Fushin (普請)

Fushin (普請), where fu (普) means widely and shin (請) means asking for help, refers to a request for widespread and equal community service (monetary support, labor support, financial assistance), where a whole community is asked to build and maintain public infrastructures. Today, fushin refers to the construction (建設) (including building and engineering), repair, and maintenance of public infrastructure with the assistance of community residents who will benefit from it and other public works projects.

To put it plainly, it refers to asking for mutual service or mutual aid, and labor or monetary support to construct, repair and remodel facilities needed for the autonomy of the community. The word "建設" (kensetsu) was created by translating the English word into Japanese during the Meiji period, and replaced the previous word "普請"(fushin).

Fushin as mutual aid (also referred to as yui [結])
Before the development of a monetary economy, people built houses with the help of their neighbors, so even today building houses is referred to as fushin, or more specifically 'ya fushin' (construction of houses). In some communities there were traditionally many carpenters, while in other communities with smaller populations, it was natural that the residents would be proactive in supporting each other when building the framework of a house (framework raising) which is very labor intensive, and due to the social obligation called jubu-no-tsukiai (adequate relationship) those who did not cooperate may be ostracized or become "murahachibu." There are many communities that continue this practice even now.
The well documented records of the participants in yui fushin were called 'fushin cho.'

Other examples that still exist today include, kaya fushin (yane fushin) and mizo fushin. Kaya fushin is when neighbors, without compensation, help repair thatched roofs. Mizo fushin is commonly known as the cleaning of ditches (or drains) by the residents. In some communities, those who cannot participate in fushin may be expected to pay for food or something to distribute among the participants. Residents taking turns cleaning a garbage site may also be considered a newly established form of fushin (or yui).

Fushin as public works project and fushin as local autonomy
For local autonomy, machi bugyo (town magistrates) were established in the Edo period, and autonomy was given to each machi (town). Thus, the public infrastructure was supported financially by chonin (similar to present day rich local legislators) as well as odana (rich merchants), and was constructed by carpenters, scaffolding men, and timber merchants. Specifically, fushin included the construction of roads, stone walls, wells, wooden aqueducts, drain ditches, building bridges for kujirabunesayamawashi goyo (service rendered through the use of a whaling ship), and fire fighting by machi hikeshi (firemen).

Also, in villages and towns, jisha (temples and shrines) were the center of matsurigoto (celebrations as well as governing), so the fushin performed there was called "jisha fushin." Many jisha fushin were also performed by okami (the central government) according to their jurisdiction or reasoning.

In areas where the key industries were agriculture, forestry, and fishing, various forms of fushin were executed through public works projects by the local government, such as fushin for constructing irrigation canals, ponds, logging roads, rafting routes, harbors and breakwaters.

In a broader sense, fushin may include establishing public utilities in major towns such as oceanic cargo shipping executed by the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), reclaiming land for population growth, constructing levees and dikes to improve river embankments for unloading cargo; it may also include such projects as promoting planting cherry trees to help maintain reclaimed land and embankments, encouraging fireworks display, establishing yukaku (red-light district), and so on.

From a historical point of view, it can be said that public gambling and lotteries operated by national and local governments are also a form of fushin monopolized by national and local governments following the model of jisha fushin.

Fushin (普請) is from Buddhist terminology and the reading "fushin" was introduced through Zen Buddhism, therefore To-on (Japanese reading of kanji [Chinese characters] imported from China by Zen priests) (唐音) is used (See Dipankara and similar works). Kanjin (勧進) is a synonym of fushin.

Fushin (普請), generally meaning (普) asking (請) people for help, referred to group projects by believers of Zen Buddhism, and later, came to include work done by the beneficiaries of jisha or a community.

Fushin as an official title
Fushin was also used as a title for laborers during castle construction and so forth in the Muromachi and Edo periods. This form of fushin differs from the original voluntary community service, rather, it is a form of economic stimulus provided by the bakufu for those who are destitute and in need of work. Incidentally, the issuing of licenses for botefuri (stallholder or peddler) by the bakufu, put high priority on the physically weak, and was another form of relief provided for destitute people.

Kanjo bugyo:
Kujikata were in charge of civil suits and tax collection, while the 'kattekata' managed fushin such as bridge construction.

Yosui bugyo:
Yosui bugyo were in charge of fushin associated with rivers, bridges, floods, paddy fields and irrigation canals. In some regions, the fushin bugyo would also take charge of the fushin usually done by yosui bugyo and vice versa.

Shimosan bugyo
Sakuji bugyo:
Sakuji bugyo were in charge of constructing and repairing buildings under the jurisdiction of the bakufu. Thus, the term "sakuji" refers to construction.

Fushin bugyo:
Fushin bugyo were in charge of constructing the stone walls and moats around castles, jinawa hari (marking and roping off a construction site), building and engineering foundations, as well as constructing water supply pipes.
Kobushin bugyo:
Kobushin bugyo performed repair and maintenance work for castles and associated buildings.

Kobushin shihai:
Kobushin shihai is a post to hire temporarily gokenin (low ranking vassal) or hatamoto (shogun's retainer) with low income and no official position as a part of relief measures and manage them when carrying out kobushin.

Kobushin yaku:
Kobushin yaku refers to the gokenin or hatamoto who are in charge of the above mentioned kobushin.

Fushin as relief measures
Machiya fushin:
Some machiya fushin were organized after disastrous fires; a well known example of this is the machiya fushin in Kyoto after the Great Fire in Tenmei.

Daimyo tetsudai fushin:
Daimyo tetsudai fushin is fushin where each daimyo is charged with rebuilding or repairing after a flood, such as the fushin after the flood in Kanpo in the Kanto region

Kobushin was also done as a form of relief for poor and unemployed lower-ranking samurai.

Osukui fushin:
Osukui fushin is a public works project executed by the bakufu as a measure for the relief of the destitute and the economy. Land reclamation projects and levee construction to prevent floods, which were both standard policies of the Edo bakufu, were included in osukui fushin.

Classification of fushin
The following descriptions include some classifications that are repeated or serve the same purpose.

Fushin as mutual aid and local autonomy
It is also called 'yui,' and implies fundamental mutual aid regardless of one's occupation or position, and is supposed to be voluntary, so it can be considered a social obligation in relationship with one's neighbors (or jubu relationship).

Ya (house) fushin:
See above summary.

Yane (roof) fushin:
See above summary.

Ta (rice paddy field) fushin:
This is fushin performed on private or shared facilities associated with rice paddy fields.

Mizo (ditch) fushin:
See above summary.

Jisha fushin:
Jisha fushin aimed to construct, repair and manage jisha (temples and shrines) and specifically, it included holding festivals or fairs along the sando (the road approaching a temple), inside the precincts, or in the temple town; they also collected a portion of the sales from street vendors as rent for their stalls, proceeds from tomikuji (lottery), precursor to today's takarakuji, and terasen (fee charged to a gambling salon) as rent from gambling halls in the days when gambling held by common people was legal. Saisen (monetary offering) is also a form of jisha fushin in a broad sense.

Mura fushin:
Mura fushin refers to the development of facilities and infrastructures in villages where the key industries include agriculture, forestry and fishing. However, some mura fushin were executed through a managerial position called mura fushin kata by the okami in each community or municipality.

Machi fushin:
Machi fushin refers to the development of the public infrastructure of a town, though, unlike mura fushin, it was supported financially by chonin or odana and was carried out by a staff of specialists, and therefore was not widely (fu) asked (shin) for. Chonin or odana thought of this as an unpaid job, and knew how to succeed in life by plowing a part their profits back into society. The carpenters and scaffolding men in charge of machi fushin were called machi carpenters and machi scaffolding men, and as an unwritten rule, having 'machi' in front of their titles gave them priority when accepting orders from the community.

Fushin other than jifushin
Public fushin
Fushin often implies the meaning of osukui (relief) fushin.
Fushin as relief measures
Rebuilding after a disaster
Daimyo tetsudai fushin:
See 'Fushin as relief measures' in above History.

Machiya fushin:
See 'Fushin as relief measures' in above History.

Employment measures
See 'Fushin as relief measures' in above History.

Osukui fushin:
See 'Fushin as relief measures' in above History.

Tenka (the realm) bushin:
Tenka bushin refers to the development of public infrastructure on the whole and is a fundamental policy of the Edo bakufu. For more details, see Tenka bushin.

Classification by purpose
Michi (road) bushin
Yosui (water) bushin:
This form of fushin is associated with water use, such as river improvement and irrigation.

Ta bushin, Shinden (new rice paddy field) bushin:
Ta bushin and shinden bushin are fushin related to river improvement, water use for large rice paddy fields, and building new rice fields, that can not be covered by jifushin.

Hashi (bridge) bushin
Kawa (river) bushin:
Kawayoke ofushinsho and the like were established to conduct river improvement.

Seki (or segi) fushin
Dote (embankment) fushin
Classification by the size of the government and by the person in charge.
Kogi (shogunate) ofushin:
This also refers to tenka bushin and is a specific fushin independently executed by the bakufu.

Daimyo tetsudai fushin:
This is a fushin that a daimyo is charged with, and covers a wide area and takes a great deal of money.

Kuniyaku (public duties) fushin:
This is fushin executed by each kuni (domain).

Ryoshu (feudal lord) fushin:
This is fushin executed by ryoshu within the territory.

Fushin that is not public but is executed by okami
Shiro (castle) fushin:
Shiro fushin refers to constructing a castle and developed particularly during the Sengoku period (period of warring states). In the Edo period, the bakufu assigned this fushin to each daimyo regularly in order to prevent each daimyo from accumulating wealth. Also, castle construction during the Sengoku period developed techniques such as civil engineering and masonry construction related to castle walls and these techniques formed the foundation for the civil engineering techniques of hikiya gyo or dote ninsoku, who later became scaffolding men during the Edo period.

Shinden (shrine) fushin

Fushin in various places

Words related to fushin
Yasu (cheap) bushin:
Yasu bushin refers to a cheaply built structure or house that uses general purpose building materials and fixtures to cut down expenses.

Fushin doraku (recreational):
Fushin doraku refers to a dilettante or a person who has an interest in architecture who spends large sums of money for building a house in sukiya zukuri style (in the style of a tea ceremony house) and the like, or for rebuilding a house many times over.

Fushin cho (record):
Fushin cho is a book or an account book in which information about yui fushin is recorded in detail.

Fushin ezu (plan):
Fushin ezu means a plan for fushin.

Fushin make (loss):
Fushin make refers to a superstitious belief that when fushin related to a house has been completed, something bad will happen despite this happy event.

[Original Japanese]