Jishi Menkyo (The Exemption From The Tax That Was Imposed On The land Of The Towns Residential Area (地子免許)

"Jishi menkyo" refers to the exemption from "jishi" (the tax imposed on the land of the town's residential area during the early modern ages of Japan) permitted by a feudal lord, and jishi corresponded to "nengu" (the tax imposed on the land of farming villages).


There was some background on jishi menkyo. Firstly, it is pointed out that the feudal lord planned to attract merchants to the town - especially, to the castle town and to the post station town - for the promotion of commerce and industry. Secondly, it is also pointed out that jishi menkyo had a connection with the concept from the medieval ages that the town was the "asylum" (the area on which the political power could not exert its sovereignty). However, jishi menkyo did not mean the complete exemption from taxes. Constant jishi was exempt for sure, but this seems to have been in exchange for the provisional imposition that was put when necessary. In some cities, the rights on land were so complicated that it was impossible to determine who should bear the burden, and instead, a new tax system of the city seems to have been introduced. And in some areas, including the area which is now called Okayama City, the city boundary and the rights on land were determined, so jishi was imposed on the residents throughout the early modern ages. And in some areas, including the area which is now called Kanazawa City, the jishi-imposed area (called "jishi-cho") and the exempt area (called "hon-cho") were separated. In some cities - newborn ones and renewed ones - such as Edo, residents offered "kuniyaku" (public duties) to the feudal lord at the early stage of the city development, and in exchange, they received the land of the town's residential area that was newly developed. In this case, jishi was non-existent from the beginning rather than exempt.

The regime of Nobunaga ODA is said to have granted jishi menkyo to Kano-juku (a castle town of Gifu Castle) and allowed the town to implement raku ichi raku za (a commercial policy that permitted free markets and open guilds) for the first time in 1567. And then, the regime of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI gave jishi menkyo to the whole "Rakuchu" (inside the capital Kyoto) after the Rakuchu land survey was implemented in 1591. And also, the Tokugawa regime gave jishi menkyo to the major post station towns from 1600 to 1602 in exchange for the duty to provide the post horses, and afterward, jishi menkyo was given to the local post station towns - mainly, those on "Gokai-do Road" (the Five Highways radiating from Edo).

However, the Meiji government formulated the policy of collecting land tax from every tract of land - in other words, permitted no tax-free land - and in 1871, it abandoned the jishi menkyo before the Land Tax Reform.

[Original Japanese]