Japanese Journal of Human Geography Vol.66 No.4(2014)

Vol.66 No.4(2014)



Changes in Hindu Society in Rural Bangladesh : A Case Study of a Village in Tangail District 1

KOTANI Machiyo
Labor Contractors’ Corporate Strategy and the Japanese Brazilian Labor Market : Focusing on Minokamo City, Gifu Prefecture 24

Research Note

KUMANO Takafumi
Changes in Detached Housing Areas in the Suburbs of Osaka Metropolitan Area : A case study of housing areas around Gakuenmae Station on the Kintetsu Railway Line 20

Meeting Reports

281th Regular Meeting  63
134st Research Seminar of Historical Geography Study Group 66
135st Research Seminar of Historical Geography Study Group 69
49st Research Seminar of Metropolitan Area Study Group 72
50st Research Seminar of Metropolitan Area Study Group 75
9st Research Seminar of Political of Geography Study Group 79
29th Research Seminar of Education of Geography Study Group  81

News  84

Annual Meeting 2014 Program  86


Changes in Hindu Society in Rural Bangladesh : A Case Study of a Village in Tangail District

Graduate Student, Nagoya University
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Research Fellow

This study seeks to explore changes in Hindu society and relations between Hindus and Muslims in rural Bangladesh from the early 20th century. Previous researchers have studied mainly Muslim society and neglected to discuss the complex interrelationship between caste and samaj, the latter being an indigenous social unit whose members settle disputes and hold religious ceremonies together in rural Bangladesh. Moreover, even though the social and psychological pressures on Hindus in everyday life have been reported as the causes of ongoing emigration, the daily relations between Hindus and Muslims have rarely been mentioned in previous studies. From a case study of a village designated as ‘Village B’ in Tangail district, this paper depicts in detail changes in Hindu society based on ethnographic field data and cadastral survey documents and maps.
This study considered the period from the early 20th century to the end of British rule in India in 1947 as Period 1 ; the time from the founding of Pakistan to after Bangladesh’s independence as Period 2 ; and from the middle of the 1980s till the time of the author’s survey as Period 3. In Period 1, high-caste Hindus, especially Kayasthas in Village B, had the greatest formal political power, as well as the highest economic status. In Period 2, Hindu samajs were divided by the caste system, and the social order in the village was maintained based on the caste hierarchy. After the foundation of Pakistan, the prominent status of high-caste Hindus declined due to the Pakistani government’s policy and the rise of Muslim elites. Neighboring Muslims immigrated into the village after Hindus emigrated. In the war for Bangladesh liberation in 1971, West Pakistan soldiers attacked mainly Hindus. Kayasthas in Village B asked local Muslims for help and they protected not only Hindus in Village B but also Hindus from the other areas. However, Hindus in the village were often the target of robberies and attacks by some local Muslims in and after this period leading to independence, and their emigration increased.
In Period 3, Muslim samaj in the village were formed after 1985 by building a new mosque. Almost all high-caste Hindus had left the village by the time of the author’s survey, 2011-2013. The Hindu samaj experienced continuous division and conflicts because of the struggle for power in village politics. Membership of the divided samajs was decided not only by paternal lineage or title membership but also by groupings which were not defined by territorial bonds or kinship. Muslim samaj in the village functioned too feebly to control these Hindu conflicts. Hindus often depended on Muslims in the other village for dispute settlements and their security. The emigration of high-caste Hindus and the decline of the caste hierarchy brought about the spread of the judicial functions of Hindu samaj in the village. Although Hindus and Muslims formed closer relationships which used not to be common in daily life, communal tension between them developed on some occasions.

Key words: Hindus, Muslims, caste, minority, samaj, rural Bangladesh

Labor Contractors’ Corporate Strategy and the Japanese Brazilian Labor Market : ocusing on Minokamo City, Gifu Prefecture

KOTANI Machiyo
Graduate Student, Kobe University

Since the 1970s, neoliberalist deregulation and increased flexibility in the labor market have led to increasingly expansive use of labor market intermediaries (LMIs) between employers and employees in many sectors. LMIs not only eliminate mismatch in the labor market, but also play an active market-making role. In Japan, one of these LMIs, referred to here as ‘labor contractors,’ grew through the employment of Japanese-Brazilian labor with the sharp growth of the electronics and auto industries in the 1970s to 1980s.
The purpose of this study is to examine the process of market expansion of labor contractors focusing on geographic sectorial expansion strategies, from the point of view of LMIs as an active agency. This study introduces the case of Minokamo City, Gifu Prefecture, a city with a high ratio of indirect employment in manufacturing and the use of migrant workers.
Following their deregulation in 1952, LMIs in Japan have expanded into various sectors including manufacturing. More recent neoliberalist deregulation has generally liberalized LMI’s businesses, developing favorable environments for them.
In the context of the labor shortage in the electronics and auto industries in the 1980s, labor contractors, such as LMIs in manufacturing, geographically expanded their labor sources to include Brazil. In the recession of the 1990s, labor supply destinations were expanded to lower-paying and more volatile sectors, where Japanese workers were unwilling to work, and geographically to the peripheral areas including Minokamo City, one particular city that had experienced a labor shortage due to rapid industrialization in the 1980s.
After 1992, labor contractors supplied extensive Japanese Brazilian labor to manufacturing plants in Minokamo City, but the worldwide financial crunch in 2008 affected their market. As a result, they expanded their markets by geographic sectorial strategies in order to overcome the crisis.
The case of Company A reveals that labor contractors could survive the crisis by expanding their market to lower-paying and more volatile sectors for unemployed Japanese Brazilians in the electronics and auto industries. Although the population of Japanese Brazilians greatly decreased, labor contractors continued expanding their market by looking for people who could assume the roles of Japanese Brazilians.
Moreover, those business activities of labor contractors consist of a relationship beyond the triangular relationship between the LMI, employee, and client. Their business became well established in Minokamo through economic relations around residences for labor or parking spaces for labor contractors, participation in the local community, and establishment of opportunities for certification, etc. Labor contractors and local actors interact in diverse ways, and their relationships have deepened following the crisis.
The businesses of labor contractors lead to the expansion of a short term labor market, which is preferred by neoliberalism, and to the expansion of precarious work situations. The neoliberalist labor market reforms since the 1990s obviously have driven the business growth of labor contractors, and consequently they shape neoliberalist restructuring in the labor market. Consequently, this market expansion by labor contractors in Minokamo City could be seen as a neoliberalist restructuring process.

Key words : labor market intermediaries, labor contractors, Japanese Brazilian workers, neoliberalism, Minokamo City

Changes in Detached Housing Areas in the Suburbs of Osaka Metropolitan Area : A case study of housing areas around Gakuenmae Station on the Kintetsu Railway Line

KUMANO Takafumi
Graduate Student, Graduate School of Letters, Kyoto University

The purpose of this paper is to examine the current situation and problems of generational changes in the detached housing areas around Gakuenmae Station in Nara Prefecture, which are located in the inner suburbs of the Osaka Metropolitan Area and have gained a good reputation from the viewpoint of their residents and housing resources. The main methods employed are analyses of housing maps and public statistics, such as the Housing and Land Survey and Population Census, and interviews with real estate agents and residents’ associations. The main findings obtained can be summarized as follows :
First, the populations in detached housing areas near train stations have experienced more rapid aging corresponding to when these areas were developed ; furthermore, population decline has already occurred in these areas, mainly due to out-migration of the elderly home-owning residents or their deaths, rather than from the out-migration of people in their children’s generation. Second, many empty houses are expected to soon appear in these areas through a similar mechanism, since their population composition is currently biased toward elderly inhabitants who face generational changes. Third, in older detached housing areas, new in-migration has been hindered by large house lots, physical features (including steep slopes and the height difference between house and road), the inconvenience of external garages, and large costs. Fourth, in this time of shrinking demand for detached houses, the real estate market has shown a polarization between popular, well-conditioned properties with good accessibility to train stations and less popular properties located at a distance from stations.
These findings suggest that signs of decline have already appeared even in the inner suburbs of the Osaka Metropolitan Area which had been regarded as exclusive and desirable residential areas.

Key words: detached housing areas, generational change, real estate market, inner suburbs, Osaka Metropolitan Area

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