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Japan- A Self-Sufficient Country

Are You Self Sufficient?

That would mean that you wouldnt need anything


from anyone else. It is a very difficult way to live. We start our lives as being very
dependent on others arounds us. Often we also conclude out lives the same way!

Japans Resources and Climate


Compared with other countries of Renaissance Europe, Japan
had relatively little trade with other countries before 1583.
Yet the country survived and even prospered.
Japans farmers and fishers provided sufficient food to feed
people.
Wood for building and for fuel came from the abundant
forests.
Silkworms and cotton plants provided material for clothing.
Clever artisans made use of the available metals.
Nature compensated for the limited amount of arable landthat is land suitable for farming. The land they did have was
very fertile.
A temperate climate and dependable rainfall provided a
longer growing season.
As a result, Japan was a self-sufficient country!

Rice: Symbol of A Country


Rice has a special place in Japanese society.
Rice was the main source of food and some beverages in
Japan. Although the poorest Japanese could afford rice only
occasionally, it was-and remains- the food most associated
with Japan and its culture.
Even today, the emperor tends a few rice plants, symbolically
nurturing the Japanese culture and its growing people.
Growing rice is very difficult and labor intensive. Rice also
depends on the right amount of moisture, which is brought by
the monsoon winds and deposited as rain. In the past, no
monsoons meant no rice crops and famine followed.
For centuries, rice was also the Japanese money system. For
tax purposes, the value of land was determined by the
estimated amount of rice that it could produce.
A lords rank and wealth was determined by the total rice
production in his territory.

Other Foods In Japan


Fish

Seaweed

The sea provided


fish, which is one of
the main sources of
protein for the
Japanese.

Another Japanese
staple food
harvested from the
sea is seaweed,
which is high in
vitamins and mineral
salts.

Soy
Soy is another
important part of
the Japanese diet.
People in Canada
have only recently
begun eating
soybeans and soy
based products.

A Homogeneous Society
When you look at the physical geography of Japan, you
might expect that people living in different areas of the
country developed distinct cultures.
The rugged mountains, the rough, swift flowing
mountain rivers, and the many islands form natural
barriers between regions making it difficult to trade
and communicate.
However, the people of Japan have long though of
themselves as a homogeneous society, a great unified
family with common values and beliefs.
A homogeneous society consists of people who see
themselves as having a similar nature and character.
The geographic factor that contributed to this aspect of
society was the sea. Most of the population lived along
the coast and the sea provided a communication and
trading corridor for them. Along with goods, ideas,
beliefs, and values were also shared.

The Ainu- A Distinct People


The Ainu lived in the northern part of Japan for
several thousand years in an area called Ezo.
The word Ainu means human.
The Ainu had their own separate society and territory,
but eventually the Japanese began to take over the
Ainu lands.
The Ainu fought several wars of resistance against
Japanese control, but were always defeated.
Eventually Ainu land became part of Japan.
The Japanese began a program of assimilation of the
Ainu. They were forbidden to speak their language or
practice many of their customs. They were also
restricted to live in areas the Japanese government
provided for them.
Does the treatment of the Ainu sound familiar?
Explain.