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Snow Country: Skiing, Globalization, and Rural Economic Development in Japan

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Item Summary

Title:Snow Country: Skiing, Globalization, and Rural Economic Development in Japan
Authors:Allen, Daniel
rural development
Date Issued:Aug 2016
Publisher:[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2016]
Abstract:Hokkaido’s Niseko region is now Japan’s most famous ski destination, attracting tens of thousands of winter recreationalists each winter to its powder-draped slopes. The overwhelming majority of these skiers and snowboarders are now foreigners. Yet, just fifteen years ago the mountain and its ski resorts were practically unknown outside of the country. This thesis examines the area’s rapid transition to a globalized tourism model and discusses why this occurred, how it has positively and negatively impacted the surrounding towns, and what other Japanese rural municipalities can learn from Niseko’s development experience. Following Pred (1984), the case study is contextually located across several intersections, including the area’s and Hokkaido’s historical legacies, the individual biographies of regional stakeholders, and the tension between localities and globalization in the process of place-making.
The present study was conducted from the summer of 2015 to the spring of 2016, and focused on personal interviews with area government officials and local residents that have been involved with Niseko’s rapid change. The thesis first covers the evolution of mountain recreation and skiing in Japan, then moves to an overview of the Niseko region. It details the economic and demographic benefits that inbound tourism has brought, as well as the negative consequences of the area’s largely unmanaged tourism industry and the difficulties it has faced in its efforts to become a year-round destination. Before concluding, several proposals are offered that might assist other areas seeking to capitalize on or increase inbound visitation to their regions. By looking at globalized ski tourism in Niseko, this study highlights a potential new paradigm for revitalization efforts in Japanese rural communities.
Description:M.A. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2016.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections: M.A. - Asian Studies

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