Weekend reading: on reviving rural Japan & boat refugees

I always collect a lot of bookmarks throughout the week to read when I have some time – though I don’t often make the time to really sit down and catch up on those bookmarks. I’m happy I did today: the following online articles really impressed me.

Japan, depopulation & history

Let’s start with Japan where I’ve found two pieces to share – surprisingly by the same man: Alex Kerr. I mostly know this author through his book Dogs and Demons, published already more than 10 years ago on how modern Japan works, which I would recommend anyone interested in Japan to read. Coincidentally this week I found two things online about him.

First, in this TEDxKyoto talk Kerr talks about the depopulation which is happening in Japan in many rural areas and his solution for some towns: revitalizing rural towns by making use of its traditional elements and renovating old houses to use in sustainable tourism. A great talk, and I love how you can see the personal connection and passion of Kerr about this topic.

In the same week, Kerr is interviewed in the Asahi Shimbun where he discusses Japan’s difficult relationship with China and South-Korea.

Boat refugees
However, the article that impressed me most this morning was a long piece in the NY Times Magazine: journalist Luke Mogelson and (Dutch) photographer Joel van Houdt risked their lives in following the journey that hundreds of people take all the time – and we often hear about the disastrous endings of those journeys. In Europe, many boats aiming for the Italian island of Lampedusa never make it – in the Pacific, Christmas Island is its equivalent. Many refugees from countries ranging from Syria and Lebanon to Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan try to reach the island by boat from Jakarta. Only a few boats make it across instead of being intercepted by Indonesian police or being obstructed by the force of the ocean. Mogelson and Van Houdt share their experience of following this route – from Kabul, via Jakarta to Christmas Island. Impressive journalims and heartbreaking to read: The Dream Boat

 

And still on my list to read:

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