Jomen ho (定免法)

Jomen ho is one of the methods of land tax collection in the Edo period.

Until then, kemi ho (annual crop inspections), in which the amount of tax is determined based on the amount of crop that was produced each year, was adopted as the method of land tax collection, but the income was unstable with this method and jomen ho was adopted as part of the Kyoho reforms. It is said that jomen ho was adopted in 1722.

In jomen ho, the ratio of land tax was determined based on the average crop in the past 5 years, 10 years or 20 years and a fixed land tax was imposed regardless of the crop situation. However, if it was a seriously poor crop, 'hamen' (drastic reduction of land tax) was approved.

The origin of jomen ho originated in the Heian period and it was also used in the Kamakura period, Muromachi period and the Toyotomi period, but it was widely used in the Edo period.

The furegaki (bakufu orders) issued in April 1728 said that the duration of the fixed tax rate was 5 years, 7 years, 10 years and 15 years, but the period of duration could be extended by application and the fixed tax rate continued in addition to the prior tax amount (it was called tsuginenki).

It is said that the income of the bakufu became stabilized by this.

The rate of hamen was unstable, but the loss of more than 50 percent was approved as hamen in 1727, then the criteria was changed to more than 40 percent in 1728 and more than 30 percent in 1734.

In some areas, kemi ho was adopted and the areas where once kemi ho was adopted asked for a change to jomen ho and vice versa, it varied in different areas.

Since jomen ho didn't consider the crop situation, it had a tendency to make peasants have surplus and laze, or feel distressed and escape.

In theory, kemi ho evens the tax burden, but it costs the bakufu a lot of money and peasants had a lot of trouble, also there were frauds such as uncertainty of the inspection.

Rather, many scholars of that time thought that jomen ho should be adopted.

[Original Japanese]