Rural Scenery Narrative and Field Experiences: From an Aspect of Kansei

Rural Scenery Narrative and Field Experiences: From an Aspect of Kansei

Tadashi Hasebe (Tohoku University, Japan), Michiaki Ohmura (Tohoku University, Japan) and Hisashi Bannai (Rural Finance Research Institute, Japan)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-797-4.ch014
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Abstract

Farmers create rural scenery by farming the land. From their memories of the experience of farming the land, they also create their own particular narratives of that rural scenery. Each such narrative differs not only according to the particular environment of each field, but also according to the personal experiences of the farmer. As the narration is repeated, the rural scenery narrative can become the narrative of everyone in the community and this shared narrative can then influence the behavior of all the members in that rural society. The authors call this a ‘normative scenery narrative’. This chapters explores how normative scenery narratives differ according to the various experiences of farmers in rural fields and does so by documenting a case study of old Otamachi in Akita Prefecture, Japan.
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1. Introduction

Rural scenery is a byproduct of farmers’ efforts to obtain agricultural products through a combination of various types of work and adjustments to changes, both natural and social. Even recent developments of rural scenery are the result of the accumulation of farmers’ work experiences as reflected in the physical action of production which has created the rural scenery. Along with the development of the scenery is the development of rural scenery narratives. Apparently no studies, however, have given concern to the relationship between the farmers’ field experiences and their rural scenery narratives.

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the scenery narratives of farmers differ according to the farmers’ different field experiences as caused by different farmland environments, and then to consider how a particular narrative becomes the narrative of everyone in the community as it is repeated many times. In other words, a narrative becomes the norm and influences or controls the behavior of all members of the rural society.

The next section concerns the meaning of ‘scenery narrative,’ which is perhaps the best translation of the Japanese expression fukei. We begin the discussion by adapting Kitarou Nishida’s theory of environment for the purpose of explaining a theory of scenery. We then integrate this theory of scenery with Keiichi Noe’s narrative theory in order to present the concept of a scenery narrative. Review of research on the narrative approach is also presented. In the subsequent section, we discuss the theoretical relationship between a scenery narrative and previous or current work experiences in the field. Finally, we develop a hypothesis according to the theory of a scenery narrative and test it in a case study.

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