The term "shuto," for which "doshu" is also used, is a term from after the Heian period that referred to the status of a priest who originally resided in a big temple and was in charge of the management and practical business of the temple as well as studying and practicing ascetic training. It was the main force of daishu (Buddhism), and in some cases the term 'daishu' refers only to shuto. Because in Yamato Province, where Kofuku-ji Temple was in charge of shugoshiki (post of the provincial constable), it incorporated warriors as its own shuto, some people refer to the warrior in Yamato Province (Yamato warrior) as shuto.
Generally it was regarded as being lower than Gakuryo (studying monk) but higher than Gyonin (practitioner of austerities in mountains) and was put in charge of practical business, including the security and administrative operation of the temple. Many shuto were from aristocracy of the middle and low classes, as well as samurai families and shokan (an officer governing shoen (manor)), some of whom were skilled in martial arts, and as a result they made up a large share of Sohei (priest soldiers); however, the component of the shuto was different among temples, so that in Enryaku-ji Temple the shuto was made up of the priests of higher aristocratic origin, and others who were excluded from shuto organized 'doshu' separately. It played the central role in the decision-making and recourse to the force of the temple, such as by conferences and direct petitions. Later, once the status of the priest was subdivided and Gakuryo of aristocratic origins occupied the important posts in the temple and tried to become involved in the management of the temple, Gyonin offered strong resistance.
Kofuku-ji Temple in Yamato Province, which had strong ties with Sekkan-ke (the line of regents and advisers), came to control Nanto (the southern capital (Nara)) and later Yamato Province as a whole in Kamakura period. Initially, the number of shuto of Kofuku-ji Temple was determined as 20 by the Daijokanpu (official documents issued by Daijokan, Grand Council of State), and they were put in charge of the assistance of betto (the superior of a temple) and Sango (three monastic positions with management roles at a temple) (kanpu-shuto). Gradually the influential monzeki (temple formerly led by the founder of the sect, or the temple in which resided a member of nobility or the Imperial Family), such as Ichijoin Temple and Daijoin Temple, incorporated warriors and myoshu (owners of rice fields) as gokenin (an immediate vassal of the shogunate in the Kamakura and Muromachi periods) in order to strengthen their influence, and put them in charge of duties such as trials in the temple and the city of Nara lead by Gakuryo.
It also sometimes played the same role as above, incorporated into the jinin (associates of Shinto shrines) of Kasuga-sha Shrine, which was integrated with Kofuku-ji Temple by the syncretism of Shinto and Buddhism, and such jinin of Kasuga-sha Shrine was called 'Kokumin.'
The major shuto of Yamato Province include the Tsutsui and Ochi clans under Ichijoin Temple, and the Tochi and Furuichi clans under Daijoin Temple. After the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan), these shuto became the lords of their ruling areas and tried to expand their powers against the background of the power of Kofuku-ji Temple. Yoshinori ASHIKAGA, the sixth seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") of the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), edged into the human affairs of the both monzeki in order to establish the bakufu's power in Yamato Province, and assigned the Tsutsui clan as Shugodai (deputy of Shugo, provincial constable) of the province. The Ochi clan and others were opposed to this, and showed the movements against bakufu and the Tsutsui clan, and the influential Shugo daimyo (Japanese territorial lord as provincial constable) intervened as well, which led to the long-term infighting which preceded the Onin War and continued thereafter. In the Onin War, Junei TSUTSUI of the Eastern Camp and Iehide OCHI and Choin FURUICHI of the Western Camp fought a hard battle, and after that their descendants continued fighting in Yamato Province until the Sengoku Period (Period of Warring States).
During the Sengoku Period, Junsho TSUTSUI became a daimyo (Japanese territorial lord) by ruling the majority of the province temporarily, but after he died suddenly and the infant Junkei TSUTSUI succeeded him, the Ochi clan fought back and broke the control of the Tsutsui clan. Moreover, threading his way through them, Hisahide MATSUNAGA who served under Nagayoshi MIYOSHI invaded Yamato Province, sent Junkei into exile and defeated the Ochi clan and others, and thereby obtained the position of Shugoshiki of Yamato Province from Kofuku-ji Temple in 1559. Subsequently, Junkei TSUTSUI came back to the daimyo of Yamato Province under the Shokuho government (the government of Nobunaga ODA and Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, "shoku" and "ho" being the initial letters of Oda and Toyotomi), he established a ruling system that had two aspects of the lord of Yamato Province externally and the hoin-sozu (highest rank among Buddhist priests) as the representative of the kanpu-shuto, which was succeeded for generations in the province. However, after Junkei's death Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI gave Yamato Province to his brother Hidenaga TOYOTOMI, thus defying the conventional ruling system, and broke up the shuto and Kokumin by compulsion. He allowed Kofuku-ji Temple to adopt only original 20 kanpu-shuto as office workers or security, and give them 380 koku in total.