Jan 13 2011 15 CommentsIt’s grim up north Well, not just up north, but in many places outside of Japan’s big cities, where the old are increasing, the young have mostly left, and a staggering number of shops are now shuttered.
The little cities are being swallowed up by the larger ones. It’s sad to think about it, but this happens everywhere 🙁
I get a very eerie vibe from the whole thing.
Yes, I agree, some of these towns are really quite strange places to pass through — half boarded up, and very few people pottering about. A far cry from the densely populated cities that’s for sure.
I remember when I lived in Savannah GA for a year, and they had an annual parade downtown on Main St. And I realized that “MAin St.” wasn’t Main Street anymore because all the shops had closed down due to all the customers heading to the outskirts of town to the new malls, Walmart, etc… It looked as grim as that pic!
Yeah, I’m pretty sure there must be a big shopping centre, or outlet mall somewhere within driving distance at least. All that seemed to be left here were shops catering to the area’s older residents, plus a kimono shop that has been there for 120 years. Hard to imagine it’ll last another 120 though…
The main bit of the town I used to live in Tohoku was as Lee described. Not sure if it’s an exclusively Japanese term but my friend described the town as a “donut town”: empty in the centre.
ER… silly question,…. but how north are you talking about. I remember a few years ago going through Sapporo’s outer suburbs where every second shopfront seemed to be closed (in their case, it was because a lot had also re-located in the more inner suburbs in the shopping centres that were popping up everywhere).
Not far Ben, only Ibaraki. I used the title as it’s a reference often made about the region I’m from back home. And it tied in with the picture.
Grass Jelly says
This is a common problem with many small towns across the United States and I’d imagine many countries. I really appreciate it when you provide articles along with your photos. It really adds depth and a story behind the faces.
Glad you found the link useful Grass Jelly, it’s always nice to be able to add some depth/background to a photo.
The street is so empty . . . . .
Yes, apart from a few cars passing through, there was much activity, or signs of life.
It’s funny how big cities in the future will be so inmense that any threat would be very terrible to that nation since most of young people is there and most of their information is there too. Same thing here, one world, I guess….
Yes, it’s certainly not a problem that only Japan is facing. That said, Japan does seem to have a worryingly large number of places like this.
The Envoy says
I believe this is a similar trend for many other First World countries, aging populace, shrinking birthrate.
Not that the second is a bad thing (without the first).
Yes, definitely not a problem unique to Japan. But the extraordinary longevity of the Japanese, plus the very low birthrate, certainly puts the country at the sharp end of the problem.