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The civic story of Japan from the dawn of the 20th century to the present is one of migration from the countryside to the city.

Urban centers have spread up and outward as rural cities, towns and villages have grayed, becoming quiet shadows of their former selves. Where I live in rural Gifu Prefecture, the majority of the population has already retired. During Golden Week and the Obon holiday, the children and grandchildren of my neighbors return for a day or two before heading back again to the cities.

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