The descriptions in this chapter of how a ri
(hamlet) or sei
(well brigade) is subdivided, governed and taxed are based on Chinese law, originating during the Zhou Dynasty (9th century BC to 256 BC).
According to modern definitions, 1 畝(bou) = 30 坪(tsubo), or 30 x 3.31 = 99.3 square meters. 1 are
= 100 square meters (or yards). Based on Youko's 135 cm number, the math doesn't work out as neatly as I would like. But as Enho explains, the length of 1 歩(pu) is relative to a man's stride, so the metric equivalents are close enough (one meter = one yard).
1 跿(ki) = 1 stride
2 跿(ki) = 1 歩(pu) "pace" = 135 cm (according to Youko's calculation), but I'll call it one meter (yard) for the sake of simplicity
1 里(ri) = 300 歩(pu) paces
Note that ri
can mean a measure of linear distance, a measure of area, or a "hamlet," all depending on context. Essentially, "hamlet" (里) is used in a political context and "well brigade" (井) in an agricultural context; ri
(area or distance) is a geographical definition.
1 畝(bou) = 100 square meters = 1 are (about half a singles tennis court)
1 夫(pu) = 100 畝(bou) = 100 are = 1 hectare = 10,000 歩(pu) square paces
1 夫(pu) = 1 allotment (two American football fields, or a little less than one soccer field)
9 夫(pu) = 1 square 里(ri) = 900 畝(bou) = 90,000 square paces
9 夫(pu) = 1 井(sei) = 1 well brigade or 1 hamlet
3 hamlets = 1 village
According to modern definitions, 1 寸(sun) = 3 cm. However, the way Enho describes it, the width of a finger, 1 寸(sun) is closer to 1 cm. Similarly, 1 升(shou) = 1.8 liters, but described as the amount of liquid you could scoop up with your cupped hands, it's probably more like half a liter or a pint.
1 寸(sun) =1 cm
1 尺(shaku) = 10 寸(sun)
1 丈(jou) = the height of an average man
公田 [こうでん] kouden, publically administered land on the commons, the yield of which becomes the tax obligation of the ri.
廬家 [ろけ] roke, privately held land on the commons
井田法 [せいでんほう] seidenhou, lit. "well and paddy law"
In Japan, real estate listings for houses and apartments include the letters LDK (or just DK). The letters stand for L
iving room, D
ining room, K
itchen, often combined into a single room. The number preceding LDK is the number of bedrooms, so a 2LDK has 2 bedrooms, a living room, dining room, and a kitchen area. What makes this passage particularly funny is that, of course, it isn't Japanese at all, but English (though a usage unique to Japanese).
The graphic is the blueprint of a Japanese apartment. The number following LDK is the floor area measured in jou
(帖 or 畳), or tatami mats (85 cm x 179 cm or 3 by 6 feet). The kanji 和 stands for 和室 (washitsu) or "Japanese-style room," meaning that it has tatami mat floor. The rectangles represent the layout of the mats. A 洋室 (youshitsu) is a "western-style room," meaning it has a hardwood floor.