Agriculture In The Meiji Period

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Japan transformed from an agrarian economy to a highly modernised economy within a century since the Meiji restoration. The rapidity of development and the sustained character of growth was the most remarkable feature of Japanese development. . The Meiji period marks the period of establishment of the physical and institutional infrastructure for industrial and economic development and initial surge in industrial growth. Agriculture was the prime mover of the structural transformation of Japanese economy as it was both a resource base for the non farm sector and also the market for it. Due to the lack of industrial capital, Japan had to finance its industrial aspirations from the surplus generated by the agrarian sector. Thus it is imperative that agriculture merits our scrutiny and analysis. This paper tries to argue how Japanese agriculture paved way for the overall development of Japan in the Meiji period. The Importance of Agriculture in Japanese economy The rural village was home and agriculture was the main source of livelihood for the vast majority of nineteenth-century Japanese citizens. Agriculture therefore determined the way people lived, what was the level and distribution of income, and what was the living standards and the quality of life of the majority of Japanese people. The productivity figures of the Meiji period suggest that agriculture was the most dominant sector of the economy. Shinagawa as head of the Agricultural Promotion Bureau at the first
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