Volume 86 (2013) Issue 1 Pages 62-74
This article reviewes the research trends in Nature and Society Studies authored by Japanese geographers, which have appeared in academic journals in the geography field in Japan from the 1980s onwards; these are organized into three categories, “land-use and subsistence activities,” “biological resources and subsistence activities” and “the environment and resources.” In two of the categories of “land-use and subsistence activities” and “biological resources and subsistence activities,” there has been substantial research conducted which deals with cases in developing countries. Yet, research on domestic activities in Japan where significant economic development has already been achieved remains scarce. The reason for this seems to be that research dealing with domestic agriculture, forestry, livestock and fishery conducted from the geographical perspective has not emphasized the subsistence aspect of these activities but rather these were considered as a part of industries. Accordingly, the majority of research in these areas is conducted from the perspective of economic geography. In regards to the research on “the environment and resources,” it became evident that Nature and Society Studies has not yet determined what type of approach should be taken to analyze the environment/resource use and environmental perception. The Nature and Society Study Group represents a new field in Japanese geography but its significance for research on human–nature interactions has gradually come to be recognized in the community of Japanese geographers through various activities including symposiums. Preparing for and coping with natural hazards, the environment and development, sustainable resource use, environmental change and survival are all the targets of Nature and Society Studies, and research in these areas is expected to develop in the future.