Fudokoku (rice tax stored in a warehouse called fudoso) (不動穀)

Fudokoku is rice in the husk kept in fudoso (a warehouse which was sealed after the regular warehouse became full) put in provinces in the ritsuryo system (a system of centralized government based on the ritsuryo code). In addition, fudo awakoku (foxtail millet in husk stored in fudoso) and fudoshu (grain kept in a form of liquor stored in fudoso) are varieties of fudokoku; in this case the foxtail millet is a substitute for rice in husk.

On September 2, 708, the storage of rice in the husk, which was shozei (rice tax), and putting it in fudoso were encouraged in the official documents of the Daijokan, Grand Council of State; afterwards, rice in the husk was stored in shoso (warehouse placed in the provincial government office compounds); when the warehouse became full, the provincial governor and the local officer examined and sealed it; after the sealing was completed, the warehouse was made fudoso and the rice in the husk kept in the fudoso was made fudokoku. The key of fudoso was presented to Daijokan of the capital, and it was carefully kept by Daijokan. In principle, opening of the fudoso was not permitted except the time of emergency like famine in which foods must be given to the needy; in such a time the local governor must submit an official document called fudoso kaiken shinseige to Daijokan and if he got a permission along with the official document called fudokaiyofu or fudojufu, he was able to get the key to open the fudoso. From the existing records on rice tax in various provinces, it can be thought that after continuing such strict management system for nearly 30 years, the amount stored in fudoso corresponded with more than 30 years' rice tax income in the Tenpyo era (almost the same as the yearly crop yields).

However, in various provinces, incidents, in which fudokoku became putrid, occurred one after another; it was because the fudoso was kept sealed so strictly; the warehouses virtually had been left alone for a long time in spite of the fact that there was a regulation that the rice in the husk kept in the fudoso had to be changed regularly (the maximum interval was 9 years) to prevent the putrefaction. For this reason, on September 13, 740, the order was made to receive the official document issued by the Daijokan and key at regular intervals to change the content of the fudoso. This judgment in itself was a right judgment; however, as a result, it was to break the principle of fudokoku management.

Right after this order was issued the capital moved to Kuni-Kyo; and along with this transfer of the capital the construction of the statue of Birushana Buddha in Toda-ji Temple adversely affected the financial condition of the Imperial government; because of this weak financial condition, the rice tax, which was the source of local government, was sent to the capital and to supplement the lack of funds, fudokoku came to be taken out gradually. On the other hand, the Imperial Court in the capital, which was the government based on ritsuryo system, did not suppress this use of fudokoku; the government itself needed funds to build Heiankyo (ancient capital in curent Kyoto) at the end of the eighth century and to send an expedition to subjugate Ezo (northerners), so that it ordered a part of fudokoku to be delivered to the capital; also the government extracted the national taxes of nenryo soshomai (milled rice to be provided to officials) and nenryo betsuno sokoku (rice in the husk to be provided to officials) from the rice field tax that should have been stored as fudokoku; it resulted in a decrease in the amount of rice in the husk to be stored.

Because of this, the balance of the shozei and fudokoku collaped and fudokoku came to outflow continuously. Furthermore, So-Yo-Cho tax system and finance of the ritsuryo system that had been supporting this mechanism collapsed; therefore, shozei and shoso that were the preconditions for fudokoku and fudoso became name only. The "Kanpyo no Goyuikai" is a group of precepts for governing which the Emperor Uda wrote at the time of abdication toward the end of the ninth century; this document also mentions that fudokoku was just before extinction. Later the Imperial government came up with the reform ideas of stopping a part of the nenryo betsuno sokoku and transfering it to fudokoku; however, there was no effect; in 964 a new rule, Shini Fudokokusei was introduced, determining that the source of fudokoku should be a new tax substituting rice field tax, but the central government left the execution and management of this new rule to the officials in provinces; therefore, it seems to have come to an end before anything was done there. In the middle of the 11th century Ikkoku Heikin Yaku (flat rate tax imposed from time to time) was introduced and tax system was changed so as to collect the tax just to cover the expenses required for the affairs of the Imperial court and its provincial offices; this change removed the possibility of having a tax income surplus to be stored; it is said that due to this loss of basis in the tax system, fudokoku virtually disappeared.

In addition, according to a view, the starting point of the rice field tax of the ritsuryo system was the first crop of the season offered to the head of a province (powerful local clan) for doing a shrine ritual; the Imperial court which was based on the ritsuryo system took away the political and religious power from the powerful local clan and ordered the first crop of the season to be offered to the court and it is said that the system of fudokoku was to separate the rice field tax from the heads of local provinces.

[Original Japanese]