Shugo (守護)

Shugo was a samurai office in Japan's Kamakura and Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), and was a military commander and administrative official placed in each ryoseikoku (province). Tsuibushi (envoys to purse and capture), Ryoge no kan (class outside of the Ritsuryo system), was the origin of the Shugo, and was incorporated into the Shogunate's organization when Emperor Goshirakawa approved Kamakura-dono's (lord of Kamakura) establishing Shugo and Jito (manager and lord of manor). At the time it was established, the main duty was supervision of the Jito in the province. In the Kamakura period it was called shugonin-bugyo (post of provincial constable in Kamakura period), and in the Muromachi period it was called shugoshiki (post of provincial constable).

The Kamakura Period

Some say that in the latter half of the Heian period, for the purpose of maintaining domestic security, kokushi (provincial governors) would appoint an influential local warrior to be Kokushugonin (Shugonin), province bakufu officer, and based on that it is thought that the Kokushugonin of the late Heian period was the origin of the Kamakura period Shugo.

Kamakura period Shugo are thought to have begun in 1180 when MINAMOTO no Yoritomo placed them in each province after raising an army and entering Kamakura. Immediately after the Battle of Fujikawa in October of the same year, Nobuyoshi TAKEDA of the Kai Genji (the Minamoto clan) was appointed Shugonin of Suruga Province, and Yoshisada YASUDA of the Kai Genji was in the same way appointed Shugonin of Totomi Province, which are seen as the first examples of installation of Shugo by the Yoritomo administration. Later, as the influence of the Yoritomo administration expanded westward, installations of Shugonin expanded from the eastern provinces to the western provinces. The Shugonin of the time were in command of Zaichokanjin (the local officials in Heian and Kamakura periods) and were in charge of domestic security and civil government; they were in charge of requisition of army provisions and mobilization of soldiers, but in 1185, when the Taira clan fell, in order to build a smooth relationship with the imperial court, the Yoritomo administration briefly did away with the Kokushugonin that they had appointed themselves.

In November of that year, with the aim of hunting down MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune and MINAMOTO no Yukiie, Yoritomo's father-in-law, Tokimasa HOJO, went to the capital and negotiated with Emperor Goshirakawa, as a result of which imperial approval was given for the installation of Sotsuibushi (government post in charge of police and military roles) and kuni-jito (the appointment of provincial jito to each province) in each province for the purpose of capturing Yukiie and Yoshitsune. The Yoritomo administration/Kamakura Shogunate's right to collect five sho of rice for army provisions from each shoen (manor in medieval Japan)/Kokugaryo (territories governed by provincial government office), and its right to command officials in the provincial administrative offices were recognized, and Sotsuibushi and Kunijito were put in place to exercise these rights. With this the Kamakura period system of Shugo and Jito began in earnest. It was around 1190 that the distinction began to be made between Shugo, a post installed in each province, and Jito, a post installed in each manor or Kokugaryo district. However, the districts to which the original Yoritomo administration's actual rule extended are thought to have been limited to mostly the eastern half of Japan; from the area around Kyoto westward, there was strong resistance from Emperor Gotoba and temples; at Emperor Gotoba (who instituted cloister government after abdicating) ordered the post of Shugo abolished, and Koreyoshi OUCHI (son of Tomomasa HIRAGA) of the emperor's darling Shinano Genji was appointed Shugo of 7 provinces around the Kyoto area; and other policies of interference were carried out. It was only after the Jokyu War that they were able to get rid of this kind of interference.

Later, the job responsibilities of Shugo were clarified, and in Goseibai-shikimoku (code of conduct for samurai) that was enacted in 1232, the duties of Shugo were limited to the military and police duties of Taibon-sankajo (enforcing the obligation of the gokenin, an immediate vassal of the shogunate in the Kamakura and Muromachi through Edo periods, to provide security in Kamakura/Kyoto, investigating and apprehending rebels, and investigating and apprehending murderers) and command supervision of Obanyaku (a job to guard Kyoto), and it was forbidden for them to rule Kokugaryo or get involved with government, which was the privilege of the Kokushi. However, there was a movement in which Shugo tried to make provincial Jito or government officials their Hikan (vassals), and this kind of Hikanization of the local warriors by the Shugo would enter another stage of development in the Muromachi period that followed.

From the middle of the Kamakura period on, the Hojo clan proceeded to monopolize the post of Shugo. This proceeded apace with the change to autocratic rule at the hands of the central Hojo family (Tokuso, the patrimonial head of the main branch of the Hojo clan), namely the establishment of the Tokuso autocracy; the Hojo clan's Shugo provinces were 2 in the early Kamakura period around 1200 (36 to other clans, 4 with no Shugo), around 1250 they were 17 (24 to other clans, 5 with no Shugo), around 1285 they were 33 (18 to other clans, 5 with no Shugo), and in 1333 at the end of the Kamakura period they were 38 (15 to other clans, 5 with no Shugo), expanding rapidly from around the middle Kamakura period. This situation created latent resentment among the other Gokenin, and is thought to have been a contributing factor to the demise of the Kamakura Shogunate.

The Muromachi Period

Even in the Emperor Godaigo's Kenmu Restoration that came about after the fall of the Kamakura bakufu, the system of placing Shugo alongside Kokushi was left intact. In fact, because the Restoration ended just a few years later, the details about Kenmu period Shugo are not clear.

The Muromachi bakufu that followed also continued the Shugo system. At first, many Shugo were chosen from powerful locals, but it soon came to be filled by rotation by members of the Ashikaga clan, and only a very few, such as the Akamatsu clan (Norimura AKAMATSU) of Harima province, were able to hold onto the position. This was a continuation of the Kamakura period's Tokuso autocracy.

The position's authority was also the same as in the Kamakura period; at first it covered Taibon-Sankajo (three official authorities given to Shugo), but in order to stabilize domestic rule, in 1346 the new powers of the right to judge criminal cases over Karita-rozeki (to reap rice illegally) and the right to pass a delegate the word were added. Karitarozeki is the use of force occurring in territorial disputes between warriors, while Shisetsu Jungyo means to forcibly execute the Shogunate's decisions in the local area. Based on these, the Shugo gained the two rights to intervene in disputes between warriors in the province, and to enforce the law.

In 1352, with the aim of procuring military provisions, the right of hanzei, the ability to collect half of the annual tribute from manors/kokugaryo within the province, was granted to the Shugo. At first, the right of hanzei was approved only for three provinces (Omi, Mino and Owari) where there were severe disturbances, but the various Shugo clamored to beg the bakufu to enact hanzei, and hanzei was made permanent. The hanzei law of 1368 addressed not only the payment of annual tributes, but also allowed for the partitioning of the land itself, leading to a marked increase in the incidence of Shugo invading other manors/kokugaryo. Furthermore, the Shugo made contracts with the lords of the manors for collection of the annual tribute, and began to conduct Shugouke (the contract system that the manor's owner entrusts a provincial constable to manage his manor and pay the customs), which strengthened their actual rule over the manors. They also collected tansen and munabetsusen, kinds of taxes, greatly increasing their economic power.

With this kind of increased power behind them the Shugo absorbed the kokuga (provincial government offices) organization that was until then controlled by the Kokushi, and at the same time, with their increased economic power, made the provincial Jito, local lords (called Kokujin at the time) and other people of influence Hikan (vassals). This movement is called Hikanization, but in this way the Shugo expanded their local and centralized influence within the provinces, in the realm of land as well as of people. Because this state of the Shugo in the Muromachi period differs greatly from the strictly military and police powers that the Kamakura period Shugo had, Muromachi period Shugo are referred to as Shugo daimyo (Japanese territorial lord as provincial constable) to distinguish them. Also, the system of provincial rule by a Shugo Daimyo is called the Shugo-ryogoku system (the system that a Shugo dominates a manor). In fact, a Shugo Daimyo's rule over the fief was not always complete, and there were actually many examples, mainly in the area around Kyoto, where the Kokujin class refused to become Hikan of the Shugo.

By the middle of the Muromachi period, the power of the Shugo Daimyo within the Shogunate had grown to the point that the Shogunate had come to resemble a coalition government of Shugo Daimyo. Among the powerful Shugo of the time were some, beginning with the members of the Ashikaga Shogun family, the Shiba, Hatakeyama and Hosokawa clans, and including such outsiders as the Yamana, Ouchi, and Akamatsu clans, who ruled over several provinces. These influential Shugo would often spend continuous stretches in Kyoto to serve the Shogunate, and when they were away from their fiefs, or controlling several provinces, a Kokujin was made a deputy of the Shugo, or Shugodai (deputy of Shugo, provincial constable) was chosen out of their direct vassals. Those Shugodai would then appoint a further, assistant Shugodai, and the structure of rule took on a two- and three-layered shape.

One of the privileges of the Shugo was ichiji-hairyo, by which they could receive one letter from the Shogun's imina (personal name). The Shugo were also allowed the social status of Shirokasabukuro (white umbrella bag) and Mosenkuraoi (literally, tufted saddle cover; and the Shugodai were allowed Karakasabukuro (oiled-paper umbrella bag)/Mosenkuraoi and Nurigoshi (lacquered litter). By being allowed the use of Nurigoshi, the Shugo and Shugodai alike, had their own authority as influential warriors recognized. Yakata (an honorific title) and Saihai (a baton of command) were allowed as a special privilege only for those influential Shugo who achieved Kanrei or Tandai (local military commissioner), and vassals of those who held the title of Yakata were allowed to wear the eboshi (formal headwear for court nobles) and hitatare (a kind of court dress in old days). Especially in the Kamakura-kubo (shogunate) Ashikaga family, among the influential warriors of the Kanto region, 8 families received the Yakata title and were called Kanto Hachiyakata.

The Warring States Period

From around the time of the Onin War, there were increasingly prominent clashed between different Shugo; keeping pace with that was the desire for independence (kokujin revolts, etc.) on the part of the kokujin, who were the local lords. Although these movements invited a reduction in the power of the Shugo, on the other hand they led to stronger rule over the kokujin by the Shugo. Then, around the time of the Meio Coup in 1493, the Shugo, who had failed to restore their waning power, lost their position to the Shugodai and kokujin, so that the Shugo who had strengthened rule over the kokujin in fact ended up strengthening feudal rule all the more.

In this way the Muromachi period Shugo who succeeded in securing feudal rule, the Shugodai who replaced Shugo, and kokujin transformed into daimyo (Japanese territorial lord) in the Sengoku period and grew. However, the Shugo post, which had power with hereditary privelages and family status in the Muromachi period, carried a similar meaning as a title for daimyo in the Sengoku period, and as a title for influential players in the Warring States period. That many daimyo in the Sengoku period were appointed Shugo by the Shogunate is evidence of this. Based on this, there are some schools of thought that posit the idea of a Warring States period Shugo.

In fact, it has been confirmed that, beginning with the warlords of Dewa Province, the Ando clan, who also had influence in southern Hokkaido, a branch of the Ando clan indigenous to southern Hokkaido called Oshu Tosaminato Hinomoto Shogun or Tokai Shogun, or the Matsumae clan after the Kakizaki clan, were made Jogoku (major province) shugoshiki (post of provincial constable), Gekoku (minor province) shugoshiki, or Matsumae shugoshiki, examples of Shugo being installed independently of the Shogunate.

The Edo Period

At the end of the Edo period, the chief of the Aizu Domain, Katamori MATSUDAIRA, went through the imperial court to be appointed by the Edo bakufu to the post of Kyoto Shugoshiki. There had previously existed a post called "Kyoto Shugo," but in this case it was formally called "Kyoto Shugoshoku," and was pronounced "shugoshoku" in contrast to the Muromachi period's pronunciation, "shugoshiki."