- The Human Geographical Society of Japan
- 人文地理 (ISSN:00187216)
- vol.43, no.6, pp.546-565, 1991-12-28 (Released:2009-04-28)
Nearly half a century has passed since Trewartha pointed out in his presidential address to the 49th annual assembly of A. A. G., that geography is fundamentally anthropocentric.Generally speaking, recent trends in geographical researches in Japan and abroad as well seem to have remained unchanged. However, something must have changed in those two decades. The main aim of this article is to evaluate some new underlying currents in recent geographical research work from a humanistic point of view. Just as D. Porteous has pointed out in his essay, the reason why geography is so dull and boring is closely connected not only to ways of explanation, but to presentation in geographical works. In most cases, human contents are lacking.Authors have tried to make clear other factors responsible for this present situation. Most of geographical research work in Japan and abroad has been so far made with special emphasis on“seeing”through eyes. Little attention has been paid to other human senses. It can be said that most geographers have tended to heavily depend on visual organs, suffering from auditory, tactile, olfactory, and taste disorder.In our minds, we instantly create images in a more configurative and unified way by using five senses at the same time. What is mostly urgently needed is how to reconstruct all the things we have sensed in geographical content. Some new underlying currents in humanistic geography seem to be deeply concerned with this hidden aspect as described above, and have come up as the emerging new geography. The 1980's has witnessed tremendous progress, leading surely to a so-called sensuous geography, which is not fully developed at the present time.D. C. Pocock, D. Porteous, Yi-Fu Tuan and A. Buttimer are preeminent among the sensuous geographers. Authors see that the holistic point of view can be basically traced back to J. G. von Herder. Along with these new currents, Michael Polanyi has also come to realize the importance of tacit knowing, from epistemological and ontological view points. In addition, A. Berque has also greatly contributed to opening up a new era in humanistic geography and paved the way to clear elucidiation of the complicated multi-dimensional structure of climate by applying a new concept, médiance.In Japan, T. Watsuji was the first to systematize the significance of human existence with special reference to climate (Fûdo). He often refers to the works of Herder, because the Herderian way of interpretation of our world should be properly treated. Authors are also contending that all the geographical observation so far made must be reviewed and reevaluated in these respects. Holism runs against reductionism.Thick description of geographical phenomenon is thus to be made. Fuller attention should be paid again to Herderian holism in this respect in order to humanize human geography.The objectivity-oriented scientific movement seems to have been believed to be true up to the present time. However, authors understand that objectivity-oriented reductionism is far from being complete in the sense that this methodology is based on one-sided observation and reasoning, neglecting the five human senses to the sacrifice of the richness of the lively world. Well balanced observation and reasoning can only be realized through close contact with the five human senses.