Hayami Akira

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  • Born: 1929
  • Japanese: 速水融 (Hayami Akira)

Hayami Akira is a historian of Edo period demography. Associated with the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (aka Nichibunken), he is perhaps best known for his arguments regarding Japan's early modern "industrious revolution."

Hayami taught as a professor at Keiō University for many years, after graduating from that same institution.

Through research on religious registers known as shûmon aratame-chô and other sources, Hayami pioneered a number of new perspectives on early modern Japanese demographic history. One of his key arguments was to see economic development in Edo period Japan as an "industrious revolution" - while Japan did not develop steam power and certain other industrial technologies as Europe did at that time, an intensification of labor, agricultural techniques and land use, and other developments allowed Japan to see considerable development of a pre-industrial sort which some have called proto-modernization.[1]

Along with others, Hayami also argued that conscious efforts at population control were practiced, at least in some regions of Japan - that infanticide was not practiced out of desperation but out of a more intentional and standardized custom of maintaining manageable families.[2]

Selected Publications

  • L.L. Cornell and Akira Hayami, "The Shumon Aratame Cho: Japan's Population Registers," Journal of Family History 11:4 (1986), 311-328.
  • Hayami Akira, Saitô Osamu, and Ronald Toby (eds.), The Economic History of Japan:1600-1990: Volume 1: Emergence of Economic Society in Japan, 1600-1859, Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • Hayami Akira, Population, Family, and Society in Pre-Modern Japan, Leiden: Global Oriental (2009).


  1. Hayami Akira, Population, Family, and Society in Pre-Modern Japan, Leiden: Global Oriental (2009).
  2. Luke Roberts, Mercantilism in a Japanese Domain: The Merchant Origins of Economic Nationalism in 18th-Century Tosa, Cambridge University Press (1998), 62.