Kendan-sata (criminal cases) (検断沙汰)

"Kendan-sata" is a term used in medieval Japan, referring to lawsuits and trials relating to criminal cases.

"Kendan" is a word which means both to govern and judge; since public safety administration and criminal justice were undifferentiated in medieval Japan, the concept of governing was closely associated with the concept of judging (according to a Japanese - Portuguese dictionary, "kendan" is a role which governs and judges). Kendan-sata included the suits and trials carried out for charges which threatened public safety, such as cases of murder and injury, theft and robbery, or rebellion.

In the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), kendan-sata was under the jurisdiction of samurai-dokoro (the Board of Retainers) in Togoku (the eastern part of Japan, particularly Kanto region), and in Saigoku (the western part of Japan), it was under the jurisdiction of kendan-bugyo (magistrate for trial) of Rokuhara Tandai (an administrative and judicial agency in Rokuhara, Kyoto).

In the Muromachi period, the right to judge criminal cases (the right to govern and judge) was decentralized from the bakufu to shugo (provincial constables), and to kokujin (local samurai) down to soson (a community consisting of peasans' self-governing association); in some cases, the soson, by exercising such a right, judged the criminal cases which took place in their community (jikendan).

[Original Japanese]