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Agricultural Development and Tenancy Disputes in Japan, 1870-1940

Agricultural Development and Tenancy Disputes in Japan, 1870-1940

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    Agricultural Development and Tenancy Disputes in Japan, 1870-1940
    Book Description:

    Richard Smethurst shows that the growth of a rural market economy did not impoverish the Japanese farmer. Instead, it led to a general increase in rural prosperity.

    Originally published in 1986.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5424-0
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

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    (pp. 3-42)

    Japan’s rural economy expanded dramatically between 1868, when that nation’s modern government came to power, and the late 1930s, when World War II erupted. Between 1879-1880, the first years for which we have national data, and 1935-1939, real value of agricultural production¹ per farm worker increased by 3.3 times at an average growth rate of 2.1 percent per year. Between 1886-1888 and 1937-1939, real wages for agricultural day laborers, who made up the very poorest stratum of rural society, doubled, a growth rate of 1.3 percent per year.² Farm workers’ wages grew two times (or more) faster in Japan than...

  2. ONE Agricultural Growth in Modern Japan
    (pp. 43-104)

    The Japanese countryside underwent a striking transformation between the formation of a modern government in 1868 and the outbreak of World War II. The governmental policies which created schools, universities, banks, constituent assemblies, corporations, factories, technical centers, new opportunities for social and economic mobility and a host of other accoutrements of the modern industrial society had their impact on the village as well. Villagers’ levels of living, education, literacy, cosmopolitanism, and farming technology improved, and their attitudes about the degree to which they could control their own environments and livelihoods matured remarkably. By the decades between the two world wars,...

  3. TWO The Commercialization of Agriculture in Yamanashi
    (pp. 105-183)

    The Kōfu Basin, the heart of modern Yamanashi Prefecture and of medieval Kai Province, is a small agricultural plain in the mountains 80 miles to the west of Tokyo. One reaches the basin and Kōfu, its principal city, by a two-and-one-half-hour train ride along narrow river valleys through precipitous mountains. After one’s train leaves the Kanto Plain and Tokyo’s crowded suburbs at Hachiōji, it begins a steady climb to Lake Sagami and into Yamanashi at the old post town of Uenohara. From here the railroad follows the Katsura River westward through a valley not much wider than the railbed, with...

  4. THREE Sericultural Technology in Yamanashi, 1870–1940
    (pp. 184-231)

    Much of Yamanashi’s and Naka Koma’s prosperity occurred because the technology of sericulture became increasingly sophisticated between 1870 and 1940. This was a period when landlords, raw silk entrepreneurs, prefectural officials, and in the twentieth century even tenant farmers encouraged, conducted, and used new research; disseminated information; and generally encouraged improvement in every aspect of the sericultural process. Enterprising young men studied and experimented with ways to raise silkworms and harvest mulberry, with mulberry and silkworm egg selection, hybridization, storage, and disease prevention, with silk-reeling technology, meteorology, financing and marketing, and accordingly were able to produce more and better raw...

  5. FOUR Landlord-Tenant Relations in Ōkamada Village
    (pp. 232-315)

    The most productive farm communities in Yamanashi are found in a forty-square-mile triangle of fruitful agricultural land which lies within the larger triangles of the whole Kofu Basin and the entire prefecture. Formed by the Fuefuki, Ara, and Kamanashi rivers and bounded in the north by the Chuo Railroad, this delta holds the Naka Koma villages which gained the most from the growth of a raw silk industry and a rural market economy, and from the ensuing improvement in rice,mugi, mulberry, and cocoon yields and quality. The “six villages of eastern Naka Koma”—Tatomi, Shōwa, Sanchō, Inatsumi, Futagawa and...

  6. FIVE Tenant Disputes in Japan, 1917–1941
    (pp. 316-357)

    In the twenty-two years from 1920 to 1941, 72,027 anti-landlord tenant disputes, involving (statistically) 488,737 landlords, 1,859,377 tenant farmers, and 1,234,958chōof land, occurred.¹ As the data in Table 5-1 indicate, every hamlet and almost half of the non-cultivating landlords, tenant farmers, and tenanted land in Japan seem to have been involved at some time during the interwar years. The tenant movement appears to have disrupted the countryside greatly.²

    Although the disputes signify a unique attempt before the land reform by poorer farmers to better their conditions of tenancy and improve their economic situation, for two reasons the incidents...

  7. SIX Tenant Disputes in the Kōfu Basin
    (pp. 358-430)

    Nishida Yoshiaki, in his richly detailed study of Hanabusa, a Yamanashi village several miles to the northeast of Ōkamada, states that “although the commercial tenant farmers became the leaders of the local tenant movement, they, because of their petit bourgeois (puchiburu) attitudes, had to weaken at the crucial moment” of the dispute.¹ In the 1920s, he writes, these owner tenants and upper tenants joined with their poorer “subsistence farmer” brethren, the rural proletariat, to fight the landlords because they both wanted lower rents, the commercial stratum to increase profits and gain greater control over the land they tilled, the marginal...

  8. CODA
    (pp. 431-434)

    Between 1870 and 1940, Japanese farmers, building on a foundation of agricultural growth in the Tokugawa era and aided by the Meiji government’s stimulative programs, adopted new cultivating and sericultural techniques and steadily increased their profits and thus their capital, which in turn allowed them to invest in even more fruitful techniques. During the nineteenth century, landlords had led the way in these efforts, to the benefit of themselves and their tenants; in the twentieth century, owner tenant, tenant owner, and even tenant farmers joined in. By the 1920s, most tenant cultivators operated as farmers not peasants—like small businessmen...

  9. APPENDIX Kubo Nakajima Households Mentioned in the Text
    (pp. 435-436)
    (pp. 437-450)