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The Population At The Beginning Of The Tokugawa Period

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Chapter Summary

Tokugawa Japan bequeathed to us an abundant supply of materials for population study. Although these do not constitute vital statistics in the modern demographic sense, Japan in the Tokugawa period was a rare example of a well-documented pre-modern state. When Hideyoshi Toyotomi succeeded in the unification of the country in the last part of the 16th century, the Shōgun and the provincial feudal lords became very much interested in the quantitative aspect of their subjects and conducted surveys on the breadth of their domains and the size of their population. This chapter presents critical views on the ways the national population of Japan in early Tokugawa days has been treated in the past, as well as the size of this population as estimated from lately discovered local materials. The estimation presented in the chapter is the result of a nationwide hypothetical expansion of the situation in Buzen and Bungo Provinces.

Keywords: Buzen and Bungo provinces; demographic sense; Hideyoshi Toyotomi; Japan; population; Tokugawa period



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