Gender Issues in Involuntary Resettlement due to Dam Construction: “Dam Brides” and the Tokuyama Dam in Japan

Shuichi Yamazawa, Kanae Moriya, Mikiyasu Nakayama


Many dams have been constructed around the world. Consequently, a great number of people have been displaced from their homelands by dam construction. These developments have tended to overlook gender differences. Thus, the resettlement process may exacerbate existing gender disparities in the communities affected by the project. Gender issues have seldom been studied in involuntary resettlements due to dam construction projects in Japan. This study was conducted about the Tokuyama dam, which has the largest storage capacity in Japan. Previous studies implicitly assume that all of the displaced people were originally from the submerged old Tokuyama village. However, our study revealed that some resettlers were in fact from outside of the old Tokuyama village. These were women called “dam brides” because they married men who were originally from Tokuyama, in the period immediately prior to the dam construction and subsequent resettlement. The men mostly met these “dam brides” in cities where they worked as seasonal workers in the winter. Knowing that the men would secure hefty compensation by leaving their homes in the old Tokuyama village, the “dam brides” decided to get married. They lived in the old Tokuyama village for only a few years before relocating to areas which were more “urban” than Tokuyama. These “dam brides,” originally from cities, behaved differently after relocation than those from Tokuyama. They were keener to establish amicable relations with the people in the host community and were thus pivotal in accelerating the merging of the resettlers into their host community.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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