Japanese Journal of Human Geography Vol.72 No.3 (2020)

Vol. 72 No. 3 2020


Research Note

Expansion of Networks Between Breweries and Liquor Stores for Demand Development of Japanese Sake:
A Case Study of Hiroshima Prefecture (191)

2019 Annual Review

A Survey of Geographical Studies in Japan, 2019 (211)


Regional Revitalization Policy in Japan and Its Problems (299)

Book Reviews (316)

Miscellany (328)

Notices (331)

Program of the 2020 Annual Meeting of the Human Geographical Society of Japan (332)


Expansion of Networks Between Breweries and Liquor Stores for Demand Development of Japanese Sake: A Case Study of Hiroshima Prefecture

Professor Emeritus, Prefectural University of Hiroshima

This paper aims to examine the expansion of Japanese sake demand development networks based on a case study of Hiroshima Prefecture. The analysis focused specifically on small breweries and liquor stores during the stage of improvement of products and services, which began after the 1970s. In 1994, “Jizake Kaigi”, consisting of 7 breweries and 8 liquor stores, was established as the first network. It completely disappeared in 2002 to become the second exclusive network consisting of only breweries called “Mekiki Kai”. In 2004, the third network called “Konshi Kai” was started with the intention of providing technology exchange. Initially, one of the key people from “Jizake Kaigi” helped to establish “Konshi Kai”. Some liquor store owners joined as temporary advisers. In 2018, “Mekiki Kai” increased to 17 breweries and expanded the distribution area to nearly the prefectural level. Nevertheless, “Konshi Kai” now includes 6 breweries in a comparatively small area. The association of breweries and association of liquor stores have advanced technology development and sales promotion. However, their functions have been limited because of insufficient cooperation, even between the members. This study found that the breweries in Hiroshima have established their own networks with liquor stores beyond the variety of industry types. It is argued here that the demand development of Japanese sake had entered a new stage. Little by little, consumers have also come to play an important role in the demand development through various activities held by themselves or liquor store owners.

Key words: Japanese sake, demand development, network, cooperation, Jizake Kaigi, Hiroshima Prefecture

Regional Revitalization Policy in Japan and Its Problems

Professor Emeritus, Hiroshima University

The current study critically examined Japan’s regional revitalization (chiho-sosei) policy and its associated subsidies, which are designed to halt the rapid decreases in population in these areas and the excessive population concentration in Tokyo’s special wards. Masuda and others have suggested the possibility that 896 municipalities will become completely depopulated by 2040, based on an extreme decrease in the population of young women (aged 20–39 years). Masuda’s findings caused widespread concern, and in response, the Japanese government established the regional revitalization policy in 2014. After introducing not only the aims of regional revitalization and the distribution of its subsidies but also discussions on the evolution of this policy, the author argued the necessity of moving certain head offices and administrative functions from Tokyo’s special wards into large cities other than the Tokyo metropolitan area. His assertion was based on the notion that regional centers and prefectural cities are not sufficiently able to provide “dams for preventing population outflows,” even with subsidies aimed at increasing population, because of the high outflow of youth from these cities to Tokyo’s special wards. If regional centers and prefectural cities were revitalized by transferring higher-order urban functions from Tokyo’s special wards, these cities, small and medium-sized cities and rural municipalities in their tributary areas also may be able to achieve revitalization. Although it could contribute to raising the birth rate in all regions of Japan, the author warns that realizing such a scenario will be not easy. Additionally, as the concept of small hub (chiisana-kyoten) is important for maintaining the living standards of inhabitants in areas seen as peripheral, small hubs (chiisana-kyoten) should be established in all areas with the same conditions in Japan.

Key words: regional revitalization (chiho-sosei), dam function, regional revitalization subsidy, excess population concentration in Tokyo, small hub (chiisana-kyoten)

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