China and Japan
Humans and the Environment
Japan is an isolated nation covered with mountains, which means little land for agriculture. They went to the sea, and found fish, which was graciously delicious. They also farmed rice where there was land for farming, as well as other vegetables such as water bamboo, and lotus root. During the middle ages, the largest numbers of people in Japan were farmers and fishermen. Their way of life was often hard. Farmers’ crops perished in storms, drought, and floods. Fishermen risked their lives to go out on their small boats in rough seas. Both farmers and fishermen worked hard and had to pay heavy taxes to the nobles, who owned their land.
As to China, they were a river civilization. In china the landscape was covered with loess, which is fine yellow dirt. During floods, loess would often clog irrigation ditches. Then they began to build dikes, so they could control the water flow. It was a semiarid region. The crop-fallow rotation was practiced by the Chinese in farming. Crop rotation avoids a decrease in soil fertility, because growing the same crop repeatedly in the same place eventually rids the soil of various nutrients. The fallow was primarily for storing moisture, rather than a fertility restoring device as in shifting cultivation. Then they began rice farming. The rice field would be flooded, and each plant would be planted by hand in the soft soil of the field. Since there wasn’t much animal manure, farmers usually used human feces to fertilize their fields. Their fertilizing allowed them to use the fields year after year, without the need to allow it to lay fallow. This type of rice farming was booming in China, resulting in the population also rising.
Japan and China were both similar in using their environments, because they both herded animals. They also grew rice along their coasts. China had a better way of growing rice, but they pretty much only grew rice. China had irrigation ditches, but,...
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