Classical Japan: 7th c. to 12th c.<br />Population Stagnates, even declines<br />Epidemic Disease, Cooling, Deforestation and Overproduction<br />Taxes based on Rice<br />Irrigation sporadic, difficult to maintain<br />Iron in short supply<br />Typical Diet: "brown rice, wheat, barley, salt, seaweed, bean paste [miso], vinegar, melons ... lots of rice wine. ... mushrooms, chestnuts, and local fish and game." (Farris 2009, 48)<br />
Classical Japan, cont.<br />Agriculture: <br />more oxen, plant-based fertilizers, double-cropping dry fields<br />oils (hemp, sesame, bean)<br />Peasant classes lived on edge of starvation, continued swidden, hunting, foraging<br />Elites lived on tax and tribute from estates<br />"Their diet was surprisingly poor, mostly polished rice, various vegetables, fish and shellfish, and lots of rice wine. ... susceptible to all sorts of chronic diseases." (Farris 2009, 73)<br />
Medieval Japan (13th to 16th c.)<br />Population growing: epidemics, famines slow<br />Agriculture:<br />Iron Tools available again, rising use of oxen<br />manure as fertilizer, water wheel irrigation<br />"Island Dry Fields", double-cropping of rice begins<br />Champa Rice<br />"more side dishes such as salted fish and noodles" (Farris 2009, 128)<br />
New Foods<br />Zen Buddhist Monk Eisai brings Tea from China. Buddhists also introduce sweet bean paste, steamed buns, and Tofu<br />Foreign Influences: Teppan yaki, Tempura, Castela cake, pepper.<br />Soy sauce, ginger, wasabi become widespread<br />Miso, soy and rice form complete protein<br />
Early Modern Japan (17th to 19th c.)<br />Agricultural Boom: Peace Dividend<br />Widespread double-cropping, seed selection<br />Fertilization: "Night Soil", seedcake, fish<br />Columbian Exchange: Sweet Potatoes, green beans, maize, red peppers, pumpkins, watermelon, spinach, chili peppers, peanuts<br />Spread of beriberi as polished rice became more common<br />Hunting declined, except wildfowl; domesticated pig, chicken popular<br />Lunch<br />
Everyday Food<br />"What we think of as the traditional Japanese diet of steamed rice accompanied by soup, one or more side dishes, and pickles, developed slowly... Even samurai families often had a daily diet of coarse grains or rice mixed with other grains with a side dish of fish or something extra for the master, but only soup, pickles and possibly boiled vegetables for the rest of the family and the servants." (Hanley 1997, 86)<br />
Special Occasions<br />"salted salmon, tuna, bean curd, dried bonito, squid, herring roe, and dried herring - all purchased at a nearby town - eggs, dried nameko (an edible fungus), sea bream, fried bean curd, aya (sweetfish), horseradish, and the list goes on. ... <br />"Sugar was a luxury item [but] even people in the northern, poorer sections of the country could buy it and did." (Hanley 1997, 87)<br />
Early Modern Food<br />"in Japan, one-pot meals had one or more grains - usually including rice - as their base, and other foods, particularly vegetables, were added appropriately during the cooking process." (Hanley 1997, 79)<br />Shinano: 20 different rice strains, buckwheat, beans, daikon radish, vegetables, grasshoppers, horse chestnuts, wild greens<br />Urban Restaurants: sushi, soba, ramen, rice cake/bean soup, eel, tea houses<br />
17c Kusumi Morikage: Rice Cultivation Four Seasons, left panels<br />
17c Kusumi Morikage: Rice Cultivation Four Seasons, center panels<br />
17c Kusumi Morikage: Rice Cultivation Four Seasons, right panels<br />
Yamaguchi: Flooded Rice Field w/ Tractor<br />
Sources<br />Susan Hanley, Everyday Things in Premodern Japan: The Hidden Legacy of Material Culture, UCP, 1997<br />William Wayne Farris, Japan to 1600: A Social And Economic History, U Hawaii Press, 2009<br />Yamakawa, Nihonshi Sogo Zuroku [Comprehensive Visual History of Japan]<br />Edo: Art in Japan, 1615-1868 by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC<br />Other Pictures by Jonathan Dresner<br />http://www.flickr.com/photos/jondresner/<br />
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