The Emergence of Community-Oriented Rural Social Enterprises in Japan
This chapter describes the emergence of community-oriented social enterprises in rural areas of Japan and characterise them in the light of the EMES analytical framework on social enterprise. It aims to classify rural social enterprises into three broad categories, according to their historical origin and driving force. The first category corresponds to those enterprises that originated from organic farmer groups and producer cooperatives in the 1970s and later strengthened their community orientation. The second developed from “community farming” of the late 1980s and 1990s, a collective action by local farmers to prevent farmland from diversion and abandonment. The third and latest category includes organisations that appeared in the 2000s in response to the nationwide, large-scale municipal mergers. The number of community farming organisations, and particularly those with legal personality, has been increasing. As community farming practices developed, the movement’s organisations came to involve multiple farming villages or to form alliances of smaller community farming organisations.