Japanese Journal of Human Geography Vol.66 No.1(2014)

Vol.65 No.1(2013)


Special Issue : Ethnic Business Enclaves in Cities Part II

ODA Takashi
Preserving and Revitalizing an Ethnic Urban Neighborhood in Transition :
San Francisco’s Japantown Better Neighborhood Plan  1


Local Residents’ Responses to the Tourist Gaze on Their Life Spaces :
The Case of the Higashi-Iya Area of Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture  16

The Spatial Divisions of Labor in R&D and Corporate Culture :
The Case of Chemical Fiber Firms  38

Meeting Reports

Special Presentations in Annual Meeting 2013 60

Report of the IGU Kyoto Regional Conference 2013  80

News 108
Notes for Contributors of the English Papers 114
Subscription 116


Preserving and Revitalizing an Ethnic Urban Neighborhood in Transition : San Francisco’s Japantown Better Neighborhood Plan

ODA Takashi
Miyagi University of Education

This study discusses the history, transitions, governance, and planning of an ethnic urban neighborhood, as exemplified by San Francisco’s Japantown in the United States. It presents a variety of challenges in urban ethnic neighborhood governance, including gentrification, redevelopment, heritage preservation, and the participatory public planning process. In response to economic neoliberalization, recent urban planning policies have inspired a diverse network of urban actors, including individuals, private corporations, and nonprofit community organizations to banded together to preserve their community’s cultural heritage in the face of market-driven redevelopment and perceived gentrification. In San Francisco, recent movements have aimed to preserve the ethnic and cultural heritage of the city’s Japantown. While the community has nurtured and been enriched by many different cultural and ethnic groups, San Francisco’s Japantown has historically been represented by primarily Japanese American community organizers and postwar Shin Issei (first-generation Japanese immigrants) business owners and residents, marking it as a culturally diverse space. However, partly because of this diversity, recent community discussions on preserving Japantown have been divisive. While the general agreement is that the neighborhood’s heritage should be preserved, many disagree as to how to balance preservation efforts with economic revitalization to ensure the community’s sustainability. Using interviews and field observation, this study analyzes the strengths and challenges of one such movement, the Japantown Better Neighborhood Plan. Analysis of the campaign’s implementation reveals the strengths and weaknesses of the plan and makes recommendations for future community governance.

Key words: participatory planning, urban design, redevelopment, consensus building, Japantown

Local Residents’ Responses to the Tourist Gaze on Their Life Spaces :
The Case of the Higashi-Iya Area of Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture

Graduate Student, Kyoto University

This study examines the relationship between the tourist gaze and local residents whose life spaces have recently become valuable as tourism resources. A large number of studies have been done on the impact of tourism on the local host society by presupposing and applying two influential concepts : the tourist gaze of J. Urry and the objectification of culture of Y. Ohta. However, these concepts cannot necessarily be applied to local people, who themselves have come to be tourism resources, especially in modern-day “new tourism.” Although residents have become increasingly important and indispensable factors in tourism, they cannot always accommodate themselves to the tourist gaze because they are living their daily lives as well as engaging in tourism practices within their life spaces. Therefore, this paper aims to examine how local residents understand the tourist gaze and carry out their own tourism practices within their life spaces, with special reference to Higashi-Iya, Tokushima Prefecture. In considering these issues, it is important to analyze both the influence of the tourist gaze on the regional promotion plan in Higashi-Iya, and the meaning of tourism practices for local residents (mainly tourism actors).
The findings are summarized as follows : First, the regional promotion plan in Higashi-Iya is closely related to an image of authenticity advocated by a chief consultant of the project, Alex Kerr, stemming from the atmosphere of Higashi-Iya in the early 1970s. Second, tourism practices by many local residents are based on their feelings toward and sense of daily life and sincerity rather than with the tourist gaze in mind. In other words, local residents, including active actors, do not necessarily directly accommodate themselves to the tourist gaze. Such a posture by the residents has led to the unique charm that is characteristic of Higashi-Iya, an unsophisticated and authentic rural area. It seems that the relationship is advantageous to both the local residents and the planning consultant in Higashi-Iya because it facilitates participation in tourism practices for the former and provides an authentic image of Higashi-Iya for the latter. However, some residents are not willing but are forced to engage in personal practices of tourism on the basis of their daily experiences and sincerity. That leads to the third point : why do they engage in such tourism practices ? It is clear that some regional factors, such as tourism being a key industry, depopulation, remoteness from cities, etc., are interrelated and have a causal influence on the relationship between local residents and the tourist gaze. In this context, many local residents in the region have a negative perception of tourism because of lower and uncertain income and difficulties with the increase in the number of tourists, especially compared with the neighboring tourism region of Nishi-Iya. It is concluded that how the tourist gaze affects the local society is closely related to its conditions ; this kind of tourism practice within life space can presumably be seen in other rural areas, especially those suffering from severe economic conditions such as Higashi-Iya. In sum, the relationship between local residents and the tourist gaze is more complicated than has previously been assumed and is closely related to the local conditions.

Key words :  tourist gaze, local residents, life space, tourism promotion, “new tourism”

The Spatial Divisions of Labor in R&D and Corporate Culture :
The Case of Chemical Fiber Firms

Graduate student, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo, JSPS Research Fellow

The chemical fiber industry has experienced several recessions, such as the slumps in the textile industry from 1950s and oil shocks in 1970s, in its long history. However, major Japanese chemical fiber firms, such as Teijin, Toray, and Kuraray have overcome such adversities by inventing new core technology products and expanding their fields of endeavor. R&D performance is one of the most important reasons for their survival. Although essential to the long-term evolution of the firms, R&D projects tend to entail uncertainty and long-term struggles. To continue them in spite of these risks, they must be supported by powerful forces, such as corporate cultures and firm managers. Their continuity is also affected by the distribution of R&D facilities and personnel considering time and cost. Many studies have been conducted of large firm R&D, but few consider the interaction among corporate cultures, managers, and R&D locations.
Therefore, this paper focuses on the relationship of managers and corporate cultures, subsequently analyzing its effect on the reorganization of business and the spatial divisions of labor in R&D. In addition, the author seeks to understand the meaning of place in these processes. In order to achieve this aim, research was conducted on the business unit divisions and R&D in three Japanese chemical fiber firms through corporate histories, investment reports, newspaper articles, and manager biographies. These analyses were supported by interviews with company staff in 2012.
The following conclusions are drawn : First, epoch-making products are invented not only because managers or researchers are talented but also because firms have cultures open to uncertainty and risk. For example, research into carbon fiber at Toray started almost 50 years ago and was interrupted because of uncertainty ; however, it was restarted through the passion of the research leader and the firm’s tolerant culture. Second, established places have played an important role in the spatial divisions of R&D. In particular, Kuraray concentrated half the number of its R&D personnel in an established place, Kurashiki, where its main inventions were achieved and to which the founder and his successor were emotionally tied. Third, unique managers can drastically change the spatial divisions of their firm so as not to be constrained by conventions. In the case of Teijin, a powerful manager built several new R&D facilities close to large cities, where the firm had no existing facilities. The spatial divisions of its R&D thus became dispersed, unlike those of other firms.
The perspective of this paper can be applied to the globalization of R&D, the direction of which varies considerably, even among these firms.

Key words : R&D, top management, place, place of birth, fiber industry, chemical industry

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