Geographical Review of Japan
Online ISSN : 2185-1727
Print ISSN : 1347-9555
ISSN-L : 1347-9555
A Geographic Study of the Modernization of Transportation and Changes in Mountainous Villages: A Case of Takayama Area, Fujioka-shi, Gunma Prefecture
Takashi NAKAMAKI
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2002 Volume 75 Issue 7 Pages 492-507

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Abstract

Although numerous geographic studies have been conducted on changes in mountainous villages, previous studies have not fully discussed on innovations in transportation systems. Generally, people understand innovations in transportation systems (transportation passes and facilities) as the modernization of transportation. The author studied changes in transportation systems and means of transportation of villagers.
The aim of this paper was to clarify changes in mountainous villages resulting from the modernization of transportation. Attention is given to overcoming topograpic obstructions and holding linkages among mountainous villages and cities. This study area is Takayama area in Fujioka-shi, Gunma Prefecture. Takayama area consists of the three mountainous villages of Shimogumi, Nakagumi, and Kunugiyama, located on the lower, middle, and higher slopes, respectively. Takayama area is located at 8-13km from the center of Fujioka-shi. The results of the study are summarized as follows:
1. In terms of changes on transportation systems, many villagers played an important role in overcoming topographic obstructions, because they were voluntarily involved in road construction before 1942 and the establishment of local bus service operation. Moreover, some villagers obtained driving licenses for farm work at the same time in the early 1960 s, and other villagers became interested in driving. Subsequently, many families purchased cars. This led to improvements in transportation systems in Takayama area.
2. In terms of changes in means of transportation of villagers to link mountainous villages and cities, their activity spheres have gradually expanded to the center of Fujioka-shi since the early 1960s, As a result, the mountainous villages in Takayama area have the characteristics of suburbanized mountainous villages. For example, the number of commuters who are also engaged in agriculture and forestery as part-time workers has increased. Moreover, their activity spheres have expanded in and around Fujioka-shi since the late 1960s because many use cars for commutation and shopping, and many senior high school students use trains and motorcycles to commute to their schools around Fujioka-shi. The author points out that such trends are caused by the attraction of urban life.

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