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Deference and Defiance in Nineteenth-Century Japan

Deference and Defiance in Nineteenth-Century Japan

Copyright Date: 1985
Pages: 340
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  • Book Info
    Deference and Defiance in Nineteenth-Century Japan
    Book Description:

    Four times in the nineteenth century, popular protest movements spread across the northern Japanese rice plain of Shonai. This study skillfully portrays the changing character of the protests, their relationship to one another, and their role in the societal transformation of Shonai first during Japan's shift from tributary polity to nation state and then from mercantilism to capitalism.

    Originally published in 1985.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5779-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xi)
    (pp. xii-xii)
    (pp. xiii-2)
  7. ONE Class, Community, and Party in 19th-Century Collective Protest
    (pp. 3-25)

    In the summer of 1874, a small group of ex-samurai, town merchants, large landholders, smallholding cultivators, and tenants gathered at a house in Tsurugaoka, the former castle town of Sakai Domain. Six years earlier, for much of 1868, Sakai and his retainers had remained loyal to the last Tokugawa shogun and resisted the new Restoration forces, before finally capitulating in October of that year. Initial attempts at direct administration of parts of the former domain proved too difficult for the new Meiji authorities. In late 1871, the Sakai territories—Shōnai Plain and its surrounding mountains—were reconsolidated as a single...

  8. TWO Shōnai and Sakai Domain
    (pp. 26-65)

    Shōnai Plain is a small, low-lying coastal plain along the Japan Sea in northeastern Honshū (see Map 1). Hemmed in by mountains on three sides, it is protected from the sea by a narrow band of sand dunes. The plain stretches about 50 kilometers north to south, and is bisected mid-way by the broad Mogami River, which crosses the plain to the Japan Sea from its long course in the interior. To the river’s north, the plain is only about 6 kilometers wide and is known as Akumi (Map 2). South of the Mogami, in Tagawa, the plain widens to...

  9. THREE Honorable Subjects …: The Anti-Transfer Protests of 1840-41
    (pp. 66-104)

    The incidents of the 1630s, the 1670s, and the 1790s sketched in the previous chapter stand as the most prominent moments of commoner criticism, elite factional dispute, and domain policy crisis in the Sakai’s first two centuries in Shōnai. Yet none involved enduring and collective protest movements. There were joint actions, such as the tens of households absconding over the mountains to Akita in 1632. But not until the 1840s can we identify moments of sustained mass protest: in 1840-41 and again in 1844. The first successfully challenged the shogunate’s attempt to replace Sakai with another domain lord; the second...

  10. FOUR … And Unruly Mobs: The Ōyama Disturbances of 1844
    (pp. 105-120)

    If the domain sought to keep alive the memory of the 1840-41 protests as the zenith of honorable commoner behavior, it was to castigate a subsequent protest against jurisdictional transfer as the nadir of unruly mob action. This time, it was the domain that found itself the target of agitations to prevent its taking over administration of shogunal lands within Shōnai. It was a dispute that exposed longstanding commercial rivalries between Ōyama and Tsurugaokasakebrewers and, within the Ōyama area, between town and rural brewers. If the former explains the intensity of Ōyama opposition to the administrative transfer and...

  11. FIVE Restoration in Shōnai
    (pp. 121-154)

    The 1850s saw factional strife among the warrior-retainers of Shōnai Domain that replicated the larger struggles in Edo between supporters of the shogunate and advocates of stronger prerogatives for both the court and the larger domains. By the early 1860s, though, such dissent was neutralized, and the domain elite had closed ranks behind the shogun. In the mid-1860s, while the shogunate was paralyzed by indecision and Edo wracked with intrigue, Sakai officials within the domain took several steps to tighten control over the population and to increase their call on both agricultural production and commercial activity. The measures were obviously...

  12. SIX Initiative and Inertia: The Second Sakata Prefecture
    (pp. 155-172)

    The resolve of the new prefecture was immediately tested when it faced in early 1872 what proved to be a final flareup of the Tengu League in Akumi. On the evening of February 18, about 2,000 people gathered at Aozawa Village (Arase District) to ratify four familiar demands:

    1. elimination of all ancillary levies, as Bōjō had agreed to the year before;

    2. release from prison of Nagahama and ten other Tengu leaders;

    3. repayment of all assessments from the Boshin War; and

    4. a moratorium on tax collections until the above conditions were met.

    Matsudaira responded harshly. Citing the national government’s recision of...

  13. SEVEN Cash Taxes, Suppressed Reforms, and Falsified Expenditures
    (pp. 173-204)

    The prefecture’s attempts to revise landholding and taxation had only rekindled the long-standing grievances of both large and small landholders—the endless, arbitrary levies, the secret books and registers, the diversion of public tax monies, and the requirement of payment in rice for both the principal land tax and most ancillary levies. It was this last grievance, together with rumors of the prefecture’s suppression of Directive #222, that spurred calls for the option to tender all land taxes in cash. This demand was voiced in a growing number of petitions to the prefecture in the winter of 1873-74. These first...

  14. EIGHT From the Headmen’s Compounds to the Council of State
    (pp. 205-229)

    It is difficult, frankly, to explain convincingly why the assemblies and harassment and all talk of the rice cooperative company and Kanai Prefecture evaporated so suddenly. Perhaps the prefecture’s show of force intimidated the activists. Yet should not the strong collective actions of the preceding six weeks have given the protesters enough confidence to meet this setback? Was this a pragmatic turn from direct violence to indirect legal appeals? Perhaps it was more difficult to mobilize people by mid-September because the rice harvest was beginning. But did not harvest and tax collection confront them directly with the practices they wished...

  15. NINE The Government Responds: The Numa Hearings and the Kojima Court
    (pp. 230-260)

    Numa’s arrival was eagerly waited by Mori and the Tagawa residents, but for Mishima, his visit came at a most inopportune time, just as he was trying to conclude a land tax reform survey. No direct connections were drawn in contemporary documents between the land tax survey in Shōnai on the one hand and the Tagawa area protests and Mori’s presentations on the other. It is impossible, however, to ignore their mutual significance, and to appreciate the local context for the Numa Hearings and the later Kojima Court, we must explore the process by which the survey was conducted in...

  16. TEN Aftermath
    (pp. 261-283)

    From late 1878 through 1879, the plaintiffs’ award was to be allocated by village unit in proportion to land tax valuation. Mori and other leaders were given a share of the award by most people as “gratitude money” to cover the costs they had incurred. As we will see, Mori was later to itemize over 4,500yenin personal funds expended. One of the few to refuse to contribute was the main Honma house. As the largest landholder in Shōnai it had received over 1,150yenof the award. Mori promptly took the Honmas to court for their unwillingness to...

  17. ELEVEN Concluding Reflections
    (pp. 284-291)

    From Sakai Tadakatsu’s arrival in Shōnai in 1623 until the present day, this rice plain has experienced four moments of sustained, collective protest. All were in the 19th century and occurred in two periods—in the early 1840s, at the beginning of the end of the Tokugawa shogunate, and in the late 1860s and early 1870s, the end of the beginning of the Meiji nation-state, if we might so characterize that shakedown decade.

    In late 1840, it was fear of new surveys and higher tribute payments that impelled cultivators to join local rural officials and town merchants in challenging the...

  18. APPENDIX: Early Spring Rice Prices and Domain Mean Tax Levels, 1697-1862
    (pp. 292-296)
    (pp. 297-300)
    (pp. 301-318)
  21. INDEX
    (pp. 319-322)
  22. Back Matter
    (pp. 323-323)