【Booklet】Beginning of Cooperatives <Yugaku Ohara ③> Agrarian reform (April 25, 2015)

Help each other in pairs of houses 

Under the hill near the Yugaku Ohara Memorial at Nagabe, Asahi city, Chiba Prefecture, there are about 10a rectangular rice fields lined up neatly.  Once upon a time, the village houses were located centered on the shrine at top of the hill. On the other hand, the rice fields were located in the lowland. So, it was inconvenient for agricultural work.
With the cooperation of the disciples, Yugaku carried out large-scale of arable land exchange and consolidation.  Children also worked for fixing and treading the footpath in the foot to learn the importance of mutual cooperation.

Panoramic view picture of the land consolidation that Yugaku Ohara guided (provided by the Memorial, Asahi City, Chiba Prefecture)

Panoramic view picture of the land consolidation that Yugaku Ohara guided (provided by the Memorial, Asahi City, Chiba Prefecture)

Each one pairs of 2 houses were dispersed and transferred to the nearby rice fields under the hill.  He ordered villagers to live helping each other. He avoided formation of one pair composed of 3 Houses which was thought to produce ostracized house.  And without taking into account the circumstances of the original neighbors and relatives, all villagers followed the guidance of Yugaku’s thought that the entire village was relatives (Haruki Koshikawa, “Yugaku Ohara research”).  When the land consolidation was completed, former rough rice fields with crop yield of about only four bales (1 bale = 60kg) per 10a had become wonderful rice fields with crop yield of about five or six bales (1 bale = 60kg) per 10a.

The culmination of his theory was systematically constructed village.  In the village, 6 farmers houses (currently 9 houses) lined along the road at the moderate sense, facing rice fields.  The water channel was constructed, and fields were developed on the hill behind forest.  Now after more than 170 years, it is showing a calm appearance.

He also put emphasis on improving the lives of farmers, and finely summarized the ways of clothing, food and housing.  In addition, “women’s knowledge”, his book on woman education, including pregnant woman’s meal guidance, shows that he was keen on living in general.

Thoroughness of technical guidance for increase of revenue

“In order to rebuild the economy of farmers, it is vital that we improve farmer’s production technology and increase income.”  Yugaku thought so, and guided using the latest agricultural techniques.

At the time in Kanto area, main method of rice planting was random planting.  Yugaku introduced “Seijo (Regular) planting”, he earned during the leisure education in Kansai area, the agriculture of advanced area. It was the method to plant seedlings of rice by putting the rope every 1.9m where each farmer shall be responsible for the each inside of the rope alone. And each farmer planted the seedlings in 24cm intervals each inside of the rope.  Such method, which are theoretically also good regarding sunlight and ventilation, have been adopted in modern times.

During the rice farming season, he went out to the fields and instructed the method. In addition, he taught how to plant the seeds using mud in the tub during slack season for farmers.

“It was historically significant as the transfer of advanced agricultural technology from Kinki area to Kanto area, at the second half of Edo period.” (“Yugaku Ohara”, Nobuhiko Nakai)

Agricultural machinery and fertilizer are representative of the expensive tools in farming even now.  In his main book, “Bimiyugenko (delicate theory)”, he emphasized ” Bunsooh (to live within one’s means) ” and promoted striving to live a simple and frugal life.

He promoted creating farming implements and avoided buy fertilizer such as Kujukuri Hoshika (Hoshika = fertilizer made by dried sardines) and Shimekasu (Shimekasu = fertilizer made by de-oiled sardine) produced in Choshi and Kujyukuri area, which were generally used in their village at that time.  He guided farmers to make self-sufficient fertilizer by piling grass in summer and drying it into compost.

He guided to make only self-sufficiency crops such as rice, wheat, soybean, buckwheat, barnyard and radish, and did not give eyes to commodity crops such as cotton and raw silk.  In spite of expansion of agricultural products circulation to the mega city Edo, he confronted such commodity and money economy in until a stubborn.

 “The minds of pregnant women”, taught to women by Yugaku

・For pregnancy, crisp fish, such as red snapper, flounder, sillaginoid, gurnard, flathead, are good
・However, according to considered volume, kinds of horse mackerel, barracuda, and yellow corvina are also good
・Up to three sardines are good.  Dried bonito are also good
・Fried tofu and fatty fish, are greatly bad
・Black sesame, Chinese yam, rice cakes are also great
・Until seven days after delivery, one GO (about 180ml) of rice per once cooked in loose porridge boiled without salt, along with grilled salt, miso soup, and dried bonito, are good
・Baby, in one hundred days after birth, should sleep in thin bright place
(Excerpts from “Extract from rural teacher Ohara Yuza” written by Haruki Koshikawa)

【Booklet】Beginning of Cooperatives <Yugaku Ohara ④> Planning and rationality (May 2, 2015)

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