Tenpo Famine

From SamuraiWiki
Jump to navigationJump to search

The Tenpô era (1830-1844) saw one of the most significant famines of the Edo period. Lasting from roughly 1833 to 1837,[1] the famine killed many throughout the archipelago.

Some domains, such as Tokushima and Yonezawa were comparatively less hard hit by the Tenpô famine; in the case of Yonezawa, this was in large part due to the domain's prosperity and effective agricultural policies. Cold winds and unseasonable precipitation patterns ruined crops as far south as Ryûkyû (where it was quite dry), and as far north as Hirosaki (which saw heavy rains, as did many other parts of "mainland" Japan), however. In 1836 alone, roughly 100,000 people died of starvation.

The famine inspired numerous incidents of uchikowashi ("smashing") throughout the archipelago, in which commoners or peasants attacked storehouses, or the homes of elites they believed to be hoarding rice.


  1. Mark Ravina, Land and Lordship in Early Modern Japan, Stanford University Press (1999), 187.