Yoriudo (Yoryudo) was a term used during the middle ages after the Heian period for certain people, but had multiple meanings.
Kuge (court nobles) government
It indicates the staff that worked in Kanga (government office) of the Imperial Court such as Wakadokoro (office of waka), Goshodokoro (office to maintain books in the Imperial Court), Kirokujo (land record office), Infumidono (the retired emperor's documents bureau), Goin and so on. In the case of Wakadokoro, they were also called meshiudo. Officials with administrative ability in general affairs and management were selected (in the case of Wakadokoro, ability to write and select waka poems was important).
The number of personnel was about 10 to 20 and in many cases were sent or jointly appointed from other governmental offices. "Ruiju meibutsu ko" (an encyclopedia compiled by Matsuake YAMAOKA during the middle of the Edo period) suggests that the origin of the word came from calling people who 'came to gather' at governmental offices yoriudo, but the actual origin is unknown.
It indicates the staff that worked at bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) organizations such as Kumonjo (administration office), Mandokoro (administrative board), Monchujo (court of justice), and Samuraidokoro (board of retainers). Also called kunin. Because it was necessary to record and prepare documents, experienced staff such as yuhitsu (amanuensis) were appointed, and officers such as Shitsuji (steward), Shitsujidai (deputy steward), Shoshiidai (representative of shoshi, a governor of the board of retainers) and Kaigo (assistant administrator) were often selected from yoriudo/kunin.
Shoen (private manor)
It indicates the people who worked for the shoen landlord (honke [the head family]) under a special agreement within the shoen during the Heian period. However, the meaning differed depending upon the time period.
Originally, it was thought to indicate the landless or exiles who escaped into shoen and became enslaved. Yoriudo was used to indicated the shomin (shoen people) who were exempt from temporary zoyaku (odd-jobs task) taxed by the Kokuga (provincial government offices) from the middle of the 10th century. Shomin who were not exempt as well as koryo (public land) farmers were called komin (public people). However, in later years, some komin had a multiple vassal relationship by farming a part of a shoen that had temporary zoyaku exemption rights and belonged there as a yoriudo as well and tried to be exempt from temporary zoyaku for their main farm lands as well. Some shoen landowners accepted such people and used this to try and make the farm land (koryo and other shoen farm lands) that they farmed their own property. This situation led to not only the reduction of koryo but also became a factor for boundary disputes between shoen, therefore yoriudo were regulated again and again by Manor Regulation Acts.
After the middle of the 11th century, together with the expansion of Funyu rights (Japan), Ichien shihai (reigning of whole regions) became established and all those who lived within a shoen were under the rule of the shoen landowner as shomin. Therefore, the difference within the shoen between komin and yoriudo such as whether they were exempt from temporary zoyaku disappeared in actuality and the term shomin was used subsequently.
Merchants and craftsmen
As with shoen, among merchants and craftsmen, people who belonged to a specific power structure and received protection were called yoriudo, similar to the yoriudo of shoen. Jinin (associates of Shinto shrines), Kugonin (purveyors to the imperial household), and Sanjozoshiki (low-level functionary) were examples of this. Due to the characteristics of their occupation, some would belong to a power structure other than that related with their living area or became yoriudo of various power structures. It is suggested that the establishment of Za in the middle ages may also have been influenced by yoriudo groups.