A Great Lakes Colleges Association initiative supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Culture Change in Wazuka, Japan

About the Project


Editor’s note: This undergraduate research project is in development in fall of 2016 at Antioch College through a course entitled ‘Humanities Fieldwork: Oral History & Digital Scholarship’ taught by Brooke Bryan. Please contact the lead researcher, Dale Kondraki ’17, with questions or intent to participate. 

Wazuka is a small town in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan, that has 800 years of tea farming history. However, most of these farms are family owned, and reliant on passing down through the generations. Recently younger generations of Wazuka have been moving to other, more “open” places, like larger cities with more attractions and easier transportation. This leaves the town in a bit of a crisis though, as farmers begin to age there is no one to inherit the farms.a

Revitalization efforts are underway, looking to pull traffic back into Wazuka through migration and tourism. Many of these tourists come to volunteer, working on tea farms, and many come from outside of Japan.

My focus will be on changes in traditions, brought on by technological advances, foreign and domestic tourism, and volunteer programs used to bring help into the town.

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Dale is a 2017 Antioch College graduate who self-designed their own major in Anthropology and Media Arts. Dale is interested in culture and hopes to be able to look at culture as a fluid phenomena that is ever changing with people learning from each other.

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