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But
the number of a family was not limited: it included brothers and
their wives and children, as well as male and female servants, so
that it might comprise as many as one hundred persons. The eldest
legitimate son was the head of the household, and its representative
in the eyes of the law. A very minute census was kept. Children up to
three years of age were classed as "yellow" (kwo); those between
three and sixteen, as "little" (sho); those members of the household
between sixteen and twenty, as "middling" (chu); those between twenty
and sixty, as "able-bodied" (tei), and those above sixty as "old" or
"invalids," so as to secure their exemption from forced labour
(kayaku or buyaku). The census was revised every six years, two
copies of the revised document being sent to the privy council
(Daijo-kwan) and one kept in the district concerned. It was
customary, however, to preserve permanently the census of every
thirtieth year* for purposes of record, and moreover the census taken
in the ninth year of Tenchi's reign (670)** was also kept as a
reference for personal names. To facilitate the preservation of good
order and morality, each group of five households was formed into an
"association of five" (goho or gonin-gumi) with a recognized head
(hocho); and fifty households constituted a village (sato or mura),
which was the smallest administrative unit. The village had a mayor
(richo), whose functions were to keep a record of the number of
persons in each household; to encourage diligence in agriculture and
sericulture; to reprove, and, if necessary, to report all evil
conduct, and to stimulate the discharge of public service. Thus the
district chief (guncho or gunryo) had practically little to do beyond
superintending the richo.

*This was called gohi-seki; i.e., comparative record for a period of
five times six years.

**It was designated the Kogoanen-seki, from the cyclical name of the
year.

THE LAND

The land laws of the Daiho era, like those of the Daika, were based
on the hypothesis that all land throughout the country was the
property of the Crown, and that upon the latter devolved the
responsibility of equitable distribution among the people. Rice being
the chief staple of diet and also the standard of exchange,
rice-lands--that is to say, irrigated fields--were regarded as most
important. The law--already referred to in connexion with the Daika
era but here cited again for the sake of clearness--enacted that all
persons, on attaining the age of five, became entitled to two tan of
such land, females receiving two-thirds of that amount. Land thus
allotted was called kubun-den, or "sustenance land" (literally,
"mouth-share land"). The tan was taken for unit, because it
represented 360 bu (or ho), and as the rice produced on one bu
constituted one day's ration for an adult male, a tan yielded enough
for one year (the year being 360 days).*

*The bu in early times represented 5 shaku square, or 25 square shaku
(1 seki = 1 foot very nearly); but as the shaku (10 sun) then
measured 2 sun (1 sun = 1.2 inch) more than the shaku of later ages,
the modern bu (or tsubo) is a square of 6 shaku side, or 36 square
shaku, though in actual dimensions the ancient and the modern are
equal.

The theory of distribution was that the produce of one tan served for
food, while with the produce of the second tan the cost of clothes
and so forth was defrayed. The Daika and Daiho legislators alike laid
down the principle that rice-fields thus allotted should be held for
a period of six years only, after which they were to revert to the
Crown for redistribution, and various detailed regulations were
compiled to meet contingencies that might arise in carrying out the
system. But, of course, it proved quite unpracticable, and though
that lesson obviously remained unlearned during the cycle that
separated the Daika and the Daiho periods, there is good reason to
think that these particular provisions of the land law (Den-ryo) soon
became a dead letter.

A different method was pursued, however, in the case of uplands (as
distinguished from wet fields). These--called onchi*--were parcelled
out among the families residing in a district, without distinction
of age or sex, and were held in perpetuity, never reverting to the
Crown unless a family became extinct. Such land might be bought or
sold--except to a Buddhist temple--but its tenure was conditional
upon planting from one hundred to three hundred mulberry trees
(for purposes of sericulture) and from forty to one hundred
lacquer trees, according to the grade of the tenant family.
Ownership of building-land (takuchi) was equally in perpetuity,
though its transfer required official approval, but dwellings or
warehouses--which in Japan have always been regarded as distinct from
the land on which they stand--might be disposed of at pleasure. It
is not to be inferred from the above that all the land throughout
the Empire was divided among the people. Considerable tracts
were reserved for special purposes. Thus, in five home provinces
(Go-Kinai) two tracts of seventy-five acres each were kept for the
Court in Yamato and Settsu, and two tracts of thirty acres each in
Kawachi and Yamashiro, such land being known as kwanden (official
fields), and being under the direct control of the Imperial Household
Department.

*Called also yenchi--These uplands were regarded as of little value
compared with rice-fields.

There were also three other kinds of special estates, namely, iden,
or lands granted to mark official ranks; shokubunden, or lands given
as salary to office-holders; and koden, or lands bestowed in
recognition of merit. As to the iden, persons of the four Imperial
ranks received from one hundred to two hundred acres, and persons
belonging to any of the five official grades--in each of which there
were two classes--were given from twenty to two hundred, females
receiving two-thirds of a male's allotment. Coming to salary lands,
we find a distinction between officials serving in the capital
(zaikyo) and those serving in the provinces (zaige). Among the
former, the principal were the prime minister (one hundred acres),
the ministers of the Left and Right (seventy-five acres each) and the
great councillor (fifty acres). As for provincial officials, the
highest, namely, the governor of Kyushu (who had his seat at the
Dazai-fu), received twenty-five acres, and the lowest, one and a half
acres. Governors of provinces--which were divided into four classes
(great, superior, medium, and inferior)--received from four acres to
six and a half acres; an official (dai-hanji), corresponding to a
chief-justice, had five acres; a puisne justice (sho-hanji), four
acres; an officer in command of an army corps, four acres, and a
literary professor (hakushi), four acres. Grants of land as salaries
for official duties were made even to post-towns for the purpose of
defraying the expense of coolies and horses for official use.
Finally, there were koden, or lands bestowed in recognition of
distinguished public services. Of such services four grades were
differentiated: namely, "great merit" (taiko), for which the grant
was made in perpetuity; "superior merit" (joko), which was rewarded
with land held for three generations; "medium merit" (chuko), in
which case the land-title had validity to the second generation only,
and "inferior merit" (geko), where the land did not descend beyond a
son or a daughter. It is worthy of note that in determining the order
of eligibility for grants of sustenance land (kubunden), preference
was given to the poor above the rich, and that the officials in a
province were allowed to cultivate unoccupied land for their own
profit.

TAXATION

There were three kinds of imposts; namely, tax (so), forced service
(yo or kayaku) and tribute (cho). The tax was three per cent, of the
gross produce of the land--namely, three sheaves of rice out of every
hundred in the case of a male, and two out of sixty-six in the case
of a female. The tribute was much more important, for it meant that
every able-bodied male had to pay a fixed quantity of silk-fabric,
pongee, raw-silk, raw-cotton, indigo (675 grains troy), rouge (the
same quantity), copper (two and a quarter lbs.), and, if in an
Imperial domain, an additional piece of cotton cloth, thirteen feet
long. Finally, the forced service meant thirty days' labour annually
for each able-bodied male and fifteen days for a minor. Sometimes
this compulsory service might be commuted at the rate of two and a
half feet of cotton cloth for each day's work. Exemption from forced
labour was granted to persons of and above the grade of official rank
and to their families through three generations; to persons of and
above the fifth grade and to their families for two generations; to
men of the Imperial blood; to the sick, the infirm, the deformed,
females, and slaves. Forced labourers were allowed to rest from noon
to 4 P.M. in July and August. They were not required to work at
night. If they fell sick so as to be unable to labour out of doors,
they were allowed only half rations. If they were taken ill on their
way to their place of work, they were left to the care of the local
authorities and fed at public charge. If they died, a coffin was
furnished out of the public funds, and the corpse, unless claimed,
was cremated, the ashes being buried by the wayside and a mark set
up. Precise rules as to inheritance were laid down. A mother and a
step-mother ranked equally with the eldest son for that purpose, each
receiving two parts; younger sons received one part, and concubines
and female children received one-half of a part. There were also
strict rules as to the measure of relief from taxation granted in the
event of crop-failure.

IMPORTANCE OF DAIHO LAWS

What has been set down above constitutes only a petty fraction of the
Daiho legislation, but it will suffice to furnish an idea of Japanese
civilization in the eighth century of the Christian era a
civilization which shared with that of China the credit of being the
most advanced in the world at that time.

ENGRAVING: HATSUNE-NO-TANA (A Gold-lacquered Stand or Cabinet)

ENGRAVING: STATUES OF SHAKA AND TWO BOSATSUS IN THE KONDO OF THE
HORYU-JI



CHAPTER XVII

THE NARA EPOCH

THE FORTY-THIRD SOVEREIGN, THE EMPRESS GEMMYO (A.D.



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