Studies of Urbanization and Migration in Advanced and Developing Countries
Edited by H. S. Geyer
Chapter 18: Migration and the development of the Japanese urban system, 1950-2000
A. J. Fielding INTRODUCTION The years 1994 and 1995 have a special significance in the history of modern Japanese migration. For the first time since the Second World War, the Tokyo metropolitan region, which had been gaining more than 3 50,000 people a year through internal migration in the early 1960s, became an area of net population loss by internal migration as more people left the capital region than entered it. This paper traces the post-war history of migration within Japan, focussing especially on the importance of flows to and from the capital city-region. It attempts to explain the four main phases of this migration: (i) the very rapid Japan-wide urbanization associated with the rural depopulation of the 1950s and 1960s; (ii) the so-called ‘turnaround’ phenomenon of the 1970s, when net gains to the largest urban regions either disappeared or were, as in the case of Tokyo, drastically reduced; (iii) the renewal of net migration gains to the Tokyo metropolitan region in the 1980s; and (iv) the recent and sudden change to net loss for this same region in the mid- 1990s. THE JAPANESE URBAN SYSTEM Japan has a long and distinguished urban history. At a time when Europe was in its dark ages, a magnificent capital city was being built in central western Japan at Nara,’ only to be followed by the building of the even greater city of Kyoto, the imperial capital of Japan for the whole of its Medieval and Early Modern Periods, attaining its...
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