This study makes comparison of spatial descriptions for navigation between Japan and America from cross-cultural and geographic perspectives, based on 24 tourist guidebooks of four cities in Japan (Kyoto, Tokyo) and the U.S (Boston, New York City). The contents of maps and linguistic information in the guides were quantified and then analyzed. The results indicate that Japanese guidebooks use predominately visual information such as maps, while American guides mainly use linguistic information. Therefore, we can insist that there is a complementary relationship between these modes of spatial information vehicle, language and imagery. The results also demonstrate that a relative frame of reference with landmarks is the most fundamental sentence construction for giving directions. In principle, linguistic information can be used to complement the lack of visual information in describing a given geographic environment, so its use rate increased in relatively unfamiliar environments. However, the contents varied with the environmental characteristics such as the regularity of street pattern. Difference in address systems between two countries also affected the way of sorting the sites, style of maps, and the use frequency rate of linguistic information.
In the Canadian High Arctic Region, there stretches a desert-like barren landscape. However, dense lush meadows called polar oases are found around Alexandra Fiord and Sverdrup Pass in the central part of Ellesemere Island. Freedman et al. (1994) asserted that polar oases are formed because the steep cliffs surrounding the lowland reflect the sunlight and radiate infrared rays which warm the area. They called this the “oven-effect.” However, under the midnight sun a favorable result has not come out. The author studied the factors affecting the distribution of polar oases from the viewpoint of geoecology, and found that geology is the most important factor which controls the distribution of polar oases. Around Sverdrup Pass the meadows are distributed in the lowland and on the north-faced slopes of the southern mountains, while on the northern mountains vegetation is scanty. Such a difference of plant cover developing between the northern and southern mountains cannot be explained by the oven-effect, but by difference of geology. The author considers that the difference of stability of slope deposits has brought about the extreme difference in plant coverage. The meadows appear mainly on the glacial deposits in the granite area. The reason is that the glacial till is composed of boulder, gravel and sand, thus stable enough for the development of plant communities. On the other hand, in the dolomite areas of the northern mountains active frost-shattering produces debris and also freeze-thaw action causes active debris movement. Therefore, the slope deposits are unstable and thus vegetation is scanty. In the polar region with the midnight sun, it seems that there is the possibility for meadows to be formed at any location. However, the granite areas that are suitable for plant growth are extremely limited, and thus the distribution of polar oases is also limited. In the dolomite areas that occupy most of the High Arctic, the regosol is unstable and the development of plant communities is hindered, and thus the meadows are hardly formed. The author considers this is the reason why the originally natural lush meadows are conspicuous in the lowland and on the northfaced slopes of the southern mountains around Sverdrup Pass.
The development of new terminologies to reflect the recent trends in geography is essential in order to further the advancement of geographical studies. In 1998 the author was requested to draft a list of English-Japanese terms for the Project on the Multilingual Glossary of Cultural Approaches in Geography by the IGU Study Group on the Cultural Approach in Geography. Considering the importance of Japanese terms in cultural geography, he participated in the project as a member of the specialist team from Japan. The list was compiled over several stages. First, over 5, 000 terms were selected from about 1, 100 research papers on cultural geography published during the period 1987-1996. These terms were then compared with those that appeared in the summaries, chapter titles, and map/figure titles of 55 articles appearing in the four major geographical journals and also with those that appeared in the indexes and chapter titles of two books on cultural geography during the same period. In this manner, the first list of English-translated Japanese terms relating to cultural geography was compiled. Working under the guidance of project leader Dr. Vladimir Annenkov, the author reduced the exhaustive list to more manageable size. The revised list of English-translated terms for the IGU project was finally compiled. The terms tabulated in this paper (see Table 1) are classified into two groups according to meaning. Group A consists of terms that show or bear many fields of geography and their various fundamental concepts and related disciplines. Group B consists of fundamental terms representing more concrete concepts than those of Group A.
This study aims to explain the transformation of the community with the decrease of the population in Kanda district in the ward of Chiyoda, located in central Tokyo. In this study, the spatial unit of community is designated as the territory of choukai, and its higher unit is designated as the district of public elementary school. The decrease of the population, which began in the 1950s, has resulted in the increase of unused classrooms called “akikyoushitsu” in the public elementary schools located in and near the central business district of Tokyo. As a solution for that problem, a policy of changing public elementary schools into community centers through opening those facilities to the public has been undertaken. Choukai, which is a basic voluntary social association of urban residents, is also forced to shrink its size mainly due to out-migration of the population. They have been mostly young generations who have moved out the district. This out-migration has led to aging of residents and board members of choukai. The festival for ujigami, or tutelary deity, has been the main event of choukai and it has played an important role to maintain friendship among the residents. However, it is becoming more difficult to keep up the number of people needed to hold the festival. With transformation of resident structure and associations, the landscape of the district is also changing mainly because of rebuilding and remodeling. Many cases of rebuilding from one-story shop-houses into multi-story commercial buildings on an individual basis have been observed in Kanda district. It is estimated that the local community, which has been based on choukai, would be changed into a part of a much broader association consisting of united-choukai and other voluntary associations, and that the public elementary school could become a base of activities of those organizations as a community center.
The objective of this study is to clarify the spatial development of urban functions in a medium-sized city by analyzing the distribution and process of agglomeration of urban functions in the center of Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. Defined urban functions include the retail, restaurant, office, and hotel function. In terms of horizontal distribution, the agglomeration of retail functionss becomes a centripetal pattern, although they were linearly distributed along traditional main road. Restaurant functions are distributed behind a conglomeration of retail functions. Office functions migrate from narrow internal blocks to broad external blocks along arterial roads. Distribution of hotel functions changes from blocks close to the station where there are Japanese style inns to blocks along main streets where there are modern hotels. As a result, spatial arrangement of urban functions performs horizontal differentiation of circular structure, as retail and hotel functions are in the core zone, restaurant functions are in the zone surrounding the core zone, and office functions are in the outermost zone. In terms of vertical distribution, retail functions dominate on lower floors, and the proportion of office functions is the highest on medium-high floors. On higher floors, however, retail, office and hotel functions are in the state of equilibrium. This shows that the vertical differentiation of functions does not reach higher floors.
Housing supply systems have a close relationship to the characteristics of residents, especially in the sub-market of public housing. Because there are strict regulations for applicants for public housing, local governments mainly select tenants in regard to their income conditions. This study aims to examine the change in characteristics of residents in public housing and to clarify the cause of this transformation process. In the built-up area, rapid aging and: decrease in household sizes 1n public houses may cause serious social: problems. In the suburban area, aging and: decreasing household members in: public housing did not become prominent in any of the public housing types. Most young families in; public houses in suburban area moved out when they; aged, and elders without their own transportation tend to avoid inconvenient suburban public housing. Thus the Public Housing Act transformed the structures of dwellers' characteristics. For welfare purposes, the Public Housing Act gives priority to lower income households, for example elders. The Public Housing Act induced the aging of residents. Consequently, the welfare for economically weaker households will strengthen the housing trap.
This paper concerns the land conversion process in the rural-urban fringe of Maebashi city, a medium sized city in Japan. The author investigated land-use change, land ownership change, and landowners' land-use decisions. Land ownership change was examined from 1980 to 1993 using land assessment data from the Maebashi municipal office. The information about landowners' land-use decisions was obtained by interviewing selected landowners. The landowners in the sample area made land-use decisions based on two types of factors, called initial and decision factors. The initial factors were land re-adjustment, land inheritance, need for a larger income, request to sell their land, and failure of a non-agricultural business. The decision factors were the existence of their successors in agriculture, payment of inheritance tax, intention to keep farming, possession of land with good access to roads and their desire to utilize the land. Based on their decisions, their behavior can be divided into three categories: land utilization, transaction (or sale), and abandonment. Traded land was converted to urban use, such as housing, parking or shops; and was scattered throughout the area. Utilized land was converted by the owners themselves; and was distributed along the main roads leading to central Maebashi, close to the owners‚ houses. Utilized and traded land were based on different decisions by the landowners. Much of the land in the inner fringe is in demand. Thus, both land being utilized and land being traded tended to be converted to urban use.
Amalgamations of cities in Japan have increased since the 1960s. Aiming at regional development in accordance with the progress of industrialization and urbanization, this process has created many new cities which have more than one “central” built-up area. These cities have had to face such problems as the areal distribution of public investment and the formation of new urban structures, yet before these problems can be considered, it is necessary to examine the changes in their urban structures. This paper does so for the city of Joetsu, which was amalgamated from the cities of Takada and Naoetsu, of similar size, in 1971. After amalgamation, the municipal government devised a plan to urbanize the built-up areas between Takada and Naoetsu. In the early 1970s, new administrative and cultural facilities were constructed in the Kida area close to Kasugayama Station, and since the 1980s many public facilities and large-scale retail stores have been built or located in the Sekikawa-Toubu area. Joetsu now has administrative and cultural centers in the Kida and Sekikawa-Toubu areas, as well as in the built-up areas of the former cities of Takada and Naoetsu. It can be said that the urban structure of Joetsu has become spatially dispersed because of the equal amalgamation of the two cities.