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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter presents an overview of this book, which examines the antecedents and origins of Goryōrin, the logic of its creation, and the overall pattern of its evolution. Then, it focuses on more technical aspects of forest operations as they developed and changed during the fifty-eight-year life of this woodland system. The chapter offers some assessments of the Goryōrin experience, and gives a final look at it in comparison to Britain's Crown Lands. It examines the major restructuring policy of the Meiji reformers in the "Kan/Min" division of woodland throughout Japan, which created the greatest conflict between government and people in the history of the country. The Goryōrin experience illuminates both the rise of the modern Imperial Household and key aspects of its fiscal system. The history of Goryōrin stands as a microcosm of broader conditions in and around Japan's forests during the decades from Restoration to military disaster.

Keywords: Goryōrin; Japan; Meiji reformers



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