This study examines the mechanism of commodification in regional paddy rice production by focusing on the development and adoption of new varieties of rice. By presenting cases of the Tohoku region—one of the main paddy rice-producing regions in Japan—the spatial distribution of new rice varieties after the 1990s is recapitulated as follows: (1) at the regional level, distinct regional differentiation appeared with the emergence of main rice varieties in each prefecture; (2) at the prefecture level, planted areas of paddy rice decreased and the percentage of the main rice variety increased; and (3) throughout the regional and prefectural levels, the naming of new rice varieties was simplified and generalized. In the process of development and distribution of the new varieties of paddy rice, some conditions are considered as the commodification of the paddy rice-producing centers: (1) corresponding with recent market demands, new varieties with good flavor were constantly bred and spread; (2) values of some of the new varieties increased by being designated as “regional brand-name varieties”; and (3) the primary new rice varieties were introduced simultaneously by individual farms according to marketing strategies developed by prefectural and municipal administrations and agricultural cooperatives. As for future proposals, the regional rice-producing centers will have to cooperate with small and medium-size enterprises that have the singular technology to produce new varieties. Agricultural subsidies to address the aging of farmers and increasing idle farmland are also needed.
This study attempted to clarify sustainable systems of agri-tourism in a cherry-growing area. In Sagae city, cherry picking was started in the latter half of the 1960s when some farmers received tourists through a travel company of Sendai city. Then, some farmers organized group for cherry picking and stepped up efforts to engage in agri-tourism. In the 1980s, a window of agri-tourism was included in the agricultural cooperative to correspond to tourism demand and to unify service and pricing of many pick-your-own farms. At cherry harvest time, the agricultural cooperative arranged for media to focus on the cherry of Sagae city and aimed at the new business development of market and the improvement of publicity. When cherry for direct selling was not enough, farms engaged in agri-tourism were supplied cherries through cherry shipment group of the agricultural cooperative. Thus, it was important that the farms which were engaged in agri-tourism maintained good relations with the other farms and with the agricultural cooperative. This research analyzed agri-tourism of the Miizumi area as a study of the most prosperous case. In the Miizumi area, there were a lot of opportunities and activities to improve cultivation technique of all farmers regardless of the difference of the sales system. This brought a tolerant atmosphere to enable sales through various distribution channels among farmers. In addition, high quality cherries that were supplied through various distribution channels improved the publicity as “cherry of Miizumi or Sagae” and, as a result, it had many effects on regional agriculture development. This shows one possibility for agri-tourism development in a large growing area.
Rural landscapes attract many tourists in Japan. Urbanization improved exchange value of the rural landscape for urban consumers, resulting in this landscape became a commodity in the market. However, most rural economies in Japan face the challenge of the globalization and an aging population. This paper explores the process of commodification of a rural space where sunflowers were introduced as new crops for enhancing rural landscape. To achieve the research goal, this study empirically scrutinized the landscape in both the supply side and the demand side of the tourism. Sunflowers are neither native to Japan nor cash crops for post-productivist Japanese agriculture. The urban desire of the demand side is the prerequisite for the rural tourism, but most tourists do not care about the history, background, and authenticity, and therefore this landscape with sunflowers can be regard as a simulacrum. However, regional, agricultural, and political factors of the supply side also need to be constructed the landscape for rural tourism.
In this paper the author focuses on rurality as an option of urbanity in the Jike area, Yokohama city, the Tokyo metropolitan fringe, and discusses the sustainable commodification of rural space in the area. Following his discussion, the author identifies some conditions that supported the commodification of rurality and their interaction in the outer fringe of the Metropolitan area. In the Jike area, the decrease in area of rural forests (satoyama) has led to the decline of rural landscape; the development of affordable housing lots in the outer fringe and the continuous inflow of urban residents into the newly developed areas have led to serious conflicts between rural and urban land uses. Recently however, activities that aim at recreating rurality, such as conservation of rural forests, have been promoted as a means to mitigate such conflicts, and to develop these areas as nodes of rurality and urbanity. Thus, the perpetuation of rurality has been assured by the sustainable relationships between rurality and urbanity. The conservation of rurality facilitates the commodification of rural spaces, a process which has played an important role in developing rurality-based tourism.
This paper analyzes the possibility of regional development through the commodification of rural spaces by comparison of the Nasu region of Tochigi prefecture, the Joetsu region of Niigata prefecture, and the Kurobe alluvial fan of Toyama prefecture. In the Nasu region, individual tourism areas including Shiobara hot springs, Nasu Highland and the Nasu alluvial fan will be consolidated, and a broad based and multiple tourism area spreading dimensionally will be formed, and the possibility for the tourism area to contribute to the development of the entire Nasu region is very high owing to the commodification of rural spaces. The current issues in the Joetsu region are how to mutually connect various and small scale scattered tourism resources, what new tourism resources should be promoted, and how the viewpoints of studies and experience of tourisms should be introduced in order to create new tourism resources. Thus, the commodification of rural and urban spaces is essential. Compared to the above two mentioned regions, the Kurobe alluvial fan is a rural area with few famous tourism resources. Tourism development owing to rural commodification is limited here. Residents should evaluate familiar production activities, industries, landscape, lifestyle, and annual events and consider the direction for regional construction themselves through study and experience. The result will attract tourists from other regions and contribute to tourism development. The most significant factors of the differences among the three regions are the scale of the current and potential tourism resources and the difference in distances from major metropolitan areas.
The purpose of this paper is to report the present conditions of the mountain villages in Japan and to offer viewpoints for regional policy. The traditional mountain village societies in Japan are rapidly aging because of the fact that the industries that have historically supported these villages—namely agriculture and forestry—are no longer relevant. The government increased taxes for supporting mountain villages in order to fund the constructions of roads and infrastructure projects for the region since 1970. However, revenue from the increased taxes was negatively offset by the continuing proportional decrease in population of the region, rendering the funds generally ineffective. My proposal to halt the economic recession of the mountain villages is to promote the forestry and agriculture industries directly to urban areas. This includes strategies and programs set up to enable the mountain villages to sell and distribute their products directly to urban regions.
This research analyzes the spatial characteristics of rural Japanese communities under post-productivism, with particular emphasis on their educational functions. More specifically, it focuses on experience-based learning about agriculture, forestry and fishery industries. This type of learning is linked with dietary education, environmental education and aesthetic education, whose importance has been highlighted in recent years, in the context of education farm. The study takes two elementary schools in Saga City as examples, and examines the specific nature of their education farm activities, and their relationships with the local area. Most education farm activities in Japan are carried out at educational institutions such as schools. Therefore, in most cases such farm-related educational activities are conducted for local children, taking the school district as the basic unit. The materials and personnel used in these activities are of course mainly procured from within the local area. In other words, the instructional materials used by these programs are human resources primarily drawn from residents who have worked in the agriculture, forestry, and fishery industries, and the land resources which are the basis of their livelihood. In contemporary Japanese rural communities which are experiencing depopulation, aging, and declining educational capabilities, the use of the rural community space as a new regional resource that is different from economic consumption has great significance for developing new educational functions through educational institutions like schools.
The expectation that local economies will positively benefit because of a World Heritage designation is usually high, with some believing that it will lead to local revitalization through the promotion of tourism. Nowadays politics surrounding World Heritage designations has resulted in the important challenge of conserving and using cultural landscapes such as rural space. This paper examines the World Heritage registration movement of the “Nagasaki Church Group and Christian Related Cultural Assets” as a case study and the meaning of and problems that local faith-related heritages in rural areas and their cultural landscapes can expect, including the attention they will be exposed to as a cultural heritage site. In this paper, the author focused on the role of three main actors, “World Heritage Association” that hopes to achieve the goal of World Heritage registration for the Nagasaki Church Group, the administration that wishes to create an opportunity to promote tourism while conserving them as cultural properties, and the Catholic Church that wishes people to understand Christianity while remaining in harmony with tourism. Culture attracts the attention of others and changes itself, so the problem of being treated as a consumer item can occur. When the value of being a World Heritage site is bestowed upon a cultural landscape such as the Nagasaki Church Group, ever larger waves of commodification can sweep over it. Generally, to commercialize something, it needs to be exchangeable after being separated from the context of its production. A church could be separated from the context of life in which it is rooted and that has maintained its vocational activities, climate and accumulation of history, and the place itself then produced and consumed as information. The concept and philosophy of being a World Heritage site may be part of human wisdom, but the more strongly heritage is connected to a region, the broader will be the influence on the region by being registered as a World Heritage site.
This paper aims to clarify a unique phase in the job-searching process of Japanese-Indonesians residing in Oarai, Ibaraki, Japan. Social network analyses are employed to explain their job-changing strategies, and the social capital theory is applied to interpret members' roles. This paper focuses on Japanese-Minahasan workers from North Sulawesi, Indonesia, who have recently become a dominant group of foreign residents in Oarai. After settling in Japan, Japanese-Minahasans—many of whom are descendants of fishermen from Okinawa and of Japanese soldiers who went over to the northern part of Sulawesi Island before and during World War II—often try to change their jobs from the fishery industry to electric machinery etc., seeking higher wages. Social capital theories revealed that two patterns of social network were influential in their job-changes: networks with undocumented workers who have useful job information in Japan, and those with the heads of their household who themselves remain in Oarai and would give family members helpful advice, and places to return. In the job-searching strategies, Oarai serves as a “bastion” for their spatial expansion. This diffusion of Japanese-Minahasans throughout Japan represents a combination of the mutual support system and market-oriented migration system, which is unique and unprecedented in migration system studies in Japan.
Cenococcum geophilum Fr. is one of the most frequently encountered mycorrhizal fungi in nature. It reveals tolerance to low pH and forms abundant number of sclerotia. In this study, distribution of sclerotia of C. geophilum was investigated in a single stand forest of Picea abies, Harz mountains, Germany to analyze their forming factors. Surface soil samples were collected to examine density of sclerotia based on weight and count of grains, soil pH(H2O, KCl), content of exchangeable aluminum, total carbon and nitrogen, and humification degree based on melanic index and Pg index. Elemental composition of sclerotia was examined by SEM-EDS analysis. 14C age of sclerotia was determined by AMS measurement. The averages of sclerotia density by weight and counts throughout all points were 0.54 mg g−1 and 1.3 count g−1, respectively. The distributional correspondence of sclerotia to micro-topography was not clear and demonstrated the formation of sclerotia as a nearly constant phenomenon in the investigated forest soil. However, a large amount of sclerotia tended to distribute in soils with scarce floor vegetation. Content of exchangeable aluminum in soil was an effective factor on accelerating formation of large sclerotia and Al and Fe content in sclerotia were likely to increase in lower pH soils. The existence of sclerotia in forest soil may stand as an indicator of soil chemical properties such as strong acidity and high Al3+ content.
During 2003, temperature distributions were observed 69 times in two types of residential areas in Imaihara, Nagano Prefecture, Japan. Both high and low building areas were warmer than the rural area at night. But a cool island appeared only in the high building area in the daytime. The maximum nocturnal heat island intensity occurred not at a calm condition but at the wind speed of about 1 m/s. In addition the wind speed in which the maximum heat island occurred in the high building area was larger than that in the low building area. The urban surface indices of the high and low building areas showed only small differences in the sky view factor and building/ land ratio but large differences in the floor-area ratio. Floor area ratio related to heat island formation in this area.