Table of Contents
福武 直、講座日本史・第3巻 封建社会の展開、東京大学出版会、東京、1970年 (Fukudake Nao, Lectures on Japanese History: Volume Three, The Development of Feudal Society, Tokyo University Publishing, Tokyo, 1970)


福武 直、講座日本史・第3巻 封建社会の展開、東京大学出版会、東京、1970年 (Fukudake Nao, Lectures on Japanese History: Volume Three, The Development of Feudal Society, Tokyo University Publishing, Tokyo, 1970)

峰岸 純夫、「村落と土豪」(Minegishi Sumio, "Villages and Dogō")

Characteristics of the dogō class:
During the first half of the fifteenth century, when a number of tsuchi ikki (tokusei ikki) occurred in the Kinai and surrounding region, the basic form of conflict for political power was divided into two sides - one dealing with the Bakufu, shugo, shōen owners (kuge and large scale temples), profiteers from among the town and city money lenders (tera-iori and tsuchi kura 土倉) and kokujin land owners (all otherwise known as figures of authority), and the other dealing with dogō and those lower on the village social scale. The position of the dogō therefore played an important role in illuminating the political and economic (and class) contradictions in place at the time (the argument has been made, particularly by Kurokawa Nao(則), that the kokujin status class should be kept separate from that of the dogō, on account of the scale of their holdings and activities).(144)

One of the main characteristics of the dogō class was possession of status. The initial stage in the manifestation of this class identity came in the form of the myōshu class in the early medieval period. Following the breakup of this class (for distribution either up or down the social scale), those still of myōshu class status took hold of the fruits that stemmed from the development of production capacity in the latter Kamakura era, and by making effective use of high yield capital goods (rice, buckwheat, coin), they were able to secure much larger sections of land for their own use. The administration of such land was dealt with by one part usually being directly administered by the myōshu family, with the rest being administered by subordinates (下人) such as myōshi and hikan who were in direct contact with the labourers. A majority of labourers (such as indentured peasants) served these subordinates or else they were indentured to mid-to-lower status peasants within the villages (thus creating a dual low status labour force).(144)

The abode of the dogō was placed in the middle of the directly administered land, with indentured labourers living in the surrounding area. Moreover, there was a trend towards distributing land out to small scale producers (peasants) who lived outside of the immediate area. Hence a more precise class definition for the dogō would be `a predominantly agriculturally based, peasant administrating land owner`. In the first half of the medieval period, local myōshu and myōshu themselves directly administered the land they owned, yet the development of production in the latter medieval period brought on a high point in the buying and selling of land, hence land ownership, and the creation of ties to small production underwent a period of `generalization`. At the same time, the provocation of locally based labour as a result of a growing stand off against common peasants was avoided by producing smaller plots of land for direct administration (and the labour to go with it) and the production of small scale crops. The rural environment was thus underwent a change, in closer relations with the small scale production system, which created results vis-à-vis production in total.(145)

The dogō were, admittedly, exploitative in relation to their subordinates and small scale producers, yet they were the essence the same as those peasants who owned their own land. From the authorities, they were seen as `jige hyakushō`, who existed to collect and distribute tithes and perform public duties. Those persons of dogō status would also have a dual position in the shōen, overseeing its entire function and the storage of goods, and thus they were able to grab hold of an intermediary role.(145)
The second characteristic of the dogō class was their affiliation with authority organizations. These might have gone by various different names, such as satajin, sanshoku, jige daikan and the like, yet by and large the dogō served at the very end of a system of authority responsible for the collection of tithes and for public duties under the administration of a daikan, who himself was under the direct control of the owner of the shōen.(145)

The third characteristic was the relation of dogō to the village`s joint system of administration, otherwise known as the sō. In sum, the dogō, as an otona, was of peasant status, yet from the owner of the shōen he would receive the epithet of `kata`, and from the peasants themselves he would be known as `dono`. Thus in his capacity as a jizamurai and a donohara, he was a separate class to the other, general peasants, in possession of a special status. As the Honpukuji Atogaki put it 「隣郷イカナル里ニモ老(おとな)二成テ得分(とくぶん)アリ」. These were the most common traits of the dogō.(145)

Yet others could be added, for example a particularly auspicious piece of land could be owned by a group of the same family name, thus establishing a blood tie over that land. Moreover, there were those dogō who became the hikan for kuge, shugo, and kokujin, but this was not a necessary condition for a dogō. The class status of a dogō was basically tied to the institution of the village (or sō), who exercised authority as the farthest extention of that authority over the village. As some also served in a vassal relationship with kuge and samurai families, this trait may also be added to the general appearance of the dogō. (146)

© Greg Pampling. This page was modified in December 2011