- The Association of Japanese Geographers
- 地理学評論 (ISSN:13479555)
- vol.76, no.5, pp.291-311, 2003-04-01 (Released:2008-12-25)
This study aims to explain the transformation of the community with the decrease of the population in Kanda district in the ward of Chiyoda, located in central Tokyo. In this study, the spatial unit of community is designated as the territory of choukai, and its higher unit is designated as the district of public elementary school. The decrease of the population, which began in the 1950s, has resulted in the increase of unused classrooms called “akikyoushitsu” in the public elementary schools located in and near the central business district of Tokyo. As a solution for that problem, a policy of changing public elementary schools into community centers through opening those facilities to the public has been undertaken. Choukai, which is a basic voluntary social association of urban residents, is also forced to shrink its size mainly due to out-migration of the population. They have been mostly young generations who have moved out the district. This out-migration has led to aging of residents and board members of choukai. The festival for ujigami, or tutelary deity, has been the main event of choukai and it has played an important role to maintain friendship among the residents. However, it is becoming more difficult to keep up the number of people needed to hold the festival. With transformation of resident structure and associations, the landscape of the district is also changing mainly because of rebuilding and remodeling. Many cases of rebuilding from one-story shop-houses into multi-story commercial buildings on an individual basis have been observed in Kanda district. It is estimated that the local community, which has been based on choukai, would be changed into a part of a much broader association consisting of united-choukai and other voluntary associations, and that the public elementary school could become a base of activities of those organizations as a community center.