It seems impossible anywhere in this century of the common man for history to remain a mere matter of recording and analysing the deeds of uncommon men. The most traditional of historians finds himself obliged to assess not only the influence exerted on the course of events by individual statesmen and generals, but also the collective influence of the wishes, the fears, the interests, or the prejudices of large numbers of anonymous individuals, grouped generally, for purposes of convenience, under such rubrics as “the urban middle classes,” “the city,” “the workers,” “the farmers,” “the discontented intellectuals,” or “the electorate.” Sometimes the statistical implications of such terms are recognised, as by the English Namierites, in the use of openly statistical methods of approach. Other historians use less tedious, and it must be admitted less convincing, means of summation. In any case, the business of writing history has become more complicated. The purpose of this paper is to give some account of the treatment Japanese historians have afforded one such large category of individuals who can no longer be ignored in recounting the history of Meiji Japan, namely “the landlords.”

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.