This paper reviews the existing literature on Japanese population geography since 2000 by major population topics, including projection, birth/death, migration, distribution, and household/marriage. Among these themes, migration studies (in particular, internal migration) still occupy a considerable proportion. The increase of GIS-based investigations is worthy of attention. Concerning the contribution of Japanese population geography as a whole, the following two things can be demonstrated. First, some Japanese population geographers have published major works in prestigious English foreign journals and have eagerly pursued international comparisons or joint studies with foreign researchers. Second, much of the research presumably deals with the manifold empirical aspects of the geographical impacts of Japan's population decline. Finally, a few problems concerning the existing literature are also mentioned.
The aim of this article is to examine recent research trends in urban geography in Japan. For this purpose, papers from five major academic journals on geography were reviewed. It has been found that the number of articles on urban geography increased consistently in Japan after World War II, reaching a peak in the 1980s. Although the number decreased somewhat in the 1990s, it is again increasing in the 21st century. Trends in these articles may be summarized as follows: 1) a decrease in studies that examine cities as a single point; 2) an increase in studies that examine cities as an area; 3) an increase in studies that analyze urban functions; 4) a decrease in studies that use quantitative techniques; 5) an increase in studies that focus on humans themselves; and 6) an increase in studies that deviate from traditional categories. Another important point is that there have come to be a greater number of studies that examine some aspect “in cities” than studies “of cities.” A change in the writing style of research reports is also seen. Human agency continues to be a problem taken up in studies of urban geography. In the past, few papers quoted from people directly, whereas today this way of writing is not uncommon. In addition, nowadays there are also articles that directly quote individual opinions and judgments. From the above, recent urban geography may be summarized as having an increasing number of studies that view cities as areas, which serve as the field for examinations of urban functions, people's lives, or social groups, and that emphasize direct voices and narration. The influences of humanistic geography can be seen in the background. However, with excessive focus on urban functions or humans themselves, we run the risk of “not being able to see the forest for the trees.” It should also be pointed out that a writing style which relies too much on direct quotes or narration risks the identity of urban geography.
This article aims to explore the progress and the agenda of urban social geography in Japan. Urban geography in Japan has a long history, but studies of cities from social aspects have increased in earnest, rather recently. One factor is that Japanese geographers have been attracted mainly by changing patterns of the urban landscape and its economic functions. However, recent decades have seen a diversification of themes of research from gentrification, socio-political movements and social stratification, community restructuring with demographic changes, life-world of ethnic minorities to gender matters. The future agenda of urban social geography in Japan would be to deepen the research contents and to explore new frontiers along with theoretical advancement.
The purpose of this paper is to review the achievements and issues in transportation geography in Japan since 1990, focusing on modern transportation. Although the number of studies in transportation geography has decreased, the studies that have been conducted can be classified into four types, namely, studies on (1) transportation enterprises, (2) the effects of transportation developments on given areas, (3) nodal structures, and (4) airports and harbors and their hinterland. Most of the studies focus on the former two themes, while some papers have been presented on the latter two themes in the 2000s. Finally, the author points out the issues that need to be addressed —in the study of transportation geography— against the backdrop of the trend of deregulation and globalization. It is necessary to examine the significance of deregulation in a region by considering the transportation in and orientation of the city as well as its public transportation. Meanwhile, the transportation geographers in Japan should conduct studies on air liberalization and the hub airport competition in Asia.
This study explores recent trends in ethnic geography in Japan. Although ethnicity was not an important theme of research for geographers in post-war Japan, ethnic geography has developed since the 1980s. Initially, Japanese migrants and spatial segregation were major themes, and very few articles on ethnic minorities in Japan appeared in selected geographical journals published in Japan. However, since the mid-1990s, the number of the case studies on ethnic minorities in Japan, both oldcomers and newcomers, has increased rapidly. Recently, humanistic and radical approaches have been added to the domain in which Japanese ethnic geographers have been interested, although traditional approaches still seem to be useful. Furthermore, geographers' contributions are expected in interdisciplinary ethnic studies. Thus, many frontiers still remain for Japanese ethnic geographers.
This study examines the recent trends in the geography of religion by Japanese geographers since the 1990s. The geographers of religion in Japan mainly analyze and interpret the distribution or diffusion of religious phenomena including religious experience or practice, spatial structure of religion, and religious landscape. I was able to summarize the studies in this field into the following four types. The studies of the first type focus on how certain religions have been practiced in urban or rural areas. The studies of the second type examine the influences, roles and changes of religions in urban and rural communities and their landscape. The studies of the third category encompass achievements of religious ecology and relationship between religions and natural environment. The forth type of studies are historical geography of pilgrimage which have revealed socioeconomic network produced by religion. Three directions of future studies are suggested. First, the geography of religion should contribute more to the elucidation of the religion. Second, achievements of this study field are requested to correspond to the religious situations of contemporary Japan. Third, studies taking the religious characteristics of Japan into consideration are needed.
This paper overviews the progress in the social and cultural geography of Japanese rural areas from the mid 1990s to the mid 2000s by considering four topics: political and economic restructuring, sustainable systems of social integration and subsistence, self-governance of natural environments, and the history of the social construction of rural images. Today, Japanese rural geographers encounter two kinds of globalization: economic globalization, which directly or partially influences the four phenomena above, and the globalization of research activities by geographers who must internationally develop their own theoretical frameworks on these topics.
In this paper we point to “rurality” as an option within “urbanity” in the urban fringe of the Tokyo metropolitan area as well as discuss some ways for recreating rurality and a mechanism for restructuring it within a sustainable rural system. Rural and urban residents have been mixed in the urban fringe, and rurality has been diminishing with the increasing number of urbanites and the decreasing amount of rural land use. In some parts of the urban fringe, however, a sustainable rural system has been restructured through the establishment of farm shops, social networks, and activities connected to the conservation of forestland. These functions as a node to connect rurality with urbanity, and reinforcing this connection over time has led to the development of a sustainable rural system that comprehensively combined characteristics of rural and urban communities. Explaining how a sustainable rural system is restructured through intertwining rurality and urbanity is an important issue for contemporary geographical studies.
This paper reviews the major researches on African area studies conducted during the past 20 years by Japanese geographers. Mainly three major trends are reviewed and examined to find common interests and future directions: (1) Studies by physical geographers on late Quaternary environmental history, physical as well as anthropogenic impact on formation or change of landscape, and human response to currently changing environment, (2) Studies on subsistence economy, technology and strategy of local people including concerns of interaction among local groups and historical dynamics, (3) Political economy and political ecology that focus on coping behaviors and strategies of various actors in rural as well as urban areas with unstable environment stemming from global or national political economy.
A review of urban climate studies in Japan since 1980 is presented. First, we describe recent research on an urban heat island. In this section, we focus on the heat island with a scale larger than a single city, heterogeneous temperature distribution in an urban district, and quantitative analysis of the formation mechanism of the heat island using numerical models. We then summarize the interaction between a sea breeze and a heat island. Cloud formation and precipitation over the urban area are also summarized. Furthermore, recent studies on the estimation of urban surface parameters and anthropogenic heat maps are briefly described. Observational studies on the urban canopy layer are also introduced. Some recent studies on urban planning are introduced, focusing on the cooling effect of parks and rivers on the urban temperature. Finally, we conclude the review by describing ongoing work.
Vegetation science, the study of vegetation patterns and processes, is a relatively minor sub-field of geography in Japan. I summarize the major research on vegetation science by Japanese geographers with reference to similar studies conducted by plant ecologists, focusing on vegetation-environmental relationships. In a few decades, the studies on vegetation by Japanese geographers have generally adopted descriptive approaches that examined the spatial associations between vegetation patterns and environmental factors. However, these studies only demonstrated the covariation of environmental factors with vegetation patterns, whereas theoretical and empirical studies of the mechanistic aspects of the relationships between vegetation patterns and environmental factors were undertaken in plant ecology over a few decades. Thus, to better understand the relationships between vegetation and environment factors and enhance predictions of vegetation change in response to environmental change, I recommend that collaborative approaches to plant ecology, involving plant physiology, should be promoted in geographical studies of vegetation science in Japan.
This study examined the relationship between land price changes and the Japanese Real Estate Investment Trust (J-REIT) in the inner city of Tokyo by using global and local regression techniques. In the beginning of the 21st century, as a reaction to economic depression, the Japanese Government implemented policies that encouraged structural reforms. These policies included real estate securitization that primarily intended to solve the issue of massive bad loans held by financial institutions. With the support of the Bank of Japan in terms of the easing of money supply, affluent liquidities flew into the real estate market through real estate securitization. The J-REIT is the only scheme of real estate securitization that offers shares to the public. A total of 64% of all the properties invested by the J-REIT are located in the inner city of Tokyo. Conventional multivariate regression analysis revealed that the J-REIT had a significant influence on land price changes every year. Affluent liquidities invested through the J-REIT have made positive impacts on the deflation of land prices. Geographically weighted regression (GWR) analysis was applied to clarify whether or not the relationship between land price changes and the J-REIT varied in the study area. The results of the GWR analysis indicated that the relationship between land price changes and the J-REIT showed a significant, spatial non-stationarity. Areas that benefited from the positive impacts of the J-REIT were limited to business districts such as Hibiya, Shinjuku, and Shibuya.
The biotechnology industry is one of the representative industries of a knowledge-based economy. Many biotechnology clusters have been growing in the world. The Scottish biotechnology cluster has been rapidly growing. It is likely to endogenously develop based on the utilisation of the local universities' knowledge, and a number of indigenous biotechnology-related companies are established in terms of interaction between local actors, such as government, university and companies. One of the characteristics of the Scottish biotechnology industry cluster is to be created by government initiative rather than by market mechanisms. The Scottish government has aggressively induced foreign direct investment into the biotechnology sector due to limitation of local resources. Consequently, a large number of foreign pharmaceutical companies have invested heavily in local biotechnology firms and universities in Scotland. As described in the two case studies, there are a number of collaborative researches between indigenous institutes and external foreign companies in the Scottish biotechnology sector. In the biotechnology sector, innovation is likely to be generated at the nexus of the local and global networks. Thus, the competitive advantage of the region might not be determined by solely local conditions, but global factors also seem to contribute to the enhancement of the local industry. The result provides some lessons to the Japanese industrial cluster plan which has been strongly promoted by government bodies. In addition, policy makers should reconsider the role of FDI as a learning opportunity.