Geographia Polonica (2000) vol. 73, iss. 1

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Internal migration in today's Japan

Satoshi Nakagawa

Geographia Polonica (2000) vol. 73, iss. 1, pp. 127-140


Studies of Japan's internal migration have developed over the last few decades in accordance with changing research methodologies. In particular, the migration between metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas has drawn the attention of researchers. Japanese geographers have observed changing migration patterns, i.e. migration turnarounds in post--war Japan, and have tried to explain them in connection with economic determinants and cohort size in young adults. The obvious inflow into metropolitan areas before the mid 1970s was mostly explained by economic indicators, while the changing cohort size of young adults based on the baby boom in the late 1940s affected the neutral or slightly negative net-migra-tion for metropolitan areas during the mid 1970s and mid 1980s. The "reurbanization" trend after the mid 1980s can be attributed partly to Tokyo's change into a "global city". The traditional cross-sectional approach to migration studies seems, however, to be losing its efficacy gradually because of the diversified behaviours of migrants. The author has therefore presented a longitudinal study of migrants and pointed out the increasing importance for the recent migration trend of non-economic factors, such as education and marriage.

Keywords: internal migration, metropolitan area, non-metropolitan area, longitudinal approach, cohort, Japan

Satoshi Nakagawa, Department of Economic Geography, Kobe University Rokkaodai-cho 2-1, Nada-ku, Kobe, 657-8501 Japan