Table of Contents
宮島 敬一、戦国期社会の形成と展開 -浅井・六角氏と地域社会―、吉川弘文館、東京、1996年 (Miyajima Keiichi, The Formation and Development of Sengoku Era Society – The Asai and Rokkaku Families and Local Society, Yoshikawa Kōbunkan, Tokyo, 1996)


宮島 敬一、戦国期社会の形成と展開 -浅井・六角氏と地域社会―、吉川弘文館、東京、1996年 (Miyajima Keiichi, The Formation and Development of Sengoku Era Society – The Asai and Rokkaku Families and Local Society, Yoshikawa Kōbunkan, Tokyo, 1996)

What the author aims to show here is that the development of regional landlords was delayed by events both before and after the Ōnin and Bunmei wars. At the very least, these conflicts aided the process by which the shōen system, its offices and lands, ceased to be relied upon for assistance. Alternatively, those classes that yearned for territory of their own, namely those of the dogō and jizamurai had their own ideals and concepts. One of the problems encountered in examining the breakup of the medieval social system and how to understand it is that most studies stop at the level of the middling classes (the dogō・jizamurai level of society), and do not really reach a level of debate necessary for understanding the upper levels of regional landlordism.(89)

However, as was shown in the previous study done by this author into small scale landowners (under the title headed – the system of regional ikki), there is a problem when attempting to distinguish the extent to which the upper echelons of the village (the satajin, and otona) became synonymous with small scale land owners such as the dogō and jizamurai, for these two social titles covered a broad area of the class system. This problem also shows that these middle class(es) existed in late medieval society as the focal point of many contradictions, yet they held one of the keys for the turn towards the Sengoku era. In the reformation of the social system occurring around them, these `middle sort` transcended the boundaries of medieval society and came very close to resembling a standard landowner (領主). This in itself reveals the class system of medieval society and the contradictions in its levels. This is the reason why the author wrote `the system of regional ikki`, in order to show what mechanisms and concepts were put in place to overcome the seeming contradictions in social status.(90)

What the author paid most attention to was the fact that small scale land owners `whilst the lord of the region developed his lands, they (the small scale land owners) began to create a economically independent system of the lord`s based on the collection of 加地子`. Whilst the medieval system of tithe payments towards major landowners still existed, the smaller land owners would only collect this 加地子 as separate from the regular tithe.(90)

What the author also stresses regarding the smaller land owners who formed the `regional ikki system` is that the relationship between the growth of these land owners and the growth of the general peasantry created a sense of `tension` between the two. According to the author`s theory, smaller land owners, who until the latter medieval period had been categorized as `peasants, or commoners`, began to insist upon a new samurai designation for their position. In sum, at the local level there was a schism between these new `samurai` and those who retained the class level of `peasant`. There were two principle reasons why these smaller landowners would insist upon samurai ranking. Those were `that the smaller landowners had broken through the precepts of control created by medieval society, they would be responsible for their own development, and they had embarked on creating a new system (the regional ikki system) that would allow them to be able to realize the ambition of collecting 加地子 (かじし)(91)
(According to the 国史大辞典、3巻, in the medieval shōen system, the myōshu that was responsible for the collection of public tithes (for payment to shōen owners) concurrently held the right to collect interest from money received from workers on his own fields. This interest was referred to as `Kajishi`. It was, in other words, a source of private income for smaller landowners which they alone held the right to. During the Muromachi and Sengoku era, warehouses, temples, and dogō all actively engaged in the accumulation of this interest).(p.267 of 国史大辞典)

In sum, the creation of the `regional ikki system` relied upon the factors of accumulation of interest, local laws and customs, and awareness of class. These three elements would lead to the creation of `something` separate to the shōen system, which would place the smaller landowners at the heart of its function. Whilst the author questions whether one could categorize the dogō and jizamurai of the latter medieval period as `peasants`, as the division of status in the Kuse shōen documents shows, there was a growing sense among smaller landowners that they were separate from the standard definition of peasants. At the same time, the smaller landowners were responsible for bringing about the division in precepts for status (one was either samurai or peasant), which means they probably possessed a degree of prejudice regarding one`s status. As they, the smaller landowners, belonged to a class with the right to accumulate interest, they had grown aware of themselves as members of a ruling class. In the regional ikki system, the designation as samurai or peasant was established along different lines to the standard ranks held by these classes in medieval society, which led to the creation of a new status system at the regional level.(92) (Note 103 states that what the author means by `ikki` was not something organized along military or political lines according to an outside catalyst (of higher social rank), but was an organization consisting of social groupings and class control created at the local level. This was the `ikki system`. The author also points out in Note 101 that in order to establish just what social rank members of the dogō and jizamurai class belonged to, rather than using linear arguments or analysis based on individual actions, it would be more profitable to examine these developments based on unique or different characteristics found within social constructs or social relations at the time – in other words, how were these members of medieval society different to what had gone before them, and how could they be distinguished from other standard ).(106)

© Greg Pampling. This page was modified in December 2011