Introduction to the course

From the School of Agriculture introduction to the course (FY2013)
(1) Outline of the course
The Regional Planning Course (FY2006 - FY2009) conducts research into problems (for example, the widening economic disparity between major urban areas and rural areas, and problems that hinder the continuation of farming including the aging of farmers) and research into solutions for such problems (for example, locating and using local capable people and resources, farming village tourism, and promotion of use of agricultural land by non-farmers), based on field surveys in Japan.

In the Environmental Sociology Course, although some study overlaps with the previous study, students investigate the requirements to interest many more people in agriculture and farming communities, to become aware of problems in agriculture and farming communities, and to become involved in agriculture, including finding out why people have not done so sufficiently, focusing on the multifunctions of agriculture and agricultural land (such as landscape, recreation and biodiversity).

(2) Current major topics of the course (undergraduate schools and graduate schools)
Utilization of abandoned agricultural land in hilly and mountainous areas (such as Motegi-machi in Haga-gun in Tochigi Prefecture). (since FY2008)
Regional development of organic agriculture(since FY2010)
Revitalization of agricultural regions with rural women's entrepreneurship. (since FY2006)
Suburban agricultural and green space conservation. (since FY2012)
(3) Literature search
Main textbooks (used in FY2007 - FY2012)
Research into village resources -- Inspiration from the field, The Japanese Association for Rural Studies version, edited under the supervision of Koichi Ikegami; and
published by the Rural Culture Association in 2007.
Also, a few supplementary textbooks that suited individual interest were used.

(4) Special research (graduation thesis), graduation thesis seminars
Field survey
Third-year students(B3) conduct a field survey in Motegi-machi in early August, and also in Iitate-mura,Soma-gun, Fukushima-prefecture, where
we try to interview the victims of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant accident, and write a report.

(5) Graduation thesis
Each student decides upon a theme for the graduation thesis as early as possible in their fourth year, considering the literature search and the field survey carried out in the third year.
For the theme, which each student individually sets, the students gather information to refer to, conduct a field survey, present and discuss their findings at a seminar, and then complete
a thesis.

(6) Points to note before joining the course
1)Desired field of study:
Environmental sociology.

2)Requirements to join the course:
Abundant curiosity and enthusiasm to take action.

3)Class frequency:
Once a week (4th and 5th classes on Wednesdays) and day field surveys (a few times a year).

4)Atmosphere of the course:
Fourth-year students also participate in field surveys, which are performed in a very friendly atmosphere. Field surveys provide the students with precious experience that is difficult to acquire in lectures. Joint seminars are held with the second-year students of Iwate Prefectural University and with the third-year students of Gakushuin Women's College

See also 'Regional Planning' (Profile), BULLETIN OF SCHOOL OF AGRICULTURE MEIJI UNIVERSITY, No. 59-3, February 2010