The author examined the changing features of regional urban systems corresponding to changing regional structure in the last few decades with Hiroshima prefecture as case study. Especial attention was paid to clarifying the changing role of small towns. It was found that the Hiroshima metropolitan area had grown remarkably in recent years, expanding regional disparities between it and other areas. Hiroshima has also strengthened functional linkages to large centers within Hiroshima prefecture, particularly to Fukuyama. Because of the rapid growth of Hiroshima in such a small prefectural area, however, horizontal linkages between small and medium-sized cities to each other have hardly been developed. Unlike small towns in Western countries which grow in “amenity-rich” rural regions, most of them have been declining or, at best, stagnating under unfavorable conditions of living. But there are a few centers with small commuting areas, such as Yoshida and Joge. The growth of these centers could contribute to the improvement of living conditions in depopulated areas.
The purpose of this study is to examine migration patterns of labor force by vocational education in traditional industry regions. Although previous studies of traditional industry mainly discussed innovation, many traditional industries continue to apply traditional techniques for production. The author makes temporal-spatial analyses of the apprenticeship and migration patterns of skilled artisans in the Wajima shikki industry. The analyses lead to the following results. Apprenticeship in the Wajima shikki industry has been changed qualitatively by the increase of production, during which people from outside central Wajima entered the shikki industry. Therefore, the main function of apprenticeship shifted from “inheritance” of skill to “spread”. Three migration patterns of artisans are extracted by the analysis of lifepaths. First, “stay” pattern includes inheritors who were born in central Wajima. The pattern reflects the basic function of apprenticeship before the growth of production. It preserves a spatial agglomeration of shikki firms in central Wajima. Second and third patterns include the artisans who were newcomers to the shikki industry, brought up with no connection to the industry. Among them, the artisans who were born outside central Wajima belong to the second pattern. It shows a “centripetal-centrifugal” pattern. Artisans who were born in central Wajima demonstrate the third “centrifugal” pattern. The two patterns contribute to the expansion of shikki firms' distribution.
It is widely maintained that the dominant feature of Japan's social and economic geography is the contrast between the intensively used, large agglomerations, and the sparsely populated countryside. The present article, however, attempts to show that at least with regard to some of the most important social problems, the reality is far more complex. By using both correlation analysis and multiple classification analysis, it can be demonstrated that it is the occupational structure of regions that exerts the strongest influence upon the distribution of such social indicators as the unemployment rate, the percentage of female divorcees, the number of mother-child(ren) households, and the number of people receiving public livelihood assistance. In this respect, urban areas like Osaka or Fukuoka, which display low percentages of higher administrative and professional occupations, and rural regions with a relative lack of jobs in the manufacturing sector (mostly located in the southwestern part of Japan) may be described as “problem areas”. The urban-rural contrast as such, on the other hand, is only influential with regard to the distribution of the price-adjusted, average income of employees and the age-adjusted, percentage of persons without higher education. Finally, there are some phenomena such as the proportion of burakumin and of older, single-person households, that are distributed according to historical and cultural regions.
This paper examines the geographical dimensions of Japanese travel to Europe at a range of spatial scales. Travel to the region is set within the context of all outbound travel from Japan, and then country preferences within Europe are considered in terms of Main Destination Ratios. The distribution of demand within individual countries is then analysed through the use of Lorenz curves and by plotting the regional patterns of bednights for Japanese tourists and all visitors. Japanese demand was found to be highly concentrated, particularly in the major metropolitan regions, the level of concentration and the focus on urban areas being greater than for all international visitors.