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Strongest and weakest provinces
Topic Started: Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:49 am (125 Views)
Kuroda Kanbei
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Emperor's Retainer
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So I'm wondering. What were the most powerful Japanese provinces in terms of economy, population and military might and which were the weakest?

What provinces were so strong that they made every clan a powerhouse just by virtue of owning that province and what province was so insignificant they forever reduced its owner to a third rate power?
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Shogun
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I don't think such a province existed. A province was as good as its administration for the most part. Take for example Owari, Kii, Kaga, and Omi who were very fertile. When Nobunaga took hold of them, no superior province (on paper) was left in the mainland.

The weaker provinces are too many to name. On most occasions, a barren province would have the benefit of being coastal. However, there were exceptions and to your point about how this may affect a clan's standing, see Hida and Kawachi provinces which were held by the Anegakoji and Hatakeyama respectively. They were surrounded by landmass and may have handicapped these clans if they had any sort of aspirations beyond their borders.

I think we've answered the second part of your question (the negative). The first part (positive) is a lofty one I'm not qualified to answer.
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Rance
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Yuki Oh. No.
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https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1246

Wars were literally fought for control of this area.

Ok shitposting aside (though the above sentence regarding the Iwami mines is true), I actually think there's a good way to answer your question. What you can do is look at the assessed koku yields of each province during various periods. I agree with Shogun that to a large extent it had to do with administration and various agricultural projects by daimyo. However, I also think it's probable that some territories were just outright more populous and/or more productive than others. Some were also larger or smaller or more conveniently located for trade. Based off of the assessed koku income in each province, you could probably get an idea of which domains were the most valuable.

https://wiki.samurai-archives.com/index.php?title=Kokudaka

This has some example figures.

Edit-I've been hunting for some kind of map or list which showed more comprehensive figures. I read somewhere that The Economic Aspects of the History of the Civilization of Japan but holy ****, it costs like over $1,000.00. Getting that book temporarily through interlibrary loan might be a way to go if you want to do some serious research.

I used google book preview and got you some numbers during Hideyoshi's rule for the year 1597.

Hideyoshi's Revenue:

https://i.imgur.com/wfjYJp6.png
https://i.imgur.com/FyOPvAQ.png
https://i.imgur.com/5orwz4e.png
https://i.imgur.com/zm20PCs.png

Other Lord Revenue:

https://i.imgur.com/lECyoXg.png
https://i.imgur.com/oCDabCQ.png

I read somewhere that Sado was a big mining era during Edo times. Not sure if it was fully operational for mining prior to that. The taxes paid to Hideyoshi seem to suggest that there was at least a significant level of mining going on there, but I don't know how it compares to later periods.
Edited by Rance, Sun Jul 1, 2018 9:57 am.
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Shogun
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There's a lot of in-depth dissertations you can find about this stuff. There was one I remember about the Kanto and Go-Hojo. It starts with Hojo Soun as a monk with a few hundred followers who travels to Izu (which btw had a goldmine) and begins his conquest thereafter. The rest is mostly about conscription, delegation, fielding armies, forms of taxes, etc. I can dig it up but I'm not sure how useful it's going to be here. It's called "Samurai in Passage: The Transformation of the Sixteenth-Century Kanto" by Michael P. Birt.

It's important to note that all provinces had a unique political system that differentiated them. Toyotomi figures are a bit easier to fetch. Individual fiefs before the unification are trickier.

Given the basic premise of this thread, I found this map to be useful topographically. You get a sense of the terrain of each of these provinces.
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