Online ISSN : 2424-2616
Print ISSN : 0018-2478
ISSN-L : 0018-2478
Hyakusho-myo and Medieval Land Ownership
Tsuguo Yasuda
Author information

1981 Volume 90 Issue 4 Pages 421-457,529-52


The purpose of this essay is a complete rethinking of the rise and so-called breakup of hyakusho-myo (百姓名) from the standpoint of myo (名) as a fictitious phenomenon. Hyakusho-myo were established in the Kinai region at the end of the 12th century. Up until this time, temple monks, low level publicofficials and peasants had held a lower class land right, called sakute (作手), on paddy and dry fields within various shoen through the region. However, at the time when these sakute holders were organized into hyakusho-myo by shoen proprietors, what happened to their sakute rights? According to Professor Keiji Nagahara, at the time of hyakusho-myo establishment, sakute, which he explains as a middle status income right held by temple monks, lower public officials and peasants, was completely negated and done away with, all land undar cultivation being subsumed under the direct management and control of shoen proprietors. In this process, myo were set up and myoshu (名主) were appointed. Myoshu, as explained by Professor Nagahara, were responsible for the raising and the delivery of both nengu (年貢) and kuji (公事), but were not owners of myo-appointed fields (myoden 名田). Therefore, at their beginning, myoshu were not publicly recognized as able to impose land rents on myoden cultivators. However during the Kamakura period, myoshu, by continuing to strengthen their rights vis-a-vis myoden, were able to secure myoden as private property and to establish the right to levy a fixed land rent on direct cultivators of these fields by the end of the 13th century. In addition, what was being sold as myoshu-shiki (名主職) during this time was the right of imposing rent attached to each parcel of land under cultivation. As opposed to the explanation of hyakusho-myo offerred by Professor Nagahara, the author makes the following three points of criticism : 1)The rights held by temple monks, lower public officials and peasants at the end of the 12th century were not negated and eliminated, but rather were continued under the guise of the myo system (名体制) itself. 2)What was sold as "myoshu-shiki" in Yamashiro Province and "sakushu-shiki" (作主職) in Yamato Province were none other than previously existing sakute rights. 3)It is very difficult to support the fact that naturally, through time, myoshu came to be owners of myoden. It is only by such a change in thinking about hyakusho-myo that a complete and comprehensive understanding of land ownership from the late Heian period to the Sengoku period can become a possibility.

Information related to the author
© 1981 The Historical Society of Japan
Previous article Next article