The Lumber Industry in Early Modern Japan

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University of Hawaii Press, 1995 - Technology & Engineering - 159 pages
This concise volume surveys three hundred years in the history of the lumber industry in early modern (Tokugawa) Japan. In earlier works, Conrad Totman examined environmental aspects of Japan's early modern forest history; here he guides readers through the inner workings of lumber provision for urban construction, providing a wealth of detail on commercial and technological systems of provision while focusing on the convoluted commercial arrangements that moved timber from forest to city despite exceptionally severe environmental and financial obstacles.
Based on scrupulous scholarship in the vast Japanese secondary literature on forest history, The Lumber Industry in Early Modern Japan brings to light materials previously unavailable in English and synthesizes these within a thoughtful ecological framework. Its penetrating examination of the patterns of cooperation and conflict throughout the industry adds significantly to the scholarly corpus that challenges the stock image of Tokugawa rulers and merchants as social enemies. Instead it supports the view of those who have noted the interdependent character of political and economic elites and the long-term strengthening of rural sectors of society vis-a-vis urban sectors.
 

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Contents

ENGLISHLANGUAGE APPROACHES TO TOKUGAWA COMMERCE
1
AN OVERVIEW OF LUMBER PROVISIONING
19
THE PROCESS OF TIMBER TRANSPORT
47
ENTREPRENEURIAL LUMBERING IN YAMAGUNI
77
LAST REFLECTIONS
101
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About the author (1995)

Conrad Totman is professor of history at Yale University.

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