Influence of Geography on Japanese Society

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We believe that the geography of Japan has had a heavy influence on the development of society, and we will state and explain the reason why throughout this essay. The following two sentences help to summarise the effect that Japan’s geography has had on its society “The Japanese have different lifestyles depending on their place of residence and their age or generation. Their eating habits, type of housing, language, style of thinking, and many other aspects of their everyday life hinge upon where the live and how old they are.” (Sugimoto, 2003). Japan consists of four main islands and many minor islands. The main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku. The minor islands have around 2 million inhabitants, only 1.5% of Japan’s population of 126,804,433 (Central Intelligence Agency, 2010) - the lifestyles of these people differ from the people living on the main island as their ways of life are influenced by the marine environment. The majority of people living on the main islands live in the major cities due to a shortage of flat land, and commute to work every day on the train, with their lives being generally centred upon work. The two different lifestyles reflect the effects of geography on society – those in the cities are influenced by the in-your-face commercialism, and so people work hard so that they can afford the latest gadgets and consumer goods. On the other hand, people living out on the remote islands do not necessarily have the same consumer habits and desires, and are very happy to lead the life of a fisherman for example, just like their ancestors. Japan has four climates throughout the year. Hokkaido, the northern-most island, has a yearly average temperature of 8 degrees. The island is world-renowned for its ski resorts, with Niseko being the most famous. In 2007, 24,000 foreign tourists visited the resort alone, so nearby inhabitants are indirectly influenced by frequent snow fall because of the tourism it brings. When it snows in...
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