Peasant Life During the Meiji Restoration

The Meiji Restoration brought political, social and economic changes in the life of Japan that needed a period of sacrifice, like most of the changings following a revolution or a change of system in the life of a country. The transition from the Tokugawa to the Meiji period is considered a period of abrupt passing from a feudal Japan into a capitalist society. During that period, the rural population represented more than two thirds of the total population. The peasants were the main working force and sources of income for the country’s resources. The industrial era was in its early stages and still running a long way until being able to take over from the agricultural sector.

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The political and administrative changes were changing the entire Japanese society and the way it was governed: “The Meiji rulers inherited a Tokugawa legacy of bureaucratic rule by civilianized samurai. They extended its reach by eliminating domains[…]They gave the state a greater legitimacy and power than it had ever held in the past” (Gordon, 64).

The peasant life during the Meiji Restoration was considered differently, from various points-of-view, depending on the authors and the period they wrote in. Some labeled the village as the source of everything keeping Japan back from evolving into a modern society: “Farmers are the repository of all the “evil customs of the past” that Meiji Japan had renounced, an affront to the Meiji dream of Japan’s economic, political and social transformation into a “first rate” country” (Nagatsuka, XVI). On the contrary, starting with the late 1970s, others’ views on rural Japan were idealizing the village life during the Meiji Restoration: “the villagers lived in harmony with a bountiful nature; they ate safe uncontaminated food; old people were well cared for by the community, in contrast to rural Japan today, where the suicide rate among the elderly surpasses that of urban Japan” (Nagatsuka, pg XVII). The truth lies on neither side of such opinions since they are both at the opposite extremes.

The causes of change in the life of the peasantry, after the during the Meiji Restoration were first due the fact that the samurai lost all their lands and the privileges they had along, such as tax exemption. “By 1876, less than a decade after the restoration coup, the economic privileges of the samurai were wiped out entirely. The coup leaders expropriated an entire social class, the semi-aristocratic elite from which they came. They met some stiff, violent resistance, but they managed to overcome it. This remarkable change amounted to a social revolution” (Gordon, 64).

The second most important cause of change in the villagers’ life came from the idea of building a strong army to protect the country from any external intrusion, especially under the circustances ofan increased international pressure. There was a military reform, following the European system: “By 1873 his[Yamagata Arimoto] arguments had prevailed. The government decreed a system of universal conscription. Beginning at the age of twenty, all males were obligated to give three years of active service and four years on reserve status” (idem, 66).

The third major change that will change the fate of the Japanese village forever came once the rulers turned their faces toward education. The Education reform was rapidly put in place: “the Meiji government instituted a new system of education with remarkable speed. With grand language, in 1872 it declared four years of elementary education to be compulsory for all children, boys and girls: “In a village there shall be no house without learning, and in a house, no individual without learning” (idem, 67). At the beginning, the new system was widely fought against since the financing of the schools meant a significant increase in taxes. People rioted and destroyed schools, but during the next thirty years, the situation will change dramatically, with the overwhelming majority of those of school age attending school as the laws required (Gordon, 68).

On the way to the modern era, Japan’s new rulers started to change the sources for economic development and move them from the agricultural sector over to the industrial area. Capitalism was based on the achievements of technology and the modern means necessary to acquire the state wealth were supported primarily by the revenues still coming from the agricultural sector. The taxes collected so far from the villages were not based on a viable economic system of taxation. The tax system was also changed so that it could fit the new economic structure of a state that whose ruling class was decided to bring it into the modern world of capitalism. The new tax system “provided for a national land survey, conducted in the mid-1870s, that matched an owner to every piece of land and issued deeds. It also assessed the market value of all plots of land. Finally, it set the land tax at 3% of assessed value. The new tax system also brought the national government into a direct economic relationship with individual (male) household heads. It shifted the risk and the opportunity of commodity price changes onto the taxpaying farmer” (Gordon, 71).

The Tokugawa period was that of an essentially feudal state that was disseminating the rules of how to get the most out of the main labor force among the ruling class of the landowners. The peasants were only interesting because of the resources they represented for the wealth of those who were in control of the state of affairs of each feud. Among the peasantry, the ownership of the land at the beginning of the Meiji restoration was under the form of independent farmers. The results were remarkable considering that the productivity of the farms increased while the actual villages population decreased. The development of the industrial sector brought along improvements in the land work and animal breeding techniques, but these factors started to actually have a capital influence on the increase in farming productivity only after World War I (Bock, 50).

Compared to the contemporary Japan, the Japanese countryside changed tremendously since the Meiji era. but, the changes that took place between the 1868 and 1912 were slower in the lives of those working the land compared to those living in the cities. As previously shown, the huge resources needed for the construction of a viable industrial sector were coming mainly from the agricultural sector at first. The new schools, the railroad, the factories and the manufactory machines imported from abroad were financed with the money coming from the taxes paid by those who were owning a piece of land. “It took longer for the efforts to create a new Japan to impinge on the lives and opportunities of everyone in the country. For no group did it take as long as for the nation’s farmers, not solely because there were so many of them, but also because most of the tax payments, foreign exchange earnings, and savings generated by the agricultural sector[…] were used by the state and by the Japanese entrepreneurs to promote the non-agricultural development of the country” (Nagatsuka, vii). The development of the rural life differed from region to region and from household to household. The villages that were in the vicinity of the new railroad were taking advantage of everything this revolutionary mean of transportation brought along. There were also some that were less fortunate and left behind, being bypassed by the railroad. Some other rural regions in Japan were even poorer due to the quality of the soil or natural calamities they were exposed to. The village described by Nagatsuka who was writing from his own experience was among those who were left behind by distance from the city that were difficult to overcome since the railroad was not passing by the village. The family of farmers his novel focuses on does not own land, but had to lend it and to add something to the family income from other activities as well in order to survive. Anne Waswo, the translator of the Soil, points out in the introduction of the book that the protagonists are not exceptions, but rather the exponents of the usual Japanese farmer family during the Meiji era (Nagatsuka,.xi). Those villages where most of those working the land were able to make just enough to help their families survive, like Kossho were still widely spread across Japan at the beginning tat the Meiji era. The wealthiest landowning family of the village was at the top of the village hierarchy and the poorer farmers were more or less dependable on the resources the family of the master and the mistress could provide as a supplement to their earnings. In those families that were not owning any land, the means for the family living beside the actual working of the land they were lending, came from the labor the man, the head of the house, did during the winter and the peddling of his wife: “It was her custom in her sparetime to go about from village to village peddling bean curd…Of course, her earnings were also meager, but it was better than relying on farming alone” (Nagatsuka, 1). Oshina, the wives’ character in the novel, could be the impersonation of any hardworking farmer’s wife during the Meiji Restoration in Japan. The hardship of the life in a village struggling to adjust to the wave of modernity swiping the country, but still very deeply rooted in the previous period was plausible in the case of those who did not own much land or the means to improve their living standards from other not farm-related activities. “At all hours of the day, as long as there was light, Oshina kept busy at one task or another; soaking straw from rope making, sweeping up leaves, her hands were never idle” (Nagatsuka, 1). The lives of the farmers like those described by Nagatsuka were subject to rapid change since the early stages of the Meiji Restoration, despite their initial set back. The example for the next generation of female workers in the factories of the modern Japan was set by women like Oshina. “Leke their mothers and grandmothers before them in pre-Meiji times, they have routinely seen female as well as male offspring of peasant families “going out to work” (dekasegi) in a place beyond commuting to the home village (Tsurumi, 10).

The description of a common farmer’s wife in ethnographic studies about peasant life pre and immediately post Meiji restoration fits the mother character in the Soil. Patricia Tsurumi’s research work, gathered under the title: Factory Girls, sheds some light on the lives of the common peasant women that will populate most of the factories where there knowledge to weave, spin cotton or reel silk was put to good use. The peasant family depended heavily on all the family members, male or female. The gender differences in the peasant life of the Meiji era continues to be manifested in the amount paid for the same kind of labor in many activities and in the places they plaid in the family and in society, but the women were nevertheless respected and praised for their role in the family and thus, when it came to the family life, they were able to take part in the decision making up to a certain level. This position extended to the village life as well (idem, 16). Interestingly enough, when thinking of the same period in Europe, the marriages among the peasants were usually left at the partners’ will and the husband and wife were often even having sexual relations before the actual marriage took place. Unlike the samurai during the Tokugawa period and more recently, the landlords and the rich merchants, the peasants could not only choose whomever they wanted as their spouse, they could also divorce him or her if the situation asked for such a measure and remarry someone else (Nagatsuka, Waswo,; Tsurumi).

Another important source of information about the peasantry life in Japan during the Meiji restoration is provided by Anne Walthall’s book: The Weak Body of a Useless Woman.

The book tells the story of Matsuo Taseko, a Japanese peasant who overcame her condition by becoming involved in the events that led to the Meiji restoration and those after that and she also became a poet. Matsuo Taseko was no ordinary woman, but her life is presented in the circumstances of extraordinary events made happen by ordinary people. The introduction to this book reveals the description of a typical peasant woman, born during the Tokugawa period: “Matsuo Taseko was born a peasant in the mountains of central Japan in 1811. She married at the age of eighteen, gave birth to ten children of whom seven survived to adulthood, raised silkworms, and helped her husband mange his family’s affairs” (Walthall, 1). Being born into a richer peasant family, Matsuo Taseko had a marriage that was most likely arranged. The wealthier peasants used to tie knots with others that were having about the same economic situation by means of marriage. This was the way the Takemura and Matsuo families made an alliance. Like Nagatsuka Takashi, Walthall is also mentioning the habit of adopting sons-in-law in the case of families that were having only daughters, since the family affairs were usually to be overtaken from the head of the house upon his retirement or death, by a man. The Takemura, the family Taseko came from is described in the book as a family that had to use this custom for several generations since they had only daughters for some time. Another way of adopting a son into a family, beside the habit of adapting a son-in-law who overtook the family name along with the family responsibilities, there was also the possibility of adopting a son from a relative, like in the case of Taseko’s brother who adopted one of her sons. The men who were marrying and adopted into another family were just as exposed to the difficulties of adapting to a completely new life as the women were. The difficulties of those men who came into a strange household of their wife’s family, adopted as son-in-law, are described by Nagatsuka Takashi, in the Soil. Kanji married into Oshina’s family and was adopted to overtake the family duties from his father-in-law: Uhei, who also came into the family as an adopted son. “Having entered the family by means of marriage, neither Uhei nor Kanji has the full authority of an inheriting son. Thus Uhei defers to Oshina’s other relatives when her elopement with Kanji is discussed and although there were additional reasons for it Kanji defers to Oshina throughout their life together” (Takashi, Waswo, xiii). Ann Waswo is further pointing out the introduction to the book she translated that the marriages between peasants that were not wealthy, like Oshina and Kanji were free of arrangements between families. “In other respects, however, the situation of both men is fairly typical for the time and place. They had both married women of their own choosing, with whom they had premarital sexual relations and for whom they had a strong attachment” (idem, xiii).

A custom that came from the samurai and was already adopted into the commoners’ families living in the country was that of a child’s debt to his parents. Children were bound to obey, respect and support their parents in their old age in exchange for having been given life and nurtured. (idem, xiii).

The differences between the lives of a wealthy peasant family and those who were struggling to make just enough to survive are evident in the description of the wedding ceremonials in the Soil compared to those described in the Weak Body of a Useless Woman. When Taseko married into the Matsuo family, her first ride to her new home, her husband’s family home, was in a palanquin. Not only were they superior to other peasants because of their wealth, but they were also having some warrior ancestors that gave them some privileges. Beside the offerings for the Gods at the wedding ceremony and the gifts for the family members, the brides coming from such families were given a dowry that was impressive and belonging to them only. The fathers of the brides received important amounts of money form the groom’s family. The total costs of such a marriage, that was in fact an alliance were astronomical compared to what the majority of the peasants could earn in their whole lives (Walthall, 64).

During the Meiji period, there were also changes made in the Civil Code that were regarding the habit of keeping a wife’s family name. The common peasants already adopted the new system of her adopting her husbands’ family name. It became official one the Civil Code was adopted, by the end of the nineteenth century.

The sentimental values of family life were felt in both cases of those who had arranged marriages, like Matsuo Taseko or in the case of Oshina and Kanji from the Soil who chose each other as a spouse. In the case of the latter, beside their strict and absolute contribution to the family earnings, the relationship between husband and wife brought compassion and warmth into the family. In the case of the former, there is evidence presented in the book the Weak Body of a Useless Woman testifying the deep feelings a daughter used to have for her family, even after she move into her husband’s and the author points out that this was a common thing among the Japanese families (idem, 65).

The usual peasant family size was relatively small by the time the Meiji Restoration took place. The economic development that came along with the industrial economy gave the opportunities for commoners as well as for all those depending on the farming to have larger families. Their children were not bound to the same way of living as their ancestors, since they were offered the new opportunity to go work in a factory.

Another important source of information regarding everyday life of a peasant is provided by Nishida Yoshiaki, in his book Farmers and Village Life in Twentieth-Century Japan. He writes about information gathered from diaries kept by those living in the village, like Zenji who started writing his diary in 1893, at 15 years. Zenji started working for a farmer’s family who had some land of its own and some rented land as well. He will marry into that family since they had only daughters, becoming an adopted son-in-law. The Goto family is one that manages to increase the family earnings and advance economically, remaining at the same social level of tenants. Their farming activities consisted mainly in cultivating rice, “but they also carried out a wide variety of subsidiary activities such as rice brokerage (i.e. purchasing rice wholesale for later sale at a profit, known locally as kedashi), seasonal work transporting rice to dealers in the coastal city of Sakata (known as dachinmai, ‘rice carriage’), polishing rice, selling sake and brokering the ropes that local farmers made, and it is evident that it was the profits from these subsidiary activities that made it possible for them to acquire more land” (Nishida, 8).

The transformations that occurred in Japan starting with 1868 also influenced the religious life that was an important part of the Japanese people. “While Christianity was legalized, it was not the state supported religion. The government supported its religion of choice by opening up the Office of Shinto Worship that was ranked so highly that it was even over the Council of State. This also led to the reinforcement of the belief in divine ancestry of the emperor’s blood line. By 1877 the government controlled all Shinto shrines, supported the Shinto teachers, and some of the Shinto sects were granted government recognition” (James). The Meiji restoration brought the complete separation between Buddhism and Shinto and the process of separation and replacement of the Buddhist with the Shinto in the State affairs took was partially violent. The systam changed once the shrines were ranked by the state and the commoners were now allowed to be registered at a shrine, at birth, becoming “parishioners” (Hardacre, 29). People had to be registered at the shrines in the vicinity of their residences. “Symbolically speaking then, each household became a “branch shrine” of the Ise shrines, thus linking all the populace to this cult center” (idem, 29).

A demographic analysis of Japan shortly before and after the Meiji restoration shows, according to Gordon, an important increase in population: “from 1880 to 1900, Japan’s population rose from abut thirty-five to fourtyfive million people. At the same time, the rural, agricultural population declined slightly. As previously mentioned, it was a natural phenomenon that along with the industrialization, people were moving out of their villages into the cities to work in the factories. Susan B. Hanley points out that the demographic changes in the Japanese society were not as impressive as it might have been expected. She emphasizes the birth control methods used by the Japanese people from all ranks of society since early on in history that were greatly influencing the way society developed demographically speaking. “Japan did not undergo a tremendous shift in demographic patterns from the Tokugawa period to the Meiji years of early industrialization” (Henley).

The fate of the Japanese peasantry was partially following the patterns of all those western societies that underwent economical changes and shifts from a mainly agricultural economy to the new industrial era. Authors like Norman, that are critically assessing the effects of the Meiji restoration on the Japanese peasant population from a Marxist point a view draw conclusions toward a rapid loss of land owned by the peasants in favor of their accumulation in the hands of powerful landlords. There are other who contradict Normans’ vision on the fate of the Japanese peasantry, like TC Smith who “points out that a landless peasantry was not the creation of the Meiji period, but that it had been in existence during the seventeenth century, and even at that time constituted “a substantial part of the total population” (Morris, 368). Nevertheless, the taxes coming from the agricultural, although steadily decreasing in percentage, continued to represent the most important part of the state tax revenues until the beginning of the twentieth century (Gordon, 95). The Japanese countryside became an important part of the Japanese economy due to the amount of taxes paid but also to the sources of export it provided: tea, silk, working force.

Most of the historians writing about the Meiji Restoration agreed on the fact that the peasantry did not play an essential role in the overthrowing of the Shogunate in 1968, but they did have their share in the events. Peasant revolts were not unusual in the years preceding the Meiji Restoration. Thoams P. Kasulis calls the peasants along with some of the landlords, “agents of change”(Kasulis, 132). Social change is the traditional model of historiography in Japan, when it comes to the Meiji period (Wilson, 7). “It has been basically Marxist, and it views the outcome of the Meiji Restoration as a flowed bourgeois revolution carried out by elements of the dying feudal aristocracy in league with nouveau riche lower-middle-class types in rural and to a lesser extent urban Japan” (Wilson, 7).

The tendency in asserting the relationship between tenants and landlords is to point out the net superiority in the mechanisms the landlords had in controlling and completely enjoy their rights over their properties, compared to what the tenants had. Michael Smitka uses the example of the Niigata prefecture as a counterpart to such opinions concluding that the tenants were absolutely dependent on their landlords good will. “Tenants in Niigata Prefecture, operating through village-wide mechanisms of rent determination and field allocation, frequently exerted substantial control over the conditions of tenancy. These mechanisms were survivals of the system of landholding which dominated this part of Japan until the mid-nineteenth century: periodic redistribution of arable land among cultivators” (Smitka, 91).

Beside the economical, demographical, marriage life and religious aspects of the analysis of life peasantry led during the Meiji Restoration, there were also the social aspects that were treated by various authors. The Bakufu regulations during the Tokugawa period were prescribing peasants to be “deferential to their superiors, diligent in their agricultural pursuits, and frugal in their everyday lives” (Walthall, 71). Those who could not afford the tee, the tee ceremony, travels, sake or tobacco did not need the regulations to keep them from ever enjoying them and those who could afford all of this were easily transgressing the law without being punished. “The objects necessary to make the ceremony a momentous occasion took considerable effort to acquire and the expense could be ruinous. On the other hand, the tea ceremony gave peasants an excellent excuse to get together. As with the poetry meetings, it provided a space where likeminded people with enough money could meet and talk about business, philosophy, politics, or whatever else interested them” (Walthall, 72). The peasant women, like the men, were also drinking sake and smoking tobacco; the samurai women did that, too, but to a lesser extent (Walthall, 72).

The life of the Japanese peasantry changed a lot after the Meiji restoration, but the process was painful and irreversible. Classes had bee abolished, commoners were allowed to marry people from higher ranks and wear any kind of cloths. The unrest among the farmers did not stop once the Meiji reforms were on their way. Common people were paying high taxes to their landlords and were forced to work even harder to gather the high tax they had to pay in order to avoid the army service that became mandatory. But the development in education, technology and the informational support helped them increase their farms’ productivity as shown before and the revolts remained local and never spread through the entire country. but, the potential for amassing uncontrolled forces as a result of the inequalities that were produced by the system of land lords and tenants remained until the Land reform of 1946-1947. “In order to eliminate all dangerous socialist tendencies in the countryside, it was necessary to return the land to the tillers, that is to transform the majority of agriculturalists into small property owners. This rural “middle class’ would hopefully become a conservative political force, thus ensuring that Japan remained in the anti-communist camp”

Thus, in spite of the technical and economical advancements, the life of the rural Japan was still based on a system that was highly risky on a long-term in the twentieth century. Peasants had now the liberty to choose which crops to cultivate and they could sell or buy land, but the earnings of most of those who worked the land did not offer them the opportunity to develop too much economically. Prices for rent and taxes cut a large amount of what they earned and left little to put away. Families like the Goto family, described in Zenji’s diary were among the very few that succeed to make a step further in their social condition. “Such an advance into the upper ranks of Japanese farmers was highly unusual at the time, especially in the Tohoku region, where a widening disparity between the economic status of landlords on the one hand and of tenant farmers on the other had been the norm. Yet it was an advance made at the cost of ‘ceaseless labor’ by people working for the GotA?, none more so than Zenji (Usami 1977a: 16)” (Nishida, 9). Te entries of Zenji’s journal are not mentioning any social unrest. The life of the Toyohara village revolves around the monotonous activities involving rice growing and others related to the rice crops and there does not seem to be anything else that could disturb the hard but peaceful life of the village, until 1912, the end of the Meiji period (Nishida, 9). Beside relationships between the family members, the rituals, the accounts of every day life in the village, just like Zenji, Nagatsuka Takashi emphisizes in the Soil the high dependency of thee tenants upon the will of the landlord. “This was a time when tenant farmers could not survive hard times of one sort or another unless their landlords benevolently reduced or deferred rent payments, a fact that is supported by the records kept by the Nishiyama family in Niigata Prefecture, which report that in almost every year between 1902 and 1914 one or another of their landlords benevolently consented to reduce rents” (Nishida, 11-12).

The quality of life of the peasants like those from Toyohara village will change a great deal after World War I. but, until then they shared the same fate as the rest of the farmers in Japan, after the Meiji restoration: they faced the hardship of not being able to overcome their condition, being trapped in the farming work that never gave them the opportunity to gather more than the simple means to support a poor life (Nishida, 12).

Despite the technological advances that improved efficiency and productivity of farming activities, the chances for individual economic growth were scarcer. The chances for a peasant family member to overcome the poverty his or her family was living in were related to either move into the cities and start working in a factory or marry over his or her social status. The latter became a possibility after the restoration, “by the abolition of almost all the ascriptive hierarchical social restrictions that had prevailed in the Tokugawa society, a change that generated far-reaching processes of economic and social mobility (a new aristocracy, the peerage, was created, but it was a very limited and “ceremonial” one with the House of Peers as a counterweight to the more “democratic” legislative chamber” (Eisenstadt, 25).

The Meiji restoration was a kind of revolution that was having many points in common with the west European revolutions in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, but it also had a lot of things that differentiated it from those revolutions. It “was oriented inward, toward the Japanese people; it aimed at the revitalization of the Japanese nation, at making it capable of taking its place in the modern world, but it made no pretense of “saving the entire world – mankind as a whole – through the promulgation of a new, universalistic, future-oriented utopian vision” (Eisenstadt, 271).

The government had to intervene numerous times in the advancement of the Japanese society, during the Meiji period, especially in the countryside. The Russo-Japanese War meant victory and imperialistic expansion for Japan, but it also brought even more difficulties in the life of the peasants. Tensions between those who owned the land and those who worked it increased, poverty among the common peasants reached even higher level than before. The government had to intervene to help what not many decades ago used to be the back bone of the country and still was an important part of the Japanese economy. “It was at this time that the Japanese government announced the local improvement movement (chihA? kairyA? undA?) to effect widespread change in provincial (especially rural) Japan and create a local population willing and able to support the needs of the emerging Japanese Empire” (Waswo, Nishida, 60). The improvement encouraged the formation of associations and cooperatives and increased the autonomy of he village leadership, while decreasing the effects of poverty at the local level and assisting the villages in their administration (Waswo, Nishida, 61). Psychological means were also set in motion and the ruling class started to push the right buttons in order to mobilize the whole country for the united effort of consolidating a bog nation on its way to imperialistic expansion. Effective were means such as: “encouraging patriotism and loyalty to the emperor in the classrooms of elementary schools and in the activities of youth groups and military reservists’ associations and… By such means as the selection of ‘model villages’ and training courses, creating enthusiasm for local improvement and nurturing local leaders in towns and villages who would carry the movement forward. It was thus a multifaceted undertaking, involving local government, the economy, society, education and ideology (idem, 61).

The peasant life during the Meiji changed a great deal due to the new improved techniques, the reforms in education and the access into remote areas made possible by the railroad. but, during all this period, even if the main source of income for the reforms and for the foundation of the industrial sector, the farmers remained at the same level of dependency of the landlords as before. Before that they were dependent of the aristocracy. Now the samurai, willingly or not, gave up all the privileges they had and were left with a pension. The distinction between social classes was abolished. In spite of all these changes, the peasantry was overwhelmingly poor. There were villages that were more privileged than others because of their geographical position, or richness of the soil, or position compared to the railroad track, but the general situation was that of peasants that were mostly tenants, highly dependent of the good will of their landlord and caught in a vicious circle that did not allow them to escape and improve their earnings enough to allow them a development in the same pace as the whole Japanese society. The oligarchy that was ruling the country under the authority of the emperor was not directly interested in enlarging the horizon of the masses from the countryside. That may have been a consequence of their fear that the enlightened peasants might arouse against them in revolt. The process of enlightenment was on its irreversible way, though, even if slow and still very painful. The Japanese peasants, males or females, were hardworking and centuries of Bakufu rules taught them to be submissive and frugal. They might have had a certain degree of knowledge of how to preserve their energies to avoid exhaustion, although the literary descriptions like the Soil testify quite the contrary. The printed mass media, education, industrialization and the railroad will add to the hardworking character of the Japanese peasant and will eventually uproot him or her from the darkness of the feudalism. but, it will take a longer time than it took the Japanese society as a whole. The Japanese village paid the most expensive price that helped Japan leap from feudalism directly into the capitalism of the twentieth century. The farmers rebelled sometimes during the Meiji era, but their risings were too short and too weak to make essential changes in their own condition.

Works Cited

1. Bernier, Bernard. “The Japanese Peasantry and Economic Growth Since the Land Reform of 1946-47.” Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars 12.1 (1980)

2. Birrell, Robert. “Obstacles to Development in Peasant Societies: An Analysis of India, England, & Japan.” Peasants in the Modern World. Ed. Philip K. Bock. 1st ed. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1969.

3. Eisenstadt, Shmuel Noah. Japanese Civilization: A Comparative View. University of Chicago Press, 1996

4. Gordon, Andrew. A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003

5. Hardacre, Helen. Shinto and the State, 1868-1988. Princeton University Press, 1989

6. Hanley, Susan B. Fertility, Mortality, and Life Expectancy in Pre-modern Japan. Population Studies, Vol. 28, No. 1 (Mar., 1974), pp. 127-142

7. James. Japan Traveler. Meiji Period. Retrieved: Nov. 03, 2008. Japan Traveler. 2008 Available at

8. Kasulis, Thomas P. Shinto: The Way Home. University of Hawaii Press, 2004

9. Morris, David Morris. The Problem of the Peasant Agriculturist in Meiji Japan, 1873-1885. The Far Eastern Quarterly, Vol. 15, No. 3 (May, 1956), pp. 357-370

10. Nagatsuka, Takashi., Waswo, Anne.The Soil: a portrait of rural life in Meiji Japan. University of California Press. 1994

11. Smitka, Michael. Agricultural Growth and Japanese Economic Development. Taylor & Francis, 1998

12. Tsurumi, E. Patricia. Factory Girls: Women in the Thread Mills of Meiji Japan. Princeton University Press. 1992

13. Walthall, Anne. The Weak Body of a Useless Woman: Matsuo Taseko and the Meiji Restoration. University of Chicago Press. 1998

14. Wilson, George Macklin. Patriots and Redeemers in Japan: Motives in the Meiji Restoration. University of Chicago Press, 1992

15. Waswo, Ann, and Nishida Yoshiaki, eds. Farmers and Village Life in Twentieth-Century Japan. New York: Routledge Curzon, 2003

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Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.


In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.


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What discipline/subjects do you deal in?

We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.

Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?

Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.

What if I don’t like the paper?

There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.

Reasons being:

  • When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
  • We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.

In the event that you don’t like your paper:

  • The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
  • We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
  • Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.

Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?

Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.

What if the paper is plagiarized?

We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.

When will I get my paper?

You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.

Will anyone find out that I used your services?

We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.

How our Assignment  Help Service Works

1.      Place an order

You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.

2.      Pay for the order

Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.

3.      Track the progress

You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.

4.      Download the paper

The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.

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