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Franklin Hiram King
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 275 pages of information about Farmers of Forty Centuries; Or, Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan.

But above any other factor, and perhaps greater than all of them combined in contributing to the high maintenance efficiency attained in these countries must be placed the standard of living to which the industrial classes have been compelled to adjust themselves, combined with their remarkable industry and with the most intense economy they practice along every line of effort and of living.

Almost every foot of land is made to contribute material for food, fuel or fabric.  Everything which can be made edible serves as food for man or domestic animals.  Whatever cannot be eaten or worn is used for fuel.  The wastes of the body, of fuel and of fabric worn beyond other use are taken back to the field; before doing so they are housed against waste from weather, compounded with intelligence and forethought and patiently labored with through one, three or even six months, to bring them into the most efficient form to serve as manure for the soil or as feed for the crop.  It seems to be a golden rule with these industrial classes, or if not golden, then an inviolable one, that whenever an extra hour or day of labor can promise even a little larger return then that shall be given, and neither a rainy day nor the hottest sunshine shall be permitted to cancel the obligation or defer its execution.

I

FIRST GLIMPSES OF JAPAN

We left the United States from Seattle for Shanghai, China, sailing by the northern route, at one P. M. February second, reaching Yokohama February 19th and Shanghai, March 1st.  It was our aim throughout the journey to keep in close contact with the field and crop problems and to converse personally, through interpreters or otherwise, with the farmers, gardeners and fruit growers themselves; and we have taken pains in many cases to visit the same fields or the same region two, three or more times at different intervals during the season in order to observe different phases of the same cultural or fertilization methods as these changed or varied with the season.

Our first near view of Japan came in the early morning of February 19th when passing some three miles off the point where the Pacific passenger steamer Dakota was beached and wrecked in broad daylight without loss of life two years ago.  The high rounded hills were clothed neither in the dense dark forest green of Washington and Vancouver, left sixteen days before, nor yet in the brilliant emerald such as Ireland’s hills in June fling in unparalleled greeting to passengers surfeited with the dull grey of the rolling ocean.  This lack of strong forest growth and even of shrubs and heavy herbage on hills covered with deep soil, neither cultivated nor suffering from serious erosion, yet surrounded by favorable climatic conditions, was our first great surprise.

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