Joshi (upper-class samurai) (上士)

Joshi was an upper-class feudal retainer in the Edo period. When samurai were classified from the upper to lower classes as Joshi, Heishi, and Goshi, Joshi was the highest social standing among them.

Tosa Domain's case

The Tosa Domain was known for creating a strict distinction between Joshi and Goshi (country samurai). When the Yamauchi clan entered the Tosa Province, retainers and followers of the Chosokabe clan, which had ruled the Tosa Province by then, were designated as Goshi, and retainers of the Yamauchi clan from the early age as Joshi; this is the beginning of this classification.

The difference is analogous to that between Fudai daimyo (a daimyo in hereditary vassalage to the Tokugawas) and Tozama daimyo (a daimyo who was not a hereditary vassal of the Tokugawa family).

In the Tosa Domain, a strict distinction between Joshi and Goshi was rigidly maintained; the spectrum of distinction ranged widely such that only Joshi was allowed to wear Tabi (split-toe socks), Geta (a Japanese wooden clog), and Higasa (a parasol).

Hanpeita TAKECHI, who organized the Tosakinno Party in the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate, and Ryoma SAKAMOTO were Goshi while Hisamoto HIJIKATA, Shojiro GOTO, and Taisuke ITAGAKI, who assumed key posts after Meiji Restoration, belonged to Joshi.