This paper aims to clarify the relationship between regional communities and the national government in the modern era, and historical changes therein, as related to community hot spring use. It considers the Atami Hot Spring in Shizuoka Prefecture as a case study. From the early modern era onward, the development of hot springs proceeded in the context of private ownership, which destabilized usage. As hot spring resources were unregulated by the national government, each prefectural government was responsible for stabilizing practical methods of use. The Shizuoka prefectural government addressed various conflicts by mediating control of hot spring use as well as enacting regulations.
Following World War II, the Hot Spring Law spurred prefectures to enact ordinances related to the development and use of hot spring resources. Moreover, they established new committees to determine the advisability of development and methods of use in order to reconcile resource conservation with reasonable usage. In Shizuoka, unique hot spring conservation policies and protected areas were created, guidance was provided to union organizations, and trends in regional hot spring areas were ascertained. Such efforts contributed to the stabilization of hot spring usage in Shizuoka. By contrast, the Atami Hot Springs were operated as a municipal hot spring by the Atami City government, which oversaw the spring’s usage and management. By being actively involved in the springs’ development and use, Atami City realized open utilization of the spring. The municipal hot spring project achieved inexpensive, stable hot spring usage, which supported the development of Atami hot springs during Japan’s rapid growth period and thereafter. The development of the municipal hot spring project also created new opportunities for hot spring usage among residents who had previously had no connections with them, e.g. by building low‒cost public baths etc. While the national government had almost no connection with hot spring use in modern Japan, prefectural and municipal governments stepped in to support it, leading to regulation on a regional basis.
The internal documents and materials made by Nippon Chisso Hiryo group before World War II were inspected and examined. In particular, many drawings and documents of the Chosen Chisso Hiryo owned by Chisso Corporation were scanned or digitalized. Some city maps of the Hungnam district, North Korea, were also collected.These historical materials allowed us to re-examine the layouts for some company house areas of Chosen Chisso Hiryo and to contribute to our deep understanding. Some drawings allowed us to examine several buildings and houses constructed in Hungnam district and to detect new or more detailed facts.