Shokokumaki (諸国牧)

Shokokumaki is a farm developed and controlled by Hyobusho (ministry of military) in ancient Japan, which mainly provided war-horses, horses presented to nobles and ekiden (ekiba (horses for transportation of official travelers) and post horse). In order to let horses and cows gathered from shokokumaki run loose, farms called kintomaki were established in Kyushu and around the Kinai region. This article describes shokokumaki and kintomaki.

Another kind of official farm is chokushimaki, managed by Naikyuryo (Bureau of administration of barn in the imperial court, the emperor's horses and the pasture).


It is not clear when shokokumaki and kintomaki were established, but it is believed that they were established around the Asuka period.

Shokokumaki is a farm controlled by Hyobusho (ministry of military), and according to "the Engishiki" (an ancient book for codes and procedures on national rites and prayers) 24 horse farms, 12 cow farms and 3 horse-cow farms, totaling in 39 farms, were established in 18 provinces, each of which sent horses that have reached the age of five to Sayu Meryo (the right and left divisions of Meryo, the bureau of horses) every year, while farms in various districts along the Saikaido Road sent horses to Dazai-fu (local government office in Kyushu region). In order to let those horses and cows sent from various districts run loose, kintomaki was established mainly in Kyushu and around the Kinki region.

Under the ritsuryo system, one bokucho, who was responsible for maki, and one makicho, who was in charge of clerical work, were assigned to each farm, two bokushi per one hundred horses/cows were appointed to take care of them, and bokucho and his subordinates were subject to instruction and supervision of Kokushi (provincial governor). In the central government Hyomashi (Office of Military Horses) controlled farms all over Japan as well as public and private horse farms, and there was a system for governmental control over provision and management of riding horses, in which horses in the farms fit for riding were sent to the army and kept at a rich soldier's house and the other horses were used for ekiden. Bokucho, makicho and bokushi, while managing the farm, were punished when they got free-range horses thin or lost, or when the prescribed goal of increase (60 ponies per 100 mares) was not attained, and they were given rice as rewards when more ponies were produced than prescribed.