Japanese Journal of Human Geography Vol.63 No.5 (2011)

Vol.63 No.5 (2011)



Flood Damage and the Response Practices of Iron Sand Mining in the Hino River Basin during the 19th Century 1

Restoration of Agricultural Lands and the Development of the Historical Landscape in Areas Prone to Flooding: A case study of the Lower Tenryu River Basin 22

Research Notes

KAWAI Ichiro
Kita Sadakichi’s Historical Geography: An Analysis of His Unpublished Lecture Records and Lecture Notes 41

The Development and Roles of Gangi Arcades in Sanjo Town, Echigo Province between the 18th and 19th Centuries 57

Meeting Reports

273rd Regular Meeting 72
21st Research Seminar of Education of Geographical Study Group 75
40th Research Seminar of Metropolitan Area Study Group 77

News 80


Flood Damage and the Response Practices of Iron Sand Mining in the Hino River Basin during the 19th Century

St. Viator Rakusei Junior/Senior High School

The iron smelting industry in Japan, until the beginning of the 20th century, was run by the traditional iron sand smelting method known as tatara. Iron sand was collected by breaking up weathered granitic rocks and sorting them in running water. This method of mining was known as kanna-nagashi. In the Hino River basin of Tottori Prefecture, kanna-nagashi created large reserves of excess sand which, when carried downriver, caused major flooding in the basin, requiring numerous flood control countermeasures. This paper examines the flooding caused by kanna-nagashi from the Edo Period (1600-1867) in terms of three criteria: ① riverbank construction, levees, and their related cost sharing; ② limits imposed on the amount of kanna-nagashi; and ③ the cost sharing and work-sharing arrangements between Hino-gun and Aimi-gun related to river dredging projects. This paper also examines the responses of the new Meiji government and local citizen groups.
Tottori authorities (han officials) in 1823 decreed that Hino-gun restrict its mining operations, which were resulting in a rise in riverbed levels downstream. Hino-gun agreed to pay for flood prevention measures, and attempted to continue with normal mining operations. However, though smelting company owners and Hino-gun were to bear the costs of riverbed cleanup, in fact payment was often not made right away. Further, in the midst of these circumstances, in 1829 the worst flood of the later Edo Period occurred. After the flood, Hino-gun either made payments or sent laborers directly to Aimi-gun to carry out further riverbed cleanup.
Later Yonago-cho and Aimi-gun made repeated requests of the Tottori authorities regarding both riverbank maintenance and restricting kanna-nagashi. The authorities, in turn, carried out repairs and various construction projects to strengthen the riverbanks. But by 1861, with the riverbed continuing to rise, the Tottori authorities ordered Hino-gun to cut the number of kanna-nagashi operations by 50%. This resulted in a period where kanna-nagashi was strictly controlled.
With the Meiji Restoration, many laws were enacted to regulate riparian commerce, but it is impossible to confirm whether any significant development occurred. In fact, smelting operations were almost entirely suspended, and by 1868 riverbeds had deepened. In the early years of the Meiji Era (1868-1912), the regulations and rulings regarding kanna-nagashi made by the Edo Period Tottori authorities were no longer being carried out, and Hino-gun stopped its riverbed cleanup operations in Aimi-gun. In 1885 flooding continued, but 1886 saw the worst flood in the area of the entire Meiji Era. As a result, Tottori Prefecture requested financial aid from Tokyo for riverbank reconstruction. Then in 1888, new regulations relating to kanna-nagashi. Further, the Yonago-cho “Flood Prevention Cooperative” was created, and it bore a portion of the expenses used for riverside construction projects.
Even so, from the last years of the Edo Period to the latter half of the Meiji Era, the Hino river delta advanced rapidly, pushing the ocean shoreline back at an average annual rate of eleven meters. The rapid lengthening of the river, along with the thriving kanna-nagashi activity resulted in a considerable rise in the level of the riverbed. As a result, after another major flood in 1893, Yonago-cho requested that the government halt all kanna-nagashi activities. But the Kondo family, the head of the smelting company owners, countered by strongly denying any link between kanna-nagashi and flooding. It can clearly be acknowledged that the business relationship between Hino-gun and Aimi-gun which had been based on cooperation at the end of the Edo Period, had changed by the middle of the Meiji Era to a relationship of simple conflict.
This paper concludes that the failure of the Meiji government to properly implement flood control countermeasures brought this conflict to the surface. In addition, further, research into the structure of relationships between han in other river basin areas is necessary.

Key words: flood damage, riparian commerce, traditional iron sand smelting method (tatara), iron sand mining (kanna-nagashi), Hino River

Restoration of Agricultural Lands and the Development of the Historical Landscape in Areas Prone to Flooding: A case study of the Lower Tenryu River Basin

Department of Economics, Josai University

The aim of this study was to determine the extent to which village residents were able to restore agricultural lands damaged by frequent flooding and the associated deposition of sediments in the Lower Tenryu River basin during the Edo Period. In addition, the development of the shimabatake landforms and their relationship with these periods of flooding was also investigated.
The Tenryu River previously transported considerable amounts of sediment from upstream areas and experienced frequent flooding. Consequently, coastal villages and agricultural areas suffered extensive flood damage when dikes collapsed, and large amounts of sediment were deposited in these areas as the floodwaters receded. This sudden influx of sediments required considerable amounts of time and labor to remove. In the villages of the Lower Tenryu River basin examined in this case study, only a small area of agricultural land had been completely restored one to two years after a flood event. Since the quantities of sediments that were deposited in these areas made physical restoration difficult, and because the excess sediment effectively prevented the cultivation of rice in these areas, the local lords either exempted the affected farmers from having to pay tribute land tax or reduced their contributions. For example, the agricultural lands around Sagisakanakanogou were damaged by extensive sediment deposition after floods in 1845; seven years later in 1852, the restoration of the area had still not been completed and the residents were either fully or partially exempted from having to pay tribute land tax. Interestingly, it is unlikely that there was insufficient labor to restore these areas sooner since the area of land affected was relatively small. It therefore appears that in many cases the inhabitants managed the land with the intention of doing very little restoration work until the tax amnesty period expired.
There was also evidence of areas where residents had initiated restoration work as the period of tax amnesty approached, but the work had not been completed in time. In such cases, residents appear to have decided not to remove the earth, and to convert their paddy fields into dry fields instead. In so doing, they created the shimabatake landscape prevalent in the area.

Key words: Restoration of agricultural lands, earth and sand inflow, shimabatake landscape, reclamation period, Lower Tenryu River Basin

Kita Sadakichi’s Historical Geography: An Analysis of His Unpublished Lecture Records and Lecture Notes

KAWAI Ichiro
Japan Tobacco, Inc.
Graduate Student, Graduate School of Education, Waseda University

Kita Sadakichi (1871-1939) was a Japanese historical geographer active from the Meiji to early Shwa periods. He was a pioneer in developing and popularizing the field, founding the first academic historical geography society in Japan (Nihon Rekishi Chiri Kenkyukai) and lecturing at such institutions as Tokyo Imperial University and Kyoto Imperial University. However, he has not been adequately recognized in studies of historical geography. This was a result of the geographical field’s reaction to his not positioning historical geography within the field of geography, but rather seeing it as a mere auxiliary to the study of history (a geographical study of history). The present study examines Kita’s historical geography objectively, and seeks to reevaluate his position in the history of Japanese geography. For that purpose, the author made use of his lecture records and notes (unpublished) held by the University Library of the Tokushima University.
The following points were learned as a result of this study: (1) Kita did not see historical geography as a simple adjunct to the study of history as has long been claimed, but instead clearly positioned it as a field within geography. (2) Kita furthermore thought that historical geography could contribute to the development of human geography, an undeveloped field at the time. For that time, this was an advanced academic view. (3) On the other hand, his studies include aspects of historical geography that do not belong to geography, transcending the accepted category of historical geography to include to a nontrivial degree ancient history as well as ethnic history, archaeology, geographical studies of history, etc. (4) As a result, his appraisal by the geographers of that time was low, and his contributions to historical geography seem to have been maintained in the field of history but not in the field of geography. (5) Nevertheless, Kita’s view of historical geography was, for his day, quite advanced, and deserves to be reevaluated within the field of the history of geography.

Key words: Kita Sadakichi, historical geography, history of geography, lecture records, lecture notes

The Development and Roles of Gangi Arcades in Sanjo Town, Echigo Province between the 18th and 19th Centuries

Graduate Student, Institute of Human Geography, Osaka University

On the Echigo Plain, the gangi arcades, a type of arcade constructed from the timber eaves of adjacent buildings, were built in many market towns through the Edo Period. These arcades were traditional in towns with heavy snowfalls. Over the years there have been many studies done on gangi arcades, but very few discuss their history. The purpose of this paper is to improve the understanding of gangi arcades between the 18th and 19th centuries. This is a case study of Sanjo Town, Echigo Province.
Sanjo Town was developed as the castle town of the Sanjo Domain in the late 1610s. After the abolition of the Sanjo Domain in 1623, Sanjo Town continued to flourish as a market town and a river port town. The main street of Sanjo Town, called Honcho Street, was built along the Ikarashi River. The gangi arcades were built on both sides of Honcho Street, Honji Street, and Hachiman Street by the mid 18th century. People used these arcades as covered walkways. In the mid 18th century, Ichinokido Village and Tajima Village, the villages adjacent to Sanjo Town, started to build some stores with gangi arcades. However Sanjo Town’s people called for a ban on these new buildings, and the people of these villages gave up building gangi arcades.
Gangi arcades were also used in a commercial fashion. For example, a merchant who set up the stalls of a periodic market using the gangi arcade style on Honji Street was described in the record of Sanjo earthquake in 1828. In the late 19th century, people set up mago-bisashi, boards attached in front of gangi arcades in the winter to secure the places for the stalls of the periodic market. These attachment boards were set up along streets with gangi arcades, and they were concentrated around both ends of Sanjo Town.
In Sanjo Town, stores with gangi arcades were constructed until the late 19th century but use of the gangi arcade style was discontinued by the 1930s.

Key words: Echigo Province, gangi arcade, Sanjo Town, heavy-snow town, periodic market

To Page Top