THE ECONOMIC OLIGARCHY
The political oligarchy was erected on an economic structure that was dominated by an equally narrow group which, in most periods of Japanese history, was identical with it. The oligarchic structure of Japan's economy has given rise to certain attitudes among the people which have contributed to their acceptance of the political oligarchy.
It has been the task of the Japanese people to create the wealth on which their political masters have built their power. They have not been allowed to enjoy the full fruits of their labour, just as as they have been given no voice in the way in which they have been governed.
The economic oligarchy, like the political oligarchy, had its roots in the organization of the clan society of early Japan. The economic organization of the clans probably varied greatly from clan to clan according to their size, but in all it seems to have been based on the possession of rice-fields. We have some idea of the holdings of the imperial clan and it is probably fairly safe to assume that the same pattern was followed, if not by all clans, then by the more powerful ones that ranked close to the imperial clan in wealth.
The primary wealth of the imperial clan consisted of the imperial rice-fields, the people to till them, and the imperial granaries which were erected near the imperial estates for the storage of the grain from the fields. The fields were not contiguous, but scattered. This was due apparently partly to conquest and partly to the custom of establishing "memorial" rice-fields to honour deceased members of the imperial clan or to perpetuate the names
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Publication information: Book title: Japanese Militarism: Its Cause and Cure. Contributors: John M. Maki - Author. Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1945. Page number: 59.
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