Table of Contents

Chapter Nine System of Regional Control



Chapter Nine System of Regional Control
Organizational elements that existed before the formation of Sengoku daimyō territorial rule

When examining the system of control exercised by the Ōtomo over their territories, one must start by looking at the system of rule that existed during the Nambokuchō and early Muromachi periods. Regional control was exercised during the mid to late medieval period through the office of a shugo (or regional governor). As is well known, this system was implemented at the start of the Kamakura period by Minamoto no Yoritomo. A shugo was an official charged with providing security for the court in Kyoto (a role known as the Ōbanyaku, 大番役), and was the centerpiece in the system of posts whose duty it was to try court cases involving murder, injury, and treason (the so-called three major crimes). By the 2nd year of Teiwa (1346), the list of powers exercised by a shugo had grown to include passing judgement on those accused of stealing produce from fields (karita rōseki – 刈田狼籍), and handing those lands won during a legal dispute to the victorious party (a practice known as shisetsu jungyō – 使節遵行). Moreover, the implementation of the Hanzei laws (in Kanō 3, or 1353) created a basis for a dramatic expansion in the economic power of the shugo. Hence by the early Muromachi period the shugo were well on the road towards establishing themselves as feudal lords.(76-77)

The Ōtomo solidified their place as shugo over Bungo province in the early Muromachi period. They were also linked to the position of shugo of Chikugo province, and in time would come to exercise rule as shugo over Hizen, Higo, Buzen, Chikuzen, and Hyuga provinces. In order to throw further light on the subject of the role the Ōtomo played as shugo, we turn our attention to Ōtomo Ujiyasu (大友氏泰, the son of Sadamune) and aspects of his rule during the early Muromachi period. As the shugo of Buzen, Hizen, and Hyuga provinces, Ujiyasu also served as shugo of Bungo province.(77) What is of particular interest in terms of his rule is the existence of an official post known as a myōdai (名代, also known as ichimyō) which was one rank down from that of a shugo. One rank below a myōdai lay the position of shugodai (守護代). In Bungo province there were at least one to two shugodai, whilst Hizen had one shugodai. However it is difficult to say whether Hizen or Hyuga possessed any shugodai. There were, therefore, a variety of official posts, each of which differed in terms of the degree of influence they exercised. After the shugodai came the office of shisetsu (使節, related to the role of messengers), who had two representatives.(78)

When we examine the various posts that made up the core of this early system of Ōtomo rule, the first thing that grabs our attention is the role of the myōdai. Ujiyasu`s elder brother, Sadatoshi (貞載) held this position (according to the Shiga Monjo 志賀文書) as did Dewa Shōzen (出羽正全) who belonged to a minor branch of the Ōtomo household. As for shugodai in Bungo province, Kaku Gorō Nyūdō (賀来五郎入道, according to the Tōtsu Monjo 到津文書) served in this role, as did Fujiwara (of the Odawara family) Muneyoshi (藤原宗能, according to the Yusuhara Hachimangū Monjo 柞原八幡宮文書), Bizen no Kami Muneyori (備前守宗頼, surname unknown, from the Eikō Monjo 永弘文書), as well as Wasada Chikanobu (稙田寂円, from the Ito Ke Shozō Monjo 伊東家所蔵文書) and Saya Chikamoto (沙弥寂本, surname unknown, from the Eikō Monjo). These final two names are thought to have been either shugodai or lesser shugodai (in other words daikan, 代官). In the case of the first two shugodai, though they may have shared the same title for their position, this did not mean that they were equal in authority.(78)

In Hizen province the post of shugodai was held by the Saitō family (斎藤氏). Both this family and the Odawara had served as fudai councilors to the Ōtomo before the Ōtomo had relocated to Kyushu. Conversely, both the Kaku and the Wasada families were kokujin who belonged to the Bungo Ōga family line. By the early Muromachi period both of these families had become close allies to the Ōtomo. (79)

The system of control exercised by the Ōtomo was based on a hierarchical relationship between shugo, myōdai, shugodai (and in the case of Bungo province this might have included lesser shugodai or daikan), and shisetsu. However this system existed in tandem with the shugo-bugyōnin-shisetsu arrangement of official posts. Both systems (in principle) operated separately from one another, for while the former posts dealt with the performance of duties on behalf of the shogunate (such as the exercise of military power, the judication of legal cases, and the distribution of land and stipends, all of which were judged to be public duties), the latter dealt with donations of land and money to shrines venerating the Ōtomo family and to more private matters. The bugyōnin who carried out these latter functions were comparable to the toshiyori of the Sengoku era, and could therefore be said to be their precursors. At any rate, the system of rule that existed during the early Muromachi period and the rule of Ujiyasu was more focused on the former positions of shugo, myōdai, and shugodai. As time passed, a shift was made to the latter system.(79)

The system of daimyō territorial rule

The development of territorial rule by daimyō accompanied the gradual waning in influence of the Muromachi Bakufu. (79) Consequently the position of shugo, which had previously acted in support of the bakufu, became redundant, losing much of its influence. It was only a matter of time before the positions of shugodai and lesser shugodai (such as daikan) would also start to disappear. In their place, the Eishō period (marked by the reign of Ōtomo Yoshinaga, Sōrin`s grandfather) saw the emergence of a new position, that of the katawake (方分). The katawake are described in the Tōke
Hippo no Sho Jōjō (当家筆法之抄条々) as thus…宿老へ方分仰せ付けられ候事 (80)

In other words, various toshiyori councillors (宿老, also rendered as年寄) would be ordered to serve as katawake, and each would be given a certain area of territory to control. It would be fair enough to state that the system of katawake was unique to the Ōtomo family. As for the origins of the word itself, Professor Takita Manabu states that `katawake` was derived from the term `Hōmen Buntan` (方面分担, or `distribution of regions`) (田北学氏、続編年大友史料 八、一五三頁). Territory was divided up into province units (or kuni, 国) over which the katawake held military and administrative rights. Yet the various official administrative posts or `bugyō` that existed under the new system did not have the same close relationship to the shugo that had characterized the old system. The principle role of the katawake was that of a military leader or else those matters related to military duties. (80-81)

A typical example of the katawake is provided by the figure of Tahara Chikakata(親賢), who succeeded to the position of lord of Myōken castle (妙見城) in Tenshō 8 (1580) and was responsible for all military matters concerning the territory around the castle. During the Kōji era (1555-1557), Ohara Akimoto served as the katawake of Higo from the castle of Nankan (南関城). In the 2nd year of Kōji (1556), Akimoto revolted against the Ōtomo and led an army numbering some 20,000 troops (according to the Ōtomo Kōhai Ki). During the Tenshō period (1573-1591), Kitsuki Hyōbe Shōfu Akimitsu (木付兵部少輔鑑実) served as a katawake to Chikuzen, ruling as he did from Kōshidake castle (柑子岳城, according to the Shiga gun Monjo). We have already seen how Usuki Akisumi briefly served as a katawake in Hizen province. Around the 6th year of Tenshō (1578), Shiga Chikayasu, who was serving as a katawake in Higo province, was described as being the `kuni bugyō` (国奉行, or provincial official) of Higo (according to the Seianji Monjo, 西安寺文書). Hence we can deduce from these examples that the position of katawake was the equivalent of a shugo or upper grade of shugodai responsible for the administration of a province.(80-81)

However the position of katawake was not limited to rule over provinces alone. In the home territory of Bungo katawake were appointed to administer units of `gun` (郡) and ruled over these with a degree of thoroughness greater than that applied to recently conquered territory. For example, in the 7th year of Tenbun (1538) Takita Chikakazu (親員) was appointed as a katawake to Kusu estate (玖珠), whilst Yamashita Nagatsugu (山下長就) served as a katawake to Kusu gun. However it should be said that in Bungo at least, not every gun was assigned a katawake.(81)

Both shugo daimyō and Sengoku daimyō possessed transitory forms of power (i.e, their system of rule was not fixed and was subject to challenge). In the case of Chikugo province, the right to rule was a comparatively loose concept, and this was echoed by the administrative system in place within the province at the time. During the Eishō era, a number of shugodai were appointed to administer Chikugo by Ōtomo Yoshinaga (as detailed in the Tajiri Ke Monjo amongst others). Chikugo was also home to `gundai` (郡代). These gundai did not necessarily serve as underlings to the shugodai, and may have been their equivalent. This point has been made clearer as a result of the work of Matsuoka Hisahito and his study into Ōuchi rule over Buzen province (松岡久人、大内氏の豊前国支配 広大文学部記要 二三―二). Matsuoka reveals that there are some slight differences in the shugo /shugodai/gundai arrangement for Chikugo. Apparently letters issued by the Ōtomo toshiyori were sent directly to the gundai concerned (such as the Takeno gundai, 竹野郡代, and the Kamizuma gundai, 上妻郡代). On occasion, a letter would be sent to a gundai responsible for an entire province (such as the Chikugo gundai, or else the Chikugo shogundai 筑後諸郡代, as found in the Irie Monjo 入江文書). The Encyclopedia of Japanese History (Nihon Shi Jiten) claims that the term gundai was an alternative name for shugodai. We don`t, of course, know the basis for this statement, yet it does appear to describe the system of rule exercised by the Ōtomo.(82)

When one examines the system of shugodai and gundai within Chikugo province, it becomes clear that those appointed to these posts were either from Bungo or from Chikugo. For example, in the 5th year of Eishō (1508) both the Ohara and Mihara families held posts as shugodai (according to the Kusano Monjo, 草野文書), despite the fact that the former was from Bungo and the latter from Chikugo. In the case of the Takeno gundai (竹野郡代), this post was held by the Tsukumi, Ogawa, and Shikibe families (according to the Ogawa Monjo 小川文書). The Tsukumi were from Bungo, whilst the Ogawa and Shikibe both originated from Chikugo. In Eishō 12 (1515), Ōtomo Yoshinaga issued an edict, the detail of which included the following in relation to

  1. 当国の者、一人二人つゝ筑後在国ある可きの事

However the rule exercised by the shugodai and gundai was, at the most, transitory, so much so that by the era of Ōtomo Yoshiaki and Sōrin the position of katawake was in the process of being made redundant.(83)

Various bugyōnin and kenshi (検使)

In the administrative system of the Ōtomo, there were a number of temporary yet necessary bugyōnin positions that functioned under the katawake. This did not necessarily mean, however, that they were subservient to the katawake. Rather, they formed an independent group that took orders directly from the central part of the Ōtomo administration. When one examines these bugyō (or offices) in detail, one sees that in province of Bungo, such positions included the `Kunisaki gun Dansen Bugyō` (国東郡段銭奉行), the Hayami gun Dansen Bugyō (速見郡段銭奉行), the Saga gō Dōsaku Bugyō (佐賀郷道作奉行), and the Kusu gun Kessho Bugyō (玖珠郡欠所奉行). These various bugyō were responsible for the collection of coinage and distribution of rice, the repair and creation of roads, and those administrative tasks deemed necessary in instances where territory was devoid of an owner (the so-called `Kessho Bugyō`). Kenshi, on the other hand, performed a far broader range of activities, each of which was different in focus. When we look at the system of kenshi for Bungo province in the 10th month of the 8th year of Eiroku (1565), we find that they performed the following tasks:

1. Administrate Usa shrine and its affiliated territory, 2. Administer food materials and utensils 3. Care for owner-less land, 4. Meet out punishment on unruly peasants, 5. Collect coinage and taxes, 6. Administer land and its distribution, and 7. Deal with those retainers who were absent from prescribed festivals (held during the 8th month and at the beginning of the year – for this task, the kenshi received a stipend of land).(84)

At least ten of the kenshi (particularly those serving under Hosoku Minbu Shō, 帆足民部少輔) were retainers from Bungo. As the range of territory to be administered steadily increased, the office of kenshi became more diversified. However only one kenshi was appointed to deal with the particulars of administering owner-less land (as seen in the Yakushiji Monjo, 薬師寺文書). There was also a military aspect to a kenshi`s duties. For example, when Ōtomo Sōrin was betrayed and attacked by Takahashi Akitane in the 10th year of Eiroku (1567), the Seizenji (生善寺) and Tajiri families sent one member from each family as a kenshi to the territory held by the Takahashi. They were ordered to report on the movements of the Takahashi army and to observe any other activities. In a similar way, Ōtomo Yoshimune sent both Shimomura Chibe Nyūdō (下村治部入道) and Hirabayashi Danshō Chū (平林弾正忠) as kenshi to monitor Takaiwa castle (高岩城) in Buzen province. It is clear from these examples that the office of kenshi was synonymous with that of a scout or observer. Moreover, only persons of Bungo origin were given the role of kenshi, to the exclusion of any persons from outside the `home` province.(85)

As for the home territories of the Ōtomo family, these were administered by daikan (代官). In the 10th month of Kyōroku 1 (1528), Shiga Minbu Daifu (志賀民部大輔) ruled over the Ōtomo territory of Naoiri gun, Naoiri gō Nagata myō as a daikan. For his service, he received a stipend from several places within the myō that totaled 3 kan, 700 mon. These daikan were also known by the title of mandokoro (政所). In the Ōtomo territory of Ogata shō, located in Ono gun, two daikan were appointed to administer it, and were addressed as the `two mandokoro of Ogata shō – 緒方庄両政所). Takata shō, located in Oita gun, also had a `Takata shō mandokoro`. These offices were charged with the task of collecting taxes, fulfilling military duties, and capturing and punishing criminals. For example, around Kyōroku 1 (1528), the mandokoro of Ogata received an order instructing him to arrest fleeing prisoners (according to the Ōtomo Monjo). In the 12th month of Tenshō 5 (1577), the same mandokoro undertook a collection of `mabetsu sen` (間別銭, a tax on the number of rooms within a residence or land upon which a residence was built) from within Ogata shō (according to the Yusuhara Hachimangū Monjo). Shiga Chikaie, the daikan of Naoiri gō, Naoiri gun, also held the position of kendan (検段, or inspector) to the same property, and offered up his wife as collateral (or 夫人) when ordered to do so by Ōtomo Chikatsuna (大友親綱) (86)

It does appear, however, that a kenshi could also be placed in charge of one of the home territories of the Ōtomo family, as demonstrated by the following:

御料所々務、御検使へ御書之事、松本名当秋務(年貢徴収)之事、辛労ながら両人検使として、堅固に相調えらるべき事肝要に候 (大友文書) (86)

In the various articles of a missive issued by Ōtomo Yoshinaga, it states that the `daikan/kenshi` were to gather information (or 時宜) from the various gō and shō, thereby demonstrating that this office existed as part of the communications apparatus within the Ōtomo territories.(86)

Hence the system of administration and rule exercised by the Ōtomo comprised those offices outlined over the previous pages. It was certainly not a unified system, and lacked consistency. The katawake, various bugyō, and kenshi all acted independently of one other. Hence there was no sense of uniformity or cohesion, which meant that the system did not (indeed could not) realize the full potential of its different functions.(87)

Military system

Military organisation

When Sengoku daimyō organized their retainers into armies, they used one of two systems derived from past experience – one system depended on a system of fealty, whereby the daimyō would be tied to each individual retainer in a vertical relationship, whilst the other system was more group oriented and built on a sense of `equality`. The existence of this two tiered military system in the Ōtomo family was certainly not a unique phenomenon. The former had been used since the emergence of the warrior class, and thus needs no special mention. What concerns us here is the latter. To begin with, we need to take a look at the pattern by which retainers became bound to one another in what could be described as a form of `mutual allegiance` (or dōshin, 同心).(87)

In the late Nambokuchō period, independent small to medium sized land owners began to join together in either ikki (一揆) or shūchū (衆中) groups, thereby creating a organisation with horizontal ties that emphasized unity. Such organisations existed within the territories of the Ōtomo. For example, in Hisashi mura, located in Yamaga gō, Hayami gun (日差村山香郷速見郡), the Onobi family (小野尾) were the first leaders of the Tōsai ikki (東西一揆, also known as the Hon ikki, 本一揆) (as found in the Takita Monjo), whilst the Manai shūchū (真那井衆中) were found in Ōga (大神) mura, Hayami gun (according to the Watanabe Monjo). At Yufuin, Hayami gun, the Yufuin shū (由布院衆) consisted of the Uta and Araki families (右田・荒木氏) (according to the Ōtomo Monjo). At Taketa Tsushō (竹田津庄), located in Kunisaki gun, there resided the Taketa Tsu Yoriai chū (竹田津寄合中), whilst Imi mura (伊美村, of the same gun) played host to the Imi Yoriai chū. Usa gun, Buzen province, was the domain of the Sanjūrokunin shū (三十六人衆), whilst Yokkaichi (again found within the same gun) was the preserve of the Watanabe family who controlled the Yokkaichi Kiriyori shūchū (四日市切寄衆中) (as found in the Watanabe Monjo). In Higo province, Yamaga gun, Uchida mura (肥後山鹿郡内田村), there lay the Uchida Yoriai chū (内田寄合中) under the rule of the Uchida family (according to the Uchida Monjo). Higo Kamizuma gun played host to the Kamizuma ikki (Yori)ai shūchū (上妻一揆〔寄り〕合衆中) (according to the Kamizuma Monjo). Hence the ikki, shūchū, and yoriai chū went by a myriad of different names, and consisted of many different forms of regional units, from gun, to in, gō, shō, and village (or mura, 村). They were, on the whole, groups of like-minded participants. As such, almost all of the groups were self-directed, which makes it much harder to establish whether they were forced to unite under the Ōtomo.(88)

In order to discover the true nature of these groups, we shall take a look at the example of the Uchida Yoriai chū of Higo province. The Uchida family themselves were one branch of the Higo Sagara family and resided in Uchida mura, Yamaga gun. During the Sengoku era, the Uchida, together with the Ushijima and Tajiri, would form what was known as the Yamakami shū. The following table (pg.89) outlines the membership of the Uchida shū along with the amount of property they owned. The Uchida Yoriai chū consisted of eighteen members, while the amount of property they owned varied from seven han up to a total of six chō, five han. Uchida Sakin Daifu (内田左近大夫) appears to have been the leader of the group, although his holdings were about average, meaning that he did not necessarily have an overbearing presence in the group. As such, overall it was a fairly even, equitable union.(89)

The Ōtomo used such unions as they found them.(90) In the 20th year of Tenbun (1551), the Uchida Yoriai Chū, under the leadership of the Higo Katawake Ohara Akimoto (鑑元) formed the Yamakami shū together with the Tajiri and Ushijima families. The Yamakami shū were arranged as a yoriko (or subservient group) to the Hida shū (日多衆窪) and the Kokubo shū (小窪衆) and engaged in military activities. The Yokkaichi Kiriyori shū chū (四日市切寄衆中) of Bizen also performed military service under the leadership of Odawara Sakyō Ryō (亮), while the Yamaga gō ikki chū (山香郷一揆中) of Hayami gun in Bungo province were involved in military operations under the leadership of an unknown of myōdai (名代) status. The leaders of the above groups, in addition to being known as myōdai, also went by the titles of saiban (裁判), shinan (指南), and kishin (寄親) (according to the Watanabe Monjo, the Kusano Monjo and others). We have seen how the Uchida Yoriai Chū were described as a `yoriko` (寄子, a group of warriors led by an oyako, or `parental leader`), however they also went by the name of dōshin (同心), dōjin (同陣), and dōjō (同城), all of which referred to their arrangement beneath the command of a leader. The leaders themselves were as mentioned above (in the case of the Uchida Yoriai Chū, their oyako were the Hida shū and the Kokubo shū) yet it was the katawake who led large armies into the field. For example, Ohara Akimoto, a katawake from Higo province, based himself in the district of Nankan (南関). When he revolted in Kōji 2 (1556), the `Ōtomo Kōhai Ki` states that he resisted the Ōtomo with some twenty thousand troops. Akimoto placed his camp within the four to five chō of land located in Higo Tamana gun (肥後玉名). When combined with other properties within the same gun, his holdings came to 125 chō. He also possessed 2 chō within Bungo Kunisaki gun, Imi shō (伊美), so his total holdings equalled around 127 chō.(90-91)

The relationship between oyako and yoriko, between leaders and those led, was certainly not fixed, and was re-arranged according to expediency. One particularly example concerns the Kuwabata family. The role change applied to this family was part of a strategy often used by the Ōtomo. In the 12th year of Tenshō (1584), the Ōtomo attacked Kamachi Yoshiyasu of Chikugo and Tajiri Akitane in retaliation for their betrayal of Ōtomo Yoshimune. Nakamura Suke Hyoe no Jō, a warrior who had played a particularly prominent role in bringing about the defeat of the two traitors, was awarded a `letter of thanks` by Yoshimune. According to this document, in the 8th month of the same year, the Nakamura family performed an exemplorary role in coordinating manuvers with Takahashi Shōun, as well as Kosai Sakyō Ryō (小佐井左京亮) (according to the Zoku Ōtomo Shiryō, 3, 813, 814). The Kuwabata served as both leaders and `followers` to the Nakamura during the campaign against the Kamachi and Tajiri thereby showing that there was no fixed `regimental` system present within Ōtomo territories. This re-arrangement of roles (within regional armies) by the Ōtomo was probably a deliberate move meant to prevent the formation of private ties between leaders and their followers.(91-92)

The construction and defence of castles  

The political and military power of the Sengoku daimyō Ōtomo family was concentrated in their fortifications, and it is to these that we now turn. During the Sengoku era, a number of different castles were built throughout the Ōtomo territories. The Ōtomo castle of Nyūjima (丹生島located in Usuki city) and the Shiga castle of Okajō (岡城, located in Taketa city) surpassed all others in terms of their construction and defensibility. In addition to these, the Shiga also possessed Shirani castle (白仁, located in Naoiri gun), while the Tajiri possessed both Kurakake castle (鞍掛城, located in Bungo Takata city) and Aki castle (安岐城, located in Kunisaki Higashi gun). The Ichimada family held Ichimada castle (一万田城, located in Ōno gun) and Toyasan castle (鳥屋山城, located in the same gun), while the Betsugi held Yoroidake castle (鎧嶽城, located in Ōno gun). The Takita family possessed Kumamure castle (熊牟礼城, located in Oita gun) as well as Kōnō castle (蛟尾城, located in Hayami gun), while the Saiki family ruled over Togamure castle (栂牟礼城, located in Saiki city).(92)

According to the `Ōtomo Kajin Jōshu Shōshi Roku` (大友家臣城主姓氏録), during the Tenshō era, the number of Ōtomo retainers in possession of a castle came to 237, which were spread throughout the Ōtomo territories. Although we use the title `castle`, the reality is that these fortifications differed in both their size and construction. There were `castles` that were merely defensive forts, and which were known as `Kiriyori` (切寄) or `Yōgai` (要害). There are also many examples of retainers and their families (particularly those ruling over expansive territories) possessing more than one castle. The castle in which a retainer resided, and which formed the nucleus of the castles over which he ruled, was known as the `Honjō` (本城). Members of his family would reside on the outer limits of the family territory, taking turns in defending what were known as Sokujō (足城), Kojō (子城), or else Tanjō (端城). In Tenshō 8 (1580), when Tahara Chikatsura (親貫) revolted against the Ōtomo from his castle of Kurakake in Kunisaki gun, he arranged all of his `Sokujō` in a defensive pattern (literally, he `made them into shields`, according to the Tachibana Kemonjo).(93) In the case of Chikugo Tajiri Tango no Kami Akitane, his `Honjō` was the castle of Takao (鷹尾), located on the western side of Yabegawa (矢部川). Enclosing this on the eastern side of the river were the four `Tanjō` of Enoura castle (江浦城), Horikiri castle (堀切城), Hamada castle (浜田城), and Tsudome castle (津留城), which were placed to the north and south of the eastern river bank (according to the Tajiri Kemonjo).(94)

The castles themselves were, from the very outset, built on the steep slopes of mountains. At the bottom of the castle complex lay the Negoya (根小屋), also known as the Fumotogoya (麓小屋) where the everyday business of the castle was conducted. An example of the usage of this type of residence lies with Kutami Chikamitsu (朽網親満) of Naoiri gun and one of the toshiyori of the Ōtomo clan. The Ōtomo Kōhai Ki mentions him in the following manner…


Tahara Chikakata, the one time head of Myōken castle which watched over the Buzen Myōken peaks, and which was described as being `perched on top of a very high mountain`, lived in a residence at the foot of the mountain (according to Luis Frois, in a letter dated to the 12th year of Tenshō). Whenever a battle was called, hikan (被官) and similar allies would all assemble in the Fumotogoya and then ascend the mountain to the castle, or else set off for battle. At the base of Buzen Kawaradake castle (豊前香春岳城) lay a village centered upon a lord`s official residence, which provided a simple way for retainers to gather beneath the castle.(94-95)

The construction of castles was known at the time by the term `shiro goshirae` (城誘). A bugyō (or order) would be issued granting a retainer the right to construct a castle. This practice meant that retainers were banned from constructing castles without the consent of their lord. One example of this was the castle of Takao, administered (as we have seen) by the Tahara family. The Tahara requested permission to build the castle, which was duly given. It appears that Tahara Chikahiro also received permission from the Ōtomo family to engage in repairs to Kurakake castle.(95)

As there was always the danger that a retainer might revolt, the construction or demolition of castles was debated in earnest. As the okibumi of Ōtomo Yoshiaki revealed, the decision of whether to allow Chikuzen Tachibana castle to remain standing was a matter of great concern. When the Tajiri family of Chikugo revolted against the Ōtomo during the Tenshō period and briefly sided with the Ryūzōji of Hizen, the Ōtomo (upon their victory over the Tajiri) would only allow the `hatashiro` (端城) of Horikiri castle to remain, and ordered that the remaining four castles, including Takao castle, be destroyed and the Tajiri family forcibly moved to Horikiri castle. (96)

In principle, there were two basic types of castle residence, although it is sometimes difficult to clearly distinguish what the differences between both types were. One residence was very much a private abode belonging to a retainer, whilst another, termed a `banjō` (番城), was held by a retainer charged by the Ōtomo with the defence of a certain region and which had a socially important role to play. We have already touched upon the former type of residence in detail, hence the author would like to now turn our attention to the latter.(96)

Those residences known as `banjō` tended to be placed in territories recently conquered by the Ōtomo or else in regions which were in close proximity to enemy territory. The principle examples of this type of castle were Buzen Myōken castle, Chikuzen Tachibana castle, Chikuzen Kōshidake castle, and Higo Nankan castle. Tahara Chikakata Nyūdō Shōnin, who served consecutively as a katawake of Buzen and as a gundai of Usa gun, became lord of Myōken castle (located within Usa gun). Myōken castle had once been in the possession of the Ōuchi when that family had ruled as the shugo of Chikuzen province, and had been administered by the Buzen shugodai family of the Sugi (杉) (according to the Buzen Shi (豊前志). It appears that a banjō did not merely have a defensive role, but also possessed a political function. Chikuzen Kōshidake castle was a branch fortification (or kyojō (yorishiro) 拠城) belonging to the Chikuzen Shima gundai, while Nankan castle was a branch fortification for the Higo katawake. Nevertheless, residences built at the foot of these castles served as an administrative centre for castle activities. (96) 

Those retainers who were given the task of serving in a military capacity within a banjō were known by the title `jōbanyaku` (城番役), and were synonymous with the Dōjōshū (同城衆). Such retainers would be expected to hold their position for a number of months, and on occasion years. For example, Monchūjō Munekage of Chikugo served as the `jōban` of a certain castle for three years (according to the Ōtomo Shiryō 2, 143). In exchange for military service, the jōban would receive a special stipend of a fixed piece of land from which to draw an income (the stipend itself was known as a jōryō 城料). Monchūjō Munekage was paid a jōryō for his services in Chikugo Nagaiwa castle, receiving 80 chō in land from Ikuha (生葉) gun in Chikugo province (according to the Ōtomo Shiryō 2, 71).(97)

The Ōtomo also appointed kenshi to keep an eye on the jōban. We have an example of two kenshi being appointed to watch over the jōban of Buzen Takaiwa castle for a period of twenty days. In the 9th month of the 2nd year of Eiroku (1559), when the Ōtomo family were at war with the Mōri, Ajimu Nakatsukasa Daisuke Kōshō (安心院中務大輔興正) and Sada Danshō Chū Takaoki (佐田弾正忠隆居), both of Buzen province, were ordered to serve as jōban to the castle of Buzen Umagadake (豊前馬岳). On this occasion, Sada Takaoki had to hand over his son Yoshitsugu as a hostage to the Ōtomo, whilst Tahara Chikakata and Chikahiro were appointed as `saiban` (裁判) to the Sada. It was their responsibility to report on the military status of the Sada family. They would also receive `loyalty` reports from the Sada on battles fought, and then relay this information to the Ōtomo (from the Kumamoto Kenshi Shiryō Hen 2, pp.286-292). We can see that a very tight system of control was in place just in case anyone serving as a jōban was considering betraying the Ōtomo.(97-98)

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© Greg Pampling. This page was modified in February 2012