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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Which was handed over to the daikwan of each province


style="text-align: justify;">The subject of finance in the Bakufu days is exceedingly complicated, and a very bare outline will suffice. It has already been noted that the unit of land-measurement varied from time to time and was never uniform throughout the empire. That topic need not be further discussed. Rice-fields were divided into five classes, in accordance with which division the rates of taxation were fixed. Further, in determining the amount of the land-tax, two methods were followed; one by inspection, the other by average. In the case of the former, the daikwan repaired in the fall of each year to the locality concerned, and having ascertained the nature of the crop harvested, proceeded to determine the rate of tax. This arrangement lent itself so readily to abuse that the system of averages was substituted as far as possible. That is to say, the average yield of crops for the preceding ten or twenty years served as a standard.

The miscellaneous taxes were numerous. Thus, there were taxes on business; taxes for post-horses and post-carriers; taxes in the form of labour, which were generally fixed at the rate of fifty men per hundred koku, the object in view being work on river banks, roads, and other public institutions; taxes to meet the cost of collecting taxes, and taxes to cover defalcations. Sometimes the above taxes were levied in kind or in actual labour, and sometimes they were collected in money. To facilitate collection

in cities, merchants were required to form guilds according to their respective businesses, and the head of each guild had to collect the tax payable by the members. Thus, upon a guild of sake-brewers a tax of a thousand gold ryo was imposed, and a guild of wholesale dealers in cotton had to pay five hundred ryo. There was a house-tax which was assessed by measuring the area of the land on which a building stood, and there was a tax on expert labour such as that of carpenters and matmakers. In order to facilitate the levy of this last-named tax the citizens were required to locate themselves according to the nature of their employment, and thus such names were found as "Carpenter's street," "Matmaker's street," and so forth. Originally these imposts were defrayed by actual labour, but afterwards money came to be substituted.

An important feature of the taxation system was the imposition of buke-yaku, (military dues). For these the feudatories were liable, and as the amount was arbitrarily fixed by the Bakufu, though always with due regard to the value of the fief, such dues were often very onerous. The same is true in an even more marked degree as to taxes in labour, materials, or money, which were levied upon the feudatories for the purposes of any great work projected by the Bakufu. These imposts were called aids (otetsudai).


The manner of paying taxes varied accordingly to localities. Thus, in the Kwanto, payment was generally made in rice for wet fields and in money for uplands, at the rate of one gold ryo per two and a half koku of rice. In the Kinai and western provinces as well as in the Nankai-do, on the other hand, the total tax on wet fields and uplands was divided into three parts, two of which were paid with rice and one with money, the value of a koku of rice being fixed at forty-eight mon of silver (four-fifths of a gold ryo). As a general rule, taxes imposed on estates under the direct control of the Bakufu were levied in rice, which was handed over to the daikwan of each province, and by him transported to Yedo, Kyoto, or Osaka, where it was placed in stores under the control of store-administrators (kura-bugyo).

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