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Lecture 4

Lecture 4 - Peasants.docx

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East Asian Studies
Sara Osenton

EAS246 Lecture 4 FEB28/2013 Peasants - “peasants” interchangeable with the term “farmers” - “peasants” = people who are rural; making their living from land/sea and through what they produce with these crops/ products o Separated by class status and separated geographically from others in Japan - Hideyoshi – further divide between classes (recall: survey system, enlisting with temples, freezing of social order) o There were people before the Tokugawa who were neither just warrior nor farmer and they had to choose at that point and over the course of the Tokugawa, they become more codified/restricted to those particular positions o Recall the Sankin kotai. We also have within provinces/ domains, samurai class moving to castle towns – therefore there’s geographical separation as well as class separation.  Result in villages, autonomous in the sense that they’re left alone, yet come under the rule of bakufu - Building styles different across Japan depending on the weather – not one kind of housing in rural communities ~ built to the climate - Population of Japan during the Tokugawa at 30 million ~ pretty stable throughout the period - There’s several reason that population is stable: o It reached its capacity once they have managed to get the most out of the land that can support the population o There were already efforts during the Tokugawa to keep family sizes small - At the beginning of the period, 1603 – Ieyasu sends out proclamation about peasant behaviour – to establish expectations o Decrees passed by Tokugawa to govern peasants  mainly to tie them to land and establish expectations o Mainly to set out that they have to pay taxes, their obligations to the government: should obey bakufu decrees, work diligently, rise early to cut grass, cultivate farm, devote all time to farm work, primary task to pay taxes, etc. o Japan as a rice eating nation is false – 80% weren’t eating rice; eats millet, barley, gruel, and vegetables o They make, eat, grow rice but they don’t really have much access to it o Women were expected to spend their days weaving – so they’ll have fabric like hemp, then later on cotton. Hemp – relative of the marijuana plant; grows a strong fiber, not as soft and comfortable as cotton o Took on sera(?) culture – grows mulberry bushes; feeds the mulberry leaves to worms that makes cocoons, take cocoons, unravel to string, string into silk – slow process nd  Farmers do this at the same time as the fields – grow cocoons in the 2 floor of houses or a separate house o All of the proclamations ties peasants to the lands – ideals by which peasants should live by - At the beginning of Tokugawa, taxed so highly – left with enough to survive - Over the course of the period, change occurred gradually  land began to produce more; peasants protests against unfair taxation, fo
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