I was born in 1977, four years after my sister and two years after the miscarried sibling.
The town I grew up in had long been a farming town. But rice consumption declined as the diet of Japanese people variegated after the war, and farmers shifted to part-time when the government ordered a reduction of rice fields. Backed by the economic growth that expanded domestic tourism, the town transformed into a resort town that attracted tourists with lakes and mountains all year around.
Even with prosperity, my hometown is no exception in the national issue of an aging society. The population in the 1980s was approximately 20,000, but as I write this in 2020, it has shrunk to 13,800. When I was growing up, there were nine elementary schools, three junior high schools, and one high school. As the younger population decreased, by 2019, the number dropped to three elementary schools, two junior high schools, and one high school.
In my parents’ time, young people tended to stay in my hometown to fulfill the oldest son’s obligations, like my father, or return home after studying or working elsewhere, like my mother. My generation’s population dropped not only because our parents had fewer children than our grandparents, but also depression carved tourism. Therefore people looked for jobs outside the town.