|Laboratory of Comparative Agricultural History|
|Historical Studies of Modern Agricultural and Environmental Problems;
Modern History Viewed from the Agrarian Perspective
The purpose of this laboratory is to pursue historical studies in agriculture, farm management, food, and environment in both Japan and foreign countries. The agricultural world today shows strong regional diversity, based on the fact that each regional society has been formed as a result of complex working of many regional inherent factors.
Therefore, we find a simple application of economics not sufficient to understand agricultural problems, which have an intimate relationship with the livelihood of rural residents. Locating the geopolitical place of the research area, we are now engaged in the studies on the agricultural, food, and environmental problems in Japan, East Asian and Europe from a comparative historical perspective, which is an effective method of recognizing the regional characteristics.
Rethinking from the agrarian perspective has a great potential to develop a new part of the historical understanding of modern society, distinct from the orthodox description. This goes with the stream of a new history which focuses on the daily life and culture of ordinary people. This is one of the appealing points of the agricultural history, developed as a boundary study field from the origin.
Professor: ADACHI, Yoshihiro, PhD. Agri, Sci.,
Assistant Professor; ITO, Atsushi, PhD. Agri, Sci.
| Main subjects
The research conducted in this laboratory covers historical studies of changes concerned with agriculture, rural society, food, diet, and environment in both Japan and foreign countries. We study now mainly of following subjects.
| a) Research on farm management history
A farm management is the fundamental unit of agriculture. There are various types in farm managements, from which are formed some social classes of farmers and the regional agricultural structure. Finally it leads to national agriculture bound to the international relationships. The purpose of our study is to make clear the social dynamic process of the farm management leading the agricultural development, especially by focusing upon the technical and economic aspects.
| b) Comparative study on the land reform in the 20th century.
Based on a mass of studies on both prewar and contemporary Japanese agriculture, we rethink on the historical significance of postwar land reform and "jisaku-nou-taisei", the owner- farmers-system, as a result of land reform in 1946-1950, especially from the viewpoint of the farm management history shown in a). In addition we are engaged in comparative study on some land reforms in the world and agricultural problems as the results of them, which was performed simultaneously after WW 2 . The objects of comparison are land reforms in East-Asian (i.e. Japan, China and Korea) and Europe (i.e. East Germany) . Structuring a comparative land reform theory could make clear the significance of the Japanese land reform in the modern world agricultural history.
| c) Comparative study on the development of Japanese agriculture.
It is a important subject in current social sciences to rethink the paradigm of modernization, which has been regarded as a universal trend effectual even in another non-European countries. Reviewing the results of historical studies on Japanese agriculture and peasant society, furthermore comparing it with another Asian countries, we are now engaged in clearing a characteristic of Japanese agriculture in spectrum of world agriculture types. Our new framework is based on a comprehensive historical knowledge, different from a once presented hypothesis from a viewpoint of agricultural technology.
| d) Study on the agriculture and peasant problems in the war-time-system
It has been often emphasized that further historical study is required on the real conditions of agriculture and rural society in the war-time-system 1937-1945. As is shown in the following subjects, "technology, production, and farm management in the war-time-system", "the real situations of rural society under the economic control of the government", "life and farm of Japanese immigrants in Manchuria", we research firstly on the influence of the extreme selective economic policy upon the domestic agriculture, secondly on the influence of both the inflation and the economic control of the government upon the rural society, finally on the political and economical position of domestic agriculture and rural society in the "Japanese empire". Further comparison with German agriculture is well covered in this study, because both Japan and German agriculture in war time is considered to have been in relative common aspekts in several points.
| e) Research on the German agricultural history in modern-age
In the traditional research on the German agricultural history we cannot find the sufficient explanation of farm labors, hired-men, and foreign seasonal workers, because there is the dominant idea that farmers and landlords had played the important role in the german modern village. From this viewpoint we study now, 1. on the ethnic problems in the rural village which was represented in the Polish seasonal labors in the Wilhemine Era, 2. on the farm labor and Nazism in the rural life, and 3. on the relations between the refugees problem and land reform in East and West Germany after the War.