August | 2022
Kuni is the story of an extraordinary experiment in citizen-led regeneration, and the lessons it holds for reviving rural and deindustrialized lands and communities around the globe.
Kuni reimagines the Japanese word for “the nation” to mean a new sense of purpose and belonging in politically and geographically isolated places. A kuni is a community that achieves a balance between belonging and freedom. It can be created anywhere—even within a hamlet on the verge of extinction—and involves taking a holistic approach to helping fragile places thrive by reviving fading traditions, delivering social services, and forging new social contracts with those gripped by the stress of city life.
More than a book of theories about how we might deconstruct modern industrial life, Kuni builds upon two decades of practice in rural Japan. And it shows how these ideas for how to help people left behind in a globalized economy are deeply relevant to struggling communities outside of Japan, from Wilmington, Ohio’s loss of a major shipping employer, to Petal, Mississippi’s loss of agricultural infrastructure. With spare and beautiful prose and useful principles for reviving rural places, Kuni addresses our longing for a hopeful revolution of community and everyday life.