Harvesting State Support: Institutional Change and Local Agency in Japanese Agriculture

By Hanno Jentzsch

© 2021

Agriculture has been among the toughest political battlegrounds in postwar Japan and represents an ideal case study in institutional stability and change. Inefficient land use and a rapidly aging workforce have long been undermining the economic viability of the agricultural sector. Yet vested interests in the small-scale, part-time agricultural production structure have obstructed major reforms. Change has instead occurred in more subtle ways. Since the mid-1990s, a gradual reform process has dismantled some of the core pillars of the postwar agricultural support and protection regime. Harvesting State Support analyzes this process by shifting the analytical focus to the local level.

Drawing on extensive qualitative field research, Hanno Jentzsch investigates how local actors, including farmers, local governments, and local agricultural cooperatives, have translated abstract policies into local practice. Showing how local variants are constructed through recombining national reforms with the local informal institutional environment, Harvesting State Support reveals new links between agricultural reform and other shifts in Japan’s political economy.

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Product Details

  • Series: Japan and Global Society
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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SKU# SP006548

  • AVAILABLE JUN 2021

    From: $52.50

    Regular Price: $70.00

    ISBN 9781487508548
  • AVAILABLE JUN 2021

    From: $52.50

    Regular Price: $70.00

Quick Overview

Harvesting State Support provides an analytical focus on the local implementation and interpretation of the agricultural reform process in Japan.

Harvesting State Support: Institutional Change and Local Agency in Japanese Agriculture

By Hanno Jentzsch

© 2021

Agriculture has been among the toughest political battlegrounds in postwar Japan and represents an ideal case study in institutional stability and change. Inefficient land use and a rapidly aging workforce have long been undermining the economic viability of the agricultural sector. Yet vested interests in the small-scale, part-time agricultural production structure have obstructed major reforms. Change has instead occurred in more subtle ways. Since the mid-1990s, a gradual reform process has dismantled some of the core pillars of the postwar agricultural support and protection regime. Harvesting State Support analyzes this process by shifting the analytical focus to the local level.

Drawing on extensive qualitative field research, Hanno Jentzsch investigates how local actors, including farmers, local governments, and local agricultural cooperatives, have translated abstract policies into local practice. Showing how local variants are constructed through recombining national reforms with the local informal institutional environment, Harvesting State Support reveals new links between agricultural reform and other shifts in Japan’s political economy.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Japan and Global Society
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    "This meticulously researched book fills an important gap in our understanding of Japan’s agricultural support and protection regime by analyzing how local actors and agricultural institutions have influenced the nature of change in that regime. What it reveals is that the agricultural reform process in Japan is a complex story of top-down and bottom-up. Change is the product of interaction between nationally imposed policy reforms and the norms, practices, and community links of local actors, including farmers and agricultural cooperative organizations."


    Aurelia George Mulgan, professor in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of New South Wales, Canberra

    "Working with the case of Japan’s agricultural policy, Hanno Jentzsch has written an important theoretical contribution about institutional change. Jentzsch carefully draws out a local theory of gradual institutional change, a novel contribution to scholarship. Besides being essential for anyone interested in Japan’s agricultural policy, this book is also strongly recommended to those interested in Japan’s politics or policy-making, or in the broader theories of institutions."


    Robert J. Pekkanen, professor in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington
  • Author Information

    Hanno Jentzsch is an assistant professor in the Department of East Asian Studies and Japanese Studies at the University of Vienna.
  • Table of contents

    Part I: Introduction – Institutional Change in Japan’s Agricultural Sector 

    1. Japan’s Agricultural Support and Protection Regime 
    Gradual Change and an Ongoing Crisis 
    The Agricultural Support and Protection Regime as a Case to Understand Gradual Institutional Change 

    2. Toward a Local Perspective on Gradual Institutional Change 
    Shifting the Analytical Focus to the Local 
    The Local as Level of Analysis 
    Toward a Dynamic Concept of Informal Institutions and Institutional Change 

    3. Institutional Change in the Japanese Agricultural Support and Protection Regime through the Local Lens 
    Farmland Consolidation in Hikawa Town 
    Local Agricultural Regimes in Comparison 
    The Social and Normative Foundations of Local Agricultural Regimes 
    Boundary Change – The Limits of Local Institutional Agency 
    Village Institutions as Dynamic Resources 
    The Structure of the Book 

    Part II: Japan’s Agricultural Support and Protection Regime in Time 

    4. The Postwar Evolution of the Support and Protection Regime 
    Land Reform, the Owner-Cultivator Principle, and Local Control over Farmland 
    The Food Control System and the (Re)Birth of Nōkyō 
    Constructing the Agricultural Welfare State 
    Rice Production Control and De-Agriculturalization 
    Growing Pressure and Adjustment of the Food Control System 

    5. Gradual Change and Increasing Institutional Ambiguity in the Agricultural Support and Protection Regime 
    Agricultural Policy-Making in a Changing Political Economy 
    The New Basic Law – An Ambiguous New Constitution for the Agricultural Sector 
    Rice Market Liberalization and the Changing Role of Production Control 
    Towards Exclusive Subsidization (and back) 
    Farmland Deregulation and the End of the Owner-Cultivator-Principle 
    Interim Conclusion 

    Part III: Local Agricultural Regimes and Village Institutions 

    6. Different Local Manifestations of Macro-Level Change 
    Disparate Neighbors – Agriculture in Hikawa and Izumo City 
    Introducing Local Variety 
    Making Sense of Local Variety 

    7. The Postwar Formation of Local Agricultural Regimes and Village Institutions 
    The Emerging Boundaries of Postwar Local Agricultural Regimes 
    Village Institutions – The Changing Social and Normative Foundations of Local Agricultural Regimes 
    The Changing Postwar Hamlet 
    Local Social Ties Beyond Hamlet Boundaries 
    From Traditional Rural Social Organization to Village Institutions 
    Interim Conclusion 

    Part IV: Village Institutions as Dynamic Resources – The Local Renegotiation of the Agricultural Support and Protection Regime 

    8. Farmland Consolidation as a Social Process 
    Village Institutions and Public Control over Farmland in Hikawa 
    Village Institutions and Farmland Governance in the Kamiina District 
    The Local Origins of National Farmland Legislation 
    Interim Conclusion 

    9. Local Variations of Agricultural Entrepreneurship 
    Large-Scale Farms in the Local Agricultural Regime in Hikawa 
    Other JA-Related Corporations 
    Agricultural Entrepreneurship in the Kōfu Basin 
    Large-Scale Corporate Farming in Yasu City 
    Interim Conclusion 

    10. Hamlet-Based Collective Farming and Village Institutions 
    The Social and Normative Foundations of Hamlet-Based Collective Farming 
    Hamlet-Farming in the Context of Local Agricultural Regimes 
    Hamlet-Based Farms as Corporations 
    Interim Conclusion 

    11. Boundary Change – Decreasing Prospects for Comprehensive Local Institutional Agency 
    Decentralization, Deregulation, and the Changing Cooperative and Administrative Landscape 
    The Diffusion of Socio-Spatial Boundaries in Amalgamated Local Agricultural Regimes 
    Extended Municipal and Cooperative Autonomy and the Trajectory of the Local Agricultural Regime in Hikawa in the 2000s 
    Beyond Hikawa – Stable Boundaries in Comparison 
    Decreasing Prospects for Organized Local Agricultural Regimes 
    Interim Conclusion 

    Part V: Conclusions 

    12. Renegotiating Japan’s Agricultural Support and Protection Regime 
    Agricultural Reform and Local Agency in the Context of “Boundary Change” 
    Quo Vadis, Japanese Agriculture? The Limits of Intervention and the Risks of Disorganization 

    13. Institutional Change Through the Local Lens 
    Informal Institutions as Dynamic Resources 
    Local Institutional Agency in Context 

    Appendixes 
    Appendix A: Field Research 
    Appendix B: Interviews 
    Appendix C: Overview on Types of Farms in Japan 
    Appendix D: Overview on Paddy Field Subsidies

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