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Historical Background

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Chapter Summary

This chapter unfolds that both the devising and implementing of policy on imperial land-holding were riddled with uncertainty and disagreement and involved much trial and error. The insurgent samurai who in 1868 toppled the Tokugawa regime and formed their own, the Meiji government, claimed to have restored ruling authority to the emperor. Questions relating to land control generated vastly more widespread, intense, and destructive conflict that mainly pitted the new regime against the country's village population. That conflict mostly involved woodland, and it persisted for decades. Establishing policy for control of arable land was relatively straightforward because records of prior use were extensive and conflicting claims relatively few. Sorting out woodland was a large and thorny enterprise for several reasons. During the 1870s, land reformers tried to cope with this thicket of difficulties by devising compromise mechanisms that perpetuated de facto iriai practice and accommodated rental agreements.

Keywords: imperial land-holding; Meiji government; Tokugawa regime; woodland



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    Japan's Imperial Forest Goryōrin, 1889-1946 — Recommend this title to your library
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