The concepts of space and region have always been the most important ones for human geography. Under the remarkable changes of society in the late modern age and the vigorous influences from the neighboring social sciences, however, these concepts have recently been reconsidered in Western countries; they have actively been discussed, not only in English-speaking but also in German-speaking countries. So, the aim of this paper is to understand the present situation of reconsidering the space concept, with special reference to German-speaking countries characterized by somewhat unique development of geographical thoughts since World War II. The main results obtained from this study are summarized as follows: 1. Although there are some social scientists who place emphasis on the conquest of "the tyranny of geography" or "the end of geography" owing to the proceeding globalization, the idea is not suitable even to the age of modern life style with time-spatial disembeddedness. Therefore, not only the most of English-speaking but also of German-speaking geographers will not acknowledge the trends of falling importance of geography as a science. Rather, many geographers believe that globalization and regionalization can proceed together in dialectic relations. 2. While in English-speaking countries the studies of the social space produced in human societies have advanced mainly in the development of Marxist geography, in German-speaking countries multiple paradigms have been developed according to the growing process of human geography and new research fields of many kinds have also come into existence since the 1980s. In German-speaking countries the two concepts of space were, though later than in English-speaking countires, newly introduced: regional consciousness and setting (Schauplatz). The studies in regional consciousness and regional identity have obviously been developed and played parhaps a more important role in the studies of human geography in German-speaking countries than in English-speaking countries, even if they were strongly critisized by Hard (1989) and others. Although Hard criticized that regional consciousness and regional identity today exist no longer as a spatial dimension, these research is recognized as valuable. 3. The traditional concept of space as shown in "the earth surface filled materially (dinglich erfililte Erdoberflache)" has always occupied the most important position in the study field of geography, though the container space of Newtonian type has already partly been used in the location theories. Today, however, it was required for human geography to use the common words and concepts to social sciences in order to be able to keep a certain position among them. Therefore, the categorical classifications of space have been tried in German-speaking countries. Werlen (1995) discussed the philosophical development of the space concept from Aristotle to Kant or to Heidegger. Weichhart (1996) tried to classify the space concept into six categories from the first space (Raum 1, Aristotelian type) to the fifth space (Raum 5, Kantian type) including the le-type space (experienced space), while Blotevogel (1995) classified it into seven categories. It is noticeable that Hard (1970) and Werlen (1995) have introduced the lived space (espace venu) and the setting concept called Schauplatz into the human geography of German-speaking countries, respectively. Contrarily, the Marxist geographers in English-speaking countries have mainly contributed to the studies in geographically uneven development and urban economic geography in order to resolve the social conflicts. 4. The studies on socio-spatial relations seem to be oriented into a little different direction between German-speaking and English-speaking geography, although they have been actively discussed in both countries. Although there are three groups including the
Although 'new-comer' foreign residents have increased rapidly since the 1980s, there are few geographical studies about them. Few studies exist that assess the spatial nature of their daily lives. I will intend to deal with their lives through the framework of 'life space' (containing both activity space and social relations). In spite of the large number of 'new-corner' residents in Osaka, they are underrepresented in the literature comparing with those in the Tokyo and Tokai regions. This paper deals with three national groups (Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese) in Osaka, each of which reflects some distinct features as foreign residents in Japan. It is necessary to study multiple groups because usually a couple of groups live within one urban area. I will discuss their life space with analysis of questionnaires and interviews. Following is a summary of the chief points of this paper. First, some aspects of their life spaces are discussed for each nationality. Although some distinction is identified among nationalities, the indices of life spaces vary much within each group and it is difficult to affirm that their life spaces are prescribed only by nationalities. Second, their life spaces are examined in terms of social attributes factors, which are usually referred to in existing studies. Gender is not an influential factor without the means of transportation for commuting. It is also clarified that, although spatial ranges of social relations of students are wider than those of non-students, activity spaces of the former are narrower than those of the latter and students build fewer social relations. Third, their life spaces are examined through characteristics of residence, which have been not focused on in previous studies. As a result, there are differences between residents in clustered areas of each group and those in non-clustered areas. That is, both activity spaces and spatial ranges of social relations of the former are narrower than those of the latter, and the former has fewer relations with Japanese than the latter. Moreover, comparing the life spaces of residents in the inner city area with those in suburbs, the activity spaces and spatial ranges of social relations of the latter are broader. Finally, I will attempt to determine the meanings of clustered areas through the results of interviews. It is shown that residence in clustered areas has considerable positive and negative effects on relations between 'new-comer' Koreans and 'old-timer' Koreans as well as between Vietnamese and Japanese.