The rural–urban fringe around large cities such as Tokyo contains commuter cities made up of an old-timer population and an increasing number of newcomers, and the literature points out that there are attitude and value differences among these residents. This article therefore examines the different types of healthy, active seniors and how their satisfaction with leisure facilities, services, and activities varies. After outlining the concept of community satisfaction and ikigai (a life worth living) and examining the creation and maturation of bedroom communities in the rural–urban fringe of Japan, I describe the case study area of Ushiku City near Tokyo and its leisure opportunities for seniors. Then, I compare the satisfaction of leisure activities, facilities, and services among retirement-aged residents of Ushiku. This information was obtained by questionnaire in 1997 and through informal interviews in 1996 and 1997. Follow-up interviews with Ushiku City officials took place in 2003, 2006, 2007, and 2008. It was hypothesized that there would be attitude differences between newcomer and old-timer residents. There were, however, few differences between newcomers and old-timers. On the other hand, responses varied according to whether the participant was male or female, and whether the participant lived in a rural or an urban area of Ushiku. The rural–urban differences reflect Ushiku's large area which contains urbanized and rural landscapes. The findings suggest that gender differences and one's residential location are important determinants of community satisfaction and should be considered when planning leisure facilities and services for seniors in these rural–urban fringe commuter settlements.
The purpose of this study is to revisit the beneficial aspects of traditional Japanese integrated multiproduct farming by virtue of its effective use of land resources and agricultural byproducts. As a case study, this paper draws upon a form of multiproduct farming based on rice farming in Sakurai Village in the Saku Basin, Nagano Prefecture, practiced from the 1880s to the 1930s. Although rice cultivation was the major agricultural activity in Sakurai Village, in the 1880s the industry of sericulture was increasing, and by the 1920s it had overtaken rice in terms of production value. Subsequently, however, sericulture entered a period of stagnation due to falling silk cocoon prices, and as a consequence more farmers in the area turned to rice-carp culture (cultivating carp in paddies concurrently with rice). With the introduction of pig farming to the area, the 1930s saw the development of multiproduct farming system consisting of rice, silkworms, carp and pigs. Given that the average farm size per farming family in Sakurai Village was just 65 ares, rice-carp culture was an effective way to make a living from a limited amount of land. Not only was stocking carp in paddies beneficial to the growth of the rice plants themselves, but it cut down on the necessity of weeding. In addition, the silkworm pupae left over from silk production was fed to carp, rice bran to pigs, and barnyard manure became fertilizer for both rice paddies and mulberry fields. In short, this system of rice-based multiproduct farming enabled farmers in Sakurai Village in the 1930s to put small plots of farmland to very efficient use. It is evident that this system was based on the recycling of readily available resources, making efficient use of agricultural byproducts. This rice-based multiproduct system of farming likewise allowed the tenant farming family taken up in this study to actually turn profits, which is evidence that it was an effective means of increasing incomes for the peasantry.
This paper examines how the journal Political Geography has been accepted in Japan. Compared with other ‘international’ geographical journals widely subscribed to in Japan, the status of the journal is not necessarily high. However, following a general rise of political geographic studies in Japan, Japanese universities' subscription to the journal increased in number from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. The citation of the journal in major Japanese geographical journals has also been increasing. While the journal is accepted in such a way in Japan, the way Japanese geographers have cited articles in the journal points to some problematic aspects. Using the case of Japan, this paper illustrates how the ‘international’ journal is used outside the Anglophone world, assesses the role of the journal in the revitalization of political geography in Japan, and proposes some options to make the journal more international.