近代日本における開拓地の地域的展開-農林省農務局編『開墾地移住経営事例』の分析- The Development of Reclaimed Land in Modern Japan : An Exmination of the Kaikonchi Ijyu Keiei Jirei
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The purpose of this paper is to examine the distribution patterns and characteristics of the development of reclaimed land in the modern period based on the cases recorded in the <i>Kaikonchi Ijyu Keiei Jirei</i> (The Management Cases of Reclaimed Land), government documents published by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in 1922 and 1927. These official documents contain information concerning the location of reclaimed land, land uses, types of farming conducted on reclaimed land, major crops and supplemental employment taken up by settlers. Because of the lack of data, reclamation projects in Hokkaido are not included in my analysis of the development of reclaimed land.<br> During the 1920s, rural villages throughout the country suffered from an economic slump and population increase. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry carried out a policy which called for the development of land under cultivation. The <i>Kaikonchi Ijyu Keiei Jirei</i> served as the basic guidelines for the enforcement of the ministry's land development policy.<br> An examination of data included in the above-mentioned documents reveals the following:<br> 1. The scale of reclamation projects in the Tohoku and northern Kanto and Chubu regions was larger than in the western region. The number of reclamation projects in the western region was also small in comparison to those recorded for eastern and northeastern Japan. The relative scarcity of reclaimable land and scarcity of government-owned land for reclamation purposes, contributed to this uneven development. In Aomori, Tochigi and Okayama prefectures, large farms were developed by nobles and wealthy merchants with large funds.<br> 2. There were three periods when reclamation projects were actively conducted: early Meiji era, midMeiji era, and former Taisho era. During the early Meiji era, former samurai (<i>shizoku</i>) who received money from the Meiji government conducted reclamation projects. During the mid-Meiji era, privatization of government-owned land promoted the development of land under cultivation. The acquisition of reclaimable land by noble families (<i>kazoku</i>) also fostered the expansion of reclaimed land in the Tohoku region. During the Taisho era, the adoption of the Land Arrangement Law of 1909 permitted the opening of marginal areas adjacent to existing agricultural land.<br> 3. Reclamation and settlement projects in the modern period were initiated by many individuals and groups, including former <i>daimyo</i> (<i>kazoku</i>), former samurai (<i>shizoku</i>), cooperatives and corporations. Many reclamation projects by <i>shizoku</i> were promoted during the first two decades of the Meiji era. Most of these enterprises, however, failed. As a result, individuals lost ownership of land they had reclaimed. The farms developed by <i>kazoku</i> were mostly located in Tochigi prefecture in the 1880s.<br> 4. The management of reclaimed land centered around field farming, combined with sericulture, handicrafts, and livestock breeding. The main crops were wheat, barley, sweet potatoes, potatoes and other staple crops. In addition, settlers grew vegetables, fruits, tobacco, jute and other cash crops to supplement their meager income. More importantly, they engaged in sericulture in many regions. Because of the low productivity of reclaimed land, most settlers had to produce some cash crops and earned additional income by engaging in supplemental employment. 5. People who settled on reclaimed land not only came from nearby villages but also from other distant places. The opening of new settlements promoted intervillage migration, and constituted one of the major characteristics of modern Japan.
- Geographical review of Japan, Series B.
Geographical review of Japan, Series B. 69(11), 879-891, 1996-11-01
The Association of Japanese Geographers