The shinkansen began operations in 1964. In subsequent years it went from being merely the ‘bullet train’ and a means from travelling at high-speed and on time between major cities to becoming a potent symbol of Japan’s development. Other changes have occurred that not only reflect the changing nature of the transportation market and the way in which the shinkansen is operated but also changes within Japanese society. Furthermore, the shinkansen itself has been a harbinger of change.
This article looks at these various changes, both positive and negative, and consider what impact the future development of the shinkansen network is likely to have. It looks at the cases of the Hokuriku Shinkansen and Kyūshū Shinkansen in detail, comparing them with those lines that opened prior to the privatization of Japanese National Railways in 1987. The article considers what has happened in various cities, towns and villages which have both gained and lost thanks to the continued expansion of the shinkansen network.
The Shinkansen’s Local Impact, Social Science Japan Journal 2010, doi: 10.1093/ssjj/jyq004, February 2010.
If you are interested in the shinkansen, you may also be interested in the following posts and pages of mine: