Japan: An Environmental History

Japan: An Environmental History

By: Conrad Totman (author)Hardback

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From the outset, society in Japan has been shaped by its environmental context. The lush green mountainous archipelago of today, with its highly productive lowlands, supports a population of more than 127 million people and one of the most advanced economies in the world. How has this come about and at what environmental cost? Conrad Totman, one of the world's foremost scholars on Japanese, here provides a comprehensive and detailed account of the country's environmental history, from its beginnings to the present day. Professor Totman traces the country's development through successive historical phases, as early agricultural society based on non-intensive forms of cultivation gave way to more intensified forms. With each stage came greater utilisation of natural resources but a steady reduction in the richness of the indigenous biosystem. By the late seventeenth century the country was well on the way to ecological disaster. Yet Japan's isolation in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries led to an unusually enlightened set of environmental policies, and the system of regenerative forestry brought in during the Tokugawa period prevented certain devastation of the country's forests. At the end of the nineteenth century, however, the country began to go to the opposite extreme, as industrialisation brought with it a period of unprecedented change. Growth and diversification led to a surge in environmental pollution as it became necessary to look beyond the country's domestic natural resources to meet the demand for foodstuffs, fossil fuels and the raw materials necessary to an advanced industrial economy. The population was particularly badly affected, and some of the problems that emerged, especially from the 1960s onwards, provided important test cases not just for Japan but worldwide. What makes the Japanese story particularly instructive is that the country's boundaries are uncommonly clear and the nature, timing, and extent of external influences on its history are unusually identifiable. The Japanese experience, therefore, not only yields important insights into the processes of environmental history, it offers important lessons for the wider environmental history of the planet and for our understanding of current global ecological problems. A work of immense erudition and reflecting a lifetime of scholarship, Japan: an Environmental History will be welcomed by all with an interest in environmental history and the historical development of Japan.

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About Author

Conrad Totman is Professor Emeritus in Japanese History, Yale University, USA. Acknowledged as the leading western authority on Japanese environmental history, his books include "Japan before Perry," "The Green Archipelago," "Early Modern Japan," and "A History of Japan" (3rd edition, 2010)


Preface Illustrations Maps Introduction Chapter 1 Japan the Place Japan today; Geological process: geological pre-history, archipelagic history; Global Location: Japan's position in Eurasia, ambient ocean currents, north-south length, some human consequences Chapter 2 Forager Society Environmental context: sea level, temperature and precipitation; Early arrivals (pre-pottery); Jomon culture (pottery): perplexities of the onset, Jomon overall, regarding ambiguities of society and culture; Recapitulation Chapter 3 Early agricultural society to 600 CE Regarding agriculture: forager-agriculture comparison, early-later agriculture comparison, paddy culture - the technique, paddy culture - its extent; Agriculture: Early manifestations: general observations, Jomon agricultural practices; Yayoi: the beginning of fully developed agriculture in Japan: background and beginnings, some socio-cultural conundrums: Yayoi and beyond c. 200- 600CE: Later Yayoi society, Kofun, environmental ramifications to 600 CE; Recapitulation: Chapter 4 Early agricultural society, 600-1250 Regarding deforestation: logging, agricultural land clearance; Formation of a central elite, 600- 850: capital cities, the new architecture, control and exploitation of the hinterland; consolidation of the margins; Environmental ramifications of the Ritsuryo order: regarding the center, regarding the realm; The later Ritsuryo centuries, 850-1250: intra-elite changes, changes in elite- producer relations, changes in producer organization and practice; Environmental ramifications of later Ritsuryo developments: renewal of agricultural growth, changing center periphery relations, urbanism - two lesser examples; Recapitulation Chapter 5 Intensive agricultural society, 1250-1650 Geography; The elite: politics of disorder and reconsolidation, 1250-1650: the final decades of diarchy (1250-1330), the era of disarray and disorder (1330-1550), the period of reconsolidation (1550-1650); The producer populace: growth in scale and complexity: human-pathogen relations, elite-producer relations, producer organization and practice; Trends in agricultural technique: regarding fertilizer, water management, noteworthy new crops; Social and environmental effects of technological change: effects of deforestation, effects of agricultural intensification, other matters; Recapitulation Chapter 6 Intensive agricultural society, 1650-1890 The elite: politics of stability, rupture and reorientation: Bakuhan structure and limitations, the foreign menace (1790-1860), political restructuring (1860-90): The producer-populace: growth, stasis and change: human pathogen relations, elite-producer relations, producer organization and practice; Trends in technology: mining, forestry, fisheries, agriculture; Recapitulation Chapter 7 Imperial industrialism, 1890-1945 Some preliminaries: on the global resource, on 'packing and stacking', on 1890 as starting date, on 'imperial industrialism' as a temporary category, on 'state' vs. 'elite'; Affairs of state: domestic politics, foreign relations; Society and economy: demographics, commerce and industry, urban and rural society; Technology and the environment: mining, manufacturing, fisheries, agriculture, forestry; Recapitulation Chapter 8 Entrepreneurial industrialism, 1945 to today Socio-economic history: a summary: the years of recovery (1945-55), the boom years (1955-85), after the boom, 1985- today): Demographic trends: population estimates, urbanization, factors in demographic growth; Material consumption: space usage, other material consumption; Technology and the environment: mining, manufacturing, fisheries, agriculture, forestry; Recapitulation Epilogue: a recapitulation and final thoughts Appendices Bibliography Index

Product Details

  • publication date: 30/01/2014
  • ISBN13: 9781848851160
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 256
  • ID: 9781848851160
  • weight: 748
  • ISBN10: 1848851162

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