NIHEI Takaaki Associate Professor
- Human Sciences / Regional Sciences
- Specialized Field
- Human Geography, Agricultural Geography, Regional Geography
- Research Subject
- My specialty is agricultural geography and rural geography. The subject relates to food production, land use, tourism and sustainable development. I conducted fieldwork in Japan, North America and South America.
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Landscapes created by primary industry as seen from the car window
Research papers reflecting actual voices
It was the scenery seen from the car window during field trips that led me to redirect my inquisitive eyes toward agriculture—eyes that had focused on geography from my fondness for travel. In some areas, vegetable and wheat fields that are unique to the area stretch out in the distance from the window, and in other areas, different scenery spreads out ahead. In agricultural geography, we focus on the different landscapes created by primary industry as clues to know how crops are produced and what distribution channels they take to the consumer’s table.
A major method for understanding the current situation of local agriculture is onsite surveys in which farmers are interviewed firsthand. We can hear various precious opinions gained only through such direct interviews. We’d like to promote constructive discussions by including the voices of individuals in research papers.
- A farmer is interviewed at an orchard in the Kofu Basin, (photo credit: Takaaki Nihei)
- Items indispensable for fieldwork: a camera, a portable GPS unit, a field notebook, a four-color pen and a folding ruler
- Soybeans are harvested in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil (photo credit: Takaaki Nihei). Associate Professor Nihei’s research sites include those overseas, such as in the American wheat belt.
Documents since the establishment of Sapporo Agricultural College are available.
Hokkaido, an agricultural heartland, serves as a front line for fieldwork.
Hokkaido University, established as Sapporo Agricultural College, boasts one of the top archives in Japan, featuring many agricultural documents. Perusing the documents for those relevant to your research before leaving for onsite surveys will enable you to conduct quality interviews. Being in Hokkaido, an agricultural powerhouse with vast tracts of farmland, is a great advantage for research on agricultural geography. I take advantage of this favorable location for field trips to various parts of the prefecture.
Inspiring accounts given by my mentor about fieldwork in Southeast Asia and Brazil fueled my motivation to visit there for fieldwork. I’m pleased to share the pleasure gained only in the field with those who intend to do research in this discipline.