- 一般社団法人 人文地理学会
- 人文地理 (ISSN:00187216)
- vol.45, no.5, pp.515-533, 1993
Geography of religion aims to clarify the relationships between the environment and religious phenomena. In Japan, this discipline has four major fields of research<br>The first field is that of the relationships between the natural environment and religion. The emphasis in this field, however, is on the influence of the environment upon religion. Whereas many scholars study how climate and topography change the formation of religious beliefs, there is almost no study of the influence of religion upon the natural environment. In order to fill this lack, it is necessary, for instance, to clarify the role of religion in environmental protection.<br>Secondly, geographers of religion study how religion influences social structures, organizations, and landscapes in local areas. They mainly examine the urban structure and its transformation within religious cities with regard to the dominant religion. There are also some studies about the significance of religion for the formation of new cities. The relationships of the religious orientation to the local structure of cities and villages, however, has not been thoroughly clarified yet.<br>Thirdly, pilgrimage forms another major field of research in the geography of religion. Most studies so far, however, remain preliminary, showing the routes of pilgrimage without reconstructing networks among sacred places and their surroundings. Moreover, the contemporary meaning of pilgrimage is not studied enough, though people today still carry out pilgrimages fervently.<br>Lastly, geographers of religion try to clarify the structure of space which is created by the sacred, through examining the distribution and propagation of religion. One of the major studies in this field is that of sphere of religion.<br>This geography of religion as the study of relationships between the environment and religion has two indispensable approaches, for the space created through these relationships has two aspects; empirical and symbolic. On the one hand, religion has power to organize local communities and this power generates the structure of space which is grasped empirically. On the other hand, religion supports human existence through offering a cosmology. This cosmology appears in the structure of space symbolically. Geography of religion should understand the religious structure of space throughly by adopting both positivistic and symbolic approaches.