Japan is an isolated nation covered with mountains, which means little land for agriculture. They went to the sea, and found fish, which was graciously delicious. They also farmed rice where there was land for farming, as well as other vegetables such as water bamboo, and lotus root. During the middle ages, the largest numbers of people in Japan were farmers and fishermen. Their way of life was often hard. Farmers’ crops perished in storms, drought, and floods. Fishermen risked their lives to go out on their small boats in rough seas.
Both farmers and fishermen worked hard and had to pay heavy taxes to the nobles, who owned their land. As to China, they were a river civilization. In china the landscape was covered with loess, which is fine yellow dirt. During floods, loess would often clog irrigation ditches. Then they began to build dikes, so they could control the water flow. It was a semiarid region. The crop-fallow rotation was practiced by the Chinese in farming. Crop rotation avoids a decrease in soil fertility, because growing the same crop repeatedly in the same place eventually rids the soil of various nutrients.
The fallow was primarily for storing moisture, rather than a fertility restoring device as in shifting cultivation. Then they began rice farming. The rice field would be flooded, and each plant would be planted by hand in the soft soil of the field. Since there wasn’t much animal manure, farmers usually used human feces to fertilize their fields. Their fertilizing allowed them to use the fields year after year, without the need to allow it to lay fallow. This type of rice farming was booming in China, resulting in the population also rising.
Japan and China were both similar in using their environments, because they both herded animals. They also grew rice along their coasts. China had a better way of growing rice, but they pretty much only grew rice. China had irrigation ditches, but, were flooded from the loess. They also built dikes to control how much water would fill the fields. They also did the crop-fallow rotation. Japan went to river mouths to the deltas and rich plains to grow crops, which flourished their trading because they grew a lot of rice and vegetables.
China grew and used silkworms to make silk. China then took the silk from the silkworms and made it into things such as blankets, towels, clothing, and other things. They obviously traded these all. The way Japan used their environment helps us understand a current issue or event today, because Japan still flourishes from the use of river mouths and flood plains to grow crops. The way china used their environment helps us understand that they were invaded a long time ago and needed protection, so they built a huge wall.
The Great Wall of China is used today, not for protection, but for mainly show now. Tourists from around the world come to see the great wall. China also had its share of mistakes. In my opinion, they could have farmed other things than rice. Sure, it gave them a lot of publicity from their technique, but they could have had a lot more if they grew other crops. They could also use animal manure, even the little that they had. Which leads to grazing more animals.