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About the Development of new rice-fields in the 8th century

The Imperial Court planned a large-scale-development of new rice-fields in 722.
In those days, the population was increasing, so the Court needed more rice-fields to allocate all people who were over 6 years old. In addition, the Court also wanted to increase tax revenue.
In 723, the Sanze-Isshin-Law was enacted. The law allowed people to own land for a certain period of time, if they developed new rice-fields. If a person developed both new irrigation facilities and new rice-fields, the person and the person’s children and grandchildren were allowed to own the land.
If a person developed only new rice-fields, the person was allowed to own the rice-fields and when he passed away, his rice-fields were given back to the Court.
However, the law was not so effective, because people felt that the period which they could own the rice-fields was too short, because that people didn’t live very long in those days.
And then the Konden-Einen-Shizai-Law was enacted in 743. This allowed people to own rice-fields which they developed forever. The original aim of this law was to develop more rice-fields which could be managed by the Court, but the law prompted rich people such as nobles, temples and local lords to expand their private rice-fields. For example, great temples like Todaiji-temple clamed vast plains. The development of temples was supported by local governments and these temples used neighboring farmers and homeless people to build irrigation facilities and for land cultivation.

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