Muhon (rebellious acts) (謀叛)
In today's Japanese, muhon means a rebellion raised by a vassal against his lord. It can be written in kanji (Chinese characters) "謀反" indicating "a scheme of disobedience" or "a scheme of countering," but both have the same meaning. However, muhon defined in ritsu (laws) of the ritsuryo system (a system of centralized government based on the ritsuryo code), written in kanji indicating "a scheme of disobedience," originally had a different meaning and includes an act of conspiring with enemy for the purpose of harming one's home country, as well as seeking asylum. This section mainly discusses muhon in ritsu.
Muhon is a felony which falls under the 3rd of Juaku (10 evils) in Tang Ritsuryo Code and also falls under the 3rd of Hachigyaku (8 unpardonable crimes) in Yoro Code. In ritsu, a scheme means a plan of a crime which has not been undertaken yet. While disobedience means betraying one's home country and obeying a false master (enemy, insurgents), countering means threatening one's lord's life, and so a scheme of disobedience and a scheme of countering differ in meaning. A scheme of countering is more deadly sin than a scheme of disobedience. In concrete terms disobedience means throwing oneself into a barbarian (foreign) country, or handing over the castle or territory to enemy, and in modern terms falls under seeking asylum, surrendering under enemy fire or conspiring with enemy. The punishment of attempted disobedience is death by hanging, and that of completed disobedience is execution by decapitation, and so both of them are stipulated together in one article as a scheme of disobedience, because both are death penalties.
In both Tang Ritsuryo Code and Yoro Code, the both main offender and accomplices were decapitated if they were caught after completing disobedience. If the act was still in the stage of "scheme," the main offender was hanged and accomplices were banished. They were banished 3,000-ri ("ri" is about 3.927km) in Tang Ritsuryo Code, and were exiled to the farthest distant island in Yoro Code. In either case, only the leader was executed and followers were not executed.
Those who fled to mountain valleys (mountain valley flight) instead of foreign countries, and did not come back after being called by a government official, were treated the same as those involved in scheme of disobedience. That is, only the main offender was hanged, and accomplices were banished. If they resisted the army which came to take them back, they were treated the same as offenders of accomplished disobedience and both the main offender and accomplices were decapitated. Similarly, followers were not accused.
Only in the case of completed disobedience, enza (to be guilty for the relative's crime) was stipulated, and there were three levels of enza according to the number of people led and the extent of exercise of force. The most serious level was conquest and occupation of a castle, which was treated the same as a scheme of disobedience. This classification was designed to treat an act of actually seizing a territory as an especially capital crime. The medium level was a case of making an attack and taking hostages, or a case of disobedience leading a prescribed number of people (one hundred in Tang Ritsuryo Code and 10 in Yoro Code) which did not occupy the castle, regardless of whether there was an attack or not. The least serious level was a case of leading less than a prescribed number of people and not doing harm. In any level, the offenders themselves were executed, but there were small differences in treatments of their relatives found guilty as a result of enza.
In the cases treated the same as a scheme of disobedience in Tang Ritsuryo Code, the offender's father and 16-year-old or older sons were hanged, and his 15-year-old or younger sons, mother and daughters, wives and concubines, son's wives and concubines, grandparents and grandchildren, brothers, buqu (serfs), assets, farmland and housing land were confiscated. Confiscation means seizure by officials, and confiscating a person means making that person Kanko (slaves to public ministries). The offender's uncles and brothers' sons were banished 3,000-ri. In the cases of the medium level, the offender's parents, wives and sons were banished 3,000-ri. In the cases of the least serious level, the offender's wives and sons were banished 2,000-ri.
In the cases treated the same as a scheme of disobedience in Yoro Code, the offender's father and sons, kenin (slaves equivalent to buqu in Tang Ritsuryo Code), assets, farmland and housing land were confiscated. His grandparents, grandchildren and brothers were exiled to the farthest distant island. In the cases of the medium level, the offender's father and sons were exiled to the farthest distant island, and in the cases of the least serious level, the offender's sons were exiled to a moderately distant island. The scope of enza was narrower and the punishment was lighter in Japan.
Actual condition in Japan
In Japan there were very few cases of muhon in the sense of conspiring with enemy. In the early 8th century, edicts were issued in 707, 708 and 717 stipulating that an offense of a mountain valley exile would be condoned if the offender handed oneself in within 100 days, but they were part of amnesty and a copy of edicts in Tang Dynasty China. After the latter part of the Heian period, a scheme of disobedience and a scheme of countering were no longer distinguished and both of them came to mean the opposition to one's lord and monarch.