Asian History   Japan
Amaterasu   |   Jimmu   |   Wei History   |   Constitution   |   Taika Reform   |   Manyoshu   |   Buddhism1   |   Buddhism2   |   Aristocratic Life   |   Shoen   |   Samurai   |   Joei Code   |   Honen   |   Shinran   |   Zen

RISE OF THE WARRIOR (SAMURAI) CLASS
When in 792 the government decided to abandon the conscript army in favor of the kondei system ?a system of locally enlisted armies of able-bodied young men ?it unwittingly created an irreversible trend toward the rise of the warrior class in Japan (Document 16). Selected as they were from among the private following of local magnates, the kondei had their first loyalty toward their masters and were bound to them by personal ties. Gradually they became private soldiers defending the interests of shoen. The ninth century saw the erosion of the police power of the central government. The appointment of local police commissioners and other police officers (shokoku kebiishi, tsuibushi, and oryoshi) only accelerated the existing trend. Services in localities often proved to be attractive to the dissatisfied nobles ?especially those of non-Fujiwara origin ?who chose to take up their domiciles in locali1ies and become samurai (Document 17). And without the aid of the samurai ?some of them unruly ?provincial governors found themselves incapable of discharging their duties (Document 18b).

The shoen's somewhat ill-defined dual system of control over land and people also helped to bring about the emergence of the samurai class. Essentially the relationships which governed the shoen were based on the shiki that each held to the land. Personal relationships did develop from this but they were incidental to the control of the land as expressed in the shiki. This duality made it possible for some shoen officials to serve concurrently as retainers of a samurai lord /Document 18a). The thought that they might possibly be serving two masters would have escaped them, for the simple reason that the personal relationship which bound the samurai, including their military obligations, could be easily divorced porn the basically economic relationship of the shoen controlled by the shiki of the land. This mentality also eased the process of conversion of former provincial governors and former ICyoto nobles into samurai.
The tato's contribution to the emergence of the samurai class must not be overlooked. As Document 14 above demonstrates, the tato were indepen- dent cultivutors who owned their own farm implements and had strong claims over the land they cultivated. They utilized the labor of semi-slave workers. However, in the eleventh century, the semi-slave workers increasingly assumed postures of independence, rendering the tato's position vulnerable and forcing them to seek a new profession by becoming samurai.

In the preceding section, we discussed that the myo in the process of its development created a concept of freely disposable property, and that a ryoshu could not legally prevent the sale of lands to persons other than members of the family. However, there was a countervailing force at work to preserve the landholdings of a specific family. That was by the application of a modified form of primogeniture. It was not a pure form of primogeniture in that the eldest son did not have the exclusive right of inheritance, nor did he always enjoy preferential treatment over all other heirs. However, at the death of a ryoshu, all of his property was often added together and the major portion was given to the eldest son. In this manner, the economic and even military power of the family could be preserved.?A Japanese term, ienoko, which appears in Document 18b2, denotes members of the household who are from the families of children other 1han the first-born and other rehrtives as distinguished from the family of the first-born. It gives proof to the practice of this modified form of primogeniture.

The relationship between the samurai lord and his followers resembeld that of the master-servant relationship, whose ties were presumed to be as close as those of kinsmen. When Minamoto no Yoritomo attained power, he codified this relationship by giving his followers the title gokenin (vassals, literally, members of the household) who had to subordinate themselves and were tied to him by the personal bond. And symbolic of thier subordination was the submission of their names (Document 19). In return the vassals were rewarded either by the confirming or awarding of landholdings(Document 20). The feudalistic lord and vassal relationship was thus complete.
I6 The Kondei System, 792'' An Official Order of the Council of State.On the matter relating to the recruitment of the kondei (physically able).Thirty people from the province of Yamato.Thirty people from the province of Kawachi.Twenty people from the province of Izumi"....

Previously [on the seventh day of this month], the Minister of the Right [Fujiwara Tsugunawa] declared that in obedience to the imperial command [all military divisions consisting of] conscript soldiers stationed in the provinces should be abolished with the exception of, those in the important border areas. The munitions depots, outposts, and governmental offices which were previously defended by them should be defended by the kondei to be sent to those positions. We now order that you select those physically able from among the sons of district chiefs (kori no tsukasa), and place them to serve on these posts on a rotating basis.
Eleventh year of Enryaku [792], sixth month, 14th day.
17 Proscription Against Heian Nobility's Becoming Local Samurai, 891 "An Order of the Council of State.
On prohibiting people from Kyoto to reside outside of the capital region (kinai).

Lately, those people whose domiciles are in the capital city [of Heian], and who are children and heirs of princes and of important court officials, reside outside the capital region. Some intermarry [with people from outer provinces], and others engage in agriculture or commerce and are no different from the people in the provinc'es. There are also reports that vagabonds form gangs and treat villages as if they were their own possessions. They oppose provincial governors and local officials and make threats on poor people. They not only hinder the normal functioning of the provincial affairs, but also create a climate detrimental to public morality. The Minister of the Right [Minamoto Tooru] therefore declares: "In obedience to the Imperial command, an order must be given to supervise strictly [their activities]. They must withdraw from the outer provinces before the seventh month of the coming year. If they persist in their disobedience and do not mend their ways, regardless of any connection they may have, they must be banished to distant places. There shall be no exception made to our previous order that no governmental official be permitted to remain in his post after expiration of his present term. If the governmental officials in charge of this matter do not indict those who commit this offense, they must also be dealt with as if committing the similar offense...."
Third year of Kanhei [891], ninth month, eleventh day.
18 Master of His Retainers, 1114: a) on the third day of the eighth month, I went to the Prime Minister's Office.... I was commanded by the widow of the late Prime Minister (Dajodaijin) Kujo [Fujiwara Nobunaga] that there were two sho officials in the province of Shimotsuke, who served as arresting officers (shimobe) for the police commissioner (kebiishi). They became roto (followers, or members of a group or household) of Minamoto no Tameyoshi. They must be called in [to account for their indiscretion], and be expelled from the sho." b) On Matters Relating to the Business of Province"

1. Preventing riotous behavior. When a newly appointed governor travels to the province to which he is assigned, some of his roto and other followers either rob things from other persons or engage in quarrels among themselves. It is therefore ordered that a newly appointed governor must select from among his roto, pure and strong persons who can engage in the task of stopping this kind of behavior.

2. Do not permit members of your household (ienoko) to speak ill of others, and prevent unruly actions of your high ranking rota. If on reflection one does not stop those conditions which lead to the use of foul language, and permit one's roto to engage freely in slandering or heaping abuse on others... as these things continue to multiply, people will start ridiculing you. When you take the responsibility of serving the public, you are really performing something good for yourself too. But if you do not put a stop to the abuse that some of your followers -- whether they be your own most beloved children or roto -- heap on others, and let this continue [those who are the object of abuse will not serve you]. In this way, you may not be able to collect taxes and send them to the central government. You will then gain the reputation of being an ineffectual governor. If your children and roto cannot uphold one another and also help you, your term of office will be one of emptiness. If all your followers will pursue their own follies, you will be left with no followers day and night. Then what benefit is there [of becoming a governor]?

19 Establishment of Relationship Between Lord and Vassals (Gokenin), 1184 [First year of Genreki, 1184], ninth month, 19th day. [Yoritomo sends Tachibana Kiminari to Sanuki to secure the support of local lords.]
Following the distruction of the Ichinotani fortification in Settsu Province in the Second Month, members of the Heike have been plundering the various provinces in the west, and Genji troops have been sent into the region to check the Heike. One of the means employed has been the sending of Tachibana Kiminari and his men as an advance column into Sanuki Province to secure the support of the local lords. They have since submitted to the Minamoto, and a roster containing their names has been transmitted to Kamakura. Today, His Lordship has sent instructions to the local lords of Sanuki to take their orders from Kiminari.
[Yoritomo's monogram]

"Ordered to: Immediate vassals of Sanuki Province" To submit forthwith to the command of Tachibana Kiminari and to join in the Kyushu campaign.

"At this time when the Heike are plundering your lands, you have indicated your submission to me. A roster of your names has been submitted to me. It is indeed a most loyal act on your part. Submit forthwith to the command of Kiminari and conduct yourselves in a loyal and meritorious manner. Thus ordered."
Genreki first year [1184], ninth month, ninteenth day. "Immediate vassals of Sanuki Province: "The following is a roster of immediate vassals of Sanuki, in which province, at Yashima, the Heike are presently established, who have renounced the Heike for the Genji and who are now in service in Kyoto. They are To no taifu Sukernitsu [thirteen others including his sons, younger brother and others]. The aforementioned, having served the Genji in Kyoto, are vassals of the Lord of Kamakura, as indicated.?
First year of Genreki [1184], fifth month.
20 Rewarding the Vassals, 1180" Fourth year of Jisho [1180], tenth month, 23rd day. [Yoritomo rewards his vassals for their services.]

His Lordship has arrived at the provincial capital of Sagami [Kamakura] and, for the first time, he has made awards to his men for meritorious services rendered in his behalf. The men whose present holdings were confirmed or to whom new grants were made were: Lord Hojo, Takeda Nobuyoshi, Yasuda Yoshisada, Chiba Tsunetane, Miura Yoshizumi, Taira Hirotsune, Wada Yoshi-mori, Dpi Sanehira, Adachi Morinaga, Tsuchiya Muneto, Okazaki Yoshizane, Kudo Chikamitsu, Sasaki Sadatsuna, Sasaki Tsunetaka, Sasaki Moritsuna, Sasaki Taketsuna, Kudo Kagemitsu, Amano Tokage, Oba Kageyoshi, Usami Suke-mochi, Ichikawa Yukifusa, lay priest Kato Kagekazu, Usami Sanemasa, Omi Iehide, and Iida Ieyoshi. In addition Yoshizumi was confirmed as vice governor of Miura and Yukihira as sho official of Shimokobe.