Tsukuda (佃)

Tsukuda was a rice field directly managed by lord of the manors, shokan (an officer governing manor) or jito (manager and lord of manor) in shoen koryo sei (System of Public Lands and Private Estates) in medieval Japan. Imposition of land tax and kuji (public duties) was exempted, and all crops were collected by the feudal lord. It is also known as shosaku, yujaku, tesaku, and monden. Rice fields directly managed by upper class feudal lords, such as head family and ryoke, may be called tsukuda while rice fields directly managed by lower class feudal lords, such as shokan and jito, may be called shosaku and yujaku to differentiate. However, they were not exactly classified in medieval age.


Tsukuda may be divided into two broad types based on cultivation styles.

The first type was that where a feudal lord requisitioned peasants in a manor or a Kokugaryo (territories governed by provincial government office) as a compulsory service. The feudal lord granted food, farm implements and seeds to peasants and made them cultivate the farmland. Such farmland was originally cultivated by the feudal lord using peasants as a labor force, and those who cultivated wasteland were usually permitted the right to collect all the crops of the applicable ground in the end of ancient times and medieval times. In this way, the feudal lord made rice fields from which they could collect all the crops, i.e., the tsukuda, within their territory.

The other type of tsukuda was that of shokan, jito, et al. which used subordinate people, such as low ranked people and shoju (retainers), to cultivate the land. From the beginning, shokan and jito did not have directly managed rice fields, and they were allowed only the residential area at their disposition. Therefore, shokan, jito, et al. started to have their own directly managed rice fields claiming the surrounding farmland as a part of their residential area. Then, they had gradually extended their rice field. The expansion of the directly managed rice fields by shokan, jito, et al., especially jito, might violate the upper-class feudal lord's supervisory authority on the manor. Naturally the upper-class feudal lord confronted such a movement, and the dispute between them occurred frequently from the late Kamakura period to the Muromachi period.

Tsukuda had been created all over Japan, and many places named Tsukuda still remain in various places. Tsukuda in Settsu Province (Osaka City) originated from tsukuda of medieval times. The reclaimed land in Edo where the fishermen of Tsukuda Village migrated has been called Tsukuda-jima Island even presently.