The Making of a Japanese Periphery, 1750-1920


By Kären E. Wigen

University of California Press

Copyright © 1995 Kären E. Wigen
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0520084209

Ina in the Tokugawa Space-Economy
The Making of a Trade Corridor

For a brief period in the mid 1700s, an obscure castle town in the southern Japanese Alps came under the scrutiny of the highest courts in Japan. At the time, most provincial lords would have found such attention as uncomfortable as it was unwonted. Since the Pax Tokugawa of a century and a half earlier, the archipelago had been loosely united under a stable but circumspect central regime, leaving provincial affairs almost entirely to the discretion of local rulers.1 In such a setting, coming within the purview of the nation's central authorities invariably signaled trouble. Yet for local officials in the Ina valley, the arrival of the shogun's representatives in 1763 was a moment less of trial than of triumph. The conflict at hand was one in which the local daimyo—or, more precisely, his merchant-magistrates—stood to gain more than they might lose from shogunal interdiction.

he Tokugawa political system united some 260 formerly autonomous domains (han ) into a federation overseen from Edo by the Tokugawa shoguns, a hereditary dynasty of suzerains. Although the Tokugawa directly ruled only a quarter of the national terrain, the officials who staffed their administration (the shogunate, or Bakufu) asserted broad powers to intervene m the affairs of the daimyo, fief holders who governed the remainder of the country. The daimyo retained fiscal autonomy, yet were regulated by the shogunate in such diverse matters as succession, marriage, trade, armaments, and foreign policy. For more on the workings of this peculiar hybrid government, known m Japanese as the baku-han system, see Totman 1967



What had brought the cumbersome apparatus of Tokugawa judicature to the valley was a smoldering conflict over transportation rights. Since the mid 1600s, post-station operators in southern Shinano province had been protesting to the local lords that unlicensed peasant competitors along the Ina road were engaging in commercial drayage. If true, this constituted an open defiance of domain law, which promised a handful of designated post stations a legal monopoly over all third-party cargo in exchange for corvée. Deprived of paying customers, the post-station managers could not readily meet the continued demand for those services, and as their finances steadily eroded over the course of the eighteenth century, many had become desperate. By the 1750s, tensions had escalated, in some instances to the point of violence; angry relay operators at more than one station had assaulted their illegal competitors and made off with cargo. With the conflict crossing local rulers' jurisdictions, the Bakufu was finally forced to intervene.

In preparation for rendering a decision in the case—one officials hoped would put an end to over a century of conflict in the valley—a year-long survey of the illegal trade was ordered in 1763. From the provincial city of Iida, Shimoina's sole castle town and the most important distribution point in the trade, officials began documenting private cargo traffic to ascertain its extent. The results abundantly substantiated the accusations of the relay operators: a flagrant illicit trade was indeed found to be flourishing along the Ina road. During the year they were put under surveillance, unlicensed packhorse operators were found to have carried more than 70,000 loads in and out of the castle town—an average of nearly 200 loads per day.

Yet the case was not easily put to rest. The Bakufu's investigators were also presented with documents testifying that this same illicit trade had become integral to a thriving commercial economy in the corridor through which it ran. Merchants in the castle town were able to make a persuasive case that, should the suit end in banning all private drayage through the area, shipping costs would rise, commerce would decline, and dire consequences would ensue, not only for Iida but for the larger region it served. Whatever the self-interest behind these alarmist predictions, the shogunate ultimately saw fit to acknowledge them. In 1764, in the Face of clear and incontrovertible evidence of sustained illegal shipping, the Ina road's private packhorse network was licensed and sanctioned. The problem was solved, not by punishing the lawbreakers, but by changing the law.



The present chapter looks at this unusual legal decision from two perspectives. The core of the chapter is essentially historical, chronicling the making of a trade corridor in the Ina valley. Bracketing that story, however, are geographical discussions, positioning the region within the wider Tokugawa space-economy. The link between these temporal and spatial analyses lies not only in the legal decision on which they both pivot, but in the intersection of politics and environment that produced the decision in the first place. The Ina valley's location and shape may have created a pathway for trade. But it was the area's fragmented political terrain that allowed private carriers to gain a foothold—and it was the maneuvers of a merchant-peasant alliance that secured recognition for the resulting network in 1764.

To lay the groundwork for this argument, the chapter begins with an overview of Shimoina's linkages to surrounding metropolitan markets. The Ina valley formed a natural corridor between the Tokai coast and interior Shinano, through which it was connected in turn to Kyoto, Osaka, and Edo. Yet Ina shippers faced keen competition in the through-trade from their counterparts in the parallel Kiso valley. A look at Shimoina's location on the map of early modern Japan suggests that what was at stake in the 1764 decision was not simply who would carry cargo on the Ina road, but how much of the southern Alps' trade would traverse that route in the first place.

Following a brief sketch of this wider geographical context, the focus narrows to the valley itself. The first question addressed here concerns the Ina valley's need to rely extensively on animal transport. In the preindustrial economy, even the smallest of boats were more efficient than any land-based alternative, and Tokugawa authorities supported Herculean efforts to clear the country's major river channels. Yet the Tenryu River was never fully developed for cargo transport. It is my contention that more than physical geography stood in the way of navigation on the Tenryu. By the mid Edo period, if not earlier, local impediments to riparian transport were socially as well as naturally constituted.

Forced to rely on overland transport, the valley's residents were left with two major drayage options: the official relay system, or unofficial, peasant-run pack trains. An extended comparison of the two highlights the advantages of the peasant network over its official competitors, explaining its rise to favor among the area's merchant class. This raises the issue of the role of cargo brokers, who provided both a marketing nexus and a powerful ally in the legal struggles that culminated in the pack-



horse operators' legitimation. Here above all, the documents create a vivid sense of the extent to which the commercial landscape of Tokugawa Japan was contested terrain. If the circulation network whose spatial contours were laid bare in the Bakufu's survey was in part the product of topography, it was also a product of organized struggle.

The final section of the chapter reverts once again to a synchronic mode of exposition, analyzing the geography of trade as revealed by the 1763 survey. The data submitted for this court case allow us to revisit the question of Shimoina's position, plotting its coordinates in the national economic landscape with considerable precision. Doing so, moreover, highlights the intimate connections between the realm of circulation, the primary focus here, and that of production, to be taken up in the following chapter.

The story of Shimoina's pack trains thus sets the stage for the regional inversion in two senses. Historically, the creation of a regular yet constrained channel of exchange with the wider Japanese economy facilitated Shimoina's protoindustrialization, encouraging the commercial developments that would both integrate and differentiate the region during the later Tokugawa period. Theoretically, too, the transport struggles traced here foreshadow the central themes of the study. From well before its inversion, the economic infrastructure of this region proves to have been not given but made, and the process of its production was indeed politically charged.

The castle town of Iida, focal point of the lower Ina valley, was located roughly halfway between the largest population centers of Tokugawa Japan (see map 1 )2 Some two hundred kilometers to the west, in the Kinai plain, lay the twin cities of the ancient Japanese heartland: Kyoto, the imperial capital, and nearby Osaka, the country's commercial center. To the east, overlooking the even more extensive Kanto plain, lay the city of Edo (present-day Tokyo), the seat of effective political power. The ancient road threading the Ina valley connected Iida with both of these major hubs of the Tokugawa economy. En route to

Unattributed facts m the following discussion are from Heibonsha 1979 and companion volumes in the same gazetteer series



these metropolises, it passed through two intermediary regions as well: the Tokai coast to the south, and interior Shinano to the north. These four population clusters—two proximate, two more distant—were the most important points on Shimoina's economic compass.

The most powerful pole of Shimoina's economic field was located to the south and west, in the thriving community centered on the Ise and Mikawa bays (map 3). By far the largest city in the region was Nagoya, castle town of the Owari domain.3 Overseeing one of Japan's largest fiefs (estimated officially at over 600,000 koku ), Nagoya was home to nearly 70,000 inhabitants in 1700, and to over 90,000 by the end of the Tokugawa period. Its sizable concentration of warriors, artisans, and merchants constituted an important magnet for foodstuffs and consumer goods, making Nagoya the core of an economic region that extended throughout the adjacent Nobi plain, into the surrounding mountains, and southward around the Ise and Mikawa bay shores.

Nagoya's importance as a center of political power and consumer demand was not, however, matched by any significant wholesaling or shipping role. Located on high ground several kilometers inland, with superior ports to both east and west, Nagoya was poorly positioned to dominate exchanges within the larger transbay community. Instead, those interactions assumed the form of a complex web of multilateral ties, sustained by a shipping network that eluded the domination of any single port. Rather than being a sharply focused nodal region, the trading world of greater Nobi was a loose confederation of differently endowed subregions, tied together by a latticework of roads and shipping lines that crisscrossed the Nobi plain and the protected body of water on which it fronted.4

Reflecting this economic structure, Shimoina's trade with the region was oriented not solely to Nagoya, but also to two smaller ports on nearby Mikawa Bay: Yoshida (on the Toyo River) and Okazaki (on the Yahagi). Nagoya absorbed the bulk of Iida's southbound exports and

The Owari daimyo were a collateral branch of the Tokugawa house. Ieyasu, founder of the shogunate, had his third son installed at Nagoya castle in order to secure control of this strategic area, which included a vital shipping center in Ise Bay, the fertile Nobi plain, and the prime forests of the Kiso valley.

For a more extensive discussion of trade and transport in greater Nobi, see Wigen n d



Map 3.
Greater Nobi, Showing Major Rivers and Roads.

served as its primary point of contact with Kyoto and Osaka, but Yoshida and Okazaki supplied most of its coastal trade. With a commoner population of roughly 6,500 in 1833, Okazaki occupied the center of Mikawa's cotton-growing district; the slightly larger Yoshida (population 7,000 in 1710)—later renamed Toyohashi—was the center of the



region's weaving industry. Both were important destinations for the pack trains connecting Shimoina with the Pacific coast.

Finally, through these port towns, Iida and its hinterland were connected to the most important cities of western Japan, Kyoto and Osaka. Although the Tokugawa political order relegated the imperial court to a purely ceremonial role, Kyoto remained an important cultural and religious center throughout the Edo period, housing some 400,000 persons. It also supported a host of craft industries, including the country's largest center for the production of silk textiles. But it was the nearby port of Osaka, home to over 400,000, that dominated the economy of western Japan, growing rich as a warehousing and shipping center for domainal tax rice and other commodities, and as the focal point of the nation's financial system.

Lying between these powerhouses to the west and the shogun's capital to the east put the Nobi trading community in an enviable position. All vessels making the passage between Osaka and Edo were forced to anchor in one of Ise Bay's many harbors for at least a night. In addition, Ise shippers capitalized on their long history of maritime expertise to seize part of the lucrative Osaka-Edo carrying trade, whose volume far exceeded that of any other coastal shipping in Japan. Through these connections, the Ise Bay community maintained regular ties with points west. The volume of exchange between Kyoto or Osaka and a remote outpost like Iida was relatively meager, but it would nonetheless prove significant for Shimoina's development.

The second important pole of the Shimoina economy was interior Shinano, and through it the shogun's headquarters of Edo on the Kanto plain farther east. It was as a southern gateway into the highland area of central Honshu that the Ina valley found its identity within Shinano province. Ina was not, however, the only southern gateway available. The parallel Kiso valley to the west offered an essentially equivalent path between the interior of the province and areas to the southwest (see map 3). As a result, residents of Kiso and Ina jockeyed repeatedly for primacy as trade intermediary, competing to carry the cargo that tied central Shinano to the Tokai coast. During the Heian period (794-1185), the official road between Kyoto and the north, the Tosando, had followed the upper Tenryu River. But its successor in the Tokugawa period, the Nakasendo, shifted official traffic into the Kiso



valley—a shift doubtless motivated in part by the strategic importance of Kiso's rich forests.5

To serve travelers along the Nakasendo, the Bakufu established eleven post stations (shukueki ) in Kiso, whose combined population by the end of the Edo period was 15,000.6 Yet the Kiso valley was unable to support this swollen human presence. Unlike the broader tectonic basin of Ina, Kiso was only a narrow canyon, its sides too steep and rocky to support more than scattered patches of arable land. As a result, in order to sustain both its sizable resident populace and the frequent travelers on the Nakasendo, Kiso was licensed to requisition large quantifies of grain from its neighbors. The lower Ina valley, in lieu of supplying grain, contributed corvée labor. Some twenty-four villages south of Iida were designated as helper villages (sukego mura ) for four post stations in the lower Kiso valley, obliging them to provide men and horses each spring to assist with the annual daimyo processions along the Nakasendo.7

While Kiso was thus an important rival (and, to some extent, a drain on Shimoina's resources), it was not a major trading partner for the region. More important in the latter capacity were the Suwa and Matsumoto basins, the Ina valley's neighbors to the north. The area around Lake Suwa, home to the smallest but most centrally located of the five population centers in Shinano province, was politically unified during the Edo period under the Suwa clan, which held sway over a 30,000-koku fief from the castle town of Takashima. Mid-Tokugawa income from Suwa's productive rice lands (including considerable reclaimed acreage along the lake shores) was augmented by a lucrative lacustrine fishing industry and a number of specialty products, including timber, lacquerware, and processed cotton. North and west of Suwa was the larger Matsumoto basin, home of the powerful Toda daimyo. From a castle town at the southeastern edge of the basin, Toda commanded an expansive 60,000-koku fiefdom, the second largest in Shinano. In addition to its grain exports, Matsumoto was famous for several excellent varieties of tobacco.

Management of the Kiso watershed was assigned to the collateral Tokugawa line installed in Nagoya castle, making it part of Owari domain. On the importance (and difficulties) of Kiso forestry, see Totman 1983:185-90; Totman 1989:610-63.

ost stations were settlements along the major turnpikes that were designated to provide relay horses and porters for passengers, mail, and cargo, see Vaporis 1994. Brayshay 1991 provides suggestive details of a comparable post-horse network in sixteenth-century England and Wales.

n the tribulations of "helper villages" (sukego mura ), see Vaporis 1986.



Both Takashima and Matsumoto were midsize castle towns, the latter approaching 10,000 inhabitants by the middle of the Tokugawa era. Both accordingly constituted important markets for such coastal products as salt and dried fish. Yet both basins were closer to coastal lowlands other than the Ise and Mikawa bays, and the bulk of their trade accordingly passed through avenues other than the Ina valley. As map 4 suggests, Takashima enjoyed superior access to the Pacific coast through the Kofu basin; Matsumoto, on the other hand, was oriented primarily to the Sea of Japan. And both basins were close enough to Edo, via the long tentacle of the Tone River, to fall increasingly under that city's sphere of influence during the eighteenth century. By 1750, Edo housed close to one million inhabitants (an order of magnitude more than Nagoya), and its inland waterway to the west was navigable for well over 100 kilometers. Consequently, as close as they were in physical space, Suwa and Matsumoto lay in a fundamentally different economic realm from that of Shimoina. What tied them together was primarily their respective specialty trades with the Pacific coast.

Such were the sinews that bound Shimoina to the larger Japanese economy in the middle of the Edo period. Its position along an axis between Ise Bay and central Shinano provided the Ina valley not only with a convenient source of goods from both the coast and the interior, but with a significant carrying trade as well. It is to the infrastructure of that trade, and the conflict surrounding it, that we now turn.

Given its location between the mountainous interior and the coast, Shimoina's domain lords and merchants alike had powerful incentives to develop the valley's riparian capacity. The Tenryu is one of Japan's longest rivers, and in Tokugawa Japan, as in early modern Europe, water routes constituted the true arteries of the circulation system.8 Overland transport was at least twice as costly as maritime or potamic shipping, even in the best of circumstances; moreover, water

Despite their prominence on maps of early modem Japan, the five national turnpikes known collectively as the Gokaido did not serve this function. The Gokaido was essentially a passenger system, designed with an eye to the political needs of the shogunate rather than the economic imperatives of trade.



Map 4.
Primary Trade Routes for Salt in Central Japan, Late Tokugawa to
Early Meiji. (Adapted from Tomioka 1978.)

carriage offered great advantages in load capacity.9 In fact, the costs and labor associated with pack animals were sufficient to induce heroic labors of dredging each year so that goods might be ferried inland as far as possible. Accordingly, one might expect the residents of the Tenryu valley

In assessing the contribution of canals to British industrialization, Michael Freeman observes. "Water carnage cost, on average, half that by road. But it was in its release of road transport's capacity constraints that water carriage served above all" (1986:86). Both differentials were undoubtedly higher in Japan, where overland transport was further constrained by restrictions on wheeled vehicles. For a discussion of transport modes and costs under similarly difficult conditions in medieval Europe, see Postan 1952 149-55.



to have exerted similar efforts to establish riparian access to the Pacific coast. For a combination of physical and political reasons, however, the Tenryu's transport potential remained undeveloped until the Meiji era.

The physical obstacles to navigation on the Tenryu were based in the area's complex terrain. As its technical name suggests, the Ina graben was formed tectonically rather than by erosion. In other words, the Tenryu River, which drains the valley, did not carve it out. Rather, the dramatic contours of the present basin were created by a combination of subsidence in the valley floor and uplift in the mountains that surround it on three sides. These include not only the Ina and Akaishi ranges to the east and the Kiso range to the west, but a jumbled highland known as the Nanbu uplands to the south (map 5). The latter formed a serious impediment to navigation along the middle reaches of the Tenryu. With falls and boulders blocking the southern entrance to the graben, the Tenryu proved less help than hindrance in Shimoina's long-distance trade contacts.

Severe fluctuations in water level were an additional obstacle to navigation on the river. Its source is Lake Suwa, a shallow body of water that fills the floor of the Suwa basin. Fed by numerous mountain streams, and with an average depth of only 4.4 meters (despite a diameter of over four kilometers), the lake regularly flooded its banks following heavy storms in early modern times.10 This wreaked havoc not only for dwellers along the nearby shores but for those in the Ina valley as well. As Lake Suwa's sole outlet, the Tenryu River saw its water levels surge erratically.11

Such temporary surges during the rainy season contrasted with low water levels in the dry winter months, when numerous obstacles in the river bed were exposed.12 By the eighteenth century, erosion and deforestation in the mountainous terrain upstream aggravated the difficulty, filling the Tenryu each spring and summer with great loads of sediment. Rocks, gravel, and mud carried down from the mountains settled out

nnual precipitation averages 1,600-2,000 mm (65-80 inches) on the valley floor, and from 2,000 to 2,700 mm (80 to 110 inches) in the mountains.

During the first century of Tokugawa rule, Shimoina suffered some degree of flooding in one year out of three Shimohisakata-mura 1973:470-71

See Ichikawa Masami et al. 1980 Japan's steep terrain and seasonally erratic water supply not only created obstacles to the use of rivers for commercial navigation, it also impeded the development of canals, which played a pivotal role in the economic integration of England (Mantoux 1961:120-32, Langton 1984) and the European continent (Vance 1986) during the early modern period.



Map 5.
The Topography of the Shimoina Region.



where the river debouched onto the lowland plains, creating a morass of braided, debris-choked channels along its lower reaches.13

This combination of erratic discharge levels and irregular terrain clearly obstructed navigation on the Tenryu. While regular boat traffic did develop along short stretches of the river, no unified shipping service was created until after the Tokugawa era. Yet as difficult as the challenges posed by the river may have been, it was not solely technological limitations that kept the Ina valley dependent on packhorse transport until Meiji. Political intervention played a role as well.

By mid Edo times, both capital and technology were at hand to expand and coordinate transportation on the Tenryu. As early as the 1770s, an Iida merchant gambled his personal fortune and a decade of his life on the possibility of opening a commercial shipping business to run the length of the river. A surveyor in his hire counted sixty places where the riverbed would require work or where portages would have to be improved, estimating that 2,200 days' labor by skilled stone masons, and an additional 6,525 days' input from manual laborers, would be required for the job. Undaunted, the merchant petitioned the Bakufu for years for permission to undertake the work.

But the prospect of competition along a river route that paralleled their primary north-south artery threatened the Shinano pack trains, which were a well-established force by this time. Moreover, the prospect of confronting the drivers was unsettling to the Bakufu. The timing could not have been less propitious: the Tokugawa courts had just settled the 1764 suit legitimizing the private network. As a result, when the Bakufu finally gave permission for Tenryu River shipping in 1803, it appended enough regulations to ensure that the venture would not upset the packhorse drivers. The business could employ no more than one hundred boats, could not operate north of the Tenryu Gorge (where the river closely paralleled the Ina road), and, most devastatingly, could carry no cargo for which packhorses might compete. As this excluded essentially everything but long timbers, the enterprise quickly folded.

Forty years after the original effort, in 1823, a merchant of Matsumoto resurrected the issue, this time proposing a shipping service all the way from the Tokai coast to Lake Suwa. Before acting on his petition, Matsumoto officials solicited responses from the affected areas, including Suwa, Matsumoto, Takato, and Kiso as well as the lower Ina valley. The result was unanimous opposition. Packhorse drivers were

Trewartha 1965 471.



not the only ones fearing for their livelihoods: villagers around the lake worried about their land being taken up by docking facilities, and about the burden of dredging the lake mouth; Suwa domain officials were anxious to protect tax income from lakeside fields; and the post-station operators in Kiso were alarmed at the prospect of rice from upper Ina being shipped downriver rather than hauled overland to the Kiso valley. When the plan was scaled down to mollify all parties, it again left the would-be operator with nothing but long timbers to ship. By 1835, the last Tokugawa-period attempt to open a pan-Tenryu shipping enterprise had collapsed.14

In short, while physical obstacles impeded transport on the Tenryu during the first half of the Edo era, political machinations were essential to preserving the status quo after 1764. It was this intersection of environmental and social constraints that kept the Ina valley dependent on overland transport—a dependence that, in turn, set the stage for the Ina valley pack trains.

The thwarting of navigation on the Tenryu meant that Shimoina's sole connections with the outside world were a series of steep, narrow overland passages. Travelers entering or leaving the region in any direction other than toward the north had to cross one or another of the surrounding ranges at passes of over 1,000 meters elevation. Moreover, throughout the Tokugawa era, people and goods traversing the mountainous terrain of the area had to make their way exclusively on foot or horseback, without the benefit of wheeled vehicles.15 Under these circumstances, two and a half to three days were required simply to complete a journey from one end of the present-day county to the other. Finally, all travelers had to pass armed guards at barriers (sekisho )

Kusakabe 1987:26; Misawa 1971:30-31, 39.

During the Tokugawa period, the use of wheeled vehicles was sharply restricted; m rural areas, they were virtually unknown (cf. Rein 1889£32). Given the wet climate and the poor condition of most of the country's roads, provincial merchants may well have preferred packhorses to carts in any case, as the latter were slow, expensive, and impractical except in paved areas; Mantoux (1961:114), at any rate, comes to a similar conclusion concerning early-eighteenth-century British merchants



and inspection stations (bansho ) strategically positioned on all southern and western approaches to the basin, including the Tenryu River.

Despite these obstacles, three major throughways entered the valley from the south, converging in the central castle town of Iida to form the Ina road (map 6). On the east bank of the Tenryu was the Akiha (Akiba) road, a pilgrimage route to the shrine of the same name located in Totomi province (south of Shimoina). A steep mountain path through sparsely inhabited forestland, the Akiha road was traversed primarily by pilgrims and local inhabitants. More heavily trafficked was the Enshu or Shimo Kaido (lower road), closely paralleling the Tenryu along its western bank. This route carried roughly a quarter of Shimoina's packhorse trade with the south and served dozens of small hamlets scattered through the Nanbu uplands as well. But the bulk of the area's commerce traversed the Sanshu or Kami Kaido (upper road), the farthest west of the three. Also known as the Ina road or Chuma Kaido (pack-horse road), it was this corridor through Shimoina that constituted the true trunk line of the region's transport system.

The Ina road had functioned for centuries as a national highway, having been designated in the Heian period as the official route between the capital and the interior. Under the Tokugawa regime, however, it was downgraded to a back road, displaced in the national turnpike system by the parallel Kiso road (part of the Nakasendo). Yet it seems unlikely that this usurpation of the valley's official transport function would have been mourned at the time. On the one hand, scholars believe that the Bakufu was merely sanctioning a de facto shift in travel patterns that had sent increasing traffic onto the Kiso road over the intervening centuries in any case. On the other hand, being demoted to a lower level of the transportation hierarchy appears in retrospect to have been more blessing than curse. With its primary roadway designated a mere auxiliary route (wakiokan ) in Edo's transportation taxonomy, the Ina valley was spared the onerous burden of underwriting official transport on an extensive scale.16 Paradoxically, its designation as an auxiliary route was precisely what allowed carriers using the Ina road to best their Kiso counterparts in the contest for commercial traffic.

Vaporis 1986 testifies powerfully to the extent of this burden for residents of the Tokaido corridor. Although numerous villages in Shimoina were later drafted to serve periodically as "helper villages" (sukego mura ) for the Nakasendo, Ina residents were far enough removed from the official turnpike to avoid most of the burden of subsidizing official traffic.



Map 6.
Transport in Lower Ina Gun, Mid Tokugawa.



For the most part, the contest between Ina and Kiso was not fought directly. The Ina valley's success in securing the bulk of the trade through the Japanese Alps was rather a by-product of an intraregional conflict, pitting one local transport network against another. It was primarily against post stations within the Ina valley, rather than outside it, that the area's private pack trains struggled for recognition.

Escaping designation as a Bakufu highway had not exempted residents along the Ina road from official service altogether. Still the primary throughway for the Tenryu valley, it became the route of choice for a locally based post-station system, similar to the Nakasendo's in operation if more modest in size (map 7).17 In completed form, the Ina road network boasted fourteen shukueki , or official relay stations, between Iida and Matsumoto (inclusive). In this short distance (less than 100 kilometers), the road traversed the territory of at least ten separate local authorities. Despite being supervised piecemeal, the network functioned effectively as an interconnected whole, duly seeing official travelers and their cargo from one end of the valley to the other.

Since travelers on official business were privileged to use post-station facilities at below cost, economic support for the system had to come from other sources. In Ina, as on the five national turnpikes (the Gokaido), such support came primarily from two sources. One part of the solution was to exempt local lands from crop taxes. Thus, in the 1640s, all official relay stations on the Ina road were declared tax-exempt by their respective overlords. At the same time, post stations were given a legal monopoly on all commercial cargo transport along the road. This arrangement was designed to allow them to set fees on merchants' goods at high enough levels to offset the cost of the fixed-rate work they had to perform for the rulers.

In the limited context within which the post-station system had been conceived, it ought by rights to have worked. If the feudal authorities had imposed the burden of transporting official retinues, they had compensated at least in part by granting the post-station system broad monopoly powers over the increasing commercial trade, which should have proven a lucrative source of income. But by the turn of the eighteenth

In Ina gun , fragments of such a relay system predated the Tokugawa peace. Furushima 1944:79; Furushima 1974a 368 Nor was post-horse duty confined to the Ina road; even local paths between villages were the site of periodic visits by officials, and where an official went, an entourage inevitably followed. Temporary relays were thus occasionally established in the smallest of villages. Hirasawa 1959b; Hirasawa 1965b.



Map 7.
The Southern Chuma Sphere.

century, both of the initial sources of support were in jeopardy. On the one hand, political authorities anxious to raise their own revenues were beginning to revoke the post stations' tax-exempt status. Such was the fate of four villages north of Iida (Uwabu, Iijima, Katagiri, and Oshima-Haramachi) (see map 7), which had their exemptions repealed in 1700. Desperate, the four petitioned for the right at least to charge tolls (kosen )



on the private carriers who passed through their checkpoints, but this proved politically impractical.18 At the same time, moreover, peasants from neighboring villages were becoming increasingly bold in wresting away the vital commercial shipping business. Although the villages that had lost their tax exemptions in 1700 would lead a protracted fight against these private upstarts, they would have to confront a powerful merchant block in the castle town, able to argue that the post-station monopoly was no longer in the best interests of the domain lords who had established it.

The alternative favored by area merchants was a private packhorse network. Pack trains from villages outside the official system, often called "rural horses" (zaigo ma ), originated with peasants carrying their own produce to market. Such independent operators were ubiquitous in Japan during the Edo period. But in Shinano Province, "rural horses" evolved over time into an organized, specialized private pack-horse system (chuma seido ), a development unique to this area.19 The Ina road was by no means the sole artery of the Shinano packhorse network, but it was both cradle and core of the system; over time, the route along the Tenryu came to be called simply "the packhorse road" (chuma kaido ). What allowed private carriers to flourish in Ina was the relative weakness of the valley's official post towns. For two reasons, the local relay stations were weaker than their counterparts elsewhere.

First, unlike the Nakasendo and Koshu roads, the Ina road was not under direct Bakufu control. On the contrary, it ran through politically fragmented territory, a patchwork of minor domains and exclaves interspersed with Bakufu holdings. As a result, although the valley's post stations had been established for the use of local daimyo, they were not protected by a force powerful enough to undermine private packhorse trains as they arose. Secondly, the scale of official use was

nly two stations on the Ina road, Mural and Shiojiri, were granted permission to collect fees, at the level of 4 mon per load, for goods other than grain that were in transit by private carriers. Furushima 1974a.374, 400-401.

The word chuma first appears m the documentary record in 1694 Several theories have been propounded as to the origins of the term, the characters for which literally mean "middle horse," but Furushima Toshio, the foremost scholar of the chorea system, makes a persuasive case for the characters having been chosen phonetically to fit a spoken slurring of teuma (literally "hand horses"). The latter m turn may have been an abbreviation of temae uma , a common alternative term for zaigo ma , which suggests that—in contrast to the reserve teams of the post towns—peasants simply used horses that were "at hand." Kikuchi 1981·140; Furushima 1974a·408; Furushima 1974b:8-9



much lower here than on either the Nakasendo or the Koshu road. The latter turnpikes, although they would eventually become secondary packhorse thoroughfares,20 also bore heavy official traffic that required support.21 The only official traffic on the Ina road, by contrast, was both small in scale and local in origin. South of Iida in particular, no daimyo traversed the Ina road en route to or from Edo. As a result, this natural corridor between the Tokai coast and the interior of Shinano was but lightly regulated, a circumstance that facilitated early and vigorous development of private packhorse transport.22

The drivers who organized to take advantage of this situation included three major types of operators. Some worked primarily as peasants in nearby villages, hauling their own goods or those of fellow villagers to market. Others were part-time transporters from the interior, who, to fill orders from Iida merchants, purchased goods in remote villages and brought them to the castle town. Lastly, there were professional traders who purchased local goods on their own initiative without requisitions from merchants in the castle town. Upon arriving in Iida, these traders would seek out interested parties and barter the goods they had brought for items they could sell back home.23

Despite these differences in their mode of operation, the Ina valley pack drivers came together during the later seventeenth century to protect their collective role in the trade. Galvanized by the concerted efforts of the post stations against them, operators from seventy-three villages in northern and southern Ina banded together in the 1690s to create a trade association (kumimura or chuma nakama ) that, like the Ina road itself, transcended a jigsaw puzzle of fragmented political territories. For

By the 1740s, some five to six hundred horses per day were traversing the Koshu road between Suwa and Edo. Nonetheless, the volume of commercial cargo transported on the Ina road appears to have been much greater than that on either the Nakasendo or the Koshu road. For estimates, see Furushima 1944:61, 125.

ome thirty-four daimyo used the Nakasendo when commuting to and from Edo, six of these possessed large domains of over 100,000 koku , an indication of the extent of their retinues. The Koshu road was traversed only by daimyo from three minor Shinano domains (Takashima, Takato, and Iida), yet even this modest public corvée strengthened the official post stations there Furushima 1974a·401

An additional spur to packhorse development may have been the relative paucity. of agricultural opportunities in the area, see Yamauchi 1980:1-2

The source of this typology. is a document submitted to Iida domain officials by castle-town merchants; Furushima (1974a:381-82) surmises that the actual forms may have been still more diverse than indicated here



the next century and a half, this organization coordinated numerous activities on behalf of the drivers: raising funds and writing petitions for legal confrontations, limiting the number of horses competitors could lead, securing a favorable division of cargo at the Tokai terminals, and sharply curtailing the rights of unaffiliated carriers. Members who broke the organization's rules were punished by expulsion.24

At the height of the trade, according to a saying widely quoted in Iida, a thousand horses a day passed in and out of the castle town (irini senda, deni senda ). This figure, recited like a litany by local historians, no doubt contains a margin of hyperbole. But while the 1763 survey found only one-fifth as much traffic, it is clear that subsequent years saw considerable growth in the trade.25 Counts of active drivers and pack animals must also be interpreted critically, but the settlement of 1764 (also known as the Meiwa decision) found 678 villages throughout Shinano province to be involved in the trade, and permitted over 18,000 animals within them (including both horses and oxen) to operate in the pack trains. The highest density was found in Ina gun , where the shogunate licensed nearly 8,000 pack animals in 163 villages—almost 50 per village, or twice the provincial average (map 8; table 1).26

As a private cargo-shipping service, the chuma system differed in several particulars from the official post-station system with which it competed. A first, essential difference was that, whereas all cargo traveling in the official system had to be unloaded at each post station

imilar trade associations flourished in the mid to late Tokugawa period throughout Japan; for a general discussion of nakama , see Hauser 1974:16-20. On the chuma nakama , see Furushima 1944·287-95.

Furushima (1944:385-86), for instance, estimates that by 1815, southbound exports from Iida had tripled over their level of fifty years earlier. Iwashima (1967:44) quotes the saying "1,000 loads in, 1,000 loads out" (irini senda, deni senda ) with regard to the Tokugawa period in general.

The complete listing of villages and animal counts may be found m volume 1 of the Chuma ikken kirokushu (a collection of documents transcribed by the Kinsei Inn Shiryo Kankokai and published in 1953), pp. 23-38. Almost all of the pack trade m Inn was found to be concentrated west of the Tenryu River, along the Ina road; numerous villages on the east bank were not listed at all. For a more extended discussion, see Miyashita 1980:106.



Map 8.
The Distribution of Pack Animals Licensed to Operate in the Chuma
Network of Shinano Province in 1764, by District (Gun). (Data from
Kinsei Ina Shiryo Kankokai 1953, 1:28-38.)



Table 1
Villages and Pack Animals Licensed to Operate in the Shinano Pack-horse Network in 1764, by. District (gun)

District

Villages

Animals

Animals/Village

Ina

163

7,849

48

Suwa

123

4,689

38

Azumi

180

3,178

18

Chikuma

159

2,525

16

Chiisagata

35

321

9

Takai

8

81

10

Hanishina

6

76

13

Sarashina

5

58

12

TOTAL

679

18,768

28

SOURCE · Kinsei Ina Shiryo Kankokai 1953, 1:28-38.

NOTE : Substantially fewer animals may have participated m cargo transport than the numbers licensed; for more extended discussion, see Wigen 1990:106-7.

and reloaded onto a fresh horse, private operators were under no such obligation. Not only did the drivers carry their cargo over greater distances between stops, but the same driver and team would typically see a load through from origin to destination. The difference was significant. While cargo in the official system had to be transferred every 8-10 kilometers along the Ina road, private operators could go 32 to 36 kilometers in a single day; on long-distance hauls, they would commonly travel 80 to 120 kilometers without reloading. In recognition of this central difference, the private operators were often called "through-horses" (toshi-uma ), to distinguish them from the "relay horses" (tsugi-uma ) of the official post-station system.27

Going straight through gave the packhorse trains a number of advantages. For one, it increased their speed. In supporting documents submitted at the time of the investigation of 1763, Iida's merchant community claimed that a journey that would take ten days by post horse could be accomplished in a single day by chuma . Although this was a gross exaggeration, the general point was well taken. Peasant drivers could make the trip from Iida to Nagoya, for instance, in about six days each way; for that from Iida to Matsumoto, a trip of twenty-five ri (100 kilometers), four days was considered the outer limit. Delivery times by post horse, on the other hand, were both longer and unpredictable. Any official demand for the facilities could displace merchant cargo and its

On the geography of the local "through-horse" system, see Mukaiyama 1969.245.



handlers, adding further delays to an already cumbersome system. Such delays exacerbated the risk of cargo damage or spoilage, a recurrent problem with the constant loading and unloading under the relay system.28

But speed was not the only measure differentiating the two systems. A second and equally important index was labor efficiency. While individual post horses could be saddled with slightly larger loads (up to 150 kilograms, compared to 120 to 135 kilograms for the private pack trains), the chuma system operated with a lower ratio of drivers to animals. In the post-station system, the firm rule was one man per horse.29 But peasant operators developed techniques for managing multiple pack animals, typically three to four horses or as many as five oxen, by driving them from behind.30 As the Shinano packhorse network coalesced into a trade association, the drivers began to treat their techniques for leading multiple pack trains as a form of trade property, defending as their prerogative and theirs alone the right to lead four animals. In fact, a whole generation of legal battles turned largely on this question, and in a decisive court case of the early 1800s, the Shinano packhorse drivers' claim to a monopoly on this practice was upheld.31

A third striking characteristic of the private packhorse system was the freedom of its operators to choose from multiple routes. Unlike the official turnpikes, which comprised strictly demarcated stretches of road, punctuated by mandatory stopping points, the Ina road was an informal local route with multiple channels, and drivers could and did choose for themselves which route to take. In negotiations with the post-station managers, Iida merchants consistently referred to peasant operators as "okabune ," or "ships of the interior," a pointed reminder of the pack drivers' right to go anywhere they pleased.32

All of these differences with the official system translated into price differentials. Having to stop at each post station, the relay horses incurred indirect as well as direct expenses in the form of cargo transfer fees, bills for food and lodging, and damage to cargo. The high ratio of

ragile cargo, for which this was particularly important, included dried persimmons, cocoons, and lacquerware—three prominent local products exported from Shimoina.

The gendered referent is used advisedly here. Although women arc known to have worked as porters, leading pack animals appears to have been an exclusively male occupation.

The drivers in the chuma system were aptly called umaoi , literally "horse-followers," for they drove their animals from behind (controlling them primarily through spoken commands). Ando and Yamori 1972:80.

For details, see Wigen 1990, ch. 3.

Furushima 1974a:405-7



drivers to animals compounded these expenses. Furthermore, all goods traveling by post horse were susceptible to toll surcharges. And whereas the fee schedule in the relay system was nonnegotiable, merchants could bargain with the peasant drivers. Overall, the cost of sending goods by private pack train worked out to only about half the cost of using the official counterpart. The difference was significant enough that the post stations objected to carrying merchant cargo at all if it meant they would have to carry it at chorea rates.33 That profit-minded merchants sought out these private carriers is not hard to understand.

Among the merchants who played a critical advocacy role in the packhorse drivers' suit, none were more important than the cargo brokers. These specialized shipping agents evolved in tandem with the packhorse network itself. In the early 1600s, packhorse drivers had operated not only as transporters but as marketers too, unloading their wares and hawking them directly on the streets in various commercial wards of Iida. During the Kan'ei period (1624-44), for instance, drivers were ordered to go to designated wards, specified according to the origin and nature of their cargo, so that each section of the castle town might share in the market prosperity they brought. By the time they began to be called chorea , however, the peasant packhorse drivers of the Ina road had become transport specialists, shedding their earlier marketing function. In legal documents beginning in the 1720s, chorea were defined in part by their relationship with cargo brokers, or nidon'ya .34

The word ton'ya (and its variants, toiya and don'ya ) designated a broad and diverse class of merchants in Tokugawa Japan, usually with

Post-horse fees averaged 1.7 to 18 times the level of private packhorse fees for the same distance, although there was some variation (since chuma fares were negotiable). For sample fares, see Furushima 1974a 414

Furushima 1974a 372ff., 409. A 1769 petition penned by the merchants of Iida explicitly differentiated chuma drivers from intermediary merchants (nakagai shonin ), and other records confirm the point that the drivers did not typically buy and sell goods on their own account



some degree of monopoly privileges. Some operated as wholesalers, consignment agents, or receiving agents; others supervised processing industries; still others oversaw shipping concerns.35 It is the latter that are of interest here: brokerage houses engaged in cargo shipping, known locally as horse or cargo ton'ya (umadon'ya or nidon'ya ).36 Like their counterparts in wholesaling, cargo ton'ya were typically licensed by the local authorities to collect tolls (kosen ) on each transaction, in exchange for which they usually paid licensing fees (unjokin ) to local officials.37 Brokerage firms operating in this way could be found in all the main chuma stopping points along the Ina road. They were particularly numerous in the villages where packhorse traffic was heavy, and in and around the castle town. By the eighteenth century., five full-time cargo shippers had set up shop in Iida, while numerous castle-town merchants handled shipping work on the side. Their rural counterparts were clustered in villages to the south, including Namiai, Hiraya, and Neba, where cargo was collected (either from local merchants or from incoming drivers) and redistributed for posting to its final destination.

Interviews with men who drove pack trains in the Meiji period leave us most of what we know of the day-to-day operations of the cargo shippers. Their tales are consistent in picturing these brokers as among the wealthiest members of their villages. Minimum requirements included a large house, a wide courtyard, and storage space for cargo, all with street frontage. The home of the central broker in Namiai, for instance, was an imposing structure of three stories. The gate was wide enough to allow the pack drivers to walk their horses straight into the courtyard (doma ), where there were seats for a dozen or more men to rest and eat. Employees would serve food to the waiting drivers, while others attended to the horses and cargo. Throughout the day, the head of the household would sit on a dais in the courtyard, paying for freight delivered, receiving deposits for goods shipped out, drawing up bills of lad-

Hauser 1974:13. This roster of roles corresponds closely to James Vance's broad typology of European wholesalers; see Vance 1970:29-33.

ecause of the breadth of the term and the importance ascribed to ton'ya merchants m the debates on early Japanese capitalism (usefully dissected m Hoston 1986, ch 5), it is essential to be clear about the type of ton'ya m question here. Hirasawa Kiyoto (1953b) distinguishes three discrete types: station managers (shuku ton'ya ), wholesalers in specific commodities (shohin ton'ya ), and cargo brokerage firms (umadon'ya or nidon'ya ). Packhorse drivers were most closely connected with the latter. On the emergence and functions of shuku ton'ya , see Watanabe 1979.

The ton'ya in Namiai, for instance, were permitted to charge twenty-four mon on each load that they handled, in return for which privi1ege they paid ten ryo per year to the village officials. Ando and Yamon 1972 86.



ing, and keeping accounts of all transactions. The brokers usually sold grain and straw for the animals as well, and some drivers, lacking the cash to pay on the spot, were chronically in their debt.38

In contrast to the porters and drivers working for the official post towns, who had fixed arrangements with specific station managers, private packhorse drivers were free agents. Their relationships with brokers at both the shipping and the receiving end were continually open to negotiation and had to be contracted anew for each job. This fluid situation created risks for those whose goods were being entrusted to the drivers, an uncertainty that merchants and shippers hedged in two important ways. Cargo brokers, on the one hand, drew up bills of lading (okurijo ) for each shipment they sent out. The owners of the cargo, for their part, insisted on collecting deposits (shikikin ) from the drivers when entrusting goods to them. These deposits commonly amounted to 70 or 80 percent, and sometimes ran as high as 90 percent, of the value of the cargo. They would be collectible, along with the drivers' fares, upon delivery of the goods, when the receiving broker would pay the full value of the shipment. Some packhorse operators also functioned as advance purchasing agents for the cargo brokers.39

It was a great advantage for those placing orders that, unlike the relay operators, chorea drivers did not insist on prepayment for their transport services. Taken together, advance deposits and the system of payment on delivery in effect functioned to provide short-term financing for castle-town merchants, particularly small-scale operators who could not always pay the full cost of their purchases in advance.40 Who ultimately controlled the capital dispensed by the chuma is a critical question that has not been adequately answered to date; it is highly unlikely that a common driver could command cash worth 90 percent of the

Nagano-ken Kyoiku Iinkai 1959·87.

This involved forwarding cash deposits on the brokers' behalf for goods requested from the countryside, as well as for merchants' goods acquired from other nidon'ya . Furushima 1944:223-26.

In fact, some evidence suggests that deposits from the drivers, while originating as advances for cargo, may have gone beyond this into general-purpose moneylending. The document mentioned above, for instance, indicates that merchants obtained money-changing services from the drivers (chumakata yori kawasekin nketori ). This suggested to Furushima that the chuma drivers may have used their unusual mobility—passing through two, three, or even four commercial centers at regular intervals—to develop a financing network of sorts. In other words, in addition to providing transport services for cargo, they may have provided "transport services for capital" (shiharaikin no unso ). Furushima 1974a.409-12.



value of the cargo that four beasts of burden could carry.41 In any case, however, this feature of the packhorse system was vital to the economic well-being of the castle town as a whole, prompting not only cargo brokers but other merchants as well to rally to the packhorse drivers' defense in their numerous legal battles.

Of keen interest to the merchant community was the contest between the official post-station system, which had theoretically been given a monopoly on cargo transport, and peasant packhorse drivers from other villages along the road. This conflict surfaced early in the seventeenth century, as individual peasants tried to transport their own goods to local markets. No sooner was that reasonable request granted, however, than the post stations began to complain that rural drivers were illegally mixing commercial cargo with their own produce. But efforts to halt this practice were to little avail. The trend in a long series of suits was for the balance to be tipped fitfully but progressively in favor of the chuma .42 Meanwhile, the scope of packhorse activity steadily widened. By the turn of the eighteenth century, private operators were openly challenging the post-station monopoly even to carry commercial cargo to distant markets. As a result, the scope of the disputes also widened. By the mid eighteenth century, what had started as an intradomainal conflict had spread throughout Shinano and into neighboring Kai province, later to extend south to include operators from Mikawa as well.43

In most of these suits, the chuma drivers were forcefully backed by the merchants of Iida. The latter repeatedly submitted strongly worded testimony to argue that the private packhorse network was vital to the

Furushima, personal communication, May 27, 1990. Masaki Keiji suggests that a driver who could not front all the capital for the merchandise he handled might borrow from a sake maker or other rich moneylender in his village (1978:53). But whether this was in fact a general practice is not clear Both the origin of the capital fronted to make deposits on goods the chuma carried and the relationship between the drivers and the owners of that capital (presumably wealthy peasants in the drivers' villages) remain unanswered questions.

For details on these early conflicts, see Murase 1984.

In battles pitting private operators in one region against their counterparts from other areas, the loyalties of the castle-town merchants were less clearly on the side of the Shinano chuma . For a timeline and summary of major suits between private carriers from different regions, see Onogi 1968.



well-being, not only of the merchant community, but of the castle town and indeed of the domain as a whole. In 1718, for instance, Iida merchants testified that goods imported from nearby areas, as well as from the interior of Shinano, would become scarcer and more expensive if peasant drivers were not given free rein. Their case centered on three assertions: (1) the castle town's supply of rice and other foodstuffs from nearby villages might decrease if peasants were prevented from carrying commercial cargo on their return trip; (2) if drivers from farther in the interior found nothing to take back with them, the price of the goods they brought into the city would have to rise to compensate for their lost income; and (3) if private carriers were charged for using the facilities of the castle town, most would bypass the town altogether, spelling ruin for Iida as a trade entrepôt.44

This presented the domain with a serious dilemma. The lord of Iida and his retainers still needed the post-station system to support their official travel. Yet the castle-town economy had become equally dependent on an alternative shipping system that threatened to undermine the post stations altogether. The domainal courts would have to broker some sort of settlement that would permit peaceful coexistence of the two systems. The trick was finding a compromise that would stick.

In one early pass at resolving the problem, Iida in 1727 handed down a "post-horse first" policy. Under this ruling, private carriers would be allowed to take commercial loads, but only after all the available post horses had been employed. Just as the merchants had feared, however, their business was hurt. Not only did the local peasants' incoming cargo decrease, but its cost to the merchant houses increased. Furthermore, drivers from the coastal provinces of Mikawa and Owari began to avoid the castle town to do business in smaller settlements nearby, where they could freely acquire return cargo. The merchants lost no time in demanding that the policy be overturned. In response, the domain compromised further later in the same year, giving the private operators wider latitude. The new arrangement quieted things for a time, but the conflict continued to simmer.45

The post stations' chronic frustration finally broke out into the open in the 1750s, prompting the landmark suit that capped the first generation of litigation. This was an affair of such central importance as to be referred to in the literature simply as "the packhorse incident" (chuma

urushima 1974a:378.

For a more extended discussion, see Wigen 1990·121ff



ikken ). It began as a dispute between three post towns in upper Ina (Matsushima, Kitadono, and Miyagi) and eighty-two nearby villages. The initial provocation was narrow but symbolic: the three post towns insisted that all goods carried into their jurisdictions on private pack animals be transferred to post horses before being allowed to continue. The peasant drivers protested, citing precedents that established the right of merchants and cargo brokers to decide for themselves whether to use post horses or their private competitors, and a legal suit was begun. Within months, the merchants of Matsumoto, as well as thirty-eight chuma villages from lower Ina, had joined in, and in time the merchants of Iida entered the fray as well, turning the case into a major regionwide battle. Over the next half decade, the suit worked its way through the Bakufu's courts, leaving behind a prodigious set of records that have been central to every subsequent analysis of the packhorse network.

With the merchants' support, the chorea won a highly favorable decision in 1764 (the first year of a new era, Meiwa 1). The Bakufu chose to resolve the dispute by allocating loads throughout Shinano between the post stations and the private carriers, and by standardizing the fare structure between the two. On both counts, however, the Ina road villages were treated notably differently from their counterparts elsewhere in the province. While on other roads the fees for both chorea and post horses were set at the higher post-station rates, those on the Ina road were fixed at the lower prevailing packhorse rates. Ina received similarly special treatment in the matter of cargo allocation, leaving the local pack-horse drivers unrestricted as to the content of their cargo.46

These provisions were of signal importance. The once-illicit private pack trains had won recognition as a legal transport network, with guaranteed rights to the increasingly lucrative cargo trade in the mountains. More important, although the battle had essentially been fought between private and official carriers along the Ina road, its outcome would have supraregional implications. With its fares now fixed at lower rates than those of its neighbors, and its drivers freer with respect to cargo, the Ina valley carriers as a whole had secured an important advantage against their competitors in the Kiso valley.

In most of Shinano, merchants were ordered to divide the available cargo between the two types of drivers on the basis of content, with some goods specified as the prerogative of the post-horse system alone. Along the Ina road, on the other hand—owing both to the combined force of merchant and pack-driver resistance and to the relative weakness of the area's post stations—the chuma were not limited in any way as to the content of their cargo Here the split was rather determined in load amounts, with approximately one-fifth of all traffic to be carried through the official relay system. Furushima 1974a:399.



For all its significance, however, it is important to see the Meiwa decision in context. Legally, it did not represent the end of all conflict over control of the trade; new skirmishes would continue to be fought throughout the remainder of the Tokugawa period.47 And in practical terms, it is unclear how much choice the shogun's courts really had. In sanctioning the Ina valley pack trains, the Bakufu may merely have been extending its blessing to a flit accompli, for if the trade survey of 1763 is to be believed, the Ina valley had already secured the bulk of the trade. It is to the details of that comprehensive survey that we now turn.

Investigations of cargo flows were relatively rare in Tokugawa Japan. Even in the Ina valley, where transport rights were the subject of litigation for centuries, few surviving documents afford a quantitative picture of cargo circulation in the mountains. The pair of surveys undertaken at the Bakufu's behest in 1763, on the eye of the Meiwa settlement that legitimized the chuma network, accordingly provide an unusual and valuable glimpse into Tokugawa economic geography.

The survey results were reported in two documents. The first, entitled the "Horeki 13 [1763] Report of Incoming Cargo from Various Places" (Horeki jusannen tokoro-dokoro yori irinimotsu mokuroku ), records Iida's imports; the second, "Record of Cargo Entrusted to Packhorse Drivers by the Merchants of Iida City, Ina District, Shinano Province" (Shinshu Inagun Iidamachi shonin chuma e aiwatashisoro nimotsu kakinukicho ), documents the city's exports.48 Both take as their locus the castle town of Iida, cataloging trade goods by origin and

Over the next century, competition from private operators headquartered south of the Shinano border led to a second round of suits, followed in turn by a third round of litigation directed against local peasant part-timers. For details of these cases, see Wigen 1990:124-29

he original documents, along with others pertaining to the packhorse trade, wen: transcribed by hand and published in 1953 in the three-volume Chuma ikken kirokushu (Kinsei Ina Shiryo Kankokai, ed.). More recently, both documents have been reprinted by Nagano prefecture as part of a massive collection pertaining to the history of Shimoina during the early modern period (Nagano-ken 1983; see documents nos. 1861 and 1870 esp. pp. 223-29 and 268-71, respectively). Data from these mid-eighteenth-century surveys, adjusted where necessary to correct inconsistencies in the original, have been drawn on throughout the discussion here, which has also benefited from a prior analysis by Masaki Keiji (1978, ch. 2)



Table 2
The Proximate Origin of Goods Imported to Iida from the South

Origin

Loads

Percentage of Total

Mikawaa

14,280

60

Nagoya

6,766

28

Totomi

2,726

11

Mino

190

1

TOTAL

23,962

100

a Okazaki, Yoshida, and Shinshiro

destination. Although they cover only cargo carried by licensed packhorse drivers, omitting that handled by independent operators (teuma ) as well as by carriers from Mikawa Province (known as tsugiuma ), the pattern they reveal is believed to provide a generally credible model of trade flows in the southern packhorse sphere during the mid Edo period.

According to these records, the total volume of traffic passing into and out of the town exceeded 73,000 animal loads. Of that total, imports accounted for more than 52,000. Goods leaving Iida, by contrast—including both locally produced items and re-exports—amounted to only 21,000 loads, or less than half the level of imports. More significant, however, are the sharp differences that can be seen in the nature of Iida's exchanges with the coast and the interior. Whereas Shimoina appears to have been little more than a consumption and distribution center for goods from the coast, imports from the interior penetrated more deeply into the local economy, in some cases providing important raw materials for local manufacturing. The following account analyzes these and other patterns in the eighteenth-century trade figures, beginning (like the surveys themselves) with the larger volume of incoming trade.

Forty-five percent of goods brought into Iida in 1763 originated south and west of the castle town, primarily along the Tokai coast. A breakdown of this traffic from the south shows a preponderance of Mikawa Bay over Ise Bay connections. Over two-thirds of Iida's Tokai traffic was routed through the former area, with 60 percent of southern imports coming through Mikawa province's ports of Okazaki, Yoshida, and Shinshiro, 11 percent through Totomi province, and less than 30 percent by way of Nagoya (table 2).



Table 3
Goods Imported into Iida from the South

Item

Origin

Loads

Tea

Mikawa and Totomi

10,756

Salt

Inland Sea

4,600

Dried fish

Kumano, Owari, Echigo

2,485

Ginned and raw cotton

Kinai, Mikawa, Owari

2,220

Used clothing

Nagoya, Okazaki, Yoshida

228

Cotton cloth

Osaka, Sakai, Owari

303

Silk cloth

Kyoto

40

Indigo

Okazaki, Yoshida, Shinshiro

350

Stenciling paper

Ise

3

Mandarin oranges

Kii, Mikawa

450

Pharmacopoeia

Kyoto, Osaka, Owari

225

Vegetables

Owari

20

Iron and copper goodsa

Ise, Echizen, Osaka

547

Tatami mat facing

Osaka, High, Owari

250

Tatami fiber

Nagoya

5

Lacquer

Izumi

20

Pottery

Mino

190

Earthenware

Hizen

70

Bleached wax

Kyoto, Osaka

130

Unbleached wax

Omi

110

Mosquito netting

Omi

5

Whetstones

Omi

18

Hairdress ties

Nagoya

20

Notions

Kyoto, Osaka, Owari

230

Hair and lamp oil

Nagoya

240

Sedge hats

Ise

90

Garden plants

Kyoto, Osaka

7

Miscellaneousb

Kyoto, Osaka, Owari

350

TOTAL

 

23,962

a Includes pots, sickles, and nails

b Timber, paintbrushes, incense, sugar, laundry starch, glue, ink, lead, cosmetics, dyestuffs, shells, etc.

The bulk of freight from these coastal cities consisted of textiles, salt, dried fish, mandarin oranges, and tea, the last of these alone constituting 45 percent of the total. All of these goods, and many lesser imports, were procured primarily from production sites around the shores of the Ise and Mikawa bays. Yet, as may be seen from table 3, a number of items from more distant areas found their way to Iida through these ports as well. Prominent



Table 4
Origin of Imports into Iida from the North

Origin

Loads

Percentage of Total

Beyond the Ina Valley

Edo and the Kanto plain

205

1

Matsumoto

2,665

9

Suwa basin (Shimosuwa)

72

<1

Sea of Japan coast

394

1

Kiso

70

< 1

SUBTOTAL

3,406

4

Within the Ina Valley

Takato

1,452

5

Upper Ina valley

16,286

57

East bank of Tenryu River

5,700

20

Iida vicinity

1,784

6

SUBTOTAL

25,222

88

TOTAL

28,628

100

SOURCE . NSTI·72-73.

here were manufactured goods and specialty products from the Inland Sea, but the list also included dried fish from as far away as Echigo on the coast of the Sea of Japan, brought round the western end of Honshu by ship.

The reverse flow of goods entering Iida from the north constituted the majority (55 percent) of the castle town's imports. In origin, this trade was heavily weighted toward products of the upper Ina valley and interior Shinano. Some 15,900 loads of grains and pulses (including rice, barley, and beans) made up the largest single item on the list. These staples are recorded as having come predominantly from the agricultural settlements north of Iida in the central Ina valley, with a lesser share (2,300 loads) deriving from Matsumoto.49 Apportioning this item accordingly in the origin-specific breakdown in table 4 makes it clear that only a small fraction of Iida's trade goods from the north originated outside of the Ina valley.

The bulk of imports from the north consisted of agricultural and forest resources for consumption in Iida or for processing in the area's craft

The upper Ina valley's share of this line item (i.e., the remaining 13,600 loads of grains and pulses) was distributed as follows: 450 loads were recorded as having come from Takato, 2,650 from the east bank of the Tenryu River, and 10,500 from villages along the Ina road between Iida and Matsumoto.



industries. In addition to provisions, the northern Ina valley supplied Iida with tobacco (much of which was blended in the castle town for re-export) and cooperage (especially bamboo hoops used to secure barrels and casks). A detailed accounting is presented in table 5.

Independent sources, it should be noted, suggest that a much larger volume of tobacco was brought south from central Shinano through the Ina valley than is recorded here. These imports escaped the census takers simply because they were handled by carriers other than the chuma organization. The heart of Shinano tobacco production at the time was the Oi watershed in Chikuma gun , north of the central ridge. In 1763, virtually all of this area's tobacco was shipped south; 90 percent went to Nagoya, most of it over the Ina road (table 6).50

The total volume of goods dispatched from Iida during the year came to 21,453 animal loads, or roughly two-fifths the level of imports. By bulk, the division of these exports was decidedly unbalanced. Only a quarter of the total was directed toward the Tokai terminals; the remainder was bound for the interior (map 9).

It is significant that most of this northbound cargo—more than 12,000 loads' worth, or half of all items dispatched from the castle town—onsisted of goods that had originated along the Ise-Mikawa coast. This figure testifies to the importance of the through-trade for the packhorse network. In fact, only half of all cargo brought into the valley from the Tokai area was consumed within Iida. While the domestic market absorbed nearly all of the imported salt and dried fish (which the interior basins of Shinano could readily procure from other sources), many specialty products of the coastal region merely passed through Iida en route to the interior. This was especially true of tea and cotton. Of the 12,000-odd loads of re-exported cargo carried by the pack trains into interior Shinano, more than 11,000 consisted entirely of these two specialty products of the Pacific coast. More than 85 percent of the recorded import levels for both goods went to satisfy demand north of the lower Ina valley (table 7).

In addition to those items that passed into and through Iida from outside, the Horeki documents identify cargo originating in Iida as well.

The geography of the tobacco trade proved highly responsive to later price shifts, however; after the turn of the century, the bulk of Shinshu tobacco was rerouted to Edo. Miyagawa 1960:158-59



Table 5
Goods Imported into Iida from the North

Item

Origin

Loads

Grains and pulses

Matsumoto, Ina valley

15,900

Silk thread

Ina valley

10

Cocoons

Matsumoto, Ina valley

80

Silk cloth

Takato

17

Hemp thread

Takato, Ina valley

60

Raw hemp

Matsumoto, Shimosuwa

120

Dried gourd shavings

Matsumoto

20

Perilla seeds

Matsumoto, Takato, Ina valley

1,140

Dried fish

Sea of Japan coast

394

Hair and lamp oil

Ina valley

60

Walnuts

Ina valley

70

Chestnuts

East Tenryu

100

Dried persimmons

Iida area

900

Shochu lees

Takato

500

Rapeseed wastes

Matsumoto, Takato

270

Lime

Ina valley

150

Lacquerware

Kiso

70

Flint

Edo

5

Kettles

Edo

20

Used metalwares

Ina valley

60

Bamboo cooperage

East Tenryu

510

Wooden ladles

Iida area

30

Tobacco

Matsumoto, Kai province

55

Tobacco

East Tenryu, Ina valley

3,900

Ash-based bleach

Ina valley

180

Whetstones

Kozuke

180

Pharmacopoeia

Ina valley, East Tenryu

170

Cryptomeria bark

East Tenryu

80

Dyestuffs

Iida area

42

Wooden combs

Iida area

12

Rope

Shimosuwa

12

Wooden clogs

East Tenryu

340

Freeze-dried tofu

Matsumoto

40

Paper mulberry

Takato

150

Hardwoods for crafts

Takato, Iida area, East Tenryu

2,050

Other (not specified)

Takato, Ina valley

926

TOTAL

 

28,628



Table 6
Exports of Chikuma Tobacco, 1763

Destination

Loads

Percentage

Nagoya, via Ina road

5,400

75

Nagoya, via Kiso road

1,000

14

Okazaki

250

3

Shinshiro

250

3

Yoshida

1 00

1

Suwa

130

1

Takato

50

1

TOTAL

7,200

100

SOURCE : Miyagawa 1960:159.

The latter consisted primarily of semiprocessed agricultural goods, notably dried persimmons and tobacco, supplemented by a small quantity of high-value local protoindustrial goods, notably paper hair ornaments, silk thread, lacquerware, and small wooden craft objects.

Tobacco is a difficult item to categorize in these terms. Ninety-nine percent of the leaves carried by the chuma were grown, dried, and shredded in the northern Ina valley, beyond the borders of the Shimoina economy. The only processing done in the castle town involved blending the different varieties and repackaging them for further shipment. If one considers this sufficient to call tobacco a local product, it dwarfs all others, accounting for roughly 3,800 of 8,000 loads of "local" goods dispatched from the castle town. It also biases the export trade heavily toward the Tokai, since all but a single load of the tobacco that passed through Iida was bound for the Tokai coast. Given the minimal processing that went on in Iida, however, I find it more accurate to designate tobacco an item of through-trade. Removing tobacco from the list of locally produced goods reveals that the markets for the remaining items of local manufacture were roughly balanced between north and south. In fact, of the remaining 5,028 horse loads of local products exported in 1763, slightly fewer than half (2,082) were destined for the Tokai coast. All of Iida's silk and unlacquered bowls, however, were shipped in that direction (table 8).

The remaining three-fifths of local products, including some of Iida's most valuable protoindustrial goods, were exported to the north and east. All of the area's paper parasols and hairdress ties, 90 percent of its finished lacquerware, and 70 percent of its dried persimmons were dispatched toward central Shinano. It is unclear how much of the north-



Map 9.
Total Packhorse Cargo Shipped from Iida in 1763, by Destination.
Unit: packhorse loads (da). (Adapted from Nishioka and Hatrori
1956:214.)

bound total was destined ultimately for the wealthy markets of the Kanto, but at least a portion of Iida's hairdress ties were specified as Edo-bound. A detailed breakdown is provided in table 9.

The data in tables 1-9 offer numerous suggestions about Iida's orientation in the wider Tokugawa economy. At the outset of this chapter, Shimoina was confidently identified as belonging within the



Table 7
Goods Passing through Iida en Route from the Tokai Coast to the Interior

Item

Destination

Loads

Tea

Matsumoto, Takato, Ina road, Kamisuwa

9,664

Raw cotton

Matsumoto, Takato, Ina road, Kamisuwa

1,877

Salt

Ina road

417

Dried fish

Matsumoto, Takato, Ina road, Kamisuwa

197

Cotton cloth

Matsumoto, Takato, Ina road, Kamisuwa

165

Used clothing

Shimosuwa, Takato, Ina road

28

Notions

Shimosuwa, Takato, Ina road

85

Indigo

Ina road

55

Mandarin oranges

All destinations

21

Iron goods

All destinations

92

Silk cloth

Suwa, Takato

13

Ceramics

Ina road

4

Sedge hats

Takato, Ina road

8

Pharmacopoeia

All destinations

55

Whetstones

Takato

4

TOTAL

 

12,685

greater Nobi trading sphere. The content and volume of the packhorse trade allow us to give substance to this assertion; they also indicate that Shimoina's ties were somewhat more complicated than this simple formula suggests.

On the one hand, the differential volume of goods coming into the castle town clearly confirms the assessment that the area's principal ties were with the coast. Although the roughly 24,000 loads originating to the south were overshadowed by nearly 29,000 loads entering Iida from the north, almost all of the latter (88 percent) came from within the Ina valley. In contrast to the steady stream of goods originating more than three days' distance to the south, in other words, Iida's import trade from comparably distant areas to the north and east was a mere trickle.

On the other hand, if one cuts the data in a different way, separating goods consumed or processed locally from those that were merely warehoused in the castle town, a rather different set of patterns is revealed. Most conspicuous is a curious imbalance in the through-trade. The volume of coastal cargo passing through Iida to points north, approximately 12,000 loads, was roughly triple that of through-traffic to the south, which included 3,800 loads of tobacco but little else. Even more interesting than



Table 8
Goods Processed or Produced in the Iida Area for Export to Nagoya, Okazaki, Yoshida, Mino, and Kiso

Item

Destination

Loads

Unlacquered bowls

Shinshiro, Yoshida, Nagoya

407

Lacquered bowls

Shinshiro, Yoshida, Nagoya

132

Dried persimmons

Nagoya, Okazaki, Iwamura

314

Silk cloth

Nagoya, Okazaki

100

Silk wadding

Yoshida

1

Silk floss

Tsumago (Kiso)

81

Cocoons

Iwamura (Kiso)

140

Semirefined oil (mizu-abura )

Nagoya, Kiso

80

Paper

Nagoya, Mikawa, Mino

188

Pharmacopoeia

Nagoya, Shinshiro

62

Hemp thread

Nagoya, Yoshida, Shinshiro

268

Cryptomeria bark

Shinshiro

72

Soy sauce

Mikawa, Kiso

24

Tamari sauce

Mikawa, Kiso

47

Combs

Shinshiro

11

Lacquerware

Shinshiro

7

Women's clogs

Iwamura (Kiso)

138

Camphor

Nagoya, Shinshiro

5

Miscellaneous

5

TOTAL

 

2,082

this quantitative difference is a striking qualitative difference in Iida's trade with the two main poles of its economic compass. The contrast is simply stated: goods from the north, unlike those from the south, passed not only through Iida's markets but into its commercial production circuits as well.

In relation to the Tokai coast, Shimoina played primarily a passive role as a consumption and distribution point. As we have seen, fully half of the goods imported from the Nobi region were merely warehoused in Iida before being passed on, in an unaltered state, to markets farther inland. The remaining half, which was destined for local markets, consisted primarily of ready-to-eat specialty foods (salt, tea, mandarin oranges, fish, vegetables) and manufactured items (silk, textiles, used clothing, refined hair oils, tatami mat facings, pottery, and sundries). There were, to be sure, two important exceptions to this pattern: ginned cotton and indigo. Both required further processing before they could be used. Yet in eighteenth-century Japan, these two items were usually processed at the point of consumption (i.e., within the peasant house-



Table 9
Goods Processed or Produced in Iida for Export to Interior Shinano

Item

Destination

Loads

Lacquered bowls

Matsumoto, Suwa, Takato, Ina valley

1,173

Hairdress ties

Matsumoto, Suwa, Takato, Ina valley

444

Dried persimmons

Matsumoto, Suwa, Takato, Ina valley

779

Bamboo cooperage

Matsumoto, Takato, Ina valley

306

Vinegar

Takato, Ina valley

62

Zumikawa (a yellow dye)

Takato

37

Kimono

Takato

7

Tobacco

Takato

1

Paper

Matsumoto, Suwa, Takato

20

Paper parasols

Matsumoto

19

Candles

Matsumoto, Takato

28

Wooden combs

Matsumoto, Takato

6

Soy sauce and tamari

Ina valley

14

Refined oil

Suwa

48

Ladles

Ina valley

2

TOTAL

 

2,946

hold), so that, like the other goods from the coast, they were primarily resold in the form in which they arrived.51

The same cannot be said of goods from the interior. With the exception of tobacco, the latter consisted mainly of grains and pulses, nuts, fertilizers (shochu lees, rapeseed wastes, and lime), and a host of raw or barely processed materials: oil seeds, mulberry bark, hardwoods, cocoons, raw hemp, dyestuffs, and the like. After they entered Iida, the path of those goods differed from that of their coastal counterparts in two respects. First, a much higher percentage of the influx from the interior was consumed locally; second, a significant proportion of the remainder was processed by Iida residents for re-export to the south in more refined forms . This pattern is exemplified by the case of textiles, where the castle town imported cocoons and raw hemp from the north but exported hemp thread, silk floss, and a small amount of specialty silk cloth to the south. Similar patterns prevailed in four additional industrial sectors: paper, oils, hardwood crafts, and soy products (soy sauce and tamari ).

In short, Iida's role in relation to northbound goods was significantly different from the role it played in the southbound trade. In economic terms, the northern reaches of Iida's packhorse sphere constituted a re-

On the growth of a national market for cotton, see Hauser 1974:59



source hinterland for the castle town, whereas the coastal areas did not. This conclusion is reinforced when the focus is narrowed to processed goods alone, for the Nobi littoral may be clearly distinguished from interior Shinano on the basis of the kinds of locally processed items each market absorbed. While the Tokai region mainly purchased its semi-processed goods, Iida was able to export numerous finished goods to both interior Shinano and Edo . For instance, all of Iida's silk thread and unlacquered bowls—both of which required further processing before they reached the final user—were shipped out to the south; by contrast, all or most of the area's paper parasols, paper hairdress ties, and finished lacquerware were sent northward toward central Shinano, with some going on to Edo. Again, this suggests that, in its relations with the coast, Iida essentially played the role of a periphery—importing more advanced or more fully processed goods than it exported—whereas in its trade with the interior, the roles were reversed. These are among the most important implications of the 1763 data for Shimoina's orientation in the Tokugawa economic landscape.

In addition to the specific findings about Shimoina's economic role, the foregoing discussion has suggested a number of more general conclusions about the organization of the Tokugawa space-economy at the middle of the eighteenth century. Three of these findings are of central interest for the present study.

First, despite concerted attempts by various levels of government to stabilize it, the infrastructure of trade proved highly elusive of regulation. We have seen this most clearly in the rise of an illicit packhorse network, which secured a foothold by providing merchants with an advantageous system for carrying freight in and out of the mountains. Individual drivers traveled straight through to distant destinations rather than transferring their loads en route, arriving faster and with less damage to cargo; they exercised free choice of routing, being able not only to bypass the post stations but to take shortcuts or detours at will; and each driver led multiple animals, reducing the labor inputs necessary to transport the same volume of freight. Such a level of innovation was unmatched elsewhere in the transport developments surveyed here. Yet some degree of flexibility characterized all major elements of the circula-



tion infrastructure, including its nodes (towns and marketplaces) and channels (roads and shipping lines) as well as the actual carriers that shuttled between them. Castle towns, for instance, were officially granted significant roles in the cargo trade, as both wholesaling centers and distribution points. But they too had to fight to preserve their prerogatives. Just as the official relay stations saw their carrying business usurped by peasant packhorse teams, so castle-town merchants saw their wholesaling trade threatened by rural brokers. In Iida, this lent the merchants' position a certain paradoxical, if not hypocritical, quality. While they were happy enough to see upstarts displacing official transporters, they lost no time rallying against precisely the same sort of development when it threatened their own domain.52

No amount of protective legislation, however, could guarantee the castle towns' position as the most important nodes in the growing commercial trade. Under provocation of surcharges or simply unfavorable terms of trade, drivers repeatedly took the risk of circumventing designated markets to negotiate more profitable deals in rural satellites. And in extreme cases, as they had done in sanctioning the packhorse network itself, the authorities eventually recognized these changes by revoking the privileges they had ordained in the first place. This finding is perhaps not surprising, given evidence of comparable movement away from early Tokugawa norms in other areas of economic and social life.53 But it does provide additional confirmation for characterizing the regime's attempts at economic regulation as more "flamboyant" than effectual.54

The second general finding of the chapter concerns the extent to which the Tokugawa space-economy was a political creation. We have seen this most clearly in the fight between the post stations and the pack-horses over legalization of the latter network. In considering the survival of that network, however, it is also important to recall the efforts expended to prevent the Tenryu River from being developed for shipping. The importance of the Bakufu's intervention in blocking development of the proposed navigation system on the Tenryu cannot be overesti-

This struggle is discussed more fully in chapter 4.

Examples range from domain finances to fertility control, rural-urban migration, the sapping of commercial production in castle towns, and chronic infringements of sumptuary legislation. For a survey of strains that had developed by the early nineteenth century, see Jansen 1989a.

The source of this term is Philip C. Brown (1991), who defines the flamboyant state as one that is nominally granted wider authority than it is actually able to exercise. See also Brown 1993. For a related discussion contrasting the Tokugawa shoguns' broad claims with their more Iimited de facto powers, see White 1988.



mated. The code governing packhorse activities restricted loads to roughly one hundred kilograms per animal on level ground; in difficult terrain, the legal limit was reduced to between fifty and eighty kilograms. Since the capacity, of a riverboat was twenty to forty times greater, it was decisive for the packhorse system's survival that the middle reaches of the Tenryu River were largely unusable for long-distance shipping until the Meiji period.55

The thwarting of riparian transport thus represents one more instance where politics decisively shaped the Ina valley's regional economic infrastructure. It deserves recounting in the present context because it was an essential backdrop to Shimoina's development, and a necessary, but by no means given, condition for the survival of the packhorse network. Terrain and technology alone did not determine the geography of transportation in the southern Japanese Alps during the Tokugawa period. Rather, the routing of cargo flows was a matter of policy, openly contested by interested parties. Just as the recognition of private packhorse drivers along the Ina road was a political act, so the failure to exploit the Tenryu River was ultimately a political decision.

Finally, the data presented here suggest that constraints on transport capacity—whatever their origin—affected local economic development in critical ways. Beyond the limits of navigation, hauling high-volume, low-value goods such as grain and fuel more than one to two days' journey from their source of origin was simply not practical. On the one hand, this sharply limited the scale of urban development beyond the coastal littoral (and its inland extension onto a handful of alluvial plains). Equally important, it constrained the kinds of commodities that the larger lowland cities could profitably extract from beyond this pale as well. With the important exception of lumber, which could usually be floated or rafted downstream from high in the mountains (even on rivers like the Tenryu that were otherwise not navigable),56 highland areas of Japan simply could not be exploited for bulky commodities until the late nineteenth century.

It is essential to note that this constraint was not entirely a negative force in the development of the Japanese uplands. To the extent that the country's interior regions developed exports at all—and the com-

Figures on load limits are from Tomioka 1978:86, 153; Mukaiyama 1969: 250-53.

Sources on Tenryu logging and riparian navigation include Hayashi Tornito 1987, Ishikawa 1980, Kusakabe 1987, Misawa 1971, and Toyoda et al. 1978. As Conrad Tot-man (1989:71-74) persuasively documents, the losses—here as on other rivers used for transporting lumber—were often exorbitant



petitive mercantilism of domain ideology dictated that all feudal lords at least make this attempt—the expense of transport dictated that those exports be lightweight, high-value goods. This principle is borne out in the cargo manifests identifying the goods exported from Iida to the large metropolises that surrounded it: highly processed agricultural goods (dried persimmons and tobacco), paper and paper wares, silk thread, and lacquerware top the list. In sum, being relegated to the inland transport periphery in Tokugawa Japan in some ways encouraged precisely the kind of economic development that we have come to think of as characterizing advanced areas.

This represents one way in which the composition of trade is as enlightening about patterns of production as about patterns of exchange. Of the data provided in the 1763 trade surveys, the figures on Iida's own exports are particular revealing about the local economy; between them, tables 7 and 8 constitute in effect an X ray of the castle town's industrial base. To flesh out that skeletal image, our focus must now shift explicitly from circulation to production: from the politically charged history of the region's transport infrastructure to the equally political geography of its territorial division of labor.





Continues...


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