托福阅读真题+题目+答案：Agriculture in Medieval Japan
A rapid population of Japan occurred during its medieval times. Japan’s population was around 7 million but it rose keenly to 12 million from year 1200 to 1600. In this period, numerous hamlets formed throughout the country. They were mostly formed in the lands listed as ”unsettled” or as a ”wasteland” before 1300. There were many facets in increase in number of new hamlets，but by far the most significant characteristic of newly formed hamlets were that they were much bigger in terms of size compared to that of the hamlets built before 1300. There are many factors for forming of such large towns that contributed to increase in population mass. Some factors that can be considered are people’s demand for local authority, voluntarily, to defend themselves against outside threats or to form religious communities. Whatever the impetus, such formation of large villages was due to improvements in the agricultural technologies. Some improvements in technologies involved turning over of fields, irrigation methods, and usage of waterwheels, iron tools and diversification of crop output.
Among many improvements in agriculture, field leveling was the most basic practice used to optimize the land for farming. The farmers would create flat land for farming by leveling a field. They then would use the surfeit soil from the field to level the slightly slanted field. As a result, two fields of difference in altitude would be formed. Such difference in elevation allowed farmers to use the lower for rice paddy and the higher for dry crops. Practice of field leveling allowed a paddy culture to settle and allowed vast variety in dry crops to be produced due to the formation of drop crop field. Though the labor involved in formation of fields was enormous, the field preparation enabled marshlands alongside the rivers to be used for husbandry even if the rivers were uncontrolled.
Rice crops require ample water for growth and it takes much time until they are ready to be harvested. So farmers naturally worked by places where they had access to ample supply of water, such as riverbanks, streams and ponds. However, natural water supply was inefficient for the growth of rice, especially in sweltering summers. This led to the usage
and development of ditches and dikes. Development in drawing the water from the distant locations led number of dams to increase and directed them to wherever they needed them. This was most evident in Yamato Basin where famers built permanent dams. The water detained in the pools was kept for times when they needed water for farming in droughty seasons. Such development led to keen proliferation of crop output as the heated water metabolized the germination of crops and caused crops to mature even faster.
By mid 1500s，one quarter of all paddy land were used to double crop. The farmers not only used fields to grow two crops in a year, but they even grew three in a single annual cycle. ■ An envoy from Korea stated that Japanese farmers from Hyogo region would grow barley and sow in winter and harvest them in summer. ■ Followed by rice cropping in summer and fall, buckwheat was harvested in winter. ■ As time went on agriculture advanced, such technique progressed from generation to generation. ■ Farming became more consistent and the crop output became even greater. A greater sense of discipline in land tilling and wide range of crops being planted in the same piece of land broadened the understanding of agriculture in farmers.
Crops harvested were used for farmers themselves. In many cases, one hectare of decent land was enough to sustain their entire family. They would only plow enough land for food to cater families for several reasons. Much of the medieval Japanese reclamation of land was due to the search for enough arable land to meet the food needed for just a single household. In case a farmer having enough fields for crop output required for his family, he would expand his fields no that one had to put into farming for his crops to grow. This was further compounded by the scarcity of land for fanning as well as limiting capacity for water and fertilizer supplies, not to mention the likelihood of antagonizing neighbors. Taking these variable factors into consideration,farmers of this period persisted with single hectare or less of arable land, just enough to sustain their families.
1. What can be inferred about the reason for the consolidation of population in medieval Japan?
(A) Whether from the orders of local government or due to a voluntary nature, the goal was to avoid danger.
(B) A list of possible catalysts is known but the exact combination of reasons is unclear.
(C) The desire to settle previously undeveloped land allured people, whatever their particular situation.
(D) Population boomed because there were more lands given out to people by the authority.
2. What was the significance of villages that appeared after 1300?
(A) They exemplified advancing capacity of food output that could support the increasing masses.
(B) They had been settled in areas that had been previously described as “unsettled” or as “wastelands.”
(C) They tended to gain greater area per person than the cities built before 1300.
(D) The population had grown by 5 million in a very short amount of time which forced villages to appear.
3. Why does the author mention various agronomical techniques?
(A) To explain the types of prowess needed to be learned in order for villages to prosper
(B) To begin a discussion on the relevance of these techniques in increasing productivity of fields
(C) To isolate the practices that facilitated the increased population size of the villages
(D) To point out the different jobs that had to be performed on a successful field
4. The word impetus in the passage is closest in meaning to
5. Which of the following is NOT true about field leveling?
(A) Extra soil was used to level the neighboring field.
(B) It was not a very arduous process.
(C) It resulted in two different growing platforms.
(D) It didn’t involve a high degree of apparatuses.
6. The word optimize in the passage is closest in meaning to
(B) take advantage of
(D) make the best use of
7. Which of the sentences below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in the passage Incorrect answer choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.
(A) The innovation of this technique facilitated the utilized water from uncontrolled rivers.
(B) This allowed for the swampy marshlands near rivers to be uncontrolled by the rivers themselves.
(C) Fanners were now able to invest labor resources into the development of marshlands from rivers.
(D) Field leveling was a technique that allowed farmers to exploit the natural layout of their terrain.
8. What TWO benefits did the shallow holding pools in the Yamato Basin provide?
(A) A faster harvesting process for the annual yield
(B) An additional source of water
(C) The reduced need of relying on ditches and dikes
(D) A source of heat for the water
9. The word ample in the passage is closest in meaning to
10. Why does the author mention farmers in the Hyogo region?
(A) To point out the immense amount of work required in triple cropping
(B) To express veneration for work carried out by farmers in Japan’s medieval period
(C) To introduce a topic and explain its reasoning in the next paragraph
(D) To illustrate an example of year long utilization of a field
11. What can be inferred about the desire for land during the medieval reclamation?
(A) People tried to secure only enough land to look after their rations.
(B) Land use was limited by the fact that Japan was not a very large country.
(C) The existence of several physical barriers prevented the desire for any superfluity of lands.
(D) Most of the land was undeveloped and owned by landlords.
12. The word antagonizing in the passage is closest in meaning to
13. Look at the four squares [■] that indicate where the following sentence can be added to the passage. The potential benefit of this was not the amounts of crop output.What would the sentence best fit?
14. Directions: An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some sentences do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passage or are minor ideas in the passage. This question is worth 2 points.
The drastic increase in Japan’s population during its medieval period signified the ability of the country to create enough fields close to a population to be able to support a denser population. Answer Choice
(A) The reason for the consolidation of citizens lied in a number of different factors, such as the formation of religious communities or simply voluntarily.
(B) Field leveling was a practice that allowed the cultivation of two entirely different types of crops with veiy efficient use of land.
(C) Farmers now had access to the marshlands of Japan close to rivers that were, as yet, not controlled by humans.
(D) Numerous advancements in land utilization, such as dams and dikes, as well as the practice of double cropping allowed fanners to maximize the possible output from a single patch of land.
(E) Koreans noted that farmers in the Hyogo region of Japan had accomplished a smooth triple cropping annual cycle that used the land during the entire year.
(F) The aspiration for land above that required to achieve fulfillment of food needs was curbed by the existence of several factors, such as limited land resources.