Choosing Economics as my Field of Specialization to Contribute to my Country’s Development
After learning Japanese for four years at a university in China, my life as a researcher began when I became a graduate student at the Graduate School of Economics and Management of Tohoku University in April 2010. Though my studies in China included a course on the Japanese economy, I entered graduate school with hardly any specialized knowledge in economics. Wanting to learn about Japan during its period of rapid economic growth and development and wanting to contribute to my own country’s development by absorbing all the good Japan has to offer were the driving forces behind my choice of economics as my field of specialization.
In my master’s and doctorate programs, I elucidated the characteristics and historical structures of early modern Japan’s labor market. A book review written by my supervisor, Professor Hiroshi Hasebe (who retired in March 2021), sparked my research into this subject. It was a review of a book entitled “The Practices of Joint Ownership of Land and Earning Elsewhere – A Social History of Village Life in Echigo Kanbara” by Yoshitaka Nakamura. Reading the review, I learned that labor migration had already been practiced in early modern Japan. To this day, the problems which peasants and farmers face such as poor working conditions and disparities in social security and job training opportunities are societal issues in China. As research to link to this issue, I studied what kind of labor migration occurred in early modern Japan, including its scale and characteristics. The first thing I did was to study documents of the Okoshi family in the former Kakuda-hama Village in Nishi-kanbara District, Niigata Prefecture.