Online ISSN : 2424-2616
Print ISSN : 0018-2478
ISSN-L : 0018-2478
On the Local Law System in the Sengoku Period : A Case Study of Koga Gunchuso (甲賀群中惣)
Keiichi Miyajima
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1978 Volume 87 Issue 1 Pages 1-43,138-137


This article considers the aspects of the local law system which was newly built up in the Sengoku period. In the Sengoku period the conflicts of medieval society developed and the elements forming early modern society appeared. To grasp this historical sequence, this article focuses its attention on the local magnates and landlord (dogo 土豪, jizamurai 地侍), that is, immature lords, in whom the conflicts of late medieval society were embodied, instead of adopting the traditional way of concentrating on sengoku-daimyo lords (戦国大名). The local law system with which this article deals contains a certain way of mediation and arbitration conducted independently in a particular area or region to settle a quarrel and a dispute, the aspects of the legal entity -individuals, institutions and organizations in charge of the arbitration, the norm and logic upon which they were founded, and so on. The material is drawn from Koga Gunchuso the subject of many previous studies. Chapter 1 of this article, based on the study of local economic conditions, considers the characteristics of local magnates and landlord who took the lead in building up the local law system ; their organizations, that is, the group of families with the same surname (domyochu 同名中) ; and the group of persons of lower status (wakato 若党). Chapter 2 considers the family group of the same surname and the rules of the 'three family groups' (sanpo 三方), which means considering the contents of the local law ; Chapter 3 the procedure and examination process of the local trial, and Chapter 4 the details of the local disputes and their arbitration awards. By considering these points, the author comes to the following conclusions. Each of the local magnates and warriors was not a lord ruling the whole of a territory, but a kind of landowner who collected an additional rent (kajishi-tokubun 加地子得分). These magnates conflicted with one another and with the peasants who paid it. In spite of this fact the system of local trial and law which the local magnates and landlord built up on an 'equal' footing was well maintained both institutionally and substantially. It was shown in (1)adequate and impartial examination and arbitration, (2)the original appropriateness of the arbitration, (3)establishment of the laws and rules, and (4)the institutions, organizations and status order which kept them. It was also shown in (5)the fact that this local law system arbitrated all the local quarrels and disputes compulsorily. Therefore this system of trial and law is regarded as one of a regional power, an establishment which had the two functions of protecting or controlling the class interest of local magnates and landlord and of ruling the village in the face of the peasantry through adaptation to new economic circumstances. This legal rule and law system of the immature lords had a great significance in the establishment of a national government and the formation of early modern society, because it seems to have been widespread in the kinai-kingoku area (畿内近国) and it resembled the rule of early modern society. It can be guessed that a national government and early modern society were realized by the 'aufheben' of such a local law system.

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© 1978 The Historical Society of Japan
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