Spatial cognition of Japanese-Brazilians in Japanese urban space

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper, the author examines the spatial cognition of and navigation in a Japanese city by different ethnic groups. The purpose of this study was to identify any uneasiness that the subjects Japanese-Brazilians living in Japan, feel in finding their way in a city in Japan by studying the clues they use for navigation and their cognitive maps in comparison to those of a Japanese group. This study consists of two approaches. First, the author used the Sense of Direction Questionnaire Simple Version (SDQ-S) developed by Takeuchi (1992) to study how one's consciousness perceives navigation and space. The author obtained responses to the questionnaire from 41 Japanese-Brazilians and 252 Japanese college students and compared the scores of the responses to the questionnaire by item and conducted a factor analysis. As a result, it was found that Japanese-Brazilians had a poor sense of directions and that it was important for them to use and remember landmarks for navigation. Next, the author focused on the fact that landmarks play a significant role in their navigation and conducted two types of sketch map survey. In the first type, the subjects were asked to draw a sketch map of a route to identify the features of the landmarks they used as clues. In the second type, they drew a sketch map around their own homes to examine the differences in the space areas and forms perceived. Analysis of their sketch maps of a route found that stores and traffic lights with signs written in the Roman alphabet or Japanese kana characters that they could read were important landmarks used in their navigation. Regarding the sketch maps around their homes, the author conducted quantitative analysis of the area drawn on the map, number of factors drawn, forms of drawing, and direction. The sketch maps by Japanese-Brazilians covered a much smaller area and had fewer factors than those drawn by Japanese. They all drew route-type maps regardless of the number of years that they had resided there. Transition from route-type maps to survey-type maps was not seen based on the number of years they had been there. This means that the cognitive maps of Japanese-Brazilians do not undergo the typical development process to survey-type maps even if they live in Japan longer. Based on these results, the author considered the factors hindering the development of cognitive maps of Japanese-Brazilians from route-type maps to survey-type maps. Japanese-Brazilians may be affected by their limited Japanese language proficiency, the fact that the streets and house numbers are marked in different ways in Japan, different cultural backgrounds, and unfamiliarity with the Japanese landscape and urban structure. The author assumes that they have route-type cognitive maps and their navigation in Japanese cities is limited to the use of certain landmarks for these reasons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-543
Number of pages21
JournalGeographical Review of Japan
Volume77
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Jul
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

spatial cognition
cognition
Japan
questionnaire
navigation
urban structure
consciousness
factor analysis
ethnic group
traffic
language
Group
student

Keywords

  • Japanese-Brazilians
  • Landmark
  • Navigation
  • Sense of direction
  • Sketch map
  • Spatial cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development

Cite this

Spatial cognition of Japanese-Brazilians in Japanese urban space. / Takai, Toshibumi.

In: Geographical Review of Japan, Vol. 77, No. 8, 07.2004, p. 523-543.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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