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Japan in the Edo period as seen by stipend(rice-production base) and population

It is said that the amount of rice that one person eats in one year is calculated as one koku, but according to the book "Atlas of Japan by Old Country Names" (Heibonsha), which I love to read, it is said that the amount of rice that one person eats in one year is calculated as follows: The population is about 28 million people, and the all rice production is over 30 million koku, so it can be estimated at about 1.1 koku/head. There is a book called Gocho, in which the shogunate regularly compiles tax information for each village across the country, and according to the book, there was about 22 million koku in the Keicho period (immediately after the establishment of the shogunate), and it increased to 32 million koku in the fifth year of Meiji. It may be a bit harsh to judge based solely on rice yields, but it can be said that Japan's population increased by 1.4-5 times during the Edo period. Looking at trends in rice yields for each country, we can see that there are some countries where rice yields are increasing markedly. I think there are many cases in which rice has been positioned as an export product and efforts have been made to increase production, not just because the population has increased and demand has increased, but also because of the development of the monetary economy, urbanization, and logistics. The national average is 145% (comparison of production increase from the Keicho period to the early Meiji period), but the following countries are over 200%.


〇Shimousa: 275%

I imagine the reclamation of Lake Teganuma and Lake Inba, but I understand that these areas have been severely damaged by floods several times, so it is unclear to what extent they have contributed. However, there is no doubt that the amount of cultivated land in this area has increased significantly as it served as a food base for the increasingly urbanized Edo period. I imagine that the project to change the Tone River estuary from Tokyo Bay to off the coast of Choshi, which began in the early Edo period, had a major influence.


〇Echigo: 256%

The vast Echigo Plain (Niigata) is now famous as a rice producer, but the Shinano River basin was originally a wetland with poor drainage. During the Edo period, new fields were rapidly increased through steady land reclamation and waterway excavation. There's a lot of talk about climate change in the world, so I'd like to give you some insight.

The last ice age ended about 10,000 years ago, but since then global warming has gradually progressed, and the sea has eroded the land in Japan without exception. This is called the Jomon Transgression, and it seems to have peaked around 6,000 years ago, and the Kanto Plain and Niigata Plain are similar in this respect. However, the coastline of this area has developed sand dunes and sand spits, and although many large rivers flowed in and large alluvial plains have expanded due to the supply of large amounts of sediment, accumulated water does not drain easily and there are many lagoons and swamps. The area was prone to flooding and remained unsuitable for agricultural land or housing for a long time. Niigata is a place name with a straightforward meaning.


〇Nagato: 342%, Suo: 336%

The increase is outstanding, but it goes without saying that it is the Choshu domain. After the Battle of Sekigahara, the Mori family, which had owned 1.2 million koku, was reduced to 370,000 koku, but many of their vassals refused to leave the Mori family, and poor samurai became part-time farmers and cultivated rice fields. In Meiji 5, Nagato and Suo provinces had a total of approximately 1 million koku, and they played a leading role in the Meiji Restoration while restoring the former territory of Sekigahara.


〇Tosa: 252%

I believe that the remaining retainers of Chosokabe were incorporated into their subordinates as goshi, and in a sense the domain had a large samurai class similar to the Choshu domain, but many of the poor samurai were part-time farmers, and they had a strong desire to develop new rice fields. Ryotaro Shiba wrote about the poverty of the samurai in "Ryoma ga Yuku", but it must have been a fairly prosperous area in Japan due to its high rice yield and the double-crop advantage of being a tropical country.


As a minor but special example, Sado's growth rate increased by 656%, or slightly less than 7 times. The reason for the large population increase is probably the Sado Gold Mine. It is thought that not only workers but also various people who supported the lives of these people poured in, and it is said that there were 40,000 people in Aikawa, where the Sado Magistrate was located. Kawachi is the only country where yields have decreased, but perhaps this is because it is an old, historic region and has been sufficiently developed that there was no room for expansion.



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