Kayakugata Ninsokuyoseba (加役方人足寄場)

Ninsokuyoseba, Hitsuke Tozoku Aratame-kata Ninsokuyoseba by formal name, was a self-support facility set up by the Edo Shogunate for minor offenders and those who are likely to commit crimes. Mainly described below is the Ninsokuyoseba set up on Ishikawa-jima Island, Edo.

In those days this facility was revolutionary in that educational and self-supportive approaches were taken towards minor offenders and those who were likely to commit crimes.


Before the set-up of the Ninsokuyoseba, there used to be a system called Mizukaeninsoku (Laborers for Water Drainage) of Sado Gold Mine, which was designed to isolate and rehabilitate the homeless. However, Mizukaeninsoku demanded severe labor service, and it was more a punishment than a rehabilitation. Therefore, Nobutame HASEGAWA, Director for Hitsuke Tozoku Aratame-kata (Investigative Division for Arson and Organized Robbery), suggested to Sadanobu MATSUDAIRA that an accomodation facility should be built mainly for the purpose of rehabilitation of criminals, so Ninsokuyoseba was set up.

In 1789, Nobutame HASEGAWA, Director for Hitsuke Tozoku Aratame-kata (Investigative Division for Arson and Organized Robbery), proposed the establishment of Ninsokuyoseba to Sadanobu MATSUDAIRA, Roju (Seniour Councilor).

In 1790

On April 3, 1790, Heizo received an official appointment to deal with Kayakugata Ninsokuyoseba.

On April 12, 1790, a provisinal hut was built.

In May, fourteen criminals were released. The first to be released from the Ninsokuyoseba.

It was abolished because of the Meiji Restoration.


In the beginning, Director for Hitsuke Tozoku Aratame-kata (Investigative Division for Arson and Organized Robbery) was in charge of Ninsokuyoseba, but after the retirement of Heizo in 1792 an official position of Ninsokuyoseba Bugyo (Magistrate) was installed which was affiliated with a town magistrate's office. Also working for Ninsokuyoseba were Yoriki (police sergeant), who was sent by the town magistrate's office as Mokudai (Deputy), Doshin (police constable), and Yoseba Sahainin (the kind of sponsor who guarantees the characters of the criminals who were chosen out of the exemplary criminals and whose relatives were living away from Edo), doctors, teachers of Shin school (popularized blend of Buddhist, Shinto and Confucian ethical teachings in the Edo period), boatmen and others.

Since Ninsokuyoseba lacked a funding from the Shogunate, Heizo borrowed a funding from the Shogunate to invest in the exchange market. Then they applied the profits to the management funding, and rented the sites of the mansions of feudal lords to influential merchants. They even had to take drastic measures as applying the rent to the management funding.


It was located around Ishikawa-jima Island, Edo (present day Tsukuda 2 Chuo-me, Chuo- ku, Tokyo). The restored Ishikawa-jima Island lighthouse that was originally set up by the Yoseba Bugyo (Magistrate) is in Tsukuda Park. Ninsokuyoseba was also set up in Kamigo Village, Tsukuba County, Hitachi Province (present day Kamigo, Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture), Osaka, and Hakodate (present day Hakodate City).

It had the capacity for several hundred people. It seems to have accomodated 300 to 400 people.

The facility had a bathroom and a hospital as well as a working room. Also, smoking and cooking were permitted and even kotatsu (table with heater) was installed.

Rehabilitation Program

It accomodated the homeless, who landed in Edo after abandoning fields because of famine, for instance, and minor offenders who received such punishments as tatoos and beating, for about three years.

Programs were conducted for supporting independence and preventing recidivism by providing lifestyle guidance and professional training.

Those who had skills of carpentry and production of fittings were let to train them, and those who had no special skills were instructed to do simple labor (manual sideline work) and civil engeneering work.

Just as the present-day jail, the laborers were paid for their labor, but part of the wages were mandatorily saved in order to use it later as a funding for their rehabilitation when they were released after serving the three-year term.

As part of the lifestyle guidance progrram, on three days a month, namely 3, 13, and 23, from 5 to 8 pm, a lecture was given by Doni NAKAZAWA, an expert on Sekimon Shingaku (giving clear teachings and episodes of humanity, loyalty, and justice by mixing Shintoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism). It is said that the criminals were often so moved by the lecture that they shed tears, and the lecture provided spiritual support for their rehabilitation (according to a website "Onihei to Ninshokuyakuba").

After serving their terms, land and shops were provided to those who wished to do business in Edo, and fields were provided for peasants, and tools for carpenters.

However, the homeless who were accomodated there used be criminals, so they often caused troubles as follows:

When they were made to do construction work outside the walls, they annoyed peasants by calling themselves "laborers for the Shogunate."

When they were made to do the filiing of documents in the warehouse of documents of the Ministry of Finance in Takebashi, they tore the documents spoiled by officials and took them to the Yoseba (because sheets of paper were very expensive those days).

Even when a Doshin, who was working as a supervisor, reprimanded them, they talked back ("whatever I do, my head will fall off in the end.
I am not afraid of my head being cut off.")

[Original Japanese]