Journal of the Faculty of Fisheries and Animal Husbandry, Hiroshima University Volume 4 Issue 1-2
1962-12-20 発行


The peculiarities of agricultural development in the Chugoku District, Japan : A study from the standpoint of the "theory of location"
Sasaki, Tomizo
In this study, the author pointed out the peculiarities of agricultural development in the Chugoku District from the standpoint of "the theory of location".

1. Geographically, the Chugoku District is situated in the southeast of the Honshu, Japan, and it occupies one seventh of the whole area of the Honshu. The climate is mild throughout all seasons, so an agricultural development or cultivation is available in almost all parts of this district. As is shown in the text-fig., however, the Chugoku mountain-range runs from northeast to southwest a little north of the center of this district, so the whole district is covered with the hilly land, except the level land fringing the coast of the Seto Inland Sea and the Japan Sea. In these level land parts, the population is dense and the transporters such as the trunk railways, main roads and ports are
chiefly gathered here.

Economically, there are no big markets in this district which control its economical activities. Therefore, economical developments mainly depend upon those of the Hanshin District (Osaka, K6be, Ky6to), the Keihin District (T6ky6, Yokohama) which is far east-ward from this district, and the Kitakyushu District west-ward. The former two districts affect more intensively to the economical activities of the Chugoku District than the latter. Under these regional circumstances, the development of agriculture in the Chugoku District has shown the following distinctive features.
1) All industrial and agricultural products are restricted to the long-lasting and transportable ones, and the tendency was more remarkable in the past than the present.
2) The influences of the above-mentioned geographical and economical position (i.e. the economic location) is more subjected to the eastern and coastal regions than to the western and inland regions of this district. The author calls these facts "the east-to-west shift" and "the coast-to-inland shift" i.e. "the regional shift of economic location".

2. The above-mentioned regional shift has produced the following differences in local economy and agricultural development in the Chugoku District.
1) According to the regional shift, there have arisen some differences of regions in view of "the east-to-west shift", the rate of increase of the non-agricultural folk is higher in the western region and that of the agricultural folk is less than in the eastern region. Consequently an increasing in total population has occurred in the former region. In the same way, the population in the coastal region has more increased than in the inland region. Thus the eastern and inland regions show a tendency of population outflowing and the western and coastal regions show a tendency of population inflowing.
2) According to the regional shift, the commercialization of agriculture has been more accelerated in the eastern and coastal regions than in the western and inland regions; the agricultural development is more remarkable in the eastern-coast region and the non-agricultural development is more marked in the western-coast region. In the eastern-inland region, agriculture has developed consiederably, but the progress of development was slow. In the western-inland region, both agricultural and non-agricultural development are entirely inferior to the other regions.
3) The farm management in the Chugoku Ditrict formerly was chiefly based on paddy-field farming, but according to the regional shift, various kinds of cash crops recently have been added to it. And thus the Chugoku District has become one of the most famous district of indigenous agricultural products in Japan. Moreover, in the region where the influences of economic location is strong, the farmers have chosen profitable and intensive cash crops. In the regions where the influences of that is slight, to the contrary, the farmers have chosen the crops for home use or the less-profitable and extensive cash crops. For example, fruit culture, industrial crop growing, intensive animal husbandry (dairying and poultry keeping) in the eastern-coast region where the economic location is most favored; rice and industrial crops in the western-coast region where it is next favored; rice and extensive industrial crops, extensive animal husbandry (Japanese cattle raising) and sericulture in the eastern-inland region where it is thirdly favored; rice and other cereal crops, extensive animal
husbandry (Japanese cattle raising) in the western-inland region where it is least favored.
It should be, however, noticed that the farmers, in choosing these kinds of cash crops, have not thrown away the fundamental policy of rice-farming, but have preserved to some extent the former farming-system.
4) On the other hand, according to the regional shift of economic location, the farmers have added non-agricultural side-jobs to their household economy, and the gradient of this addition shows the opposite order to that of the addition to agricultural cash crops, - in the order of the western-coast, the western-inland, the eastern-coast and the eastern-inland.
5) In short, as the influences of economic location becomes faint, the farmer's managing ability, quality of farm labor, intensity of farming, productivity and efficiency are all accordingly lowered.

3. The above-mentioned influence of economic location have brought about the following in the regional development of agriculture.
1) The unbalanced use of land.
Though the agriculture in the coastal region has acquired an excessive development, that of the inland region remains in an under-developed state. And thus a tendency of the unbalanced use of land has become prevalent.
2) Commercialization in small-scale complemental farming.
The farmers had to choose cash crops and side-jobs, and most of them were obliged to be content with the small-scale commercialization of agriculture.
3) In short, the above-mentioned results are chiefly due to the fact that the industrial reformation policy from agriculture to non-agriculture (the secondary and tertiary industries) was imperfect under the sway of the former capitalistic economy (in which no industry was responsible for the policy of improving conditions of location), the industrialization movement in the Chugoku District has taken away the superior farm land from the farmers and deprived the good labor force of the farmer's family. On the other hand, the formation of hinterlands around the cities in the sense of "THÜNEN'S circle" has not been carried out successfully.

4. If industrialization (reformation in industrial structure) should be carried out taking a rational economic location policy into consideration, the following favorable results would be produced in agriculture. (a) the transition from the singular, distant markets with maldistributed transport routes to the numerous, complicated local markets. (b) the alternation from the transport by ship and railway to that by truck. (c) the change in food demand- especially the increase in demand for livestock products and fruits. (d) (in the inland region) the encouragement of full-scale farming -- especially such as the dairying, beef cattle raising and profitable upland-field farming, and the planed development of agriculture. (e) (in the coastal region) the rationalistic intensity in the farming, the correction of excessive development, the regulation on the use of land, and the proper distribution of employees between agriculture and non-agriculture through the improvement and stabilization of employment conditions and so on.