Bunan no Koji Sodo (Bunan-era Koji Dispute) (文安の麹騒動)

Bunan no Koji Sodo was an incident in which Kitano koji za (a guild in Kitano for producers of koji malt, a kind of mold grown on produce such as boiled rice), who controlled production of koji malt (which is part of the sake brewing process) in Kyoto, was attacked by the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) causing its decline during the Muromachi Period. As a result, this lead to the downfall of the koji malt industry which was subsequently incorporated into the sakaya (liquor store) industry.


Although the sakaya industry had existed in Kyoto since the Kamakura Period, production of koji malt did not fall under the sakaya industry at the time, with the production and sale of kojiya malt being independent. Obtaining the position of jinin (associates of Shinto shrines) at Kitano-sha Shrine (present Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine), the kojiya formed a guild called 'koji-za' and had exclusive rights to produce and sell koji malt in the western part of Kyoto backed by the authority of Kitano-sha Shrine (honjo (proprietor or guarantor of manor)).

The Kitano koji za reacted strongly to the penetration of the koji malt production industry by Sakaya with financial power. However, the Muromachi bakufu, in its prime under Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA, regulated Enryaku-ji Temple and other powerful temples and shrines in Kyoto which exercised their private power within the Kyoto area in 1386 (Concentrating police authority in the bakufu). Furthermore, with 'Five rules regarding doso and sake shops scattered around Rakuchu' enacted in 1393, the bakufu taxed doso (pawnbrokers and moneylenders) and sakaya in Kyoto without exception regardless of guild membership, and, as a result, the honjo's sovereignty over the guild was allowed only under regulation by the bakufu. Although Enryaku-ji Temple, the largest honjo power at the time, strongly opposed to these rules, they were helpless before the momentum of Yoshimitsu.

Taking advantage of this situation, Kitano koji za approached the bakufu in exchange for tax paid to the bakufu. In 1419, the bakufu gave all rights to produce and sell koji malt in Kyoto to Kitano koji za, and it was determined that all sakaya in Kyoto should purchase koji malt from Kitano koji za. When the sakayas opposed this, the bakufu mobilized an army to destroy every koji factory called 'koji muro' attached to the sakaya.

However, some of the sakaya belonged to Enryaku-ji Temple as their honjo, and they complained about the conduct of the bakufu and the koji za to Enryaku-ji Temple. Kitano-sha Shrine was under the control of Enryaku-ji Temple at the time, and, worried that the decline of the sakaya under its control would result in decreased tax income, Enryaku-ji Temple asked Kitano-sha Shrine to stop the monopoly. However, Kitano-sha Shrine rejected the request because the issue had to due with their own tax income.

The conflict between the koji za and the sakaya and between Kitano-sha Shrine and Enryaku-ji Temple escalated resulting in Enryaku-ji Temple barricading themselves in Saito-Shakado, and petitioning Kyoto in 1444. The bakufu, whose political influence had weakened after the Kakitsu Incident three years before, gave in to Enryaku-ji Temple, and allowed the abolition of the monopoly on Kitano koji za. A group of jinin belonging to Kitano koji za barricaded themselves in Kitano-sha Shrine in protest against the decision. In response, Mochikuni HATAKEYAMA, the kanrei (shogunal deputy), dispatched an army to Kitano-sha Shrine on April 13 to suppress the protest. This lead to an armed conflict leaving some dead, and the area around Kitano-sha Shrine burnt, but the bakufu successfully conquered the surrounding area. As a result, the kojiya gave in to the sakaya, and the koji za in Kyoto fell into decline. In a political sense, the derogation of the bakufu's power to control Kyoto became apparent, and revived the influence held by powerful temples. After that, though the monopoly of the koji malt by Kitano koji za was permitted again in 1545 due to the catch up by Kitano koji za, it was too late, as the Muromachi bakufu had fallen from power, and the production of koji malt had become integrated into the sakaya industry.

This incident also contributed to the rise of sobo shu (sake produced by monks) such as "Bodaisen," "Yamadaru," and "Yamato Tafunomine zake" in Nara, "Hogen zake" in Echizen, "Hyakusaidera shu" in Omi, and "Kanshinji shu" in Kawachi.

[Original Japanese]