- The Human Geographical Society of Japan
- 人文地理 (ISSN:00187216)
- vol.39, no.5, pp.445-460, 1987-10-28 (Released:2009-04-28)
The concepts of landscape (Landschaft, paysage) spread through the geographic world in Japan since the latter half of 1920's. The discipline of geography in Japan before the war's end was characterized by studies based on these concepts, the theory of man-land relationships, and geopolitics. This paper is the first historical review of studies of geographical landscape in Japan.Japanese geographers had tried to translate landscape (Landschaft, paysage) into Japanese since 1925, using such terms as“fukei (風景)”,“fudo (風土)”,“keiso (景相)”, “chiriteki keikan (地理的景観)”,“fukei keitai (風景形態)”,“keiiki (景域)”,“chisokei (地相景)”,“kansho (環象)”,“keikan (景観)”and others. Keikan was by far the most popularly used term. It is thought that Tsujimura Taro had a great influence on this state of affairs.The concepts of landscape can be classified into three major interpretations: (1) the synthetic contents of a (unit) region, (2) common regions as a type, (3) the visible and morphologic objects in a region. On the basis of this classification, the writer puts interpretations of these concepts before the war's end in the order stated above, number (1) being the most frequent interpretation. Other Japanese equivalents besides“keikan” were used frequently in interpretation number (1). However, it is said that interpretation number (3) came into wider use than number (1) in field studies.“Keikan”was used frequently in this case. Therefore, many theoretical studies were conducted on the basis of interpretation number (1), while most field studies were conducted on the basis of interpretation number (3). Interpretation number (2) appeared in a few cases, but it is not thought to have been used frequently.In the 1910's in Germany, the concept of landscape (Landschaft) was introduced to the system of geography, and the form or shape of landscape was treated as the object of landscape study. Studies which had some resemblance to those in Germany were seen before and after the 1930's in Japan. The studies of relations between landscape and social, economic and cultural conditions were deepened and developed later in Germany. However, research on form of landscape were, in Japan, still being carried out, and the function and phylogeny of landscape were not developed enough in Japan. But theoretical studies did develop some what. The development of landscapes was studied, and some researchers began to point out that it was necessary in landscape study to clarify the development mechanisms of human societies. Moreover the landscape was grasped from a view-point of social science, in that the landscape is thought to be determined by the mode of production.A problem that was little discussed throughout the pre-war and post-war days is the role of subjectivity in human societies in the formation of the cultural landscape. This is the main reason for the criticism that early studies of geographical landscape were not really connected to the contemporary world. In the first half of 1930's in Germany, O. Maull and H. Hassinger proposed that the nation state was the builder of landscape. Their propositions were soon introduced to Japan, but have not yet been really discussed. How are human societies including nation states related to the formation of the cultural landscape? The writer concludes that this discussion remains as an unsolved problem.