Shinano Up Close

Kären Wigen

in A Malleable Map

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780520259188
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520945807 | DOI:
Shinano Up Close

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The rise of the warrior power in the Kanto effected an upheaval in Japan's geography. Tokugawa had to appoint provincial governors to execute their directives in the countryside. Shinano's agricultural wealth was its main attraction to the feudal lords although it was, and still is, a mountainous place. Surveys estimated the province's yield at 400,000 koku in the 1590s, and new-field development steadily pushed that figure up in the succeeding decades. Shinano's aggregate assessment by 1647 stood at nearly 545,000 koku; by 1730, it had risen to more than 615,000 koku. Shinano's agrarian riches were not concentrated in a single region in contrast to most kuni. The distribution of agricultural settlements is clearly shown on their maps, confirming the province's polycentric character. Similar patterns can be detected in the cartography of commercial corridors and political divisions. The kuniezu reveals a province divided at every year.

Keywords: Kanto; Tokugawa; koku; kuni; kuniezu

Chapter.  14047 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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