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Population, Disease, and Land in Early Japan, 645–900

Population, Disease, and Land in Early Japan, 645–900

William Wayne Farris

ISBN 9780674690059

Publication date: 03/19/1995

From tax and household registers, law codes, and other primary sources, as well as recent Japanese sources, William Wayne Farris has developed the first systematic, scientific analysis of early Japanese population, including the role of disease in economic development. This work provides a comprehensive study of land clearance, agricultural technology, and rural settlement. The function and nature of ritsuryō institutions are reinterpreted within the revised demographic and economic setting.

Farris’s text is illustrated with maps, population pyramids for five localities, and photographs and translations of portions of tax and household registers, which throw further light on the demography and economy of Japan in the seventh, eighth, and ninth centuries.


  • These discussions of people and land in Japan’s classic age are major contributions to Western Japanology and should attract wide interest among scholars concerned with premodern populations. Never before has this material been presented so effectively in a Western language.

    —American Historical Review


  • William Wayne Farris is Professor of History, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Book Details

  • 6 x 9 inches
  • Harvard University Asia Center

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