Long-Lived Villages and Short-Lived Villages in Japan

Where are other long-lived villages in Japan apart from Ogimi Village in Okinawa?

To find it out, we need to look into the research done by Dr. Shoji Kondo, a medical professor at Tohoku University.

With a rucksack on his back, and a heavy briefcase in his arm, the man in a suit spent 36 years from 1935 to 1971, traveling around Japan, visiting 990 villages and towns.  He discovered there were long-lived villages and short-lived villages and there was a distinct difference between the diets of the two.

Wow, this is incredible. There was such research done over 50 years ago. I don’t think many people know of this research. In fact, very few people know of Dr. Kondo and his research in Japan, let alone abroad.

He published his remarkable research in a book called Nihon No Chojumura Tanmeimura, which is translated as Long-Lived Villages and Short-Lived Villages in Japan.

So, where are other long-lived villages in Japan apart from Ogimi Village in Okinawa?

He drew a map of Japan, showing long-lived villages he discovered in blue spots and short-lived villages in red spots. As you can see, there are so many of them. Apparently, Ogimi Village in Okinawa wasn’t on the map even though he went to Okinawa, too.

In the book, he doesn’t give specific names other than areas, so we can’t know which villages were long-lived, but there were long-lived villages and towns in Kyushu, Shikoku, Sanin, Sanyo, Kinki, Hokuriku, Chubu, Kanto, Tohoku, and Hokkaido. There were long-lived villages throughout Japan.

However, in 1974, Hiromich Hagiwara, the co-author of Long-Lived Villages and Short-Lived Villages in Japan, conducted research using Kondo’s method and concluded that Ogimi village was the village where people lived the longest that year.

So, Ogimi Village was not recognized by Dr. Kondo but was noticed by his student Horomich Hagiwara. Ogimi Village definitely is one of the longest-lived villages in Japan and worthy of modeling.

Nevertheless, the question is not so much about a particular geographic location, but more about a diet that long-lived villages had regardless of where they were since there were common elements in the diets of long-lived villages according to Dr. Kondo.

That makes us wonder what the people in long-lived villages were eating.

That is something I am going to share with you in the next few posts, but before that, I would like to talk about Ikigai.

As I said it was misleading to think Ikigai was an Okinawan concept, there are other misconceptions about Ikigai spreading abroad.

The Ikigai Diet: The Secret Japanese Diet to Health and Longevity

POD Paperback