Miuchibito (Private Vassals of the Tokuso Family) (御内人)

The term "Miuchibito" or "Miuchinin" refers to warriors who served regent, the Hojo clan during the Kamakura period (1185-1333). At first, they managed the territory, (called Hojo-daishoryo or Tokusoryo) estates owned by the Hojo Tokuso family, the main branch of the Hojo clan, as a local governor. They served as Shugodai (deputy military governor) in the provinces where the Hojo family members became Shugo (provincial military governor).

In the Mongolian invasion attempts against Japan, at the Bunei War (the first attempt), Japanese warriors experienced that the traditional Japanese samurai fighting style, one-on-one battle, did not work against Mongolian army, which attacked as a group, so that at the Koan War (the second attempt), under the regent Tokimune HOJO, he dispatched Tokuso's vassals, Miuchibito, to the battle fields and they commanded the army predominated by Gokenin (direct shogunal retainers).

As a result, as the Tokuso family came to enhance their political power, Miuchibito also increased their political influence in the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). In the end, in spite of being direct vassals of the shogunete, Gokenin, some of them changed their position into indirect vassals, Miuchibito, such as the Suwa clan. In the time of Sadatoki HOJO, TAIRA no Yoritsuna, the highest rank of Miuchibito, was called Uchi-Kanrei or Miuchi-tonin (a house steward of the Tokuso family, but Uchi-Kanrei was not an official post of the Kamakura bakufu). There appeared some Uchi-kanrei whose political power overshadowed the regents and the Tokuso family; for example, Yoritsuna destroyed Yasumori ADACHI, a senior vassal, in the Shimotsuki Incident and unleashed a reign of terror, or Takatsuna (Enki) NAGASAKI and his son Takasuke NAGASAKI ruled with tyranny in the time of Takatoki HOJO. This showed a sign of a corruption of the shogunate government, which led Gokenin to grow dissatisfaction with the Hojo family, and led Akuto (a villain in the medieval times) to act out of control under the government in various districts, ending up with overthrowing the bakufu.

When the Kamakura bakufu collapsed, most of Miuchibito also were destroyed or fell with the Hojo family. The main clans serving as Miuchibito included as diverse as successive generations, such as the Nagasaki clan, the Ki clan, the Inoo clan, and the Ando clan (historically clear ones), and the remainders of former Gokenin, who were purged by the Hojo clan, such as the Miura clan, the Wada clan, and the Adachi clan and minor branches of the Hojo family, which showed the political power of the Tokuso family. Among them, the Inoo clan served as shitsuji (a steward) of the Ashikaga shogunal family.

[Original Japanese]