Satoyama Near Lake Biwa: Individualism is Emerging in Satoyama

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Satoyama near lake Biwa is attracting many young naturally conscious people and they are reshaping the Satoyama culture. One thing they brought is individualism.


Japan has been known for its collectivism, and Satoyama is no exception, or more precisely, collectivism is the core of Satoyama culture. Since we have neighborhood associations, people in the countryside are more involved in group activities than people in cities, and collective mentality is stronger. We usually follow the regional custom and try to live in the way most people live in the area. If you do things differently people would give you a cold look.


I didn’t notice it until I came to the countryside but the root of conformity in our education, businesses, and politics existed in Satoyama. Up until the high economic growth period in 1960’s  the majority of Japanese population lived in the countryside and led a Satoyama lifestyle, therefore Satoyama lifestyle was the foundation of Japanese culture.


As I stated in the post Satoyama Near Lake Biwa: Satoyama Lifestyle is a Japanese Secret to Happiness, we have been educated to conform through our Satoyama culture.


Mind you, Satoyama lifestyle is still the key to our health and longevity, and in terms of sustainability, it has an incredibly well thought balanced system. So I don’t want to mislead you to think it is a bad culture.


Anyway, many of the young naturally conscious new comers are from cities where they learned to be more individualistic, and they tend to live a life they want to live even though it is different from their neighbors. The top picture is a picture of a sitar performance at a buddhist temple. That kind of thing never happened in the past, but today, it is becoming common to give yoga workshops or Indian music performances at buddhist temples.


Some young parents choose not to send their children to local schools, and they give them homeschooling or forest education instead. It never happened before either.


I said that people in cities were more individualistic but this kind of unconventional behaviors are more seen in Satoyama now because these young naturally conscious people are even more free-spirited than regular city dwellers and that was the reason they left the city and moved to the countryside in the first place.


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