Ji-zamurai (地侍)

Ji-zamurai is a rank of samurai seen from Muromachi period to Azuchi Momoyama period. Originally, powerful farmers such as Myoshu (officer of the field) made master-servant relationship with Shugo Daimyo (provincial governors) and Kokujin Ryoshu (local samurai governors) and achieved the position of samurai. It is sometimes called 'Dogo' but Dogo is not equal to Ji-zamurai. It is because, compared to Ryoshu and large Gozoku (powerful families) who govern wide regions, Dogo in a broader sense has a meaning of 'small Gozoku specific in the regions,' in which case Dogo includes Zaichi Ryoshu, the lord of the manors of Ji-zamurai.

Ji-zamurai intended to become small lords under the rule of central and provincial governors, but they were regarded as subjects since they were just powerful farmers from the perspective of governors. During the period of Doikki (peasant uprising), they performed an active role as the core of the uprising, some of whom left the village to emphasize on their position as samurai and they were organized as subordinate warriors under Sengoku Daimyo (warring lords) and Kokujin Ryoshu in the Sengoku period. Ji-zamurai undertook obligations of serving as a part of military at the time of war in return for the privilege to collect Kajishi (intermediate taxes) guaranteed by Sengoku Daimyo and Kokujin Ryoshu. Some Daimyo (direct retainers of the lords) and Hatamoto during the Edo period originated from these Ji-zamurai.

However, the majority of Ji-zamurai stayed in their villages being leaders there despite their position as samurai. In most cases, these Ji-zamurai returned to the position of farmers due to the separation policy of samurai and farmers such as the sword hunt during the Azuchi Momoyama period and took the leaders' position of the villages such as Shoya, Nanushi, Kimoiri, and Banto.

[Original Japanese]