Kyo-yashiki residence (京屋敷)

Kyo-yashiki residences were Hantei (residence) maintained in Kyoto by Daimyo (feudal lord) of Han (domains) in the Edo period.


While the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) did not want Daimyo of domains to contact the Imperial court, it maintained the Nijo-jodai (the keeper of Nijo-jo Castle)/the Nijo zaiban (resident officer of Bakufu) and the Kyoto shoshidai (the Bakufu military governor stationed in Kyoto)/the Kyoto gundai (rural intendants) in Kyoto which was the center base of the Edo bakufu for controlling the Saigoku (western part of Japan (esp. Kyushu, but ranging as far east as Kinki)), and there were many of Kyo-yashiki residences in Kyoto. At the stage of 1637, 68 of the daimyo yashiki (mansion of a feudal lord) (including 48 of the Saigoku daimyo's)/over 60 of the Daikan's (rural intendants) and other Buke-yashiki (samurai residence) were identified.

The situations regarding the Kyo-yashiki residences varied greatly between the Shinpan (relatives of the Tokugawa family)/Fudai (hereditary) daimyo and the Tozama daimyo (nonhereditary feudal lord). The former had their Kyo-yashiki around the periphery of Nijo-jo Castle, the core of the control of Kyoto by Bakufu, because they lived in Kyoto sometimes as a place for their assignments by Bakufu. The Kyo-yashiki of the Tozama daimyo, contrarily, were allowed to maintain only low-level officials such as Rusui (caretaker or keeper (official post in the Edo era)) and in some cases, the management of a Kyo-yashiki was entrusted to a purveyor. In addition, most of the land for the Kyo-yashiki residences was purchased by domains which desired to maintain the residences, so the taxes like the Nokiyaku tax/Yakugin tax were imposed as in the case of the general townspeople without exemption.

Some of the reasons why the Kyo-yashiki residences were maintained despite such situations were the facts that Kyoto was a representative production district of Japan for artifacts and also the center of learning/culture even in the particular period when the political power of the Imperial court fell down. Also, Kyoto had many of consumers in each social class, from the Court noble, the Buddhist monk to the commercial and industrial men, and was developed in the financial business. The Kyo-yashiki residences played a role in purchasing high-level artifacts of each domain, collecting the knowledge/information on ceremonies and rites, promoting the sale of the products of their own domains and financial dealings like borrowing from merchants, and so on which were close to the role of the Kurayashiki (Warehouse-residence) in Osaka.

At the end of the Edo period, the Imperial court movements came to influence the domestic and international situation, so lords/senior vassals/patriots of Han (domains) started such political activities as the Kobu Gattai (Union of Court and Bakufu) movement and the Sonno Joi Movement (a movement advocating reverence for the Emperor and the expulsion of foreigners), etc. based in Kyo-yashiki residences. Some powerful Han (domains) tried to cope with the changing of political situations by equipping themselves with military capabilities moving their Hantei to some large plot of land in the suburbs.

[Original Japanese]