2011 年 120 巻 4 号 p. 496-519
Due to continuing tax increases during the Russo-Japanese War, postwar regional society became faced with the serious problem of increased tax burdens. This article takes up strata of powerful local figures at the time, which have been dealt with in almost all of the research to date in the context of regional improvement movement and the expansion of political parties, shedding new light on their relationship to the local taxation system. The author offers Saitama Prefectures as a typical example of where large increases occurred in the income tax and points to a little known tax institution, the Income Investigation Commission (IIC; Shotoku Chosa Iinkai 所得調査委員会), which was involved in calculating individual income tax amounts and whose members were chosen by taxpayers in local elections. The article begins with a quantitative study to determine the place of income taxes within the context of regional society, showing how both tax revenue and the number of taxpayers increased during the War and how after the War social strata with vested interests in the question of taxation greatly expanded. As to the process of choosing members of the IIC, elections were held mainly county by county (gun 郡), while candidates and the distribution of posts were controlled by local leaders under non-competitive conditions. Elected members tended to be holders of important local offices, such as village headman, and were involved in local improvement projects in collaboration with national policy. However, in 1909, members of the IIC clashed with the Department of Tax Affairs, demanding a decrease in the income tax burdens of local residents. Saitama IIC members filed complaints with higher authorities and were supported by village headmen. Despite the refusal to meet their demands, the following year they lobbied the National Diet and both political parties to pass legislation, in a non-partisan spirit that also marked the movement to lower land taxes. The author concludes that the power elite in post-Russo-Japanese War regional society came to possess a dual character: one complacently conducting projects along the policy lines of central bureaucratic agencies; the other in conflict with how the national tax revenue authority was dealing with regional society.