THE TOKUGAWA FEUDAL SYSTEM.THE most remarkable fact in the events leading to the Restoration was the alienation from the bakufu of the four great families, relatives of Tokugawa, Owari, Kii, Mito, and Echizen, all of kokushiu rank. Their status in the system was as follows:
Owari, with one cadet at Takasu, in Mine, 640,500 koku.
Kii, with one cadet, at Yoda, in Kōdzuké, 565,000 koku.
Mito, in Hitachi at Mito (Ibaraki), with four cadets; one at Takamatsu, in Sanuki, with 120,000 koku; one at Moriyama, in Mutsu; two in Hitachi, with 30,000 koku. United revenues, 510,000 koku.
The Echizen family was large, consisting of thirteen branches, holding fiefs, in every part of Hondo and one in Shikōku, and taking different sides during the war. All but one held the name Matsudaira. Two were kokushiu; one of Fukui Echizen, 320,000; and one of Aidzu (Wakamatsu) in Déwa (Iwashiro). The united revenues of the, thirteen daimiōs of the house of Echizen were 1,479,000 koku.
The Maëda family, the head being Kaga, a kokushiu, had three cadets. United revenue, 1,237,000 koku. Kaga remained nearly neutral during the war.
The revenues of the clans of the combination which overthrew the bakufu, and restored the fiefs and registers to the mikado, were, Shimadzu, of Satsuma, 710,000; Mōri, of Nagato (Chōshiu), with five cadets, 579,000; Yamanouehi, of Tosa, with one cadet, 255,000; Nabōshima, of Hizōn, with three cadets, 422,915.
Uwajima was of the Dattdé family, which ranked after Satsuma in the feudal peerage, and was divided into four branches, which took different sides during the war. Their united revenues were 785,600; Uwajima having 100,000, and Sendai 625,000.
In this note, and throughout this volume, the "revenue" of the daimiōs, given in koku, means the amount of rice, or its equivalent, produced, or supposed to be produced, in their territories. It was the official assessment made by the bakufu. The daimiō and clan received as their own income one-half, sometimes two-thirds, of the assessed amount, the peasants and farmers getting the remainder. See F. O. Adams "History of Japan", vol. i., chapter xii., and Japan Mail, July 8th, 1873. For an entire table of names, titles, and fiefs of all the daimiōs, see Dr. Walter Dixon "Japan", chapter x.
As a specimen of the manner in which nearly every province was cut up into fiefs, I give the feudal map of Echizen:
|Name and Title.||City.||Revenue.||Rank.|
|Matsudaira, Echizen no Kami||Fukui||320,000||Kokushiu.|
|Manabé, Shimōsa no Kami||Sabaë||50,000||Fudai.|
|Arima, Hiuga no Kami||Marŭka||50,000||Fudai.|
|Doi, Noto no Kami||Ono||40,000||Fudai.|
|Ogasawara, Saëmon no Sŭké||Katsuyama||22,777||Fudai.|
|Sakai, Ukio no Sŭké||Tsuruga||10,000||Fudai.|
There was also a place called Hombo, belonging to the shōgun's government, and ruled by a salaried buniō (governor). Several hatamotos also lived in Echizen, with holdings of land of 500 koku, and upward. Echizen contained a population of 461,032 souls, with 97,000 houses, 1500 Buddhist temples, and 350 Shintō shrines. The area was about 400 square miles. There were thus in it six princes, a bakufa governor, and several hatamatos. Echizen is a fair specimen of a Japanese province from 1600 to 1872, and well illustrates the wondrously complex mechanism of the Japanese feudal system. Pomp, pride, jealousy, poverty of the many, wealth of the, few, and a most varied assortment of petty bigotries, prejudices, ridiculous shams of every sort, and grounds for courtesies or brawls, were all exhibited in this little theatre, as in the mediæval Europe. Each daimiōate, however petty, was a microcosmic government by itself. Fukui Han had its departments of the Treasury, Justice, Censorate, Census, Military Affairs, Coinage and Currency, and Public Works. The rice store-houses, taxes and pensions; prisons, power of trial, punishment, or execution; oversight of the theatre, books, weights and measures, and religion (inquiry into the evil sect, etc.); census work; arrow and spear arsenal, and, later, of powder-mill, rifle factory, and artillery-train; issue of paper money, and copper and iron cash; the erection and care of the castle, daimiō's mansion, mills, magazines, bridges, roads, breakwater, school, and chemical laboratory, were under the care of their respective. departments. It is evident that with the daimiōs jealous and at variance with each other, Japan could not long stand the financial strain of competition in war or peace with foreigners, and that enterprises, to cope with outside pressure, must be on a national scale, and by a national government. The financial question was one of the most powerful levers in prying up the bakufa, and restoring the ancient national government.