Increasing emphasis on discussing environmental issues at a global level and a rising number of international research projects make it necessary to locate key concepts of international discourses in their cultural context and to pay attention to possible cultural differences. The aim of this paper is to analyse the concepts behind different terms used in Japanese to describe 'landscape' in order to provide an example of the equivalence problem, which is a crucial issue in inter-cultural discourses. The results of ten interviews with theoretically sampled participants suggest that the two terms Fukei and Keikan coexisting in Japanese usage, represent two distinguishable landscape concepts with different meanings and images of landscape as well as different discursive contexts. This indicates a lack of equivalence in two ways. First, the two landscape concepts in contemporary Japanese differ and are not interchangeable. Second, this situation raises the question, whether it is possible to identify terms in other languages that are comparable to the differentiations found in the Japanese language. The implications for landscape research resulting from the different concepts of landscape in Japanese found in this study are discussed.
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