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Japan: An Environmental History

Series: Environmental History and Global Change

By: Conrad Totman(Author)

256 pages, 32 b/w illustrations

IB Tauris

Paperback | Sep 2016 | #229676 | ISBN-13: 9781784537432
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £18.99 $25/€21 approx
Hardback | Jan 2014 | #211651 | ISBN-13: 9781848851160
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £74.99 $99/€84 approx

About this book

From the outset, society in Japan has been shaped by its environmental context. The lush green mountainous archipelago of today supports a population of over 127 million people and one of the most advanced economies in the world. How has this come about? At what environmental cost? Conrad Totman, one of the world's foremost scholars on Japan, here provides a comprehensive and detailed account of the country's environmental history, from its beginnings to the present day. 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.


- 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

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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).

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