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A Comparative Study of Cultural Landscape and the Spirit of Place of Contemporary Used Bookstores in Wen-Luo-Ting and Jimbocho
Spirit of Place
The existence of used book zone represents not only urban economic activities, but also a cultural space in which people and books interact with each other. The used book business in Taiwan has developed for approximately sixty years and gradually gathered in Wen-Luo-Ting in Taipei. This used book zone becomes one of the cultural landscapes, recording the history of used book business and carrying the memories of residents. Close to Taipei, there is another similar cultural/business zone in Japan. Like Wen-Luo-Ting, Jimbocho has been a used book zone for a century. This used book zone which locates in Tokyo has good reputation in East Asia cultural areas and Western countries. It is also a well-known cultural landscape which preserves many historical memories. Used bookstores exist in many countries worldwide, and each one has its own characteristics. Taiwan and Japan share some similarities to some extent, yet, there are still certain uniqueness among their similarities. The used book zones in Wen-Luo-Ting and Jimbocho are close to each other in terms of geographic location. In spite of the history of colony and colonist, both of them demonstrate their own cultural connotations which sustain through time respectively. They also reveal the spirit of space in modern days. In the past, the studies of used book business focused more on the history of the family, the interactions between the ownership and the bookstore, economic values, symbolic meanings and so on. Apart from the previous research, this study also based on the theories related to humanistic geography to interpret the history and culture of Taiwan and Japan; to examine the similarities and differences on both countries; to ponder on their cultural significances. After the development of Internet, the connections among used book business, publishers, and the ecosystems of physical/on-line bookstores become closer than ever. All of which have introduced the transformation of the reading materials’ meanings, hence, this study will concentrate on the modern era. This study will also integrate literature review, fieldwork, and in-depth interviews with the used bookstore owners in Taiwan and Japan, to understand the change of cultural landscape, displays within the bookstore, and the emphasis on spirit of space. Finally, it will raise the awareness of location and images of used bookstore belong to modern days, and apply cross-cultural research methods to reflection and innovations.
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