Yakuryo (executive allowance) (役料)

Yakuryo (executive allowance) was one of the executive allowances that the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) gave to the retainers of the Shogun.

Basically, the samurai was given a chigyo (fief, or estate of land) from his Lord and was obliged to do military service in return. The chigyo system (awarding of estates) of the Edo bakufu was based on this principle, and in its beginning, there was no salary for the post apart from the estate. However, appointment to a post in the bakufu came to be decided taking into account not only Chigyo daka (a stipend in terms of rice production of the estate) but also the functional skill of the person, and on occasions, some excellent samurai were chosen by the Shogun's retainers and installed in important posts, but they could not pay for the expenses associated with the post from their 'chigyo daka' alone and could fall into poverty. As a remedy for such an event, on May 3, 1665, the yakuryo system focusing on bankata (guards) was established. According to "Tokugawa jikki" (The True Tokugawa Records), it was specified that 2000 hyo (bale [a traditional unit for rice of 60 kilograms]) be given to Oban gashira (captains of the great guards), 1000 hyo to shoinban gashira (chief of military patrol) and koshogumiban gashira (chief of the bodyguard of the Shogun), 700 hyo to shinban gashira (person in charge of guarding the shogun and inspecting arms) and hyakuninkumiban gashira (chief of a special firearm troop with 100 members), and 500 hyo to mochiyumitsutsu gashira (chief of archery troop and firearm troop), sakite gashira (chief of a troop for maintaining security), hoko gashira (chief of guards), shoinban kumigashira (leader of the shogun's bodyguards), koshogumi kumigashira (leader of page corps), kojunin gashira (leader of escort guard), metsuke (inspector of foot soldiers), and tsukaiban (a person responsible for order and patrol in the battlefield).
Then, in July of the following year, it was also specified that 2000 hyo be given to rusui (caretaker or keeper), 1000 hyo to ometsuke (chief inspector of the Edo shogunate) and machi bugyo (town magistrate), 700 hyo to hata bugyo (flag magistrate), sakuji bugyo (magistrate of building), and kanjo gashira (chief financial officer), and 500 hyo to yari bugyo (magistrate of spear), rusuiban (caretaker or guard on night duty) and fushin bugyo (magistrate of civil engineering work.)
Yakuryo was paid in rice or money and was divided into three seasons: spring, summer, and winter. The total expenditure spent as yakuryo in the Kanbun era was said to be 180,000 hyo. However, because of financial circumstances and so on, in April 1682, the yakuryo system itself was abolished and became included into the chigyo daka.

Then, around 1689, yakuryo for specific posts was re-introduced, and in 1692, the yakuryo system was officially brought back. In the system at that time, a certain kokudaka (crop yield) was prescribed for each post and if the chigyo fell short of the target, a fixed amount of yakuryo was given. For example, there was the regulation that for rusui and oban gashira, 5000 koku was set as the standard and a person whose chigyo was below this was given 1000 hyo; shoinban gashira and koshobangumi gashira whose chigyo were below 3000 koku were given 1000 hyo; ometsuke, machi bugyo, and kanjo bugyo (commissioners of finance) whose chigyo were below 3000 koku were given 700 hyo; hyakuningumi kashira whose chigyo was below 3000 koku were given 500 hyo; sakuji bugyo, fushin bugyo, yari bugyo, and mochiyumitsutsu gashira whose chigyo were below 2000 koku were given 300 hyo; sakite gashira and shinban gashira whose chigyo were below 1500 koku were given 300 hyo; rusuiban, metsuke, tukaiban, shoinban kumigashira, koshogumi kumigashira, kachi gashira, and kojunin gashira whose chigyo were below 1000 koku were given 300 hyo and teppogata (officer handling firearms) whose chigyo were below 1000 were given 200 hyo. Of the bakufu officials who were in office during the thirty years from 1692 to 1722, 79% of ometsuke, machi bugyo and kanjo bugyo officials, and 29% of oban gashira officials received yakuryo payments.

In order to balance the limited financial affairs of the bakufu with the yakuryo system, in June 1723, the tashidaka system (a wage system established by Edo bakufu) was introduced. In this system, a standard amount was set for each post and a crop yield corresponding to a shortfall was added for a limited time, as long as they remained in the post. The system was partly modified in August 1724 and April 1739 and became the basis of the yakuryo system. However, with respect to ongoku-bugyo (the collective name of the magistrates placed at important areas directly controlled by the government in the Edo period), yakuryo was paid separate from tashidaka because of the importance of duties and high expenditure.

Accompanied with the shift to gold-and-silver-oriented financial affairs of the bakufu, on October 23, 1867, tashidaka, yakuryo, and yakufuchi (employment salaries) more valuable than hoi (traditional everyday clothes) were abolished and unified into yakukin (monthly salary according to status), however, yakukin was abolished before it actually functioned because of the Taisei Hokan (transfer of power back to the Emperor) of that year.

[Original Japanese]