Japan's Imperial Forest Goryōrin, 1889-1946

With a Supporting Study of the Kan/Min Division of Woodland in Early Meiji Japan, 1871-76

This is the first study of its kind to trace the history of what was to become one of Japan’s major resources and a model of conservation and forestry management. Central to the planning of the Meiji reformers was securing the long-term financial stability of the Imperial household that would not leave it exposed to the whims of future political and economic change. The solution was the goryorin, or imperial forests. Over time, however, the acquired land generated controversy within the framework of law and other imperatives, and was finally abandoned by the Occupation authorities because of the political ideology that was its raison d’être in the first place. In Part II, the author explores the great early Meiji debate between government and people ( kan/min) concerning the reorganization of woodland in Japan, which in essence was a contest for control of the realm. By 1889 the Tokyo government, despite having 80 percent of the people ( min), then living in villages, against them, completed their programme of forest consolidation, leading the way to their rationale for the goryorin allocation.
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Biographical Note

Conrad Totman, Emeritus Professor, Yale University, is a specialist of premodern Japanese history, particularly the country’s environmental history. Among his nine books are Japan Before Perry: A Short History, The Collapse of the Tokugawa Bakufu, 1862-1868, Tokugawa Ieyasu: Shogun, and Tokugawa Japan. His honors include the American Historical Association’s John King Fairbank Prize for The Collapse of the Tokugawa Bakufu.

Table of contents

List of Illustrations; List of Appendices; A Chronology Relating to the History of Goryorin; Maps; Preface; Introduction; 1 Historical Background; 2 Establishing Goryorin; 3 Reducing Goryorin; 4 The Case of Yamanashi Goryorin5 Managing Goryorin: Plans and Performance; 6 Managing Goryoring: Aspects of Practice; 7 Goryorin: An Assessment; 8 The Kan/Min Division of Woodland in Early Meiji Japan; Appendices; Notes; Bibliographical Essay; Bibliography of Works Cited; Index


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