Synthesis of classification categories of rural space: A case study of Hagikura Village in Central Japan

S. Imazato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the last few decades, theories of the spatial structure of Japanese villages have been the subject of controversy in human geography, folklore, cultural anthropology, history and architecture. The author identifies an important unresolved question concerning these theories. Although many scholars have profoundly discussed each of the categories of space such as land use zones, folk-taxonomy, 'place', social space, and symbolic space, the interrelationships among these categories and the synthesis of them have not been sufficiently examined. With this in mind, this article discusses each of the categories of space for a case study area, an agricultural and forestry village - Hagikura - in Central Japan, to reveal the interrelationships among all spatial categories by introducing a semiotic theory. The author examines the historical changes of space since the mid-Edo era, when Hagikura was settled. To pursue these aims, various methods and materials are used: interviews, landscape observation, participant observation, the analysis of land ledgers, cadastral maps, tax ledgers, local topographies, historical documents and geographical statistics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-456
Number of pages24
JournalJapanese Journal of Human Geography
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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