After the Meiji restoration (1868), Japanese government attempted to introduce the European system in order to promote the modernization of Japanese society. In this process, German science and literature had had the significant impacts on the growth of Japanese sciences including human and physical geography during over hundred years. Japanese geographers tried to understand the basic geographical ideas and methods of main figures such as Alexander. von Humboldt, C. Ritter, F. Raztel, A. Hettner, and so on, taking the historical contexts of European culture and society into consideration. From 1930s, a few geographers have handled with the historical development of modern German geography since 18th century in more detail. Although the specialists on the history of geographical thought were very limited in Japanese geographical academy, I think that their interpretations can allow us to reconsider the formation process of the problematic of contemporary geography as well as the history of modern European geography and 19th century Western Culture from the non-European point of view.
The aim of this paper will review the interpretation of the basic geographical ideas of C. Ritter and his disciple, E. Kapp by Japanese geographers. This paper will focus on the works of Saburo Noma (1912-1991), Keiichi Takeuchi (1932-2005), and Tetsuya Hisatake (1947-2007). Firstly, I address Noma’s writing (1937) on the relationships between Ritter and O.Peschel . Noma clarified the idea of Ritter’s ‘allgemeinen vergleichenden Geographie’ by criticizing the misunderstanding of Ritter’s ideas by Peschel. Next, I address Takeuchi’s writing (1981) on the contemporary meaning of Ritters’ geography. Finally, I address Hisatake’s writing (1999) on the two conceptions of cultural geography by E. Kapp: die Geographie der Raumculture und der Zeitculture.
The paper seeks to deepen the understanding of the histories of geographical thought by crossing the different temporal and spatial contexts.
Keywords: Japanese geographers|Carl Ritter|Ernst Kapp