The City Where the Storks Fly: Sustainable Agriculture and Species Reintroduction in Toyooka City, Japan
By: Nako Kobayashi '17
Advising Faculty: Rachel Black
In 1971, the Oriental White Stork went locally extinct in Toyooka, Japan. Today, around 80 of the birds fly free throughout the city. Toyooka uses the Stork Reintroduction Project and the promotion of “Stork-Friendly” agriculture to help combat the difficulties faced as a rural Japanese municipality including population decline, increased farmland abandonment, and falling rice prices. This thesis investigates how Toyooka City uses a pragmatic approach to achieve holistic sustainability that works within the framework of our current globalized cultural, political, social and economic landscape. By drawing on the fieldwork I conducted in Toyooka as well as the informal and formal conversations I had with farmers, government officials, employees of Japan Agricultural Cooperatives (JA) and others, I illustrate how Toyooka has worked towards building a socially and environmentally sound community with an emphasis on sustainable agricultural practices. Placing Toyooka’s efforts today within the larger context of Japan’s history and the constantly evolving cultural context, I explore the role of environmentalism and sustainable agriculture within today’s Japanese society.
Related Fields: Anthropology