The Role of Villagers in Domain and State Forest Management: Japan’s Path from Tokugawa Period to the Early Twentieth Century
Chapter from the book: Tanimoto M. & Wong R. 2019. Public Goods Provision in the Early Modern Economy: Comparative Perspectives from Japan, China, and Europe.
In spite of the adoption of Prussian or German model by the central government in early Meiji period, Japanese modern state forestry developed differently, adopting the practice of domain lord forestry in the Tokugawa period. The chapter, by Takeshi Aoki, discusses how local villagers retained access in domain and state forests to fulfill their basic needs, which the domain and state authorities consistently tolerated and saw no reason to redeem. In addition, villagers played an active role in managing domain and state forests, sometimes even profiting from activities such as making charcoal and grazing animals. Villagers checked the excessive expansion of artificial conifer stands, leaving diverse tree species that they needed for various purposes.