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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

The principal were the prime minister one hundred acres

between officials serving in

the capital (zaikyo) and those serving in the provinces (zaige). Among the former, the principal were the prime minister (one hundred acres), the ministers of the Left and Right (seventy-five acres each) and the great councillor (fifty acres). As for provincial officials, the highest, namely, the governor of Kyushu (who had his seat at the Dazai-fu), received twenty-five acres, and the lowest, one and a half acres. Governors of provinces--which were divided into four classes (great, superior, medium, and inferior)--received from four acres to six and a half acres; an official (dai-hanji), corresponding to a chief-justice, had five acres; a puisne justice (sho-hanji), four acres; an officer in command of an army corps, four acres, and a literary professor (hakushi), four acres. Grants of land as salaries for official duties were made even to post-towns for the purpose of defraying the expense of coolies and horses for official use. Finally, there were koden, or lands bestowed in recognition of distinguished public services. Of such services four grades were differentiated: namely, "great merit" (taiko), for which the grant was made in perpetuity; "superior merit" (joko), which was rewarded with land held for three generations; "medium merit" (chuko), in which case the land-title had validity to the second generation only, and "inferior merit" (geko), where the land did not descend beyond a son or a daughter. It is worthy of note that in determining the order of eligibility for
grants of sustenance land (kubunden), preference was given to the poor above the rich, and that the officials in a province were allowed to cultivate unoccupied land for their own profit.


There were three kinds of imposts; namely, tax (so), forced service (yo or kayaku) and tribute (cho). The tax was three per cent, of the gross produce of the land--namely, three sheaves of rice out of every hundred in the case of a male, and two out of sixty-six in the case of a female. The tribute was much more important, for it meant that every able-bodied male had to pay a fixed quantity of silk-fabric, pongee, raw-silk, raw-cotton, indigo (675 grains troy), rouge (the same quantity), copper (two and a quarter lbs.), and, if in an Imperial domain, an additional piece of cotton cloth, thirteen feet long. Finally, the forced service meant thirty days' labour annually for each able-bodied male and fifteen days for a minor. Sometimes this compulsory service might be commuted at the rate of two and a half feet of cotton cloth for each day's work. Exemption from forced labour was granted to persons of and above the grade of official rank and to their families through three generations; to persons of and above the fifth grade and to their families for two generations; to men of the Imperial blood; to the sick, the infirm, the deformed, females, and slaves. Forced labourers were allowed to rest from noon to 4 P.M. in July and August. They were not required to work at night. If they fell sick so as to be unable to labour out of doors, they were allowed only half rations. If they were taken ill on their way to their place of work, they were left to the care of the local authorities and fed at public charge. If they died, a coffin was furnished out of the public funds, and the corpse, unless claimed, was cremated, the ashes being buried by the wayside and a mark set up. Precise rules as to inheritance were laid down. A mother and a step-mother ranked equally with the eldest son for that purpose, each receiving two parts; younger sons received one part, and concubines and female children received one-half of a part. There were also strict rules as to the measure of relief from taxation granted in the event of crop-failure.

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