Japanese Journal of Human Geography Vol.68 No.4 (2016)

Vol.68 No.4 (2016)



The Development of a Nationwide Brand of a Traditional Agricultural Product: The Case of Tambaguro in Sasayama, Hyogo Prefecture (397)

An Attempt to Apply Actor-Network Theory to Halal Food Production and Supply in Japan (421)


The Achievements and Problems of Geographical Debates on Social Capital Regarding its Relationship with Agricultural and Rural Studies (443)


Livestock Management by Transhumance Activity in a Peripheral Area of Spain (463)

Book Reviews (480)

Meeting Reports (484)

News (504)

Index (513)


The Development of a Nationwide Brand of a Traditional Agricultural Product: The Case of Tambaguro in Sasayama, Hyogo Prefecture

Graduate student, School of Letters, Osaka University; Research Fellowship for Young Scientists, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science

While scholars have proposed since the late 1970s that native varieties of crops should be preserved, in recent decades, so-called traditional agricultural products have been brought to the public’s attention in Japan as a means of local development. The rationale was that this development could be realized by forming key production districts for brand products. The purpose of this study is to reveal the process of developing an agricultural brand of Tambaguro, a traditional black soybean, in Sasayama, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan; as such, this is a case study of the formation of an agricultural brand in Japan. In particular, this study focuses on innovation in the Tambaguro supply system, as well as relationships between farmers and wholesalers. Tambaguro production in Sasayama began to expand around 1980, when the Japanese government enforced a reduction of rice acreage; since then, nationwide consumption of Tambaguro has been promoted by agricultural cooperatives, wholesalers, and mass media. In the late 1990s, new production districts appeared, mainly in the western part of Japan; this forced farmers and wholesalers in Sasayama to maintain their product superiority by authenticating their brand. Their competitive strategy led to both conflict and coordination between wholesalers and farmers: wholesalers made much of shipping Tambaguro earlier than other production districts and farmers, and the farmers were forced to spend much time harvesting Tambaguro. Thus, the development of a nationwide Tambaguro brand involved the following processes: the promotion of consumption, the maintenance of product superiority, and the coexistence of high product quality and early shipping times.

Key words: branding, agricultural brand, traditional agricultural products, Tambaguro, Sasayama City


An Attempt to Apply Actor-Network Theory to Halal Food Production and Supply in Japan

Faculty of Economics, Momoyama Gakuin University

This paper applies actor-network theory to analyze the production and supply of halal food in Japan. The findings were as follows. Firstly, with the increase in numbers of Muslim immigrants entering Japan since the time of the bubble economy, provision of halal meat emerged as an ethnic business among Muslim residents. Based on religious ties in the Muslim community, with its many undocumented residents, the halal meat business was operated as an informal market situated outside the regular distribution network. Secondly, since the mid-2010s, under the Japanese government’s agricultural products export promotion strategy, large-scale, modern and hygienic facilities under Japanese management have also attempted to obtain overseas halal certification so as to produce and export halal meat. Because of the expense of acquiring and maintaining internationally-recognized halal certification, in order to compete in overseas markets, Japan needs to carry out large-scale capital investment and also establish economies of scale similar to those already underway in Brazil and Australia. However, the high cost of halal meat resulted in poor sales because most Muslims in Japan had weak purchasing power and low income. Consequently, the first requirement for Japanese companies hoping to launch themselves into the halal-certified meat business is demand from wealthy people in Muslim countries as well as inbound Muslim tourists. Amidst the halal boom, the difficulties of securing domestic halal production were initially exposed by the domestic Muslim community in Japan, but that community, being perceived as a minority, has been receiving little attention. By applying actor-network theory to those two mutually inconsistent networks, this paper clarified the ‘modes of ordering’ which constitutes production and supply of halal food in Japan.

Key words: halal, Muslim community in Japan, ethnic business, actor-network theory, modes of ordering


The Achievements and Problems of Geographical Debates on Social Capital Regarding its Relationship with Agricultural and Rural Studies

College of Letters, Ritsumeikan University

This study aims to examine the contributions and perspectives of discussions of social capital in geographical debates regarding agricultural and rural studies. In geographical debates concerning agriculture and rural areas, it is necessary to investigate the roles of social capital and its consequences on local activities and land use in rural areas, considering differences of spatial scale and spatial orientation. In consequence of Robert Putnam’s studies in social sciences, there have been great discussions on social capital since the 1990s. In human geography, discussions on social capital became active after the critiques of Putnam’s research, and the spatiality and regional effects of social capital have also been investigated. In addition, the rise in discussions from a relational perspective—mainly in economic geography—has led to increased attention being focused on social capital and social networks. In Japanese rural geography, social capital attracts much attention. However, the center of discussion focuses only on bonding social capital in relation to strong social ties. It is necessary to discuss the interactions between bridging and bonding social capital and the effects of transformation of social relations. Furthermore, qualitative analysis focusing on cognitive social capital, such as mutual trust and shared norms, should be deepened as well as quantitative analysis. Such studies would strengthen not only the geographical discussion on social capital but also interdisciplinary debates on the subject.

Key words: social capital, agricultural and rural studies, social relation, qualitative analysis


Livestock Management by Transhumance Activity in a Peripheral Area of Spain

Graduate student, School of Graduate Studies, The Open University of Japan

In Albarracín Mountains situated in a peripheral area of Spain, livestock rearing is the most important occupation as livelihood strategy by the herdsman and has traditionally been the key trade of the rural population. It provides food security in mountainuous area such as those of Albarracín Mountains in particular. However, growth of fodder for livestock is greatly influenced by a restriction of the environment and so, the herdsman should do transhumance activity with flock to summer and winter pasture lands by season seeking fodder. Adaptability to the envinronment is reflected in transhumance which utilises time-space differences and plays an important role in livelihood strategy. For cattle breeding, which aims to maximize livestock reproduction, the most important strategy is adapting the propagation schedule to the environment. Based on research by questionnaires and inteviews to herdsman, this study summarizes skills in livestock management, including flock propagation in transhumance activity. As sheep is cattle of seasonal propagation, crossbreeding and delivery seasons are periodically fixed. Therefore, herdsman adopts an annual working cycle that involves a chain of such jobs. Herdsman manages and intervenes in the reproduction, fattening and grazing of sheep, through which he exploits lamb as his livelihood. In other words, his livelihood is based on interdependence between human being and livestock. Through the livestock management skills utilized in the environment and ecological system in this peripheral area, the livelihood can be well established.

Key words:  Spain, peripheral area, Albarracín Mountains, transhumance, livestock management, livelihood strategy


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