Community and State in the Japanese Farm Village
Farm Tenancy Conciliation (1924–1938)
While many studies have been written on the farm tenancy disputes that undermined the social fabric in Japan between the First and the Second World War, the Japanese government's major response to these disputes, namely the creation of an in-court conciliation procedure has not received proportionate attention. In fact, this is the first book-length study on the farm tenancy conciliation procedure and analysis of the Japanese government's wish to maintain tradition at al cost in the farmer community. The farm tenants as well as the landowners were from 1917—the very beginning of what the Japanese government considered 'the farm tenancy problem'—struggling for their right for better opportunities and hence, a better life in the context of Japan's modernization.
This book does focus on the ultimate answer by the Japanese government to the disputes between farmer tenants and their landowners, the Farm Tenancy Conciliation Law of 1924. The major focus of this part, however, will be on the role of the Tenancy Officer in the functioning of this law. The Tenancy Officer was the main innovation in the farm tenancy conciliation system. How did this bureaucrat of the Ministry of Agriculture who resided in the conflict prone villages, perform his task of coordinator of the in-court conciliation procedure for farm tenancy disputes? What was the effect for the farm tenancy problem and did he succeed in mediating between the government and the farmers? The tenancy officer was the main go-between for tradition and modernity and for the living law in the village and the ambitions of the government and played an important role in establishing a new order in the farm villages. This tenancy officer has never received in depth attention in- or outside Japan. This book overcomes this neglect and is based mainly upon first-hand reports of the farm tenancy disputes written by the mediators and upon original diaries of tenancy officers. This book provides a new insight in alternative dispute resolution in Japan specifically and in the interaction of law and society in general.