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The
routine of promotion was from the jodai of Osaka to the shoshidai of
Kyoto and from thence to the roju. Originally there were six jodai
but their number was ultimately reduced to one. Sumpu also had a
jodai, who discharged duties similar to those devolving on his Osaka
namesake. In Nagasaki, Sado, Hakodate, Niigata, and other important
localities, bugyo were stationed, and in districts under the direct
control of the Bakufu the chief official was the daikwan.

ADMINISTRATION IN FIEFS

The governmental system in the fiefs closely resembled the system of
the Bakufu. The daimyo exercised almost unlimited power, and the
business of their fiefs was transacted by factors (karo). Twenty-one
provinces consisted entirely of fiefs, and in the remaining provinces
public and private estates were intermixed.

LOCAL AUTONOMY

Both the Bakufu and the feudatories were careful to allow a maximum
of autonomy to the lower classes. Thus the farmers elected a village
chief--called nanushi or shoya--who held his post for life or for one
year, and who exercised powers scarcely inferior to those of a
governor. There were also heads of guilds (kumi-gashira) and
representatives of farmers (hyakushodai) who participated in
administering the affairs of a village. Cities and towns had
municipal elders (machi-doshiyori), under whom also nanushi
officiated. The guilds constituted a most important feature of this
local autonomic system. They consisted of five householders each,
being therefore called gonin-gumi, and their main functions were to
render mutual aid in all times of distress, and to see that there
were no evasions of the taxes or violations of the law. In fact, the
Bakufu interfered as little as possible in the administrative systems
of the agricultural, manufacturing, and commercial classes, and the
feudatories followed the same rule.

FINANCE

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).

MANNER OF PAYING TAXES

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).

In the case of cash payments the money was transported to the castle
of Yedo or Osaka, where it came under the care of the finance
administrator (kane-bugyo). Finally, the accounts connected with such
receipts of cash were compiled and rendered by the administrator of
accounts (kane-bugyo), and were subsequently audited by officials
named katte-kata, over which office a member of the roju or
waka-doshiyori presided. Statistics compiled in 1836 show that the
revenue annually collected from the Tokugawa estates in rice and
money amounted to 807,068 koku and 93,961 gold ryo respectively. As
for the rate of the land-tax, it varied in different parts of the
provinces, from seventy per cent, for the landlord and thirty for the
tenant to thirty for the landlord and seventy for the tenant.

CURRENCY

It has been shown above that, from the time of the fifth shogun,
debasement of the coins of the realm took place frequently. Indeed it
may be said that whenever the State fell into financial difficulty,
debasement of the current coins was regarded as a legitimate device.
Much confusion was caused among the people by repeated changes in the
quality of the coins. Thus, in the days of the eighth shogun, no less
than four varieties of a single silver token were in circulation.
When the country renewed its foreign intercourse in the middle of the
nineteenth century, there were no less than eight kinds of gold coin
in circulation, nine of silver, and four of copper or iron. The
limits within which the intrinsic value of gold coins varied will be
understood when we say that whereas the gold oban of the Keicho era
(1596-1614) contained, approximately, 29.5 parts of gold to 13 of
silver and was worth about seventy-five yen. The corresponding coin
of the Man-en era (1860) contained 10.33 parts of pure gold to 19.25
of silver, and was worth only twenty-eight yen.

PAPER CURRENCY

The earliest existing record of the use of paper currency dates from
1661, when the feudal chief of Echizen obtained permission from the
Bakufu to employ this medium of exchange, provided that its
circulation was limited to the fief where the issue took place. These
paper tokens were called hansatsu (fief notes), and one result of
their issue was that moneys accruing from the sale of cereals and
other products of a fief were preserved within that fief. The example
of Echizen in this matter found several followers, but the system
never became universal.

JUDICIAL PROCEDURE

The administration of justice in the Tokugawa days was based solely
on ethical principles. Laws were not promulgated for prospective
application. They were compiled whenever an occasion arose, and in
their drafting the prime aim was always to make their provisions
consonant with the dictates of humanity. Once, indeed, during the
time of the second shogun, Hidetada, a municipal administrator,
Shimada Yuya, having held the office for more than twenty years, and
having come to be regarded as conspicuously expert in rendering
justice, it was proposed to the shogun that the judgments delivered
by this administrator should be recorded for the guidance of future
judges. Hidetada, however, objected that human affairs change so
radically as to render it impossible to establish universally
recognizable precedents, and that if the judgments delivered in any
particular era were transmitted as guides for future generations, the
result would probably be slavish sacrifice of ethical principles on
the altar of stereotyped practice.

In 1631, when the third shogun, Iemitsu, ruled in Yedo, a public
courthouse (Hyojo-sho) was for the first time established. Up to that
time the shogun himself had served as a court of appeal in important
cases. These were first brought before a bugyo, and subsequently, if
specially vital issues were at stake, the shogun personally sat as
judge, the duty of executing his judgments being entrusted to the
bugyo and other officials.

Thenceforth, the custom came to be this: Where comparatively minor
interests were involved and where the matter lay wholly within the
jurisdiction of one administrator, that official sat as judge in a
chamber of his own mansion; but in graver cases and where the
interests concerned were not limited to one jurisdiction, the
Hyojo-sho became the judicial court, and the three administrators,
the roju, together with the censors, formed a collegiate tribunal.
There were fixed days each month for holding this collegiate court,
and there were also days when the three administrators alone met at
one of their residences for purposes of private conference.



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