Thick Food: Risk-Sharing Network for Post-Fukushima Regional Planning

By Yutaka Sho.

Published by Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: November 22, 2014 $US5.00

Japan’s post-WWII regional development strategy led to the spatial separation of production, distribution and consumption of food and energy resources. The rural, poor and aging region of Tohoku helped provide the resources that enabled Tokyo’s rapid urbanization and growth. The 2011 earthquake in Tohoku, however, revealed this geographic bias that concentrated environmental, economic, social, and political risks in resource extraction areas such as Tohoku while allowing metropolises to remain unscathed. The government’s reconstruction efforts have been slow and inadequate while citizen groups, especially farmers, fishermen, and food sector workers have been central to the recovery. Seikatsu Club, a food cooperative by homemakers in Tokyo, is one of them. Using both top-down and bottom-up solutions, they ensure resilient food systems and the political representation of their constituents. Regional networks created by food systems erase the categorical differences between production and consumption regions by sharing risks and creating reciprocity among disparate communities. Through literary analysis and observational site visits to Tohoku, this paper explores the effects of and antidotes to post-calamity reconstruction from the perspectives of food and regional planning.

Keywords: Seikatsu Club, Alternative Foods Movement, Food Co-ops, Regional Planning, Tohoku, Fukushima, Nuclear, Risk, Homemaker

Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 3, Issue 4, November 2014, pp.19-32. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: November 22, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 901.424KB)).

Yutaka Sho

Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA