Symbolic Politics of Regional Revitalization: A Case Study of Yusuhara-cho, Japan

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Jin, Myong-suk

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Department of Anthropology, Seoul National University
Korean Anthropology Review, Vol.4, pp. 71-104
This article was originally published in 2013 in 『한국문화인류학』 [Korean cultural anthropology] 46(1): 93–133; Translated into English by Hannah Kim.
This article explores the various changes that the residents of Matsubara District in Japan enacted after the town was granted permission to implement forest therapy and the ways in which they embraced this public policy. However, it must be noted that the government did not unilaterally impose this policy on the residents while they passively accepted it. Although the incorporation of forest therapy could have been seen as the national governments expansion of recreational facilities for its citizens, some community members saw it as a buried treasure trove waiting to be discovered by the revitalization of their region. In this article, I will focus on the means through which a policy that was conceived and implemented by the local government won the acceptance and understanding of community members. To do so, I will investigate this case through the framework of regional revitalization. This paper is an analysis of the discourse on regional revitalization by way of forest therapy in the context of symbolic politics. Regional revitalization provided a strong motivation for residents of declining farming and mountain communities to unite. I will examine how this phenomenon functioned as a mechanism for political symbolic value.
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College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학)Dept. of Anthropology (인류학과)Korean Anthropology Review (KAR)Korean Anthropology Review Vol.4 (2020)
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