Landscape studies are diversified today. In Japan, the theme of landscape is discussed in various disciplines, especially the engineering field. On the other hand, in geography of English speaking countries, a new direction that was called “landscape as text” school was flourished in 1980s. After that it was criticized from various stances, feminism, emphasis on materiality and non-representational theory, geographical landscape studies are also diversified. The study that emphasizes relation between landscape and visual arts has been continued. Though the historical researches since 1980s have unveiled the politics of landscape painting, it can be said that after mid-1990s there was a shift to the landscape research for contemporary art. In this review article, I reexamine the existing researches on historical landscape painting from the epistemological point of view, and survey some argument of recent landscape studies in geography for contemporary art. In chapter four, I examine the landscape art of Gerhard Richter as a case study for the theme of landscape. Referring the researches of art studies and criticism about Richter's works, I show a geographical direction of the landscape study. Richter is a German artist born in 1932 at Dresden. He emigrated to what was then West Germany in 1961, and completed around 5,000 artworks in the next 50 years. His oil paintings have various motifs. Although he had been painting landscapes continually for a long time, these did not attract as much attention as his other motifs with strong political overtones. However, the exhibition titled “landscapes” was held in 1998, and a book with the same title was published. As a result, his landscape paintings have garnered more attention. Richter uses the technique called “photo-painting” which involves the creation of oil paintings by replicating photographs. Furthermore, his landscape paintings resemble his abstract painting with respect to his techniques such as blurring and smearing. By painting landscapes in his characteristic way, Richter challenges our conventional landscape idea as a way of seeing the world based on the linear perspective.
This study examines the characteristics of apple distribution through assemblers in Aomori prefecture from the viewpoint of management strategy and their roles affecting apple farm management. Many assemblers must ship high-quality apples, although they collect apples from farmers without enforcing quality standards. Therefore, they make various attempts to resolve the gap between the quality of apples collected and that of those shipped. One of the methods is the employment of brokers by assemblers to select excellent farmers, and another is the collection of high-quality apples from wholesale markets in farming areas. When shipping apples, assemblers make great efforts to avoid disadvantageous sales to both wholesale markets in consumption areas and supermarket groups. In particular, assemblers who collect the greatest quantities of apples from farmers and mainly ship them directly to supermarkets must make extra efforts to bridge the quality gap. In addition, most assemblers visit farmers distributed over a wide area to collect apples because farmers do not have sufficient labor to transport their crops. In this way, assemblers collect apples from farmers without imposing a quality standard and ship appropriate ones in terms of both quality and quantity to customers in consumption areas. Small-scale apple farmers in Aomori prefecture can sustain farming operations with the assemblers' labor supply for apple transport. A large amount of transport labor is needed daily, especially for harvesting bagged Fuji apples, the main variety in this region, and the assemblers' labor supply is indispensable for farmers to continue operations and to ship apples from April onward. In this way, the apple distribution system through assemblers in Aomori prefecture has been established as a way to resolve inconsistencies between collecting and shipping.
In the present study, we estimated the July maximum temperature variations from 1830 to 2011 in the town of Kawanishi in the southern part of Yamagata prefecture using daily weather reports and observations documented in an old personal diary. Using historical weather reports, we computed the number of “fine-weather” days for each July during the study period. Then, July maximum temperatures in Kawanishi were estimated using a simple linear regression analysis based on the relationship between the July maximum temperature and number of “fine-weather” days, computed from historical weather reports. By comparing the time series of estimated temperatures with those of historical instrumental temperature data in the late 19th century, we found that the variation in the estimated temperature correlated well with that of the instrumental temperature data. This indicates that the estimated results in the present study are highly reliable. The results of this analysis showed that there were cool periods in the 1830s, 1860s, 1900s, and a period extending from the 1980s to the early 1990s. Those cool periods in the 1830s, 1860s, and 1900s coincided with poor rice harvests and severe famines in northern Japan. Warm summers were observed in the 1850s, a period extending from the 1870s to 1880s, and 1920s. We found that temperatures in the early 1850s were similar to those of warm summers in the late 20th century.