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Farming in Feudal Japan

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imogen rossandich

on 22 November 2013

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Transcript of Farming in Feudal Japan

Farming in Shogunate Japan
What did they farm
Where did they farm? and what did they get in return?
Who did the farming and what was their social status?
crops
Farming was a way of life for many people in shogunate japan. Growing crops was a very hard and a successful crop was due to a lot of hard work but also the result of some luck. Summer was known as the growing season due to the sun, whilst in winter, one heavy down pour could flatten a crop and destroy it. On land farmers would grow crops such as, potatoes, cucumbers, beans, chestnuts, tofu, yams, plums, apricots, peaches, apples and oranges
fishing
Around 10,000 BC, the inhabitants of Japan lived by fishing, hunting, and gathering. The period is named after the cord-markings (jomon) on the pottery they produced. The sea provided 7 types of seaweed, tuna, trout, carp, octopus, jellyfish, clams and whale.
rice
Rice was the most farmed food in Japan. Harvesting of the rice was a festive occasion and it was the most exciting time in the year for farmers. Rice was more than just the basis of Japanese diet it became the basis of Japans social structure. Rice was ideally suited to japan due to the climate.
where did they farm?
The Peasant Farmers were below the Nobles and Samurai, legally bound to their landlord, whom gave them land to farm, and entitled to some civil rights.
They would farm on the land that was given to them by the nobles and samurai.
Did they export/ triad their farming produce?
what farming methods were used?
The three field system was used for farming in Feudal Japan. The three field system is where two fields are cultivated while the third field is left to fallow as it regains its fertility. The land was divided into three parts and often set up with one section to be planted in the autumn with winter rice, wheat or rye, the second field planted with other crops such as peas, lentils, or beans, and the third field was left fallow.Three field system of farming was a popular agricultural practice which was introduced in Europe in the middle ages. It was later used in Feudal Japan. The rotation of crops was more productive and attracted more people to the country, increasing the population. Example:
some peasants owned their own land. These peasants were respected more than those who did not. Peasant Farmers were required to grow the crops that fed the nation. Each harvest the government would tax the peasants for a percentage of their crop to feed the population. Peasants could have large amounts of wealth but remained in the same class because of their association with the land.
What clothes did the farmers wear?
how many farmers were there and was there any diseases that affected this number?
Differences between Europe and Japan farming
Would we have wanted to be a farmer in shogunate Japan?
No, we would not have wanted to be farmers in shogunate japan. They had to pay high taxes and work majority of the time all year round. Although peasant farmers had a rough life it would still be better than living as a hinin (non classed people) or the merchants and traiders because farmers were still valued in society especially those who owned their own land. They provided food for the nation and they harvested the rice that was more than the basis of the japaneses diet.
Earth Workers were shoes worn by farmers which enabled them to work the soil as they walked through the fields. They had Large wooden implements on the bottom called ‘ooashi’ and ‘eburi’ which packed and smoothed fields as they walked. The eburi was quite heavy and was used to break up hard clods of dried earth, while the ooashi would drag across the field to create an even surface for rice planting.
Earth Workers (the shoes)
Other than Earth Workers, they wore one piece 'sacks' which were fairly loose meaning they were comfortable and did not get too hot. They covered most of their arms and wore things on their head as hats which protected them from the sun. This is a photo of a Japanese couple who were farmers in feudal Japan.
'Sacks'
Since there was very little land available for farming in Japan, there were few farms, therefore not as many farmers as Medieval Europe. However, peasants did make up 90 per cent of the population, but not all of them were farmers. Although there was no disease which decreased this number, cows and horses were used to help plow the land and water wheels were implemented for irrigating crops and grinding grain during the Kamakura period. This meant the job as a farmer became easier and not as many were needed. Many people who worked on farms also had side jobs such as making silk, paper, and pottery. Many of these people quit working on the farm once they realized they could make a living by producing and selling their own goods.
Differences include:
- The farmers in Japan were not always poor.
- The farmers could own their own land in Japan, however, always worked on the Lord's land in Medieval Europe.
- The farmers did not get to eat any of the rice that they grew on the farm - This was introduced when the third shogun, Tokugawa, ruled. He said that the farmers were to hand over all of their rice to him, and received only a small percent back as ‘charity’.
- There were more farmers in Medieval Europe as there was more land available for agriculture.
How did the available land for farming affect the Japanese people's diet in Shogunate Japan?
Japan is a mountainous state made up of about 3,000 islands. About 85 per cent of Japan is mountains, with only 15 per cent available for housing and agriculture. For this reason, the Japanese people always turned to the sea for food. Their religion, Buddhism, also influenced what people ate. This was because they were discouraged of eating meat for many centuries. This meant that many of the peasants in Japan were fisherman, but they had the same social status as farmers. So rice, vegetables and seafood were the main foods of the Japanese diet. Even today, the Japanese consume one-sixth of the world's seafood.
Peasants were the farmers in shogunate japan. Farming and other skills meant that society became divided into classes; this is called the feudal system. The farmers were just below the doctors and priests and are above the artisans and crafts people. The peasant farmers were not at the bottom of the feudal system because they farmed the valued product in their society, rice. Farmers had a harsh life, it was difficult to grow crops in the colder seasons. they were not respected and only had a few rights. The peasants lived in small villages and worked all day to provide the higher class with food. They were not allowed to eat the crops that they grew.
Trade was banned when Ieyasu Tokugawa (1526-1549) became shogun in 1603. He introduced the ‘Isolation Policy’. By the early 17th century, Japan had forced all foreigners to leave and banned almost all relations with the outside world. Before then, Japan was trading widely with surrounding countries. Japan made contact with the West, trading with countries such as Portugal, the Netherlands, England and Spain. Japan's policy of sakoku (Japanese for isolation) lasted for 200 years, Commodore Matthew Perry (an American), sailed to Japan and reopened diplomatic relations in 1854.
When trade and exporting was banned in Shogunate Japan, markets were often set up to sell farm produce. During the Kamakura period, they were usually set up infrequently and along rivers. For example, they may have been set up only on the days ending in 4 (e.g. 4th, 14th, 24th of the month). As agriculture improved, the markets were open more expanding Japan’s economy. Agriculture improved for many reasons; these include new rice strains which resisted through drought and disease, improved fertilizers which allowed double cropping of fields and better irrigation techniques. As markets became more and more popular, Japan imported copper-alloy coins from China. These were used as money and had holes in the middle to be strung together in certain amounts. The coins were also easier to transport, more durable and rarely led to disputes over quality.
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