1. Although contemporary regard hyakusho as all rice farmers, hyakusho were actually composed of a variety of people, including merchants, fishermen, blacksmith and so on. For instance, the Tokikuni family, of hyakusho status, were actually involved with much more activities other than mere agriculture. The large ships, the salt fields, and the wood provided the family with opportunities to frequently engage in marine trades of salt and charcoal. In 1618, the Tokikuni began to operate a mine near the village of Najimi. Also, the storehouses of the Tokukini family allowed them to perform administrators. Another illustration lies in Kaminoseki, a port town. The town captained two sections, inland sections and port-side section. A late Edo historical material Bocho Land Development Plan states that 19/36 of the hyakusho households in inland section pursued agricultural activities and only 12/88 of the hyakusho households in port-side section did so, while the others were merchants, shippers, blacksmiths, and fishermen. So, in fact, we can easily tell that only a small portion of hyakusho in Kaminoseki are farmers. Thus, according to these examples, it is so misguided to conclude that all hyakusho were all fundamental farmers.
2. The Tokikuni family were not mainly engaged in agricultural activities with a massive amount of slaves. Indeed, the prominent Tokikuni family did perform large-scale farming, but farming was not their most consequential routine occupation. Except for agriculture, the Tokikuni family was involved in marine trade, with the resource coming from its salt fields and woodland, and its large ships. Although many people regard the Tokikuni family merely as wealthy landowners with lots of slaves, this is not true.
3. Now that we know that hyakusho were not all farmers, we also have to point out that the landless villagers were not always destitute. The Shibakusayi family, designated as landless class, was actually in a condition that is completely different from needy farmers in common sense. Although the family members did not own land, they were elite marine merchants who expertized in shipping and commerce. The Shibakusayi family even had the financial credibility to borrow one hundred ryo of gold from the Tokikuni family, the super wealthy family we mentioned before. The situation can also be applied to Sosogi. Seen as an impoverished hamlet, Sosogi’s residents actually and usually owned large vessels for large-scale trade all along the Japan Sea. These records demonstrate the fiscal powerfulness of the so-called landless poor villagers.
4. According to historian Izumi’s findings, most of the residents in Wajima, the largest city in Outer Nato, were atamafuri, landless villagers. Also, it is “known as a place of exile” (Amino Yoshiko, Was Medieval Japan an Agrarian Society? P.58). Undoubtedly people consider Outer Noto a backcountry, but this is not the truth. Though with little space for rice paddies, Outer Noto contained a lot of port cities, which offered a perfect environment for shippers to pursue marine trade. Definitely, the trade brought the residents great wealth. Since most of Japanese archipelago are coasts and islands, and water was much more abundant compared to contemporary Japan, it is no wonder that the finding that so-called backcountries were indeed wealthy port areas can be applied to all coastal cities. Also, people in the mountain areas experience the similar condition. The barren soil of mountain areas was not suitable for farming, but the well-developed lumber industry dominated in the areas and helped people become wealthy. Therefore, the findings can be applied to the whole Japanese archipelago.
5. The Ritsuryo state system was based on taxation on rice paddies, because the Ritsuryo state wanted to have a consequential influence in the history. Since Japan did not have enough room for large-scale agriculture, it is unrealistic for the government to choose farming land taxation as its main revenue. On the other hand, the plenty resource of coastal and mountain areas were ignored by the Ritsuryo state. Obviously, the system could not match the economic reality of Japanese archipelago.
6. New documents can absolutely shed new light on the major historical problems. In the past, historians mainly depend on the written documents to research the routine occupations of hyakusho. Undoubtedly, the state which had a land-based system recorded agricultural activities as mainly pursued by people. However, materials were newly discovered, such as wooden tablets in Heijo Palace, “backside documents”, which are the diaries kept by people on the back of old paper documents, and fusuma, which are preserved in the insulated doors. Nonagricultural activities appear much more frequently in these documents other than the official ones, and thus the new evidence requires historians to reconsider the question of people’s main occupation during medieval period.
7. Japan was not an isolated island country. First, probably an obstruction to communication, the ocean served more as a tool of transportation. Besides, the rivers and lakes within the archipelago linked the islands as an entity. Furthermore, Watanabe Makoto’s research illustrated that the fishhooks, earthenware, and stone anchors represent a culture of Jomon that is related to the Korean peninsula. Also, Mori Koichi’s discoveries demonstrates that the obsidian that was transported through the sea means that Japan was not isolated form the surrounding area.
8. The predominant opinion of Jomon people is that there were savage and primitive, but actually, they are much more advanced than we think. Instead of fur and skin, they had textile for clothing. Rather than arrows and bows, they owned highly developed wooden tools (Amino Yoshiko, Was Medieval Japan an Agrarian Society? P.67). Moreover, gourds, not native in Japan, suggest that Jomon people were involved with imports. Dry field agriculture and rice cultivation were also introduced to the Jomon society at the time. Most surprisingly, the enormous pillars constructed as the coastline implies the existence of leaders to some extent. Consequently, rather than self-sufficient, non-trading, and savage, Jomon society was multicultural and communicative, and civilized.
9. Yaoyi people did not live solely on rice. Although the technological system of rice cultivation was brought in at the time, other imports, such as dry field crops, bronze, iron, sericulture, textile technologies, and advances in salt production. Wei Zhi Wei Ren Zhuan, a Chinese document, records the Tsushima people’s lifestyle, which was based on trade to north and south. Except for trade, people also relied on different resources: people on the plain planted “mulberry trees, sumac, hemp, and ramie” (Amino Yoshiko, Was Medieval Japan an Agrarian Society? P.69). Coastal residents brought seafood from the ocean. Therefore it is incorrect to state that Yaoyi people only depended on rice.
10. The Jomon culture of the east and the Yaoyi culture of the west were greatly distinctive. First, the physical appearance of eastern and western people were different. While western people resembled Koreans, eastern people were similar to Okinawans. Moreover, in the west, well-developed culture and technologies were introduced from China and the Korean Peninsula. On the other hand, the northeastern Asian culture was burst into the east. An appropriate example is rice cultivation. In the east, rice was cultivated along the dry field, it is not so in the west. Thus, we can conclude that Japan has different cultural origins.
11. Nara and Heian states did not preserve the rice-centered fantasy. First, the emergence of Taria no Masakado, which relied on maritime power, indicates that rice and agriculture were not what they were mainly concerned about (Amino Yoshiko, Was Medieval Japan an Agrarian Society? P.77). Second, at the harbors of Northern Kyushu, trade of pottery with Chinese boats were very active (Amino Yoshiko, Was Medieval Japan an Agrarian Society? P.79). Third, important port town such as Matsuranotsu came into existence during this period (Amino Yoshiko, Was Medieval Japan an Agrarian Society? P.80). Numerous instances demonstrate that the rice-centered fantasy was not as popular in the states of Nara and Heian.
12. A good historian changes his mind with new questions and evidence discovered. The ancient government of Japan strictly performed a land –centered system, so most of the written records are related to agriculture. Also, ancient China and European’s economies relied mainly on agriculture. As a result, Japanese historians, including Amino Yoshiko, regarded the concentration on Japanese agrarian activities as irreproachable. However, with the new documents mentioning the nonagricultural activities discovered, Amino realized his fault of the distortion of the history. So he began to focus on the “lives of those who did not participate in agriculture (Amino Yoshiko, Was Medieval Japan an Agrarian Society? P.64). He visited the storehouse of the Tukikuni family, went to the coastal cities in Outer Noto, and found new documents like fasuma, he got a lot of information and evidence that supported the new theory of Japan. Reconsidering the historical, political, and economic realities of ancient Japan, Amino did not view the hyakusho as mere farmers any more. He changed his opinion through incessant study and research.