1995 Volume 104 Issue 9 Pages 1566-1603,1682-
Recent studies of the late medieval villages have tended to concentrate on samurai status rather than village commoners. This paper is a case study of a village called Suganoura-sosho, in which the samurai rank did not exist. The author shows the process of the formation of the so (or sosho; a self-governing communal organization in medieval villages) from the Kamakufa through the Muromachi period. Suganoura's village code of 1302 was written in the form known as ansho. Ansho is a document testifying to debt repayment which the creditor handed over to the debtor in the case of the original note being dedtroyed, etc. From this code, we know that the village koro rank (elders selected from among the main residents) in Suganoura financed the cost of a lawsuit brought by the resident or ganization of Suganoura. Next, the author surveys the transformation of the village resident composition. (1)In the 13th century, Suganoura consisted of two ranks, hon-kugonin (original residents, who had acquired the privilege of suppliing food to the emperor) and sinka-no-kugonin (new residents, who had not officially acquired the privilege of kugonin). (2)In the 14th century, all the residents had acquired the rank and the privilege of kugonin, and the so organization had come into existence. (3)In the 15th century, the representatives of Suganoura were twenty elders called otona, who were selected from among all the households (called zaike) in the village. The sosho (or so) organization was administrated by these otona. In the early 14th century, a dispute arose between Suganoura and neighboring Oura-no-sho, Each zaike, in Suganoura shared the costs of the lawsuit on a Per capita basis, and the residents' organization began to draw up and collect documents pertaining to the lawsuit. The origin of the so organization can be traced back to this time. Finally, the author investigates the zaike-yaku (zaike dues) imposed in Suganoura. In the early 14th century, a principal had been established that each zaike bore its dues on a per capita basis. (1)Ushiro-zaike (zaike in retreat) were exempted from zaike-yaku. (2)Zaike of widows and others in poor economic situations were partly exempted from zaike-yaku. The author asserted that the Suganoura's code of munabetsu (a cash tax levied on each house) was established not by Suganoura-sosho but, by the Azai family, the feudal lord of Suganoura.