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lordameth
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:29 am    Post subject: How was information about posts circulated? Reply with quote
In most Edo period communications, you'll see figures referred to by name (e.g. Sano Kamegorô) or by name & title (e.g. Shibata Hyûga-no-kami), but it is less common to see them referred to by post (e.g. Ôsaka bugyô [no] Shibata Hyûga-no-kami).

Of course, it makes sense that this is somehow more respectful, and more personal in the sense that the officials of the time would have known who they were writing to. ... Actually, now that I think about it, I think I'm going to go look into that further - why they use names instead of posts.

But, here's my question: How did everyone know the right names to send letters to? If the Ôsaka bugyô changed, if a new person was assigned to the position, and a local or regional official wanted or needed to send a letter to the Osaka bugyo, how does he know that Shibata Hyûga-no-kami is no longer the bugyo, and how does he know who to address his letter to?

Did they send fure around to all the localities to inform all the local officials of every change in major offices?
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JLBadgley
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I suspect that we underestimate the ability of people to communicate changes prior to modern communication devices. Surely you can find evidence of people sending notice to someone with the wrong title, because the news hadn't reached them, but I suspect that people tended to be much more connected than that. For one thing, you had people marching up and down the country regularly for either the trek to the capital or on pilgrimage, and during those times you were much more likely to get to know the people in the towns you were staying and carry news of who is who, what appointments have been made, etc. We see the same thing in Europe, with "travel" involving much more than just the simple march from point A to point B, but including long stops at certain towns, individuals inviting people into their homes, etc. Depending on your social connections and the status of the person in question, I suspect that you were likely to hear about the change in post within a matter of days, weeks, or months.

There were likely official lists kept as well, so that you could consult them if needed (assuming you were someone with access to such things). The Bakufu was keen on documentation, as I understand it.

-Josh
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
While this is obviously not 'real' evidence, you'll almost always see an 'organizational' chart with offices and the people holding them hanging in a castle when watching chanbara/jidaigeki movies. Usually there are two-one for the Shogun's heirarchy and another for local. It's so common in movies (and just a background device, almost never something put there to advance the plot) that it can be assumed it was actually done that way. Staffers around the castle could easily come refer to it if they had to correspond with someone they normally didn't need to talk to. A han's office in Edo would keep the home castle updated in changes in the Shogunate's organization. On the local level, changes would come to be known quickly-most functionaries would be corresponding with the same people and offices over time and would know pretty quickly when someone retired, changed postions, was forced out, etc, and one would presume people would be informed of changes up and down the line of command pretty quickly.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
It does not have to be so complicated does it? A messenger comes to the castle or wherever with a dispatch for X. The guard challenges the messenger who gives information that he has a message for X. Guard says, Oh!, X, he is now in the such and such position, you will be guided to him. I think that the people within the household or command of X would be current in any new changes to position. John
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