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The Kan/Min Division Of Woodland In Early Meiji Japan, 1871–76

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Chapter Summary

The Meiji government's 1870s-1880s program of woodland reorganization created the greatest conflict between government and people in the entire history of Japan. The issue of woodland organization was in part a by-product of early Meiji land-tax reform, an undertaking that encompassed both arable and woodland (as well as urban property). One can plausibly date the start of woodland reorganization to 1871. By then, the new Meiji ruling group had established basic control of the realm, but it also was severely strapped for cash. Leaders saw land sales as a way to generate income. During 1871-73, reformers in Tokyo had made considerable progress in identifying landownership on arable acreage, and they had begun selling woodland. During 1873-76, they carried to completion most of the land-tax reform on arable. The process of creating a large, well-organized and productive government woodland took many years.

Keywords: Japan; Kan/Min division; land-tax reform; Meiji; woodland organization



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