castaways of Oblivion.”  Mr. Kajii’s photos bear testimony to the situations of kaso villages.

Photos are courtesy of Syoin Kajii.

His website address:

This post is also available in:
Français: "Témoignage visuel du vieillissement rural au Japon"
日本語 : 証言「限界集落」


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