Table of Contents
Kanda Chisato, Tsuchi Ikki no Jidai (The Age of Commoner Protests), Rekishi Bunka Raiburari-, Yoshikawa Hirofumi Kan, Tokyo, 2004.


Kanda Chisato, Tsuchi Ikki no Jidai (The Age of Commoner Protests), Rekishi Bunka Raiburari-, Yoshikawa Hirofumi Kan, Tokyo, 2004.

Akutō and Tsuchi Ikki

One particular development that draws our attention is the fact that tsuchi ikki gradually came to be known as `akutō` (or `gangs of rogues/criminals`). In September of the third year of Meiō (1494), the Muromachi Bakufu received word that a `group of akutō` had issued a tokusei, formed a tsuchi ikki, and were poised to enter Yamashiro province. The Bakufu thus ordered that the main culprits (affiliated with Tōji, often used for the purpose of raising tsuchi ikki) were to be sought out and arrested, and that the names and addresses of participants, as well as the names of their masters were to be collected (Tōji Hyakugō Bunsho – volume 197).

Again, in February of the 12th year of Bunmei (1480), word was received in Kyoto that rōnin of the deposed Naitō family, previously the shugodai of Tamba province, were planning to raise a tsuchi ikki. Warriors of the Ichinomiya family (to prevent this from happening) had set fire to the dwellings of these `akutō` and had caused chaos throughout the land (Haretomi Sukune Ki – 晴富宿禰記). This is how we know that persons who raised a tsuchi ikki were referred to as `akutō`.(93)

In November of the same year, a tsuchi ikki that attacked Nara, upon receiving a serving of alcohol, had eventually dispersed. Yet before then, when the participants had gathered together, both the Morita family and the Chōkyōbō group had combined their forces and raised an ikki (Daijōin Jisha Zatsujiki). The Morita had been described as an `akutō`, with the comment `their act of betrayal in cooperation with the tsuchi ikki was glaringly obvious`. We can therefore presume that in some sense tsuchi ikki had come to be regarded as `akutō`.(94).

In July of the 14th year of Bunmei on the outskirts of Kyoto, word came that `there was movement by some akutō to exact a tokusei`. This was eventually put down by the Bakufu itself, with three of the conspirators being put to death. Further measures were taken against Tōji, with arrests made around the grounds of and within the temple itself, together with the sō-en to which it was attached. The fact that they were to `exact a tokusei` meant, in sum, that their leaders (those who had called for the tokusei) were acknowledged as `akutō`.(94)

In August of the 17th year of Bunmei, a tsuchi ikki occurred in Kyoto. According to the records of the time…`last night, goods were seized by those claiming legitimacy for their actions under a tokusei. This was not a tsuchi ikki, but the work of disgraced officials and leaderless samurai, and that of akutō` (Gohōkyōinki). The fact that this type of tokusei was, as we shall see, associated with a tsuchi ikki illustrates the court appointed officials thinking at the time, for the term `tsuchi ikki` could be employed to cover a number of phenomena. Yet on the other hand, the fact that akutō were regarded as acting in the same manner as a tsuchi ikki, claiming legitimacy under a tokusei in order to seize goods, is particularly noteworthy.(94-95)

© Greg Pampling. This page was modified in December 2011