In Japan, the price of rice has fallen sharply since the Staple Food I-aw was enforced in 1995. This paper aims to consider what types of living strategies towards this impact are available for farmers in Niigata Prefecture, one of the most favored rice-farming regions in Japan. The research was conducted in Nakajo Town. Four types of strategics derived from recent reports should be examined: marketing of value-added products, increasing off-farming work, diversified farming and enlargement of rice fields. The findings are as follows. Although a farmer's group tried to market value-added products at higher prices, it proved less successful than expected. This was because the supply met the demand of their regular consumers soon and the surplus was rushed to sell to wholesalers who struggle to beat down the price. Most farmers do not go further into off-farming work any more. Their off-farming work remain unstable, which makes this strategy unfeasible for them. They prefer trying to introduce other profitable crops, such as flowers or vegetables in greenhouses. However, it is predicted that prices of these crops would also decrease because of floods of imported agricultural goods. The present advantage and stability of this strategy should vanish soon. It shall be noted that many farmers are not reducing their rice fields, because rice farming needs little time and effort. They continue producing rice at the present scale as well as introducing other new crops, which makes it difficult for those who want to collect lands to take the strategy for enlargement of paddy fields.
In recent years, organized landscape conservation has increased in rural Japan, and it has often been conducted by means of subsidies, tight rules and management activities in small special areas. However, in the other general rural areas, it is more than probable that the situation of surviving traditional elements is considerably different. The purposes of this paper are; 1) to clarify how nanbu-magariya, traditional L-shaped rural houses in Iwate Prefecture, northern Japan, have survived in the area of Tohno City, which once had many magariya and now has no organized conservation for them, and 2) to examine how the case of nanbu-magariya in Tohno has corresponded to the general trend for recognizing traditional elements as regional resources. The results were as follows : 1) There are 79 surviving magariya in Tohno. They consist of two types; 'left type', which has just been used as storage for decades after building new residential houses in the neighborhood, and 'inherited type', which has been used continuously as a residential house. The former has deteriorated seriously. 2) Magariya have survived due to the relative financial difficulties of the owners, as well as the affirmative consciousness for their life in the magariya. 3) Most of the magariya have been maintained by the residents who wish to continue to live with improved living conditions. Several residents have tried to maintain the thatched roofs, in spite of the difficulty of obtaining thatch and thatchers. 4) Several inherited cases of magariya were detected besides the residential survival. Many of them had been moved from the original places to be preserved and used for tourism. Moreover, several new residential houses that imitated the style of magariya have been built as a result of the owner's nostalgia. These inherited cases have appeared through the understanding of magariya as regional symbolic resources. The 'image of the region' without the substantial 'tradition' forms the landscape of present Tohno, while real residential magariya are on the verge of disappearance.