Jishi (地子)

Jishi, also called chishi, (land taxes under the Ritsuryo system) referred to the land rent which feudal lords imposed on rice fields, fields (for fruits, vegetables, etc.), mountains and forest, salt fields, or residential areas from ancient and medieval periods to the early-modern times. It was called denjishi (land rent for rice fields), hatajishi (land rent for fields for fruits, vegetables, etc), shiohamajishi (land rent for salt fields), hayashijishi (land rent for mountains and forest), or yajishi (land rent for residential areas) according to the classification of land imposed. Originally, jishi had the characteristics of a tax payment in the form of products and the local products were brought in as jishi but jishi payment in money increased as the money economy gradually advanced from the late mid-period. Therefore, jishi was distinguished into two forms: the one paid in rice (rice-plant) was called Jishimai or jishito (rice-plant paid as jishi) and the one paid in money was called jishisen (land taxes paid by tenant farmers).

Ancient times

Under the Ritsuryo system (a system of centralized government based on the ritsuryo code) established at the beginning of the 8th century, there was a provision of chinso (land taxes under the Ritsuryo system) that, after hankyu (allotment) of kubunden (the field given to each farmer in the Ritsuryo system), kokuga (provincial government offices) lent peasants joden (rest of the field after kubunden was given) from the remaining koden (fields administered directly by a ruler) and charged 20 percent of their harvest as jishi (according to "Denryo-koden-jo). This 20 percent of the harvest charged was called jishi or jishito. Jishito revenue was used for replenishment of shozei (the rice tax stored in provincial offices' warehouse) in the Kinai region (provinces surrounding Kyoto and Nara) and Iga Province, and for maintaining public offices for Tsushima Province and Tane Province (abolished later) in provinces within Dazai-fu (local government office in Kyushu region), and for replenishment of army provisions for soldiers and for stipends to Ezo (northerners) in Mutsu Province and Dewa Province, and in other provinces under ryoseikoku (province), jishito was paid to Daijokan (Grand Council of State) in the form of shomai (rice made by pounding it in a mortar) in provinces near the central government or sea and in the form of keika (fabrics such as silk or cotton or other local specialties) after doing jishi trade in provinces other than those.

Chinso was also imposed by not only kokuga but also main temples and shrines that ran early shoens (manors in medieval Japan). The early shoens were run on the income from land taxes accompanied with this chinso.

The Medieval Period

Forming of private land (shieiden (lands directly governed by powerful families)) had been accelerated by wealthy farmers from the 9th century to the 10th century. Although private lands were also objects for imposition of kanmotsu (tribute goods paid as taxes or tithes), the national land tax, feudal lords obtained the recognition of kokuga to the right to collect profit personally and the term of jishi referred to this personal profit.

Furthermore, when the shoen or the shoen koryo-sei (the system of public lands and private estates) was established from the 11th century to the 12th century, the right to collect kanmotsu which had been considered as national land tax was transferred to lords of manors and the kanmotsu changed its nature to nengu (land tax). The nengu came from kanmotsu, eventually denso (rice field tax), and became central items of taxation in the land tax system for shoens and the item of taxation that were paid to high grade lords of the manor by local low grade lords of the manor (kaihatsu-ryoshu (local notables who actually developed the land) or shokan (an officer governing shoen (manor))). If only nengu was collected, there was nothing left that local low grade lords could have as their profit. Therefore, to get their shares, the low grade lords collected the land rent under various pretexts from shomin (people of the manor). This was jishi in the medieval period. This jishi was also called kajishi (land rent). According to a record, some land lords collected jishi amounting to as much as several times the real nengu.

From around the middle of the medieval period (the mid or late Kamakura period), as commercial distribution became more active and the money economy accompanied with it gradually became pronounced, more and more jishi was paid in money. It was called jishisen. The payment of jishisen was not much in any sense and it was limited to some big cities (imperial capital) but cases of jishi payment in coins became common even in rural areas in the Sengoku Period (Period of Warring States) in the end of the medieval period (Japan).

The early-modern times

Due to the taiko kenchi (the cadastral surveys) by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, collection of interim dividends was disapproved. This means that jishi in the medieval periods was abolished. After that, jishi that was imposed on rice fields was not seen. On the other hand, the land rent which was imposed on the residential areas in urban regions came to be called jishi. In urban areas where the money economy was already in place, jishi was usually paid in coined money and was called jishisen.

In the Meiji period, jishi disappeared as the modern tax system was established. Even after the Meiji period, jishi that landlords collected from their tenant farmers maintained the characteristics of jishi but it was called farm rent.

[Original Japanese]