Japan is a nation of “Forest” (4) 2017/08/01

Japan had Age of Civil Wars during 15th to 16th century. Then Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi、ambitious and talented warlords, united the nation after severe battles between powerful lords. After the death of these two giants, Tokugawa Ieyasu took over the united nation and opened the Edo shogunate in early 17th century.

Thanks to peaceful and ordinary society, a population of Japan jumped up to 30 million from 15 million in the first 100 years of Edo era. Furthermore people’s living standard and cultural level were dramatically improved. Therefore they definitely required much larger quantity of woods not only as energy source but also as building materials and precious sources for various kinds of tools.

It was the time of crisis for Japanese forests. However Edo shogunate had a clear understanding how important to keep forests green. They made new potion of Forest magistrate to control forests and distribution of woods. They took every measure to prevent forests from destructive lumbering.

At the same time each feud also tried hard to preserve forests by skillfully planed planting or forbid people’s entering into forests without an official permission from an authority.


Owing to such wise efforts, they successfully kept green forests until Meiji era when Japan started to import western technologies including coal industry which replaced the main potion of energy source from woods. Thanks to coal industry, Japanese forests could have survived in spite of rapid growth for energy requirement during and after Meiji era.

Today, Japan still keeps 67% forest rate which is exceptionally high among OECD nations whose average rate is only around 10%.

forests and paddy fields