Kandaka Sei (system of measuring the amount of rice production based on land size) (貫高制)

The Japanese term "Kandaka sei" refers to the land system, tax system, and military system which used the currency unit "kan" to calculate the yield of rice for a given piece of land. It was widely used in Sengoku daimyo (Japanese territorial lord in the Sengoku period) during the Sengoku Period (Period of Warring States) in Japan.


During the Kamakura and Muromachi periods, the dimensions of rice fields were represented in units of 'kan,' which were converted from the average rice yield from the rice field. This was called Kandaka, and the land system that used Kandaka as a scale for tax revenue is referred to as Kandaka sei. It meant that the same amount of kan could represent lands with different numbers of square meters, as it depended on the different conditions of pieces of land. The system originated from 'bunsen,' which was a system of paying nengu (land tax) by coins instead of rice. Chigyo daka (a stipend in terms of rice production of the fief) of samurai households was also represented by kan, as their military duties to be borne were decided on the basis of their Kandaka. In order to accommodate such a system, the feudal lords themselves endeavored to keep good control by setting standard kandaka in accordance with their purpose. Especially during the Sengoku period, the system of kandaka became more widespread, since the demand for money increased as a result of the collapse of the self-sufficient structure of society.

The demise of kandaka sei

However, since Japan at that time did not possess the capacity to self-supply the amount of money required, and also because it was facing the problem of bitasen (extremely low-quality coins), maintaining the sufficient money supply became impossible as kandaka sei became more and more widespread. As the amount of production of silver increased, and the commodity market in Saigoku (the Western Province) was becoming more and more active during the Sengoku period, silver and rice, instead of coins, became a common basis for value. As a result, kandaka sei became disorganized economically, and there were cases in which the payment of tax by rice, instead of by coins, was accepted under unavoidable circumstances. In the Azuchi-Momoyama period, chigyodaka (a stipend in terms of rice production of the fief) was represented by the volume of rice to be supplied; that is to say, by the unit of 'koku' (also called kokudaka), which was organized during the Taiko kenchi (the cadastral survey of Taiko) conducted by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI. Although money was produced during the Edo period, kokudaka sei was maintained.

[Original Japanese]