Lec 7 - Famine, Reform.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
East Asian Studies
Sara Osenton

EAS246 Lecture 7 MAR21/2013 Famine, Shifting Social Classes, Reform Famine (1) Tenmei (1783) o Several years of bad weather led to bad crops o Volcanic explosion of Mt. Asama  Can be heard all the way from Osaka  3-4 months – rains of ashes  Torrents of water created flowed down to Edo Bay  Contributed to the famine by blocking out the sun, covering arable land with ash, filled rivers with silt, ash – caustic (?)  2000 people dead, crops in the Kanto region destroyed, river needed to be dredged o Villagers ate whatever they could including work animals o Famine led to protests  villages with food won’t share for fear of famine in their own area o Population dropped by 1 million people (2) Tenpo (1830s) o Crops dropped to 24% of normal harvests o Caused by several years of bad weather o 1837: in Akita, 2 people out of every house died o Food were not shared; price inflation with limited food source o There were so many deaths, they had to relax rules on burial - Famine: the reason for protests, environmental changes lead to change in weather, which can lead to famine Changes at the end of the Tokugawa (1) Proto-industrialization of the countryside o Sake, food staples like miso, soy sauce, vinegar, refined oil, and dried fruits o Silk, cotton and rougher products o Lacquer ware, ceramics or wooden bowl o Candles, rope, clays, and fabric dyes for ornaments such as combs and hairpieces o Products no longer monopolized by those in cities (merchants) o Specialized production network… o Men and women work outside of their own homes for wages o Increase scale of operations o Some moved for jobs; some casual daily wage labour force (?) (2) Changes to distribution of wealth – Shifting Fortunes o Some peasants gained wealth o Made life harder for urban merchants o In later Edo, the gap between rich and poor widened  Led to increased discrepancy between rich and poor peasants o Led to protests  lots of social upheaval o Rural prosper, urban decline  Shift of wealth to rural and breakdown of social status within rural - Gender Roles o Women were important to the household economy o Sometimes managers and co-managers … o Women travelled considerable distances to take jobs in flourishing spinning and weaving centers o Men were quite engaged in childcare and housework (3) Conflict between Merit and hierarchy o Samurai: Merit vs. Hereditary  They gradually became bureaucrats  There’s a need for skill training and federal infrastructure cash about to run out  needed skills training and money for cities Reforms EAS246 Lecture 7 MAR21/2013 (1) Kyōhō reforms (1716-1745) o Fix Bakufu finances by:  Reduci
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