free ebooks

A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

These officials being nominated from Kamakura


Yasunobu held the office of chugu no sakan in Kyoto. He was personally known to Yoritomo, and he was instrumental in securing the services of the astute Oye no Hiromoto, whose younger brother, Chikayoshi, was governor of Aki at the time of receiving Yoritomo's invitation. His descendants received the uji of Nagai and Mori; those of Yasunobu, the uji of Ota and Machine, and those of Chikayoshi, the uji of Settsu and Otomo.


The most far-reaching change effected by Yoritomo was prompted by Oye no Hiromoto, at the close of 1185, when, Yoshitsune and Yukiiye having gone westward from Kyoto, the Kamakura chief entertained an apprehension that they might succeed in raising a revolt in the Sanyo-do, in Shikoku, and in Kyushu. He sought advice from the high officials of the Bakufu as to the best preventive measures, and Oye no Hiromoto presented a memorial urging that the Emperor's sanction be obtained for appointing in each province a high constable (shugo) and a land-steward (jito), these officials being nominated from Kamakura, while Yoritomo himself became chief land-steward (so-jito) and subsequently lord high constable (so-tsuihoshi) for the sixty-six provinces. The object of these appointments was to insure that the control of local affairs should be everywhere in the hands of the Bakufu, whose nominees would thus be in a position to check all hostile movements or preparations.

style="text-align: justify;">Yoritomo recognized the important bearings of this project. He at once sent Hojo Tokimasa to guard Kyoto and to submit to the Court a statement that it would be far more effective and economical to prevent acts of insurrection than to deal with them after their full development, and that, to the former end, trustworthy local officials should be appointed, the necessary funds being obtained by levying from the twenty-six provinces of the Go-Kinai, Sanin, Sanyo, Nankai, and Saikai a tax of five sho of rice per tan (two bushels per acre). Go-Shirakawa seems to have perceived the radical character of the proposed measure. He evinced much reluctance to sanction it. But Yoritomo was too strong to be defied. The Court agreed, and from that moment military feudalism may be said to have been established in Japan.

It has been shown that the land system fixed by the Daiho-ryo had fallen into confusion. Private manors existed everywhere, yielding incomes to all classes from princes to soldiers. In the days of the Fujiwara and the Taira more than one-half of the arable land throughout the empire was absorbed into such estates, which paid no taxes to anyone except their direct owners. The provincial governor appointed by the Court gradually ceased to exercise control over the shoen in his district, unless he happened to be a military man with a sufficient force of armed retainers (kenin) to assert his authority. Hence it became customary for provincial governors not to proceed in person to the place of their function. They appointed deputies (mokudai), and these limited their duties to the collection of taxes from manors. Lands constituting the domains of great families were under the complete control of their holders, and there being no one responsible for the preservation of general peace and order, bandits and other lawbreakers abounded.

This state of affairs was remedied by the appointment of high constables and land-stewards. The high constable had to arrest insurgents, assassins, and robbers wherever he found them, and to muster the soldiers for service in the Kyoto guards. The land-steward was to collect taxes from all private manors. Soon, however, these functions were extended, so that the high constables exercised judicial and administrative powers, and the land-stewards not only collected taxes, and, after deducting their own salaries, handed the remainder to those entitled to receive it, but also were responsible for the maintenance of peace and order within the manors entrusted to their charge. High constables and land-stewards alike were responsible to Kamakura alone; they were beyond the jurisdiction of the Imperial Court. Thus, the sway of the Minamoto extended throughout the whole country. It may be stated at once here that the landsteward system did not work altogether satisfactorily. The acts of these officials created friction in several quarters, and they were soon withdrawn from all manors other than those owned or administered by Taira. The high constables remained, however, and were in full control of local military affairs, the Kamakura chief controlling the whole in his capacity of lord high constable.

eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us