Episode-981- Lessons in Sustainable Living Japan’s Edo Period

The Survival Podcast show

Summary: An Edo Period Farm House Photo Credit to acreutz via Flickr While I was traveling to and from North Carolina for the recent self reliance expo I wasn’t laying down on the job. I was in fact doing more research for more shows, one such piece was a complete reading of the book, “Just Enough – Lessons in Living Green from Traditional Japan” by Azby Brown. The book was a fascinating look at life in Japan during the Edo Period (1603-1868) which was largely a stable period at the end of what could best be described as Japan’s feudal era along with the end of their isolationist period. The period was characterized by economic growth, strict social orders, isolationist foreign policies, an increase in both environmental protection and the creation and popular enjoyment of arts and culture. Japanese society during this period was controlled by the Tokugawa shogunate and the country’s 300 regional Daimyo (like Dukes and Lords in Europe). It was officially established in Edo on March 24, 1603 by Tokugawa Ieyasu. The period came to an end with the Meiji Restoration on May 3, 1868 after the fall of Edo. Included in the social structure were several classes of people.  They were basically, Peasant Farmers of Varying Degrees Peasant Towns People of Varying Degrees Samurai also of Varying Degrees Daimyo again the “Nobles” With in these primary groups were many additional layers, for instance some farmers owned sizable lands, say 2.5 Hectares (about 6 acres), though most land owners in this class were more likely to own about 1-2 acres.  Some were more accurately tenet farmers, having to lease land or work the land of others. Samurai also had many ranks, some would own very large tracts of land, though in the Edo period most had given up their country lands and moved to special areas of the large cities and towns.  A mid ranking Samurai would own about 990 square meters of land, (about a quarter of an acre) and on it have a house that would average about 99 square meters, (just over 1,000 square feet), this was considered an absolute luxury by many peasant towns people who often lived in one room apartments that were on average 12 x 16 feet and would house an entire family. Today we examine many of the ways these people lived a 100% self sufficient lifestyle as a nation.  Remember during this period Japan was almost a 100% closed society, having little to no trade or interaction with any nation outside of their own borders.  Yet cities like Edo with populations over 1 million had little incidence of plague or rampant disease, very few if any people (even the poorest starved) and much of the pressured environment was restored and protected. Join us today as we discuss…. Lessons from a Peasant Farmer The production possible from 2-6 acres In some places livestock are not sustainable Forests must be preserved Irrigation can be accomplished with 90%+ gravity A dirt floor may not be a sign of poverty in some parts of a house High taxes are nothing new (25-50% on farmers) Lessons from Peasant Town’s People What you need is far less then you think it is Rebuild our distinctive neighborhood communities Put human waste to good use Fix things, if they are truly broken recycle them Design with reuse, recycle and return to earth in mind Design cities and towns with walking in mind Create common areas Lessons from mid ranking Samurai A quarter of an acre can make one largely self sufficient Develop local and even micro economies for stability Embrace cottage industries Build edible fish ponds in back yards Value education, meditation and relaxation Plant trees for beauty and for production Design home that can be “reconfigured” Understand how much the average person really has today Create what you long for, don’t just dream of it Resources for today’s show… Members Support Brigade Join Our Forum TSP Copper MURS Radio – (sponsor of the day) Bulk Ammo – (spo[...]