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Taming the Lake: Modernization of Water at Lake Biwa
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science, Technology and Environment. (Environmental Humanities Laboratory)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5709-0217
Mt Fuji World Heritage Research Centre.
2015 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Lake Biwa is the largest freshwater lake in Japan with the present surface of 670 square kilometers and a rich ecosystem that has merited its listing as Ramsar Wetland in 1993. On the other hand, it has had a remarkable historical and cultural importance as a major junction for land and water traffic to and from Kyoto but also as a major provider of fish and rice to the ancient capital. In water management, modernization has meant mostly three things. First, land reclamation that led to the disappearance of most satellite lakes and reed fields that acted as buffer zones and cleaning mechanism for wastewaters running in from the irrigation channels of the paddy fields. Second, the control of water level in the lake that has proved to be detrimental for the numerous endemic fish species that depended on the seasonal swelling of the lake. And third, establishing land transportation, replacing the older water-centred transport routes. All these three questions were closely related to the new modern economy of increasing industrialization, inter-regional division of labour, development of agribusiness, privatization of lake shores and tourism, bringing about profound changes in water quality, species composition and the locals’ perception of the lake.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
landscape, waterfront development, Modernization, Japan, landscape perception
National Category
History Human Geography
Research subject
History of Science, Technology and Environment
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-173846OAI: diva2:855440
International Conference of Historical Geographers 2015
Wenner-Gren Foundations

QC 20150929

Available from: 2015-09-21 Created: 2015-09-21 Last updated: 2015-09-29Bibliographically approved

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