Geographical review of Japan series A
Online ISSN : 2185-1751
Print ISSN : 1883-4388
ISSN-L : 1883-4388
Volume 91, Issue 6
Displaying 1-8 of 8 articles from this issue
Original Articles
  • ASAKURA Makito
    2018 Volume 91 Issue 6 Pages 437-461
    Published: 2018
    Released on J-STAGE: September 28, 2022

    This study examined the characteristics of commodification of rural space from the hosts’ point of view. While rural areas in Japan are deteriorating, numerous studies across disciplines, including geography, have been done on the commodification of rural spaces for local revitalization. Those studies regarded rurality as a tourism resource and examined the processes and sustainability of commodification. However, they placed little emphasis on the characteristics of rurality, which can be perceived from both representational and material aspects and interpreted in both national and local contexts. They also devoted little attention to the actors’ intentions in constructing rurality. Based on the above-mentioned issues, this study examined the implications of rurality on the commodification of rural space from the hosts’ perspective by analyzing the relationship between rurality and hosts, with special reference to Takumi-no-sato, the town of Minakami, Gunma prefecture. Takumi-no-sato is a rural area with several experiential tourism facilities operated by many takumi, which literally means “craftsmen,” and includes instructors, shopkeepers, and do-it-yourself devotees. Tourists can sample various experience-based programs as they walk around the area.

    The findings can be summarized as follows: First, although many actors regard rurality as the cornerstone of commodification, they are not able to commodify it sufficiently in Takumi-no-sato. However, they consider rurality to be the essential feature of Takumi-no-sato. Second, the perception of Takumi-nosato has become more multifaceted. All of the facets are“ authentic” images of the area and coexist without any conflict, although they may contradict each other. Third, rurality enables multifaceted perceptions to coexist as “authentic” ones. There is a dual aspect of rurality as a representation. In other words, “authentic” rurality is guaranteed by both national and local collective memory. Therefore, whichever collective memory they are based on, the rurality and images of Takumi-no-sato, for which rurality is essential, will be “authentic.” Fourth, it has become possible to produce any construct as “authentic” even though it detracts from images expected in the pioneer days. In Takumi-no-sato, economic activity is also regarded as a vital element of rurality in that it contributes to the sustainability of the hosts’ daily lives that constitute rurality.

    Therefore, although it may seem paradoxical, in an area like Takumi-no-sato where constructing “authentic” rurality is important, it is easy to make images of Takumi-no-sato “authentic” by claiming that the commercial activities are helpful for constructing and sustaining rurality. In summary, without examining the characteristics of rurality, it is not possible to understand the coexistence of “authentic” images of the area. It is important to consider the hosts’ practices and their internal aspects in constructing rurality to achieve a fundamental understanding of the commodification of rural space as a contemporary phenomenon.

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  • MORITA Kohei
    2018 Volume 91 Issue 6 Pages 462-486
    Published: 2018
    Released on J-STAGE: September 28, 2022

    The relationship between the national railways and motor trucks for freight transportation during the interwar period was investigated, focusing on the competition between the two. A case study of freight transportation from Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto was performed. Motor trucks deprived the national railways of freight, especially when transportation distances were approximately 50km or less. The national railways lost significant market share in terms of freight volume between Osaka and Kobe, where national roadways had been improved. The growth of freight transportation by motor trucks, especially for short distances, was attributed to the demand to ship freight inexpensively and rapidly. Because the national railways adopted an ad valorem freight system, the transportation of sundry goods and industrial products of high value easily shifted from the national railways to motor trucks. The national railways, which were prevented from offering discounted rates, developed cheap, speedy transportation services for high value added products between Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto using collective consignment of “less than carload (LCL)” goods by railway forwarders. The following three features of the service reappeared in countermeasures against regular trucks, mainly in Tokaido, after the Second World War: promotion of collective consignment of LCL goods; special discounts on freight; and reduced shipping times.

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Research Note
  • SAWADA Yasunori
    2018 Volume 91 Issue 6 Pages 487-503
    Published: 2018
    Released on J-STAGE: September 28, 2022

    This study clarified the relationship between the time school nurses on duty become interested in knowing the temperature and their perception of hot environments by conducting a questionnaire survey at elementary and junior high schools in the city of Kumagaya, Japan.

    School nurses could be divided into three types based on the time at which they become interested in knowing the temperature of hot environments. Type I comprises those knowledgeable about city, prefectural, and national policies on hot environments. Type II were very aware of high temperatures recorded in the city of Kumagaya, while type III comprised school nurses commuting within the city. The information collected from the questionnaires revealed that school nurses in type I utilized information provided by the city authorities, those in type II used public information provided by agencies such as the Japan Meteorological Agency, and school nurses in type III relied on information displayed in their vicinities.

    In addition, regarding the perception of areas containing hot environments, information available on high temperatures in different areas of the city and school nurses’ perceptions were in good agreement within the type I category. For type II, those areas corresponded to urban heat islands. However, for type III, areas with hot environments were determined when school nurses visited a region. Among these three different types, perceptions of areas with hot environments and the reasons why a survey respondent encountered those areas differed among the groups.

    In conclusion, adaptation to hot environments is in high demand in every region. This study highlights the importance of discussing teacher training based on perceptions of the climate.

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