Kyuden (給田)

Kyuden, Kyuhaku and Kyudenpaku were rice paddies and fields that were granted to shokan (an officer governing shoen manor), jito (estate steward), nengu (land tax) couriers and handicraftsmen by shoen holders and the Kokuga (provincial government offices) during the middle ages in Japan. In the modern age, rice fields granted to the three top officers in the village such as the shoya (village headman) were called Kyuden.

Establishment and development

Kyuden (Kyudenpaku) were established from the end of the Heian period to the beginning of the Kamakura period. This was the time when the Shoen koryo (public lands) system was developed and the management system for shoen, kokugaryo (territories governed by provincial government office) was being established. The management of shoen and koryo required the existence of shokan, who did the daily management, couriers such as Kajitori who transported the nengu to the shoen landholder (Honjo) in Kyoto and various craftsmen who made handicrafts to be given to the Honjo and payment for the services of shokan and craftsmen were Kyuden.

From the late Heian period (eleventh to twelfth century), Gunji (district magistrates), Goji (local government official) and local kannin (officers) developed abandoned fields and became development landholders who were recognized as having a certain income by the Kokuga. However the income rights of the development landholders (kaihatsu shoryo) were unstable and always in danger of being taken away by the Kokuga. Therefore the development landholders donated their kaihatsu shoryo to prominent temples, shrines or aristocrats and the rice fields became part of a shoen. Upon donation, the development landholders were appointed as shokan by the new landholder and were given kyuden. The development landholder lost the kaihatsu shoryo recognized by the kokuga, but it was conventional that they were given equivalent or more rice fields as Kyuden. In addition, land that was directly under the development landholder's control, such as Tsukuda, Horinouchi and Monden, was also recognized as Kyuden.

The shokan was responsible for collecting the nengu and kuji (public duties) for the shoen landholder, but the kyuden were exempt from all nengu and kuji, and the exempt portion was the income of the kyuden right holder. This was the most different aspect compared to Menden, which were exempt from only kuji, and Kyumyo exempt from temporary zoyaku, and was also called Honkyuden to distinguish it from Menden and Kyumyo.

Many Shokunin Kyuden were placed close to the Kokuga. Originally,many handicraftsmen were affiliated with the Kokuga organization and produced the supplies required for Kokuga management. The payment was paid by the Kokuga, but in the late Heian period, the Kokuga organization based on the Ritsuryo system was dramatically reorganized and Kyuden were given to handicraftsmen as payment instead. As for Shoen, shoen landholders kept handicraftsmen within their shoen to obtain necessary supplies and gave Kyuden according to their ability.

After the Jyokyu War in the early thirteenth century, the Shinpo rippo (the regulation regarding new Jito appointments) was established to give 1 cho of kyuden per 11 cho of shoen koryo to newly appointed jito, but in actuality, there were many cases where two or even three cho of kyuden were given, strongly pushing the invasion of newly appointed jito into shoen koryo.

The management of shoen was first done using their own servants and followers, but as the ages went on, leasing out to the village headman and farmers within the shoen became the practice.


Kyuden in the middle ages were largely classified into Shokan kyuden given to shokan, and shokunin kyuden given to nengu couriers and handicraftsmen.

Shokan kyuden were classified into Azukaridokoro (a deputy of "Shoen" manor lord) kyu, Jitokyu, Kumon (a local shoen official) kyu, Geshi (a local keeper) kyu, Tadokorokyu, Sotsuibushi (government post in charge of police and military roles) kyu, Tonekyu, Bantokyu, Jotsukai (a lower-ranked officer who governs Shoen manor) kyu, Anju (officer who recorded and stored documents at Shoens, authorities) kyu, Nanushi (village headman) kyu, Shikiji (a person with an official rank but has no corresponding position) kyu, Sanshikyu, Zushi (temporary officer who made maps of rice fields) kyu, Kunin (low ranking staff who did odd jobs) kyu, etc.

Shokunin kyuden included Kajitori (rower) kyu, Furyokyu, Fune (ship) kyu, Kaji (blacksmith) kyu, Bansho (builder) kyu, Edokoro (art office) kyu, Himono (craft of bending Hinoki bark) kyu, Dokisaku (pottery) kyu and Dodoukutorei (road building) kyu.

Modern ages

Kyuden continued into the late middle ages and were passed on to the modern age with some changes. In the modern ages, kyuden were designated mainly for village officials such as Shoya. It was also called Yakukyuden or Shoyakyuden. There were also Kyuden given to handicraftsmen and Kaisengyosha (shipping agents), which were called Shokyu. Kyuden in the modern ages were seen throughout the Edo Period. Kyuden given to Shoya from the domain lord were exempt from land tax. In some cases, exemption from tax was taken away because of the financial situation of the domain.

Place names

Kyuden place names derived from kyuden in the middle ages and modern ages are found throughout the nation. Main examples are Kyuden, Chonan-cho, Chosei-gun, Chiba Prefecture, Kyuden, Sedagaya Ward, Tokyo, Kyuden, Shimokanuki, Numazu City, Shizuoka Prefecture.

Others: Kumonkyu (Kuga-cho, Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi Prefecture), Jitokyu (Akaiwa City, Okayama Prefecture, Maebaru City, Fukuoka Prefecture), Kajikyu (Nankoku City, Kochi Prefecture, Koga City, Fukuoka Prefecture), Banshokyu (Hofu City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Totsuka Ward, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture) and Tobitakyu (Kamigakyu, Chofu City, Tokyo) are examples of place names originating from Kyuden that are still in use today throughout the nation.

[Original Japanese]