Ninomiya is credited with creating a standard format for feudal land management, earning the name “Santoku.” After his death, he was awarded the Lower Fourth Honor, equivalent to the Upper Third Honor in the ritsuryo ranking system. Ninomiya himself did not leave any written philosophical work, but his ideas were recorded by his disciples. Ninomiya combined Buddhism and Shintoism and even incorporated Confucianism into his philosophy. Ninomiya saw agriculture as the highest form of humankind and saw the cultivation of the Kami as the most important of human activity.
A 19th-century agricultural leader, Ninomiya Sontoku was a moralist, philosopher, and economist. His sweeping views on the nature of human society and the future of agriculture are still relevant today. Learn about the life and legacy of this legendary leader. He was a leading agricultural leader in Japan. His philosophy of agriculture and the need to preserve the natural environment is important for humankind today. Learn about the life of Ninomiya Sontoku and his impact on modern agriculture.
As a young man, Ninomiya lived with his uncle. There he studied under lamplight. His uncle criticized his lack of progress in education and called his study useless for a farmer. Ninomiya learned to grow crops and trade them for lamp oil. He was able to advance his education through this work and eventually became a prominent sage. His message of hard work remained with him throughout his life.
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Ninomiya’s financial institutions
One of the most important agricultural leaders in nineteenth-century Japan, Ninomiya Sontoku grew up in a low-income family and was placed in an uncle’s household at age fourteen. Despite this, Ninomiya soon rose to prominence and established several financial institutions in his name. Then, in 1890, he became a professor at the University of Tokyo. His teachings, which are based on Chinese and Buddhist philosophy, continue to influence the world today.
A man born into an impoverished family, Ninomiya developed his family’s landholdings by self-educating himself. The success of his methods drew the attention of local officials, who invited him to join their government. Ninomiya’s philosophies were not revolutionary, but he introduced new ideas that made farming easier for peasants, including mutual aid among farmer families. These ideas helped Japan’s feudal system flourish and become famous for the Kami culture.
Ninomiya’s humble beginnings as a farmer can be seen in his philosophies. The early years were spent working on the family farm, where he studied by candlelight. However, his uncle considered his studies useless, and he was often criticized for wasting the lamp oil. Thus, Ninomiya began growing oilseed rape to sell in exchange for lamp oil.