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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

As far as concerned the tozama feudatories


THE

FEUDAL SYSTEM OF THE TOKUGAWA

It has been shown that in distributing the fiefs Ieyasu aimed at paralyzing the power of the tozama daimyo and vitalizing that of the fudai barons. This he effected, as far as concerned the tozama feudatories, by isolating them from each other, or by placing those of equal strength in juxtaposition, so that they might become rivals; while in the case of fudai barons, he established an effective system of communications between them, so that co-operation and concentration of forces were facilitated. Broadly speaking, this method had for result the planting of the tozama daimyo in the west and of the fudai barons in the east, as well as along the main roads between the two capitals. The plan worked admirably during 270 years, but at the Restoration, in 1867, the western daimyo combined to overthrow the shogunate.

Very noticeable were the steps taken to provide facilities for communication between Yedo and Kyoto. No less than fifty-three posting stations were established along the road from the Bakufu capital to the Imperial city, and at several places barriers were set up. Among these latter, Hakone was considered specially important. The duty of guarding the barrier there was assigned to the Okubo family, who enjoyed the full confidence of the Tokugawa and who had their castle in Odawara. No one could pass this barrier without a permit. Women were examined with signal strictness,

they being regarded as part of the system which required that the wives of the daimyo should live in Yedo as hostages. Thus, whereas a man was granted ingress or egress if he carried a passport signed by his own feudal chief and addressed to the guards at the barrier, a woman might not pass unless she was provided with an order signed by a Bakufu official. Moreover, female searchers were constantly on duty whose business it was to subject women travellers to a scrutiny of the strictest character, involving, even, the loosening of the coiffure. All these precautions formed part of the sankin kotai system, which proved one of the strongest buttresses of Tokugawa power. But, from the days of Ietsuna, the wives and children of the daimyo were allowed to return to their provinces, and under the eighth shogun, Yoshimune, the system of sankin kotai ceased to be binding. This was because the Tokugawa found themselves sufficiently powerful to dispense with such artificial aids.

THE FIEFS

There were certain general divisions of the feudatories. Everyone possessing a fief of 10,000 koku or upwards was called a daimyo. The title included the Sanke, the Sankyo, the gokemon (governor of Echizen), the fudai (hereditary vassals), and the tozama. These were again subdivided into three classes according to the sizes of their fiefs. In the first class stood the kokushu (called also kuni-mochi, or provincial barons) who possessed revenues of at least 300,000 koku. The second class consisted of the joshu (called also shiro-mochi, or castle-owning barons) whose incomes ranged between 100,000 and 300,000 koku. Finally, the third class was composed of the ryoshu (sometimes known as shiro-nashi, or castleless barons), whose revenues ranged from 10,000 to 100,000 koku. These feudatories might be recommended by the shogun for Court rank in Kyoto, but the highest office thus conferred was that of dainagon (great councillor), from which fact the attitude of the feudatories towards imperially conferred distinctions can be easily appreciated. Nevertheless, the rules of etiquette were strictly observed by provincial magnates attending Court functions. They had to conform carefully to the order of their precedence and with the sumptuary rules as to colour and quality of garments, and any departure from these conventions was severely punished.


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