There are some bronze inscriptions of the Xi-Zhou 西周 period that concern contracts and the legal disputes. Through such inscriptions, the author studies the judicial organs and the actual circumstances of the rule exercised by the Xi-Zhou dynasty. First, mainly through Wu-si-Wei-ding 五祀衛鼎, he examines judicial procedure. We know these bronze inscriptions have their limits as historical sources, because they were written by the side who won the dispute and thus do not contain all the informations about the litigation ; but we can see the basic organs involved. Moreover, the form "A似L告" means according to author, a statement of the plaintiff to other people. Secondly, mainly through Hu-ding 〓鼎, the author considers the nature of judicial organs. At that time, there was no full-time court or judicial offices. If someone wanted to sue, he had to do it before his lord. Third, mainly through Mo-niu-yi 牧牛〓, the author deals with criminal punishment in the Xi-Zhou period. We can find some aspects of the principle of "nulla poena sine lege", but punishment was not severe. If the decision was made to punish, it was often a advantageous decision for both sides, the plaintiff and the accused. The author concludes that in the Xi-Zhou period legal judgements were made by the lords according to their power and authority, but they tried to make their decisions paternalisticaly. The Xi-Zhou dynasty had no firm legal system, as described in the Zhou-li 周礼, It was organized and maintained on a small community level, and so it had no strong authority over of China as a whole.
In recent years, academic circles have been swayed for the most part by the new theory an advocating drastic changes in home's economic structure during the middle of the second century B.C.. This theory, though accepting the influence of slave labour, does not overestimate the importance of cheap labour influx from abroad, but puts its emphasis on the continuation of the subsistence peasant class and its role in agricultural labour. In this article, the author examines by means of analyzing M. Porcius Cato's De Agri Cultura whether this new theory is genuine, while looking into the ambiguous situation in the rural districts at the time. In chapter 1, a research history of 'opelarius' is presented, since small and middle peasants were called 'operarii' in Cato's work. Controversies over them focus on six points : (1)the meaning of 'operarius', (2)Varro's testimony, (3)the equipment need to run an olive and a wine farmstead, (4)Cat., Agr. 4, (5)legal materials (Dig. 184.108.40.206 ; 50.16.203), and (6)Plautus' case. In chapter 2, a general outline of rural society in Campagna as a model of De Agri Cultra is offered on the basis of archaeological materials and later literature. The following chapters, then demonstrate the model in accordance with the six points described in chapter 1. Point 1 has to be understood from context ; therefore the other points are more important. Point 2 has a precondition that familia is a slave. That familia means slave is undisputed. Analyzing Cato's work, however, his familia does include free labour. The existence of eight free labourers on his wine farmstead is, in fact, verified by making a thorough investigation of point 3, that operarius on the farm was a slave. Adding these two facts mentioned above, vicini (=neighbours) engage in the villa's works as operarii. It is, hence, clear that such vicini, as free peasants living in the neighbourhood, may have been affected by dominus, and they may have stood socially in a peculiar position owing to their continuous employment on the villa. Consequently, a vivid image concerning operarius appears through points 5 and 6. Operarii in De Agri Cultura indicate small-and middle-scale peasants, Cato as an owner of a villa needed many of these operarii in the form of labourers residing in the neighbourhood. As examined in the wine farmstead in particular, some of these people worked always with dominus' slaves, and belonged to his familia. This shows how a specialized social strata in a rural district originally arose, and how the social conditions of such free peasants on the wine farmstead can be considered as an original form of the dependent free peasant of later ages. In conclusion, the author accepts the new theory on the point that the many free peasants did exist, but further adds to it that they were tending towards dependency upon villa owners.
In the present article, the author describes the use of riverfront land (kashichi 河岸地) in areas of Edo occupied by common townsfolk (machikata 町方) during the middle and late kinsei period in Japan and analyzes the legal relationships which formed around such land utilization. In the townships of Edo where shipping played an important role, the existence of riverfront land within their borders was deemed to be an excellent opportunity for the growth of local economic prosperity. Despite its importance, however, the subject of this land type has not been very well covered in the existing research literature. Furthermore, in the research that has been done on this subject, one finds no analysis of those persons who were directly involved in the use of the riverfront, leaving us with no idea of how this land type was connected to the unique societal features of the townships of Edo. Now, with the growing interest in the study of the spatial aspects of urban history, it is time we looked in depth at this particulal. portion of town geomorphology in the city of Edo. The author's specific problematic concerning this theme involves a consideration of urban space as mutually determining and being determined by the various social activities of its occupants : thus his interest in analyzing the space known as kashichi in relation to machikata social formation. To begin with, in principle all riverfront land in Edo was placed under the proprietorship of the Tokugawa Bakufu ; however, the owners of residences bordering this land were given occupational rights over it. These local landlords, as the recognized occupiers of this land, were therefore responsible for initiating litigation procedures whenever the Bakufu attempted to restrict utilization and were burdened with the cost of keeping the waterways in the vicinity navigable. This latter task, involving dredging work, provided a way in which to legitimize a landlord's occupational rights over a particular stretch of riverfront. Historically speaking, while at the beginning of the Edo period most occupiers of riverfront located in the central city were actually residing near there, along about the second half of the seventeenth century, we find almost all of them in absentia living somewhere else. At the same time, we find them becoming less and less interested in the problems concerning riverfront utilization and therefore attempting to avoid any responsibility for necessary litigation or dredging work. On the other hand, those merchants and artisans directly dependent on riverfront land for their livelihood in the capacity of tenants or renters became alienated from its occupational rights, as well as from subjects of litigation over the maintenance or expansion of riverfront use. In the present article, the author focuses on the riverfront area known as Shin-Sakanaba 新肴場 located in the township of Honzaimoku-cho 本材木町, in order to present a case study of how the legal structure concerning riverfront use changed in the midst of restrictions imposed by the Bakufu during the Tempo Era reforms (1830-43). We see how the holders of the occupational rights of Shin-Sakanaba initiated litigation in resistance to the Bakufu's tightening of restrictions, but soon withdrew their complaint, thus forcing the area's tenants, a group of fish wholesalers, to start legal proceedings of their own. It was also at this moment that the fish wholesalers also took responsibility for local dredging work. In the end, these tenants won their case and at the same time were successful in capturing the occupational rights over half of the area. Here the author shows the collapse of a structure of legal rights through a "hollowing out" of a society of absentee town landlords, who were the original residents, and also the appearance of locally-based communities bound together by "legitimate" store-front owners.