This has been considered somewhat unique to Japan with an estimated 140000 such

This has been considered somewhat unique to japan

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This has been considered somewhat unique to Japan, with an estimated ~140,000 such “train otaku.” What might explain this?
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Fascination with trainsOne idea is that older models of trains provide a connection to the furusato, since they were the vehicles that carried people back to their hometowns. Since those hometowns no longer exist as such, what physically remains are the trains, which have come to represent this connection to the past, both in terms of time and place.
ConclusionsFurusatoas something lost: due to modernization and urbanization, the furusatono longer exists for many Japanese. Early modern literature attested to the nostalgia for old villages, but already identified the difficulties of relating to the past in the early 20th c. These difficulties have resulted in various campaigns to reimagine the furusato in order to: (1) restore a sense of what it means to be Japanese (public policy through promotion of local festivals and tourism)
Conclusions(2) drive social responsibility to protect old buildings in Kyoto and across the countryside. (3) sell products by creating a perception they are connected with a more authentic past. The desire to rediscover this past, which seems to be unattainable, helps to explain the ubiquity of meibutsuacross the country, and phenomenon such as “train fans.”

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