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The Japanese City

The Japanese City

P.P. Karan
Kristin Stapleton
Copyright Date: 1997
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    The Japanese City
    Book Description:

    Japan is one of the most crowded countries on earth, with three-fourths of its population now living in cities. Tokyo is easily the most populous city on the planet. And yet, though closely packed, its citizens dwell together in relative peace. In America, inner-city violence -- often attributed in part to overcrowding -- is frequently emphasized as one of the great social problems of the day. What might we learn from Japan's situation that could be applied to our own as we approach the twenty-first century?

    In this collection an interdisciplinary group of international scholars seek to understand and explain the process and characteristics shaping the modern Japanese city. With frequent comparisons to the American city, they consider such topics as urban landscapes, the quality of life in the suburbs, spatial mixing of social classes in the city, land use planning and control, environmental pollution, and images of the city in Japanese literature.

    The only book on the subject,The Japanese Citysurveys the important literature and highlights the current issues in urban studies. The numerous photographs, maps, tables, and graphs, combined with the high quality of the contributions, offer a comprehensive look at the contemporary Japanese city.

    Contributors: William Burton, David L. Callies, Roman Cybriwsky, Kuniko Fujita, Theodore J. Gilman, Richard Child Hill, P.P. Karan, Robert Kidder, Cotton Mather, and Kohei Okamoto.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-5934-8
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History, Sociology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Figures, Tables, and Photographs
    (pp. vi-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-11)
    P.P. Karan

    Despite the size of Japan’s economy and the long history of urban life in that society, very little has been published recently in English (or, one might add, in the other European languages) on the Japanese city. With the notable exception of books by Jinnai (1995), Shapira, Masser, and Edgington (1994), Cybriwsky (1991), Fujita and Hill (1993), Bestor (1989), and Eyre (1982), most of the publications date back to the 1960s and 1970s.The Japanese Cityprovides nine well-documented essays by social scientists on various dimensions of the urban scene in Japan. It does not claim to fill the great...

  6. 2 The City in Japan
    (pp. 12-39)
    P.P. Karan

    Cities, in their infinite variety, express the complexity and intensity of the human experience. Nowhere do we find the history, economy, and cultural heritage of a nation more vividly enacted than in its urban areas. Cities are also the fundamental prerequisite of civilization. The histories of ancient Greece and Renaissance Europe bear this out, for it was urban dwellers and urban lifestyles that supported the flourishing arts and letters of these cultures. Cities are not just agglomerations of people, they are the providers of services and functions that are necessary for civilization to thrive. In Japan, cities have grown over...

  7. 3 Urban Landscapes of Japan
    (pp. 40-55)
    Cotton Mather

    Japan today is one of the most highly urbanized nations in the world. Four-fifths of its population now resides in urban areas, and the landscapes of the cities, towns, and villages are a vivid portrayal of both growth and modernity.

    In the Edo Period (1603-1867), Japan’s population was almost stable at 30 million. The country then was largely dependent on agriculture, and many scholars believed that this was the pinnacle population under this type of economy, but Japan’s current population represents a quadrupling of that of the Edo Period and the transformation of a rural to an urban society. Japan...

  8. 4 From Castle Town To Manhattan Town with Suburbs: A Geographical Account of Tokyo’s Changing Landmarks and Symbolic Landscapes
    (pp. 56-78)
    Roman Cybriwsky

    Many large cities around the world employ landmarks such as prominent buildings and other structures as symbols and use them to shape a favorable image. More often than not, the image they seek is about the city’s great size, political or economic power, or sophistication. Examples of well-known symbols range from the World Trade Center, Empire State Building, and Statue of Liberty in New York to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and the Sears Tower in Chicago. Abroad, we have the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in London, the Kremlin in Moscow,...

  9. 5 Suburbanization of Tokyo and the Daily Lives of Suburban People
    (pp. 79-105)
    Kohei Okamoto

    In 1990, 43 percent of Japan’s population was concentrated within a 50-kilometer (31-mile) radius of the three large metropolises: Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya. The majority of this population lived in the metropolitan suburbs. The suburban residents of these three large metropolitan areas number 41 million, which corresponds to one third of the total population of Japan.

    The metropolitan suburbs expanded rapidly during the period of high economic growth in the 1960s. During this period, Japan experienced a major internal migration, as large numbers of people moved into the urban areas from the rural countryside and settled in the metropolitan suburbs....

  10. 6 Together and Equal: Place Stratification in Osaka
    (pp. 106-133)
    Kuniko Fujita and Child Hill

    The founder of a direct-mail company in the United States once remarked, “Tell me someone’s zip code and I can predict what they eat, drink, drive, even what they think” (Reich, 1991: 277). The executive’s boast rested on a truism about American urban life: social classes reproduce themselves by controlling territory.

    Residential location provides differential access to valued resources in the United States. Neighbors have similar incomes and educational backgrounds. They indulge in the same consumer impulses. They pay roughly the same taxes for the same quality public services. Urban growth stratifies because privileged groups wield jurisdictional powers to exclude...

  11. 7 Urban Land Use and Control in the Japanese City: A Case Study of Hiroshima, Osaka, and Kyoto
    (pp. 134-155)
    David L. Callies

    On the face of it, land-use controls in the Japanese city parallel those in the American city: zoning in accordance with a comprehensive plan. As in the United States, virtually all developable land in a Japanese city is divided into a series of zones that broadly separate residential, commercial, and industrial uses. Like the United States, the zones are designated in accordance with some sort of plan. Finally, like the United States, special projects (the rough equivalent to developments of regional impact as defined by the American Law Institute’s [ALI] Model Land Development Code) are subject to special rules. Also,...

  12. 8 Disasters Chronic and Acute: Issues in the Study of Environmental Pollution in Urban Japan
    (pp. 156-175)
    Robert L. Kidder

    The context of activism over issues of air pollution, as discussed in this chapter, is a long history of government-cum-industry “thesis” and organized citizen “antithesis.”¹ Most casual observers of Japanese society and history would probably think that problems of industrial pollution date from the “full-steam-ahead” policies of industrial development that were introduced to Japan by the leaders of the Meiji restoration in the mid-nineteenth century.

    Nobuko Iijima (1979) opens her methodical cataloging of Japan’s pollution problems with an item from the period 1640-90 as follows: “Akazawa Dozan [a copper mining operation in what is now Ibaraki Prefecture], opened in 1591,...

  13. 9 Urban Redevelopment in Omuta, Japan, and Flint, Michigan: A Comparison
    (pp. 176-220)
    Theodore J. Gilman

    A company town slowly grinds to a halt. The factories that once employed thousands and made the city an engine of national growth slowly cut back output as their ability to compete declines. Production decreases lead to job cuts and layoffs, and the once-robust industrial community begins to atrophy. As the company payrolls dwindle, the supporting businesses in the surrounding municipality struggle. Slowly, they, too, go out of business. Young people, no longer able to find work, grow up and move to other, larger cities. The population ages and declines, with those left behind unable or unwilling to move. A...

  14. 10 The Image of Tokyo in Soseki’s Fiction
    (pp. 221-241)
    William Burton

    In literary studies, the topic of the city and literature is today very popular, to the extent that critics speak of a work’s “topos” as often as they do of its “setting.” Still, there is some reluctance to investigate the details of locale. To discuss elements of a work’s fictional geography in relation to the representation of the city on a contemporary map, for instance, is seen by many as being too literal minded. This attitude may reflect a longer-held bias in literary criticism against locale; a bias that is perhaps especially unyielding when the work under discussion is one...

  15. List of Contributors
    (pp. 242-244)
  16. Index
    (pp. 245-252)