Online ISSN : 2424-2616
Print ISSN : 0018-2478
ISSN-L : 0018-2478
Funeral rites and Kiyomizuzaka hinin in medieval Kyoto
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2016 Volume 125 Issue 8 Pages 1-36


The research to date has held that the bosses of Kiyomizuzaka hinin that is the lowest rank in Japan (hereafter Saka) medieval Kyoto were also in charge of supervising funeral rites conducted throughout the city. The process by which Saka supervised those funeral rites has been explained as follows. 1) At the end of the 13th century, Kiyomizuzaka hinin (hereafter Saka hinin) were granted the rights to seize all accoutrements brought into the burial sites as compensation for services rendered in the rites. 2) Around the middle of the 14th century, Saka assumed the supervising of funeral rites throughout the city; and during the 15th century they gava the city's temples the authority to use funeral palanquins, called menyo 免輿, and hold funeral rites independently.
The author of the present articles raises at least two problems concerning such an explanation of events: 1) it does not provide a clear explanation of the origin of Saka hinin rights to seize funereal accoutrements, and 2) it is also unclear about of the background and circumstances surrounding the Saka's authority in late medieval period. In order the clear up these problems, the author offers the following observations. 1) We know that from at least the 10th century there existed the ritual of setting palanquins and other accoutrements (agemono 上物) burn up at the burial site and that this ritual was abolished around the mid-13th century in favor of receiving agemono as a relief of the hinin at the burial site of Toribeno. 2) During the late 13th century Saka strengthened their domination (nawabari 縄張り) over Toribeno, which naturally establised the rights over the seizure of funereal accoutrements (gusoku 具足) brought to that burial site. 3) Come the 15th century, as the result of the Saka coping with the surpervision of funeral rites in which the palanquins of the temples were used exclusively, their right to acquire the actual equipment was varied in favor of the money as the measures of Menyo. 4) From the 15th century on, as coping with graveyard that began to be constructed on the grounds of the capital's temples, the Saka were paid a fee for the use of palanquins and other funereal accoutrement at all these sites, based on the precedent of their traditional rights and domination over Toribeno.
The above actual situation surrounding Saka's profit represents merely demanding compensation for the palanquin and accoutrements that had been lost at the Toribeno burial and begging sites in the midst of changed funereal customs in late medieval period.

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© 2016 The Historical Society of Japan
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