2009 Volume 82 Issue 1 Pages 1-13
The rural–urban fringe around large cities such as Tokyo contains commuter cities made up of an old-timer population and an increasing number of newcomers, and the literature points out that there are attitude and value differences among these residents. This article therefore examines the different types of healthy, active seniors and how their satisfaction with leisure facilities, services, and activities varies. After outlining the concept of community satisfaction and ikigai (a life worth living) and examining the creation and maturation of bedroom communities in the rural–urban fringe of Japan, I describe the case study area of Ushiku City near Tokyo and its leisure opportunities for seniors. Then, I compare the satisfaction of leisure activities, facilities, and services among retirement-aged residents of Ushiku. This information was obtained by questionnaire in 1997 and through informal interviews in 1996 and 1997. Follow-up interviews with Ushiku City officials took place in 2003, 2006, 2007, and 2008. It was hypothesized that there would be attitude differences between newcomer and old-timer residents. There were, however, few differences between newcomers and old-timers. On the other hand, responses varied according to whether the participant was male or female, and whether the participant lived in a rural or an urban area of Ushiku. The rural–urban differences reflect Ushiku's large area which contains urbanized and rural landscapes. The findings suggest that gender differences and one's residential location are important determinants of community satisfaction and should be considered when planning leisure facilities and services for seniors in these rural–urban fringe commuter settlements.