- The Association of Japanese Geographers
- 地理学評論 (ISSN:13479555)
- vol.76, no.12, pp.910-923, 2003-10-01 (Released:2008-12-25)
In Japan, so-called Chinatowns have been formed only in three cities of Yokohama, Kobe and Nagasaki, and are named respectively Yokohama Chinatown, Kobe Chinatown, and Nagasaki Chinatown. Based on the author's previous studies and fieldwork, this paper aims to clarify the regional characteristics of Chinatowns in Japan. Every Chinatown in Japan exists as a very important tourist spot with highly concentrated Chinese restaurants of various sorts. From the global point of view, this appears to be the most remarkable regional characteristic of Chinatowns in Japan. Compared with those in Southeast Asia, Europe and North America, Japanese customers and tourists play a more important role than the ethnic Chinese in the functions of Chinatowns in Japan. This remarkable characteristic would be that the ethnic Chinese in Japan have been trying to adapt themselves to the Japanese community by promoting Chinatowns as tourist spots. They have been positively utilizing the tradition of Chinese culture, especially food culture, as a tourist resource. Chinatown in Japan is a town that embodies the image of China, cherished by so many Japanese. This is based upon the historical interest in Chinese culture among the Japanese people.