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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Without previous sanction from the Bakufu


"(3) Offenders against the law are not to be harboured in feudal domains.

"Law is the very foundation of ceremonial decorum and of social order. To infringe the law in the name of reason is as bad as to outrage reason in the name of law. To disregard the law (laid down by us) is an offence which will not be treated with leniency."

This provision was directly suggested by the Government's desire to suppress Christianity.

"(4) Throughout the domains whether of the greater or lesser barons (daimyo and shomyo) or of the holders of minor benefits, if any of the gentry or soldiers (shi and sotsu) in their service be guilty of rebellion or murder, such offenders must be at once expelled from their domain.

"Fellows of savage disposition (being retainers) are an apt weapon for overthrowing the domain or the family employing them, and a deadly instrument for cutting off the common people. How can such be tolerated?"

In the early days of the Yedo Bakufu it was not uncommon for a feudatory to enrol among his vassals refugee samurai who had blood on their hands. These would often be pursued into the fiefs where they had taken refuge, and much disorder resulted. The above provision removed these murderers from the protection of the feudatory in whose service they had enlisted.

"(5) Henceforth no social intercourse is to be permitted outside of one's own domain with the people (gentry and commoners) of another domain.

"In general, the customs of the various domains are all different from one another, each having its own peculiarities. To divulge the secrets of one's own domain is a sure indication of an intent to curry favour."

It has been shown that by the Chinese masters of strategy whose works were studied in Japan the art of espionage was placed on a high pinnacle. This teaching appears to have produced such evil results that the Tokugawa legislated against it.

"(6) The residential castles in the domains may be repaired; but the matter must invariably be reported. Still more imperative is it that the planning of structural innovations of any kind must be absolutely avoided.

"A castle with a parapet exceeding three thousand feet by ten is a bane to a domain. Crenelated walls and deep moats (of castles) are causes of anarchy."

This provision was important as a means of enfeebling the barons. They were not at liberty to repair even a fence of the most insignificant character or to dredge a moat, much more to erect a parapet, without previous sanction from the Bakufu.

"(7) If, in a neighbouring domain, innovations are being hatched or cliques being formed, the fact is to be reported without delay.

"Men are always forming groups; whilst, on the other hand, few ever come to anything. On this account, they fail to follow their lords or fathers, and soon come into collision with those of neighbouring villages. If the ancient prohibitions are not maintained, somehow or other innovating schemes will be formed."

Everything in the form of combination, whether nominally for good or for evil, was regarded with suspicion by the Bakufu, and all unions were therefore interdicted. Of course, the most important incident which the law was intended to prevent took the form of alliances between barons of adjacent provinces.


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