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nagaeyari
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 12:21 am    Post subject: Conscription/army service Reply with quote
Let's take the character Seibei from "The Twilight Samurai".

He was a (all debts aside) 50-koku samurai. I believe I heard him referred to as a jizamurai, but for the sake of simplicity, let's just leave him as a samurai.

Being that he had 50-koku, and that is supposedly enough to feed 50 people for one year, what was his deal? I realize he had, what, 20-koku in debts? That leaves enough for supposedly 30 people. Yes, the Momoyama period was different from the Edo, so let's superimpose the character into the Sengoku for a minute.

If he was required to supply men (including himself) for a battle, how many would a man like him be required? The thing is, *what* men?

Is my confusion coming through clearly? This sort of obligation has never made sense to me. My return to Early Modern Japan has reopened this painful...issue.
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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I don't have the tax conversions in front of me (or in the house, even), but Japan Before Tokugawa has some excellent chapters that discuss this.

Having a 50-koku fief didn't mean you supplied 50 men. As I said, I don't remember what the standardized rate is, but 50 koku wasn't much at all. He probably would have been responsible for himself, 1 or 2 men, a horse, and the armor, weapons, etc for all. Remember, out of his income he's got to fund all his expenditures, not just these guys; servants have to be fed/paid, family members provided for, house upkeep, clothing (got to have the appropriate wardrobe for his status, low as that might be), etc. It adds up--it's just like working today. You might make $60,000, you might make $120,000--but if out of your $120k you're obligated to pay for more things and spend more on upkeep, etc. than the guy with $60k, it doesn't matter who's salary is more.

I dont' remember the specifics of the guy in the movie--just saying it's not a simple math equation.
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Tatsunoshi
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 5:43 am    Post subject: Troops Reply with quote
Usually 1000 koku would incur an obligation of 20 foot soldiers along with 2 mounted. 50 koku would then translate to about 2-the '50 koku samurai' and 1 retainer. As I recall, he did have 1 retainer in the film (somewhat of a feeble minded one, but loyal all the same).
The Shimazu did things a bit differently-they based troop obligations on the total number of cho held by a retainer. In the 1592 Shimazu register I've been looking through, it's one soldier per cho (in addition to the retainer).
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shikisoku
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
"The Twilight Samurai" is Bakumatsu story so the value of koku was much less than Sengoku period.

"Seibei's house and income"
http://www.geocities.jp/umi2001_2/tanpen-japan/yamagata-seibei.htm
50 koku at the time was about 2.4 million yen($22,000)
His monthly income => 20,0000 yen.

1 ryo was 0.4koku in 1863 (Edo).
1 ryo was 0.086koku in 1867(Osaka)
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nagaeyari
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsu,

I've seen those figures--they inspired my question.

However, I was under the impression that those applied only to daimyo.

Shikisoku, thanks for that site.
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Tatsunoshi
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 12:32 am    Post subject: Koku Reply with quote
nagaeyari wrote:
Tatsu,
I've seen those figures--they inspired my question.
However, I was under the impression that those applied only to daimyo.



I'm not sure if I can explain this to where it makes sense, but it extends all the way down. When you add up everyone involved, you'll get the total that would be expected from the daimyo. For example, take the Maeda family and their million koku fief. 1,000,000 koku would equate to roughly 2,000 mounted and 20,000 foot. The Maeda clan chief would keep a certain amount for house purposes (including 'house' troops) and dole out the remainder as stipends to his generals, advisors, whatever. Each of these would be expected to provide men based on their stipend. They would in turn provide funds for themselves and also provide stipends for their chief men who in turn would be responsible for providing men based on that. This in turn would be further subdivided until you reached the guy at the bottom who didn't make enough to provide anyone but himself. When you added up everyone involved in this 'tree', it would give the Maeda their 22,000. This was a far more effective way of raising troops than having the Maeda go out and recruit all 22,000 on their own. The quality would likely be higher as well, as the people at each level would be more familiar with the abilities of their 'hires' than the guys at the top of the pyramid.
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msr.iaidoka
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hey all,

OK, I have followed this well enough so far. Now I have a question of logistics. Since koku is (as far as I know) a rice-based system of measure, how does this work out in the wealth case? Is the rice sold and the money from that used to pay or are stipends/payments actually paid in rice?


Peace,

Matt
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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
msr.iaidoka wrote:
Hey all,

OK, I have followed this well enough so far. Now I have a question of logistics. Since koku is (as far as I know) a rice-based system of measure, how does this work out in the wealth case? Is the rice sold and the money from that used to pay or are stipends/payments actually paid in rice?


Stipends were, for the most part, paid in rice. Converting rice into cash is how many merchants made big profits.
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msr.iaidoka
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
ltdomer98,

Understood, thanks for the clarification. Sounds groovy to me. That is something that has always been in the back of my mind. I remember the lead guys in Shichinin no Samurai being paid in rice but I was not sure if that was because it was farmers hiring them or if that was basically standard.


Peace,

Matt
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