By Penny Francks
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Extra info for Rural Economic Development in Japan From the Nineteenth Century to the Pacific War (Contemporary Japan)
As Tamanoi points out, since urban modernity was conceived as ‘Western’, the countryside became the locus for the formation of a truly Japanese, modern national identity (Tamanoi 1998: 17). 18 At the same time, however, although the modernized rural economy of the inter-war years was in many ways very different from that of preindustrial times, its adjustment to the industrial economy was accompanied by the emergence, as in many other industrializing countries, of an agrarianist ideology which harked back to a more-or-less invented rural tradition.
1 showed, as the share of rice in total agricultural production declined, those of, on the one hand, other food crops and, on the other, industrial crops for processing were rising. As far as non-rice food crops are concerned, since these were predominantly grown for home consumption rather than the market, measurable data are hard to ﬁnd. However, there is evidence that, over the course of the nineteenth century, diets were becoming more secure and diversiﬁed, for example as a result of the introduction and increased cultivation of the sweet potato, and Hanley concludes that standards of nutrition in nineteenth-century Japan were probably at least as good as those prevailing in the industrializing West at the time (1997: 77–94).
The most famous of these was the ‘thousand-toothed’ thresher (senba ko¯ki), which substantially reduced labour requirements for threshing grain. Other improved tools, such as better hoes and, eventually, ploughs, on the other hand, are better regarded as parts of the package of yield-increasing techniques, enabling as they did deeper ploughing and more effective absorption of fertilizer. Analysis of technological change in rice cultivation thus suggests that, although it probably did to some extent raise rice yields and output, especially in the later part of the century, its characteristics were equally importantly designed to facilitate diversiﬁcation and the more intensive use of available resources of land and labour within the wider context of households’ activities as a whole.
Rural Economic Development in Japan From the Nineteenth Century to the Pacific War (Contemporary Japan) by Penny Francks