2003 Volume 58 Issue 1 Pages 46-59
In recent years, organized landscape conservation has increased in rural Japan, and it has often been conducted by means of subsidies, tight rules and management activities in small special areas. However, in the other general rural areas, it is more than probable that the situation of surviving traditional elements is considerably different. The purposes of this paper are; 1) to clarify how nanbu-magariya, traditional L-shaped rural houses in Iwate Prefecture, northern Japan, have survived in the area of Tohno City, which once had many magariya and now has no organized conservation for them, and 2) to examine how the case of nanbu-magariya in Tohno has corresponded to the general trend for recognizing traditional elements as regional resources. The results were as follows : 1) There are 79 surviving magariya in Tohno. They consist of two types; 'left type', which has just been used as storage for decades after building new residential houses in the neighborhood, and 'inherited type', which has been used continuously as a residential house. The former has deteriorated seriously. 2) Magariya have survived due to the relative financial difficulties of the owners, as well as the affirmative consciousness for their life in the magariya. 3) Most of the magariya have been maintained by the residents who wish to continue to live with improved living conditions. Several residents have tried to maintain the thatched roofs, in spite of the difficulty of obtaining thatch and thatchers. 4) Several inherited cases of magariya were detected besides the residential survival. Many of them had been moved from the original places to be preserved and used for tourism. Moreover, several new residential houses that imitated the style of magariya have been built as a result of the owner's nostalgia. These inherited cases have appeared through the understanding of magariya as regional symbolic resources. The 'image of the region' without the substantial 'tradition' forms the landscape of present Tohno, while real residential magariya are on the verge of disappearance.