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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

There were altogether sixty metsuke



The municipal administrator (machi-bugyo) controlled affairs relating to the citizens in general. This was among the oldest institutions of the Tokugawa, and existed also in the Toyotomi organization. At first there were three machi-bugyo, but when the Tokugawa moved to Yedo, the number was decreased to one, and subsequently increased again to two in the days of Iemitsu. Judicial business occupied the major part of the machi-bugyo's time. His law-court was in his own residence, and under his direction constables (yoriki or doshiri) patrolled the city. He also transacted business relating to prisons and the municipal elders of Yedo (machi-doshiyori) referred to him all questions of a difficult or serious nature.


The financial administrator (kanjo-bugyo) received also the appellation of kitchen administrator (daidokoro-bugyo), and his duties embraced everything relating to the finance of the Bakufu, including, of course, their estates and the persons residing on those estates. The eight provinces of the Kwanto were under the direct control of this bugyo, but other districts were administered by a daikwan (deputy). There were two kinds of kanjo-bugyo, namely, the kuji-kata and the katte-kata (public and private), the latter of whom had to adjudicate all financial questions directly affecting the Bakufu, and the former had to perform a similar function

in cases where outsiders were concerned. Various officials served as subordinates of these important bugyo, who were usually taken from the roju or the waka-doshiyori, and, in the days of the sixth shogun, it was found necessary to appoint an auditor of accounts (kanjo-gimmiyaku), who, although nominally of the same rank as the kanjo-bugyo, really acted in a supervisory capacity. The Bakufu court of law was the Hyojo-sho. Suits involving issues that lay entirely within the jurisdiction of one bugyo were tried by him in his own residence, but where wider interests were concerned the three bugyo had to conduct the case at the Hyojo-sho, where they formed a collegiate court. On such occasions the presence of the censors was compulsory. Sometimes, also, the three bugyo met at the Hyojo-sho merely for purposes of consultation.


An important figure in the Tokugawa organization was the censor (metsuke), especially the great censor (o-metsuke). The holder of the latter office served as the eyes and ears of the roju and supervised the feudal barons. There were four or five great censors. One of them held the additional office of administrator of roads (dochu-bugyo), and had to oversee matters relating to the villages, the towns, and the postal stations along the five principal highways. Another had to inspect matters relating to religious sects and firearms--a strange combination. Under the great censors were placed administrators of confiscated estates. The ordinary censors had to exercise surveillance over the samurai of the hatamoto and were under the jurisdiction of the waka-doshiyori. There were altogether sixty metsuke, and they travelled constantly throughout the empire obtaining materials for reports which were submitted to the waka-doshiyori. Among them are found censors who performed the duties of coroners.*

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