Han system

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The han (, han) or domain is the Japanese historical term for the estate of a warrior after the 12th century or of a daimyō in the Edo period (1603–1868) and early Meiji period (1868–1912).[1]

History[edit]

In the Sengoku period (1467 – 1603), Toyotomi Hideyoshi caused a transformation of the han system. The feudal system based on land became an abstraction based on periodic cadastral surveys and projected agricultural yields.[2]

In Japan, a feudal domain was defined in terms of projected annual income. This was different from the feudalism of the West. For example, early Japanologists such as Appert and Papinot made a point of highlighting the annual koku yields which were allocated for the Shimazu clan at Satsuma Domain since the 12th century.[3]

In 1690, the richest han was the Kaga Domain with slightly over 1 million koku.[4] It was in Kaga, Etchū and Noto provinces.

Edo period[edit]

In the Edo period, the domains of daimyōs were defined in terms of kokudaka, not land area.[5] Imperial provincial subdivisions and shogunal domain subdivisions were complementary systems. For example, when the shōgun ordered daimyōs to make a census of its people or to make maps, the work was organized along the borders of the provincial kuni.[6]

Meiji period[edit]

In the Meiji period from 1869 to 1871, the title of daimyō in the han system was han-chiji (藩知事) or chihanji (知藩事).[7]

In 1871, almost all of the domains were disbanded; and the prefectures of Japan replaced the han system.[1] At the same time, the Meiji government created the Ryūkyū Domain which existed from 1872 through 1879.[8]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). Japan encyclopedia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5; OCLC 58053128
  • Totman, Conrad. (1993). Early Modern Japan. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520080263; OCLC 246872663