Over the long course of Japan’s history, its people profitedfrom their rich natural environment while simultaneously facingsignificant environmental challenges. Over time, they have alteredtheir natural environment in numerous ways, from landscape modificationto industrial pollution. How has the human-nature relationship changedover time in Japan? How does Japan’s environmental historycompare with that of other countries, or that of the world as a whole?Environment and Society in the Japanese Islands attempts toanswer these questions through a series of case studies by leadingJapanese and Western historians, geographers, archaeologists, andclimatologists. These essays, on diverse topics from all periods ofJapanese history and prehistory, are unified by their focus on the keyconcepts of “resilience” and “risk mitigation.”Taken as a whole, they place Japan’s experience in global contextand call into question the commonly presumed division betweenpre-modern and modern environmental history.
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