SOKENDAI Review of Cultural and Social Studies


vol.19 (2023)

Postwar Changes in Cultivated Land and
Crop Cultivation in Mountain Villages
in the Ikawa Area of Shizuoka City


Department of Regional Studies,
School of Cultural and Social Studies,
The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, SOKENDAI

Key words:

mountain villages, slash-and-burn fields, continuous cultivation fields, tea, subsistence crops, Southern Alps

Before rapid economic growth occurred in Japan, crops were cultivated in many mountain villages for subsistence purposes. Cash crops such as tea were also cultivated in conjunction with slash-and-burn farming to sustain people’s livelihoods. Although slash-and-burn farming declined in the 1950s, the specific changes that took place in cultivated land and crops in mountain villages up to the present day have not been clarified. This study discusses the conversion of cultivated land to tea plantations and the impact of changes in cultivated land on crops through an examination of individual cases in mountain villages in the Ikawa area of Shizuoka City. A summary of the study is as follows:

1. Cultivated lands were converted to tea plantations from a combination of burnt fields, common fields, and grassland and expanded during the period of rapid economic growth. Starting at about 1985, tea plantations shrank in size due to the aging of the population.

2. With the change in cultivated land, subsistence cultivation of grains, such as Japanese millet and barley, and the use of native tea that grew naturally after the slash-and-burn fallow period came to an end from the mid-1950s to the mid-1966s.

3. Subsistence crop cultivation continues to this day in some continuous cultivation fields and tea plantations that have been in existence since the mid-1950s.