Applied Philosophies of Masanobu Fukuoka: A Paradigm Shift Within the Agricultural Sector

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type




First Advisor

Rebecca Overmyer-Velázquez


Modern agricultural food systems are unsustainable and contribute to the considerable degradation of social and environmental wellbeing (Horrigan et al. 2002:445). Current climate crises exacerbate this harm and make urgent the need to employ alternatives to these systems. Masanobu Fukuoka, a renowned Japanese scientist, philosopher, and farmer, is credited for pioneering a natural farming practice that radically rethinks cultivation (Fukuoka 1975). Fukuoka’s farming praxis provides an agro-ecological solution that reveres nature, while offering a culturally- and philosophically-informed worldview that reconciles the imposed hierarchy of humans and the environment. Thus, exploring how Fukuoka’s ideologies can inform sustainable climate solutions for the present-day climate crisis is imperative. Moreover, it is worth investigating what lessons can be applied from Fukuoka’s Japanese cultivation to sustainably contemporize industrial agriculture. Close textual analysis of two autobiographical texts by Masanobu Fukuoka revealed evidence of the author’s theory, philosophy, and practice. Considering the structure, subject matter, and frequency of themes and philosophy in Fukuoka’s writing, I gathered which ideologies might be considered for mitigating climate change and responding to current industrial agriculture. Fukuoka’s philosophy not only confirms an anti-industrial perspective and opposes an anthropocentric view of nature, but it offers a framework through which to understand symptoms of the climate crisis as the failure of humans to recognize ourselves as beings of nature. Fukuoka’s philosophy and writings help bridge a lost connection between social and environmental wellbeing as they relate to the modern agricultural industry.

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