International Symposium on Japanese Studies in Global Contexts

Open Japan Closed Japan: Towards Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Mobility

<< Programme

The Pattern of Occupation and Population Movement in Rural Japan During the Latter Half of the 19th Century

Masanobu Higasino, Osaka University

This presentation aims to clarify the pattern of labor and other population movements in rural Japan during the latter half of the 19th century by using the Takashima family documents from Sawaragihama Village, Shimasimo District, Settsu Province (present-day Ibaraki City, Osaka Prefecture). The Sawaragihama Village had a population of 394 people and approximately 23 hectares of arable land. Meaning Sawaragihama Village was a small village in the region at that time. Takashima was a family of hereditary ‘Shouya (the village chief) and had four branch families who owned more than 30% of all arable land in the village.

The 1871 census of Sawaragihama Village was primarily analyzed. The census states the number of households, occupation and land ownership of each household, and number of employees, thus providing a variety of data about the economic status of each household. It also records information about each households’ adopted children, daughter/son-in-law, and employees, which includes their age, where they were born, and years of employment in the case of employees. By analyzing this data, it can be determined how far people migrated for employment and marriage. This reveals the relationship between farming villages in Kinai, or Kyoto and its neighboring areas, as well as peripheral underdeveloped regions. For example, more than half of the 29 employees in the village came from the Tanba Province (present-day northern Kyoto Prefecture) and the Hokuriku Region. Therefore, it is assumed that migrant workers were attracted to the economically advanced region and that this led to underdeveloped regions losing their population. By virtue of these analyses, the economy, occupation and “the movement of people” in rural Japan during the latter half of the 19th century will be determined.

Short Biography

Masanobu Higasino is currently a doctoral student of Graduate School of Letters, Osaka University and a research fellow of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. His research interest is in finance and regional economy in the early modern period. His publications include The management by gono, or rich farmers, and their kinship networks: ‘A case of the Motoyamanari Family in Yanase Village, Shitsuki District, Bichunokuni Province’, Historia: Journal of Osaka Historical Association, 249 (Japanese).