Japan’s Independent Elderly & Their Dying   Communities

‘Sorry to bother you’
I said interrupting these ladies during their field work, calmly one of them responded:
‘Never mind, we do not have any plans to do this afternoon, tomorrow and more.’

 

Photographer Motonori Shimizu is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography.  These images are from his project ‘Marginal Lives‘.  To see Motonori’s  gallery click on any image.

 

The ‘Marginal Villages’ In Japan are villages that had experienced depopulation.  The majority of the remaining residents are over the age of 65 and the villages are in danger of disappearing.  As I visited, I grow fascinated by these elderly people that accept everything around them, love their land, and live there gladly.

 

Kowada Station, JR Iida Line This station is famous for railway enthusiasts as 'the secluded station that can only be reached by train'. Only a few people use the station a day. Some of them go there just to see this station. And a mail person who only comes once a day.

Kowada Station, JR Iida Line
This station is famous for railway enthusiasts as ‘the secluded station that can only be reached by train’. Only a few people use the station a day including onlookers and a mail person.

 

I heard the voice from a distance. 'I'm going to the dentist's office.' So, boats are essential to life of residents.

‘I’m going to the dentist’s office.’
Boats are essential to the life of residents.

 

This island flourished in cultured pearl once. But now, there are no school, no hospital... and just now it is the time when the only shop shuts down. The first ferry toward the island carried only me on board and departed.The gorgeous but old interior made me feel the prosperity in the past.

This island flourished in culture once. Today there is no school, no hospital and the only shop is closed. The first ferry toward the island carried only me on board. The gorgeous but old interior made me feel the prosperity of it’s past.

 

'I'm gonna close this shop soon.' The shopkeeper told to one of her guests.

‘I’m gonna close this shop soon.’
The shopkeeper told her guests.

 

This village has only one elderly couple, she and her husband.

This village has only one elderly couple, she and her husband.

 

Dayly life in 'Marginal Village'

Daily life

 

It's the 'main street' in front of the station. Some ruined buildings welcomed me.

Ruined building across the train station in the ‘main street’.

 

'I shop once a week and have to catch a train for 2 stations, I can't buy and bring a lot since, you know, my age...' 'We used to get what we need from the other side of the river by the manually operated cable system, but my husband got sick and now does not have any strength to operate it.' 'My husband says, "I don't want to leave.", so we are still here. She calmly tells the moving story with a smile.

‘I shop once a week and have to catch a train for 2 stations, I can’t buy and bring a lot since, you know, my age…’
‘We used to get what we need from the other side of the river by the manually operated cable system, but my husband got sick and now does not have any strength to operate it.’
‘My husband says, “I don’t want to leave.”, so we are still here’
She tells the moving story with a smile.

 

See also:

Unstoppable

By Motonori Shimizu

 


Back to HOME PAGE

%d bloggers like this: