Socio-Economic History

Vol. 65, No. 2

The problem of fuel: an economic history of the environment with reference to the Nagano silk reeling industry

The purpose of this article is to study the link between deforestization and the development of the silk reeling industry in Suwa district in Nagano prefecture from the 1870s to the 1900s, and the subsequent shift from firewood to coal. Since the Tokugawa period, firewood for the silk reeling industry had come from land held in common by several villages. From the late 1870s, the development of silk as the most important export industry produced a shortage of firewood; by the mid-1880s, traditional sources were being supplemented by the transfer to silk producers of trees on government land. An attempt by the prefectural government to encourage tree-planting was unsuccessful and in the early 1890s it became necessary to transport firewood from neighbouring districts.

The steam boilers which had been used in the silk reeling industry since the late 1870s were cheap to buy, but too weak for use with coal. Coal, therefore, did not become important until around the turn of the twentieth century, when steam boilers had become stronger and the gap in the relative prices of coal and firewood had been reduced.

The power of Ritsuryo governments to control markets and the supply of money

In the early years of the eighth century, there were no price controls in Ritsuryo law, and price fluctuations were therefore legally recognized. The historical records provide evidence that the government minted copper coins as a medium of exchange, and that these were widely accepted as legal tender. In other words, there is no real basis for the current theory that in the early years of the eighth century copper coins were only a one-way means of payment.

In 760, the government minted new coins and gave them a value ten times greater than that of the preceding coins. This caused inflation, and by 772 both types of coin had an equal currency value in the market. In 772, use of the older coins was prohibited by the law. But even after this prohibition was issued, the older coins continued to be circulated, and in 779, the government approved the circulation of both types. The equalization of currency value, and the continued circulation of the older coins despite the attempt to prohibit them, show the limited extent of the Nara governmentęs ability to control the money supply.

The formation of a Cistercian estate in its socio-economic context: an analysis of twelfth-century charters from Orval Abbey

This paper offers additional evidence in the debate over Cistercian foundations in twelfth-century society through a socio-economic survey of the first Cistercian abbey. At present there are two broadly opposing views. For R. Fossier, Orval Abbey is a typical Cistercian foundation, remaining alien to its surroundings because it was created by a powerful territorial prince; for G. Despy, however, it is integral to the region, depending for prosperity on the socio-economic growth around it.

Approximately one hundred twelfth-century charters transcribed in the Abbeyęs late medieval cartularies were analyzed. The results indicated that the Orval Abbey estates were formed from lands and usufructs donated by regional potentates of varying social rank. Later, however, the estates were expanded through both the addition of various rights over land, and reclamation carried out by the monks themselves.

The abbey developed in a region where the relationships between lay and eccle-siastical landlords were already complex. The compromises recorded in its charters indicate the mutual-aid relationships that recent scholarship has shown between Cistercian monasteries and other regional social groups. This paper therefore suggests a position halfway between Fossier and Despy.

Yuichiro ANDO
The relationship between the Daimyo of Owari and the farming family of Jinęemon Nakamura (1801-1867) which served his Edo residence

Jinęemon Nakamura was headman of the village of Totsuka near Edo. His family performed various services for the Edo residence of the daimyo of Owari. The purpose of this paper is to make clear how he deliberately aimed to negotiate more advantageous terms in his dealings with the daimyo.

The Nakamura family performed services for the daimyo such as removing excrement, which they purchased and used as manure, and furnishing feed for horses. Jin'emon showed great tenacity in negotiating a reduction in the price which they paid to remove the manure. Moreover, he resisted attempts by the daimyo to reduce the price of horse fodder.

His spirit of independence increased further when foreign ships appeared in Japan at the end of the Tokugawa period and caused an enormous increase in the demand for all sorts of products. This helps to prove that he was actively negotiating with the daimyo to obtain more favourable conditions rather than being passively under daimyo control. It also provides evidence that Edo was dependent on its surrounding areas.