Kono Michihiro's Course of China Study and International Academic Exchange during and after World War II : A Narrative Record
119 , 2017-04-01 , 関西大学東西学術研究所
KONO Michihiro (1919‒2010) was a human geographer who studied the China region for about 60 years. He also contributed to academic exchange between Japan and China since soon after World War II. His motivation to study China may be traced back to the graduation thesis (1941) he submitted at Kyoto University Faculty of Letters on floods and their control in the middle section of the Yangtze River basin in terms of historical geography or geopolitics, under the guidance of Professor KOMAKI Saneshige. After completing it, he was drafted into the military and went to various places in China until the end of the war. Then he returned to Japan and obtained a position at Okayama University. He contributed to the establishment of the Geography Department there, and shifted to Kansai University for the last 12 years of his career. During his Okayama period, he was deeply involved in fishery and fishing village studies as well as environmental issues in the Setouchi area (Inland Sea). On the other hand, as early as 1963, he was one of the early visitors to the People’s Republic of China as a Japan-China friendship delegation member of Okayama Prefecture, and the next year, he laid the foundation for academic cooperation between geographers of the two countries. This material we compiled in 2003 is an oral record to tell to Japanese human geography researchers interested in Asia. He indicated two streams of research on China during World War II at Kyoto University: "Kyoto Exploration Geographical Society" centered on field studies with a natural sciences background by IMANISHI Kinji, UMESAO Tadao, KIRA Tatsuo and KAWAKITA Jiro; geopolitical studies centered on literature surveys conducted by the geography department under the supervision of KOMAKI. KONO himself belonged to the former group. However, he abandoned overseas field study, and wrote his graduation thesis using Japanese and Chinese documents. Completing it, he was immediately military drafted and served in the war in China until 1945. After the War, he became an initial establishing member of the Japan-China Joint Conference on Geography, and he also restarted China study with special reference to modern human geography overcoming the difficulties of the Cultural Revolution.