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A field of tea plants with Mt. Fuji in the background.
Agriculture
  1. Land Reform in Postwar Japan
  2. Why Japan's Land Reform Succeeded
  3. Wet Rice Agriculture
  4. Transplanting Rice Seedlings
  5. Early Mechanization of Agriculture
  6. Reorganization of Farm Land
  7. Innovations in Fruit and Vegetable Farming
  8. Rice Rationing and Subsidies
  9. Japan’s Shrinking Farm Population
  10. Farm Household Size and the Problem of Succession
  11. Who Farms in Japanese Farm Households?
  12. San-Chan Nōgyō
  13. The Changing Japanese Diet
  14. Dairy Farming in Japan
  15. What Dairy Products Do Japanese Eat?
  16. Beef Cattle in Japan
  17. The Changing Income of Farm Households
  18. Raising Silkworms in Japan
  19. Food Self-Sufficiency in Japan
  20. Food Self-Sufficiency in Rice
  21. Organic Farming in Japan
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A hand-pushed rice transplanter sits buried in a muddy field.
Due to the introduction of small-sized rice planting machines, farm work became even more efficient.
Photo Courtesy of Nakasendo Highway: A Journey to the Heart of Japan.
Early Mechanization of Agriculture
In the late 1960s, small gasoline powered transplanting machines about the size of a power lawn mower were invented. They transplanted seedlings that were only three or four inches tall, so the rice could be transplanted earlier and would grow faster. Small gasoline engines also powered devices to help at harvest time with threshing to remove the rice grains from the stalk. These machines were designed to be small enough to be moved easily by one person, and to fit into the small fields. Similar small machines could till the ground in dry fields for vegetables and other crops. This replaced work the farmer previously did manually, or with the help of an ox. At first, villages would buy one or two of these machines for all the farmers to share. Later, as farm households became more affluent, they bought their own machines and did not need to depend on their neighbors any more. In 1970 there were 29,000 of these transplanting machines in use in all of Japan. By 1980 there were 1,740,000. Click on CHARTS, below, to see how the productivity of farmland has increased since 1950.
Special Terms: farm household  |  transplant (rice)

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