Over thirty years have passed since the time when innovation diffusion was first recognized as an interdisciplinary research theme. Geography has exclusively focused on the spatial dimension of diffusion while most other disciplines have paid attention to its time dimension. The research interests of Japanese economic historians (Kiyokawa, 1995) and agricultural economists (Sakiura, 1984) seem, however, to overlap those of geographers. In the field of economic history, in particular, studies on the adoption of the power loom in various textile industries have attempted to explore spatial factors influencing intra- and inter-regional diffusion. Specifically, the focus has been on the reasons for the adoption of power looms in each textile producing area. Case studies concerning one such area, and focusing on the situation prior to the introduction of power looms, show that a strong desire to reduce costs formed the background to their introduction. On the other hand, comparative studies of a number of textile producing areas point out other factors causing regional differences in the introduction and adoption of the power loom. Specifically these include: factory system diffusion; the availability of motive power; union activities incorporating members of the same profession; and the kind of textile product. Such studies, however, make use of data aggregated at the level of the whole production area, so that the reasons for adoption of the power loom by individual enterprises remain to be understood. Taking Fukui City, a representative location for habutae-silk production in Japan, as the study area, this paper investigates the spatial diffusion of electric power looms in silk weaving factories in the late 1900s to early 1910s. For spatial diffusion research in general, such a study on innovation diffusion at the intra-urban level will contribute substatially to examinations of the neighbourhood effect. The first half of this paper describes the circumstances just before electric power loooms began to be introduced into the weaving areas of Fukui City. By this description it is hoped that a deeper insight into the spatial diffusion process will be gained.The latter half of this paper, using logit type trend surface analysis, elucidates the spatial diffusion process of electric power looms among silk weaving factories with ten workers or more. The determinants of this process are examined using the logit model. The results are summarized as follows: The silk weaving industry in Japan, especially habutae-silk, was dependent on overseas markets in the early modern period. Although a major earner of foreign currency, the industry remained highly sensitive to worldwide business fluctuations. The background to the rapid introduction of power looms is that, despite recession following the Russio-Japanese War of 1904, the Japanese Government was afraid that the overseas market share would be lost due to mass production of inferior quality habutae-silk. The Government therefore ordered textile manufacturers to improve product quality, and ensured that all local producers were made aware of the situation. The power loom proved superior to the hand loom in production efficiency, and so was also an effective means to hold back the trend for rising wages during the depression. Power looms were first adopted by influential textile manufacturers at a time when there was panic that Japan would lose its overseas market share and the industry would decline. These people, after all, had first hand knowledge of the overseas markets through visits to their trading partners. After initial adoption there was rapid spread throughout the weaving community, despite the high expense of the machines. In fact conditions were favourable for power loom adoption in the sense that habutae weaving is a relatively straight forward manufacturing process suited to mechanization.
The state of museums in Japan underwent a drastic change after the late 1960s. The number of museums has increased and, beyond this, the social awareness of museums has been enhanced dramatically. Recent years have seen a remarkable increase in the establishment of ‘local’ museums, built and operated by individual municipalities, with themes concentrating on local history and culture. This change has given rise to heated discussion on the role of museums in terms of museology, history, and folklore, especially in relation to the issue “museums and the local community”. Such debate is not restricted to Japan, but has been experienced in Europe and North America where there has also been considerable community based museum activity in recent years. Such debate has focused typically on problems like “museums and local identity”, and “the conservation of communal past and tradition”, and has raged both within and outside the museum service. This paper reviews the theoretical development of museum studies in Japan and in Europe and North America, and discusses the perspectives taken towards regional museums. The two sections following the introduction explain the recent outlook of museums in Japan and the theoretical and practical developments concerning local museums. The ideas propounded by Toshiro ITO on local museology are looked at in particular. His proposals for ‘local-oriented-museums for local citizens’, where displays focus on local subject matter and aim at seeking closer local integration, are studied because of the great impact these ideas have had on the present practices in local museums. Although the intention has been for ‘better’ museums, this movement has not been without problems. For example, ‘localities’ and ‘local cultures’ are often assumed to be “natural” and “fixed”. The ideas of Benedict Anderson concerning the “imagined community” may prove useful here. Although museums depend on the beneficence of public authorities (with responsibility for an administrative region), museums offer the opportunity for awareness of a new communal identity. There exists plenty of scope for discussion about the role of museums as the process and medium through which notions of ‘region’, ‘self-image’, and ‘local culture’ are both created and brought to public awareness. One approach within Anglophone museum studies has been to view the museum as a means to “make ourselves”. The fourth section of this paper reviews Anglophone museum studies from the viewpoint of representation of ‘others’ and of ‘selves’. First, ‘museums as a representation of others’ is explored. This approach arose from a reexamination of Western museum history and ethnography. The general thinking is that, in the past, Western anthropologists, in particular, could achieve no more than stereotype imagery of other cultures in museum exhibitions. It was, as Susan Pearce puts it, “the appropriation of culture”. Second, ‘museums as a representation of selves’ is considered. Today, it seems that more and more people, even nations, are making enquiries about the ownership of cultural assets held in museum collections. This issue presents problems such as “who is the rightful owner of material culture?” and “who should control the presentation of such culture?”. Responses vary from “restoring self-identity” to such as the indigenous minority peoples of North America to “an explanation of the creation of a wider national identity”. Third, the question of “how to express self?” is addressed. Whatever the context, museums attempt to conserve and even recreate past objects and situations.
In areas affected by landslides in Japan, terraced paddy fields (known as tanada) are a characteristic feature. It has been clearly demonstrated, from a geological perspective, that environmental conditions determine the need for such terracing. However, little attention has been paid to social and cultural factors which lie behind the actual creation of terraced paddy fields. This paper attempts to clarify the process for development of tanada from a socio-cultural perspective, with particular reference to farm management strategy. The area selected for study is one of deep snowfall in the winter months. Matsuguchi village lies in the Higashi-kubiki mountain range, a tertiary formation prone to landslides, in Niigata Prefecture. This study utilizes Land Registers for Matsuguchi village which date back to the 1880s. Between 1887 and 1951, over ten hectares of newly developed paddy fields were created in Matsuguchi. Invariably they are named tensui-den, a form of terraced paddy field. Although the term actually means ‘rain-fed paddy’, in Higashi-kubiki socalled tensui-den are not always totally dependent on rainfall. Some of these paddys have irrigation facilities including small reservoirs and yoko-ido (wells at the sides of the fields). Parcels of paddy field were also enclosed by high dykes, to hold water when necessary as if they were reservoirs. Such events invariably coincided with times of heavy snowfall. These simple facilities could be contructed by a relatively small labour force, so that large and small land-holders alike were able to incorporate them in tensui-den developments. Compared to more sophisticated irrigation structures (canals) elsewhere, however, tensui-den required more labour for paddy maintenance and rice growing. Productivity in tensui-den was also lower than in other types of paddy. Creation and maintenance of tensui-den was only necessary, or feasible, in a situation where all the most productive (canal irrigated) paddy fields were owned by a single household, or when the market price of rice was high. In 1887 a single (absentee) land-holder owned 60% of all paddy fields in Matsuguchi village. His subsequent demise, and the fact that hired labour rates rose faster than rice prices, coincides with a slowing down of paddy field development after the 1920s. After the 1930s there was even a trend for abandonment of paddy fields. It seems, though, that other households actually increased their holdings of canal-irrigated paddy whilst giving up the less productive tensui-den paddys because continued maitenance of them was simply not worthwhile. Thus it is demonstrated that socio-cultural factors play a crucial role, just as environmental factors do, in the development of terraced paddy fields.