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Cultivating CommonsJoint Ownership of Arable Land in Early Modern Japan$
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Philip C. Brown

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833923

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833923.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Cultivating Commons

Philip C. Brown

University of Hawai'i Press

This introductory chapter asserts that even though many early modern Japanese villages (ca. 1580–1868) failed to adopt anything like private individual landownership, these places still experienced economic diversification and growth because the lands farmed at any given time were determined by village or baronial domain (han) policy employing one of three mechanisms: allocation of cultivation rights linked to family composition, a fixed order of rotation, or lottery. There are three major variants of these systems: per capita allocation, allocation per family, and per share allocation. These forms of tenure were applied to arable lands, not to the commons (iriai-chi), which sometimes employed similar mechanisms to allocate access to a resource.

Keywords:   Japanese villages, private individual landownership, baronial domain policy, land tenure

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