“Lifestyle Migration” and Quality of Life in Japan

Monday, July 14, 2014: 8:00 PM
Room: F206
Oral Presentation
Naoko SUDO , Graduate school of Letters, Arts and Sciences Waseda University, ISA, RC13, Saitama city, Japan
In Japan, the number of people who moving to rural areas (or the countryside) from urban areas (or metropolitan area) is currently increasing. In this presentation, I will examine this phenomenon by using the idea of “lifestyle migration”, and then discuss the relationship between the decision to migrate and enhanced quality of life.

In foreign countries, “lifestyle migration” means moving to elsewhere in search for a better way of life (Benson & O’Relly 2009). This idea is associated with a new form of international migration, unlike the case of internal migration in Japan. However, “lifestyle migration” occurs as result of self-reflection among these migrants, and consequently, this idea can be adopted to describe Japanese who move to rural areas from urban areas in Japan.

Searching for a better way of life by moving to the countryside relates to quality of life. For example, in my research at Chichibu area in Saitama Prefecture, I found that some migrants engaged in farming, but they often visited the nearby urban area where they engaged in consumption activities. Meanwhile, some people chose to keep working in Tokyo. That is, a sense of “the better way of life” differs according to each migrant. However, moving to rural areas had a positive impact on the health and mindset of migrants; in the countryside, they could achieve balance between work and leisure. Notably, they do not move for the sake of work or leisure alone, but aim to control both. In my presentation, I will attempt to consider the relationship between “lifestyle migration” and quality of life through a case study of migrants who moved to the countryside in Japan.