Kuramaichigyo (蔵米知行)

Kuramaichichigyo, also known as Kuramaikyuyo, was a system in which the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) and domains provided kuramai (written as 蔵米 or in the case of the bakufu as 廩米 - rice preserved in a depository) to their vassals as horoku (salary) instead of chigyo-chi (territory). Vassals who received this rice were called Kuramaidori.

Samurai society was originally based on Jigatachigyo (feudal governments or domains providing land to retainers as salary), where lords would give a portion of their shoryo (territory) to vassals as their chigyo-chi. During the early Edo period, however, more and more lords gave up Jigatachigyo in favor of Kuramaichigyo; this was due to land ruling power being concentrated in the hands of daimyo (Japanese territorial lord) and the Seii Taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians"); it was also due to financial reasons, such as a decrease in income as a consequence of rice falling in price caused by competition between domains and vassals in annual rice tax sales.

Vassals received kuramai directly at first, but later on a system was adopted in which fudasashi (traders who received and sold kuramai on behalf of the government for a commission) would receive kuramai, sell it at an official price, then deduct the commissions and pay the proceeds to the vassals.

Due to reforms in the salary system accompanied by the return of the lands and people from the feudal lords to the Emperor in 1869, all types of Jigatachigyo, including those of the daimyo, were banned and only Kuramaichigyo remained. However, this system was also completely abolished in 1876 by Chitsuroku-shobun (Abolition measure of Hereditary Stipend) after Haihan chiken.

[Original Japanese]