Genichi Hagino

Ladies and Gent1emen, on behalf of the delegates from both countries I would like to express deep gratitude to the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and to the United States National Science Foundation for making this Japan-United States Cooperative Science Seminar on “Interactive Processes Between Human Behavior and the Environment” a reality. We are pleased to have you all here today especially those delagates who have been greatly inconvenienced by distance and very busy schedules.

I think we all hope to spend the next four days together in a productive manner working cooperatively in this scientifically historical meeting. Let us put to work our respective Japanese and American experience and expertise in solving our various environmental problems beginning today and hopefully continuing from now on.
In today’s talk I would like to give a brief overview of a number of topics pertaining to Environmental Psychology. First of all a few thoughts on its definition, secondly a summary of the history of Environmental Psychology in Japan, thirdly a look at how Japanese people construe their environment and finally to discuss the present situation of Environmental Psychology in Japan.

Environmental Psychology as a discipline began to take root in this country in the early nineteen seventies but has not yet reached maturity. One reason for this lack of maturity may be due to the lack of mediators who could coordinate research in the field and possibly also to definitional problems. For example, is it to be treated as an applied science? Can we effectively treat problems in an interdisciplinary fashion? There are still too many divided opinions about what Environmental Psychology is. In defining Environmental Psychology we can look at the relationship between psychology in general and Environmental Psychology. If psychology is to be regarded as a discipline in which laws of human behavior are estab1ished within the paradigms of Stimulus-Organism-Response or Environment-Person-Behavior relationships then Environmental Psychology has the same goal as psychology in general does. If we take the case of Environmental and Experimental Psychology, both seek for causality but the sought for causality is more strictry defined in the latter and more globally defined in the former. This relationship is similar to the relation between Experimental Psychology and Physiology in that Experimental Psychology seeks for laws at a molar level whereas Physiology does this at a molecular level. From this we can say that the major difference between these various fields can be attributed to the different levels at which they clarify scientific problems. Aside from the problem of level, Environmental Psychology can be defined in other ways. Some researchers regard it as an applied science in which knowledge is derived from person-environment systems, directly related to actual human life.
Environmental Psychology can be defined as an interdisciplinary science with close ties to Sociology, Anthropology, Urban Planning, Human Engineering and Psychopathology. The main goal in this interdisciplinary effort is to improve on the way the natural and built environment is used by man in order to construct a better society.

In Japan, it was the destruction of the natural environment and the pollution caused by an over rapid development of industrialization which shocked us into putting more emphasis on solving our environmental problems and led to the development of Environmental Psychology. In this country there are one hundred and eleven million people living in a narrower terrain than California with 1975 census figures quoting a density of 300 persons per square kilometer. We must take into consideration, however, that 66.2% of Japan is forest and that 14.6% is farmland or grazing land. In only 19.2% of our land do people live and gather making the actual density a staggering 1700 persons per square kilometer. Furthermore, an overwhelming number of factories, houses, government offices and roads are packed into this limited space. Under such conditions it is imperative to establish strong regulations in order to protect our people from pollution and to halt the destruction of what little environment we have. Recently in our country, studies on environmental science are increasing as well as facilities for environmental administration and research institutes. Since their establishment a number of regulations were set down such as the 1967 Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control and the 1968 Air Pollution Control Law. In 1971 The Environmental Agency was founded. During this time various social movements were started, protesting against environmental hazards and these movements had some effect on governmental regulation, but the problems of Environmental Psychology have developed independently of these movements.
Before the name Environmental Psychology became popular in Japan, many studies had already been done which could be roughly divided into 5 kinds: ① The effect of urbanization on personality development of children. ② Social psychological studies on changing living conditions in the city. ③ Traffic Safety and traffic po11ution.④ Surveys on po11ution. ⑤ The problems of crowding and rapid population decline as related to mental health. Table 1., up until 1973, shows a list of environmental events and research trends in Japan to help illustrate the previously mentioned 5 kinds of research.
Another trend in Environmental Psychology in Japan was caused by the influence of British and American architectural psychologists. David Canter was surprised to find a number of excellent Japanese studies done in the early 1970’s which would actually fall under the category of Architectural Psychology but were done primarily by Architects. Surprisingly these works were not well known even to Japanese psychologists. In Table 2 which was compiled by A. Hotta and colleagues, we can see the number of papers related to psychology which were presented at the Architectural Institute of Japan’s Annual Meeting and the Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society for the Science of Design from the year 1965 until 1972.
If we consider Environmental Psychology in its strictest definition then Western studies began 10 years before Japanese studies did. In Japan however, there was a great deal of research published under other names.
The first book entitled “Environmental Psychology” to be published in Japan appeared in 1972. This work was a trans1ation of a collection of English and American papers concerning various problems in Environmental Psychology and was edited by David Canter and Masao Inui. The first Original volume of Environmental Psychology written by a Japanese was Toshio Iritani’s “Introduction to Environmental Psychology”, published in 1974. This book took a realistic look at, and a firm stand against the ever-rapidly increasing environmental destruction resulting from po11ution which was plaguing Japan at that time. This was followed by the translation of Proshansky and co11eagues’ modern classic “Environmental Psychology. It was translated by Sadato Akiyama. Following this work were significant contributions by Mochizuki and Soma, among these were the translation of W.H.Ittlesons’“Introduction to Environmental Psychology” by S. Mochizuki and T. Utsuki.
Recently many studies have been done and the main trends can be seen in Table one ( after 1973 ). An even more specific compilation of studies can be seen in Table 3. This is a list of papers and symposiums related to environmental topics which were presented at the Japanese psychological Association’s Annual Meetings from 1968 to l979. According to this list we can see that the late 60’s and early 70’s were a time when psychologists were groping for appropriate topics to study. At that time Traffic Psychology was under focus and this trend continued until 1972 when the field began to expand to include research on more varied environmental-social problems. From this time on, Environmental Psychology began to attain independence as a discipline. From this information I hope you will be able to see more clearly the focus on environmental problems in this country.

Now I’d like to discuss some of the characteristics of the Japanese environment and culture and how they influence person-environment interactions. Some representative features of our natural environment are the frequent occurance of just about any kind of disaster you’d care to mention; typhoons, floods and earthquakes among them. Another prominant feature is the distinct changes in the 4 seasons. In most areas there is a hot and humid summer and a cold winter with snow. With these seasons occuring one after another there is accompanying natural beauty which is reflected in many of the arts. The Japanese character has expressed itself in many disciplines including Japanese philosophy, sociology and psychology. A clearly visible and condensed expression of the Japanese character may be seen through architecture. Needless to say architecture significantly represents both the natural features and the culture of a region. Regional architecture has been strongly inf1uenced by Chinese culture as seen in many temples but a uniquely Japanese architectural style was also clearly developed. Let me briefly list a few features of the traditional Japanese home. Firstly, houses in general have the floor elevated high off the ground and have a long pent roof to help in offsetting high temperatures and humidity in summer. Furthermore pillars have an important role inside the house. Pillars are more common than walls in order to aid in ventilation. This is in striking contrast to Western houses where walls have such an important function in house structure. Another very important difference is that in Japan each room is partitioned off by sliding doors called Fusuma or Shoji and these doors can be easily and freely opened and closed, hence families can move about having a great deal of freedom. This lack of walls causes the physical barrier between adult and child , which is so typical in the West , to disappear, hence more interaction between parent and child in the Japanese home is an obvious consequence. Although the inside of the house is not clearly distinguished, the inside is clearly distinguished from the outside as can be seen in the example of people removing their shoes before entering the house. This action breaks the continuity between inside and outside. In the West, however, the floor seems to be an extension of the outside. We can also take the example of gardens. The garden in the Western world is an extension of natural surroundings and usually a part of the unaltered environment in itself. In Japan each site is enclosed by fencing and natura1 1andscapes are portrayed in miniature in the limited garden space which is available. Another characteristic of the Japanese garden is that the change of season is more clearly reflected in it than in the West. Professor Y. Kojiro has summarized a few of these differences which I have mentioned and they can be seen in Table 4 but only a limited number of these differences in architectural structure and peoples’ coping with the environment have been included.
Japanese culture has been inf1uenced through the ages by Chinese culture and more recently by Western culture and the Japanese have undergone many culture shocks and have assimi1ated uncountable foreign ideas. It must be said however, that there are many examples of a “detached culture”・・・the result of an isolated geographical position, still in existence today. Nevertheless after the Second World War the Japanese life style took on rapidly many aspects of that of the West.
The rapid development and urbanization which characterized postwar Japan resulted in land prices skyrocketing to figures of more than 150,000 Yen (670 Dollars) per square meter for a Tokyo residential suburb making it impossible for average people to afford a home. Instead people are forced to live in high-rise apartments modeled after Western ones only in transistor form. Under such conditions it is very difficult to remain traditional ways of living but some ways still remain. For example, the toilet and bathrooms are still separated in spite of the space-saving which would occur by uniting them and shoes are still taken off at a miniature porch (genkan) before entering the home. We cannot easily predict how and if these and other customs will change over time or to what degree overcrowding in urban areas will influence personality formation but it is important for us all to consider how to best utilize what little space there is available in order to maximize comfort and reduce psychological stress.

As to the present situation of Environmental Psychology in Japan, no research society has been founded under the name of “Environmental Psychology” in spite of the many works which have been done here. I would however, like to bring to your attention two interdisciplinary research societies, both of which have done work on environmental problems. The Japanese Aerospace Medical and Psychological Society(Note 1) founded in 1960 and the Japan Ergonomics Research Society founded in 1963. Both have been publishing their own journals. In addition to these societies there is a section for physiology and psychology in the environmental technology branch of the Architectural Institute of Japan. Environmental research is being done from various branches of psychology but as of yet there are no researchers calling themselves environmental psychologists in Japan. Many colleges and institutes have a department and/or coursework in Ergonomics but there are no programs of Environmental Psychology even at the graduate level. The only one exception is that of the Research Institute of Environmental Medicine at Nagoya University which has a department of Aerospace Psychology. This institute is doing some research on Environmental Psychology.

Let me say that this is the first time for us to have such a cooperative seminar with both American and Japanese researchers and the first time for such a productive exchange of information.
I consider the purpose of this seminar not only to discuss about differences and similarities of research goals and methodology, but also to contribute to cross-cultural understanding.
It has already been pointed out as necessary for us to exchange information but I cannot emphasize this point strongly enough and I earnestly hope that future cooperation will be the fruit of this seminar.
In bringing this talk to a close let me mention something of deep concern to me. I recognize how wonderful the technology which supports our modern civilization is, however, there is an inherant danger that this technology will begin to make its own rules and develop wildly by itself uncontrolled by man. Let us hope that the fruit obtained from environmental psychological research will help in preventing this autonomous technology from destroying human relationships and society. In these days mankind has expanded its environment to the reaches of outer space and nothing but a strong emphasis on rational thinking and morality by man can keep the balance between man and technology under contro1. We need cooperation beyond boundaries of disciplines and nations and I am confident that the type of environmental work that is being done by the participants here today will make a great contribution to maintaining the balance.


  1. Presently called The Japan Society of Aerospace and Environmental Medicine.
  2. The author wishes to express thanks to Profs. Takashi Takahashi of Tokyo University and Tamotsu Toshima of Hiroshima University for their help in data collection for this paper.


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  • INTERACTION PROCESSES BETWEEN HUMAN BEHAVIOR AND ENVIRONMENT Proceedings of the Japan-United States Seminor Held in Tokyo, Japan, September 24-27, 1980より転載
  • 編者注:図表省略