One of the key goals of the gender policy in Japanese agriculture is that women will become an agricultural committee member. In recent years, the number of the women agricultural committee members has a tendency to increase, but it seems that they are still being restricted in many aspects. This study analyzed three cases firstly as to the process for the women to become an agricultural committee member, and secondly as to the activities of the women that have become an agricultural committee member and their issues. The results are as follows. Firstly, it was clarified that the processes for the women to become an agricultural committee member are different from each other depending on the cases. Secondly, it was clarified that the difference of the processes to become an agricultural committee member exerts different influences on the term of office as an agricultural committee member and the assumption of the position in the agricultural committee. Thirdly, by the fact that women became an agricultural committee, new activities have been developed in the agricultural committee. One of the examples is the activities concerning gender equality. At the end, this study points out the future expected issues for the women to act as an agricultural committee member even after the revision of the Act on Agricultural Committee, etc. in 2016.
In this paper, examining the replotting method and subsequent land processing of field development, I focus on the method of adjusting land use in the rural community of Warichi. In Endo, until 1953, Warichi were required to take on a certain form of cultivation, according to the Kenmae-gumi, when land was replotted, even in cases where this was not performed as Warikae. This was linked to Kenmae in the history of development and the creation of levees as a device to reduce damage from flood disasters, and it was a framework for life in the area concerned. Even if there was no Warichi, as could happen in the wake of field maintenance, the Kenmae of standards of practice is adopted as replotting criteria, and this fact enabled Warichi and Kenmae to continue their actuality. In the case of Endo, the influence of Warichi and Kenmae did not end immediately after the introduction of the modern private ownership system of land. As a result, in Endo, it was necessary to use Warichi and Kenmae to form a consensus of a new stage of transition to modern system of private ownership of land while maintaining unity as a rural community. How could Warichi and Kenmae be used to form consensus? As a background to this inquiry, we should note that people had expectations of guarantees and stability from Kenmae with regard to their unstable cultivated land, and life largely depended on it.
In recent years, the field of rural sociology has been discussing ways to recover relationships between people and forests in modern Japanese society. In this background lies the perspective that the relationships between people and forests became tenuous compared to what they were in the past, and a need for a new relationship between people and forests is being sought. It is therefore important to identify, as a preliminary step, how the relationships between people and forests have been originally formed within a village, and in case that such relationships have been severed, to figure out where the causes lay, from the perspective of environmental history. Based on these concerns, focusing on the perspectives of villagers, this study undertook a case on the common land of Horinouchi-village, Tama-gun, Musashi-no-kuni. From the historical point of view, the events of the end of Edo period and the Meiji Restoration period, were considered and an investigation was conducted based on analysis of archival records and interview surveys. Historically, in Horinouchi-village, the conditions of the common land, many a time, were formed amidst the conflicts that arose between the village and the external society, or within the village. The first incident was a resistance movement against the reclamation work of grasslands of the Tokugawa shogunate. Next was the utilization of resources of the common land as a source of village income. Village leaders established school forests to secure school management budget. However, when a proposal was made to sell the common land to appropriate the income for tax payment, half the villagers opposed this idea resulting in the failure of the plan. Working out the reasons behind these various utilizations of common land have an important implication for the discussion of the relationship between people and forests. Such a variation of utilization of the common land in the Horinouchi-village was influenced by the fact that the common land was being divided into the private and public areas.