Nanako Nakamura


Host Institute

Wageningen University

Nanak Nakamura photo Topic

The politics of care and defining the good life: Elderly women’s community food economies in rural Japan



Chizu Sato, Bettina Bock

Secondment 1 Western Sydney University


Kathy Gibson

Secondment 2 Freie Universität Berlin


Gülay Caglar





Nanako Nakamura obtained her master’s degree in human science from Waseda university, Japan in 2009 and the second master’s degree in forest science from university of Freiburg, Germany in 2018. She has been in banking industry and forest industry between her two master’s programs.

Though she enjoyed interacting with various social players and being involved in society through my works, she is always motivated to explore her lifelong interest which is sustainable resource management especially regarding local practices and the decision making mechanism.

Objectives of the research

Conditions in Japan, which foreshadow a likely scenario in Europe (depopulation, aging, food insecurity, declining rural agricultural, economic and social vitality), have sparked concerted efforts to empower senior rural women. These women have been active in entrepreneurship that involves significant natural resources management over the last decade. Today, more than 10,000 rural women’s enterprises in Japan generate livelihoods that nourish them, their families and communities. The ESR will examine relationships between rural, particularly senior women’s entrepreneurial and care practices toward humans and nature in rural Japan and explore the embodied meaning of good life through a FPE lens. The award-winning farm restaurant Shaenjiri (vegetable garden) set up in 2005, currently run by 6 senior women in natural resource rich Shimanto, Kochi prefecture will be used as a case study for its distinctive involvement of older rural women, local and ecological scope, long-term establishment and social profile. The focus will be on the everyday, embodied interdependencies among rural women entrepreneurs, consumers and nature, created through a community food economy. The ESR will use participatory action research, life histories and collaborative interviews.

Expected Results

 This project will make visible the gendered nature of a community food economy produced through rural elderly women’s entrepreneurial and care practices in interconnected spaces illuminating the situated meanings of good life. The study will have particular relevance for European policy given Europe’s accelerating rural depopulation, aging, and the globalisation of food chains.

Progress update

Nanako Nakamura is hosted by Wageningen University and Research, the Netherlands, and has been part of the WEGO-ITN network since September 2018. Since she joined the network, her WEGO journey has been devoted to acquiring better skills and knowledge to pursue her research project. The focused realm was Feminist Political Ecology and Gibson Graham’s community economies through participating training and summer schools in the UK, Italy, and Norway. She also joined various workshops and self-exploration for food studies, activism, and methodology in Wageningen and other institutions in the Netherlands. Having these learning opportunities, she developed her research proposal shared with her supervisory team in July 2019. After the proposal qualified as sufficient, with a well-developed theoretical framework and research methodology, she conducted her first fieldwork from August to November 2019. During the fieldwork, she collected the data mainly for her first paper about community economies and the second paper about commons and commoning. She made her research visit as secondment at Western Sydney University from January to March 2020. During her secondment, she could analyze the data in-depth and obtained fruitful feedbacks on her work based on encouraging and productive discussions with her local colleagues and supervisors. Moreover, as a leading place of academia as well as activism, community economies research networks enable her to develop her academic opportunities. She is currently writing her first and second draft papers and is planning her second fieldwork in 2021, COVID-19 permitting.

Publications by Nanako Nakamura


Blogs by Nanako Nakamura

Questions of age, generation and population: a look into FPE Dialogues – Netherlands

The Dutch edition of our Feminist Political Ecology Dialogues happened on May 17th 2022, in Wageningen, focusing on age, generation ...

Commoning and community, a meeting in Eindhoven

On the last day of May, blessed by the weather, WEGO mentor Chizu Sato and I, Nanako Nakamura, visited a ...

Progressive engagements with the challenges and needs of women in an aging society.

On a Friday morning in February, Nanako Nakamura visited the Older Women's Network in Sydney that she was referred to ...