Kawase-mai-rei Law (Rice-purchase Law) (買米令)

In 1730, the Kawase-mai-rei Law was enforced as part of the Kyoho Reforms (the reforms made in the Kyoho era of the Edo period). The Edo Shogunate purchased rice from the market and stored it away to regulate rice prices, and required all the domains and influential merchants in Edo and Osaka to do the same.. In the official documents, when the government purchased rice it was referred to as 'Kai-mai', while rice purchases by merchants was referred as 'Kawase-mai'.

The intent of this law was to raise the price of rice by decreasing the amount on the market, which would help the samurai class who had a problem converting their yearly income into cash if the price of rice was low. By increasing their purchasing power they hoped to strengthen the economy. For the same purpose the government allowed kome-kitte (rice voucher) to be used as money orders (this resulted in a pre-date transactions of rice), encouraged the stockpiling of rice, and controlled or restricted the domains transporting the rice, and the Kurayashiki (Warehouse-residences) from selling the rice.

Similar laws were enforced in 1744, 1761, and 1812.

In Osaka, the Kurayashiki was similar to a cashbox for the government, they were ordered to buy rice over 10 times since Kyoho era. The tax was not only for Osaka, but was also imposed on Edo, Kyoto, Sakai and other cities, although Osaka purchased the largest amount of rice. However, according to the chapter in Naokata KUSAMA's ' Sankazue' (Picture Collection of Three Coins: History of Coinage in Japan) regarding prices, the Kawase-mai-rei Law was not always effective. The following is the dates, the designated price, the actual price, and personnel of the Kawase-gome Law that was undertaken by Osaka Prefecture.

1731, June - 600,000 koku, 168 people and Misato and other towns. 1744, September - almost the same as that of 1731. 1806, November - 1,209,000 koku, 580,000 koku or more, 309 people.
1811, November - 600,000 koku

[Original Japanese]