2009/05/20

U.N. University - Harvest time in Satoyama

Thanks to Martin for posting this video on "Kurashi - News From Japan"



"For many Japanese, satoyama represents the ideal of coexistence between humans and nature. It is commonly described as secondary woodlands and grasslands adjunct to small villages, and is the scene of rich biological diversity.

"The first written reference to satoyama dates back to 1759. Forester Hyoemon Terauchi recorded the livelihoods of rural mountain woodland communities and used the term satoyama to describe the human managed landscapes surrounding those communities.

"The idea of satoyama — along with the views about nature, lifestyles, cultural values, traditional knowledge and resource management practices it embodies — would have faded into the annals of history were it not for the efforts of another forester ecologist, Tsunahide Shidei, who reintroduced this concept in the 1960s."

The area shown in the video is called Kanakura and is located in Wajima City, on Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture. It's on the other side of Honshu from us, on the Sea of Japan. I wish our area was still so undeveloped.

There are lessons here for us all.

Read more: Harvest time in Satoyama



10 comments:

PinkPanther said...

There are lessons here for us all.Always learnt variety lessons from you in here P.B. Thanks!

Although I agree with you for wishing “satoyama” area was still so undeveloped, but the situation of urbanization is very common in nowadays.
The village I lived in my hometown was an agricultural area before, all of those fields were replaced by modern supermarkets, factories, shops in lately decade. No more agriculturists. {sigh}

Rice Farmer said...

The village where I live still looks like this, and we have a number of people interested in reviving satoyama practices. Ironically what we need to really get this off the ground is more economic pain.

Pandabonium said...

PinkPanther - it is very common, but it is leading to problems and will need to be reversed to some extent. Countries like Japan which have pursued a policy of industrializing and depending on imports of food are now faced with the fact that their suppliers (such as China) are running out of arable land and water as their own food demands increase. At the same time, diminishing world oil production and problems with climate change are making shipping food long distances a poor option.

Rice Farmer - thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Your area is one I visit several times a year and it is beautiful. In Kashima, we still have much of "satoyama" left, but development of housing in small tracts continues to encroach on it. I agree, the economic pain will be necessary to create the conditions which will drive positive change.

Momo the Wonder Dog said...

How come the first two comments are from "cat people"?

Brendan said...

This video was produced by Kaori Brand for the Our World 2.0 webzine, it deals with climate change, peak oil and food security. There is an article that goes with it.
http://ourworld.unu.edu/en/2009/01/13/harvest-time-in-satoyama/

Pandabonium said...

Brendan - thanks for dropping by and for the comment. Actually, the link at the bottom of this post where it says "read more" leads right to the web page you are talking about. It is excellent. Thanks.

ladybug said...

What a wonderful video! I enjoyed learning about Japan's sustainable agricultural practices...

As I'm sure you know, the city/near city truck farms that used dot the west have virtually disappeared in the face of big business farming...

Even in the 70's in Portland, there was still enough that there were buses for schoolkids who picked strawberries and other crops during the summers...but no more.

They've all been turned into housing tracts and strip malls. Yech...

The Moody Minstrel said...

That looks kind of like the area between Itako and Namegata. ;-)

My wife and I are seriously discussing taking a trip, since her school is giving her a couple of extra days of "rest time". I'm going to do my damnedest NOT to go to any of the large, commercialized cities. I'm hoping to get far away from it all. Any good recommendations based on your massive knowledge pool?

Pandabonium said...

Ladybug - when I was a kid, the San Fernando Valley (LA) still had dairy farms, expansive orange groves, and fields of corn. You could buy produce right out the fields from roadside stands. All gone. Paved paradise...

Moody - how far do you want to wander? I've only scratched the surface of beautiful places in Japan, but two stand out in my mind. One is Aizu-Wakamatsu with lake Inawashiro. The other is Matsumoto. The castle is awesome. From there you can arrange to go into Kamikochi Japan Alps National Park> and perhaps visit Takayama as well.

Martin J Frid said...

Sado Island, go for the taiko Earth Celebration festival, camp on the beach, play drums under/with the stars?

August 15 to 17, 2009.

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e7677.html