The Rapid Growth of Japanese Regional Capitals After the 1950s and a New Direction for the Sustainability of Their Vitality

  • Masateru HinoEmail author
Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


Japanese regional capitals—such as Sapporo, Sendai, Hiroshima, and Fukuoka—have rapidly grown since the 1950s. These cities, in addition to the former six largest cities (Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Yokohama, Kyoto, and Kobe), have become metropoles. The main driving force behind the remarkable development of regional capitals was not industrialization but the agglomeration of branch offices headquartered in Tokyo or Osaka: These cities are now referred to as “branch-office economy cities.” However, during the latter half of the 1990s, branch agglomeration in regional capitals stopped increasing and began to decrease. Consequently, regional capitals needed to explore ways other than development to achieve hierarchical inter-city linking with Tokyo as the apex. We propose a way to expand the city network of horizontal intercity linkages focusing on individual cities. The network is called the “individual city-centered network.” Actors that develop these networks are various entities—such as government agencies, companies, civil-society groups, citizens, and travelers—operating in the city. To sustain urban vitality, we conclude that it would be necessary to understand the actual conditions of the networks inside and outside of the city and to develop an environment in which to expand them.


Japanese regional capital Branch-office economy Urban vitality Hierarchical inter-city linkage Individual city-centered network 



This chapter is based on my previously published works (Hino 2009, 2012, 2015). They were financially supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Grants No. 24242034 and 16K03181).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of International Liberal ArtsChugokugakuen UniversityOkayamaJapan

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