Mushuku (homeless wanderer) (無宿)

Mushuku means people in the Edo period whose names were excluded from Shumon-Ninbetsu-Aratame-Cho (The Village People Register of Religious Faith and Relationship) which is the equivalent of today's family register.


Since guilt-by-association system was taken in the Edo period, some mushuku were townspeople who had been disowned by his family because of his misconduct for fear of being involved in, and people who had been transported due to misdemeanor. Yet, many of them were farmers who became impossible to live in the farm village because of the Tenmei Famine or agricultural failure caused by the Mercantilism policy of Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun).

Mushuku was also called "Chohazure" (off the registry) since his name was eliminated from the Shumon-Ninbetsu-Aratame-Cho after a certain period since his leaving the village or town.

In the Tenmei Era when Okitsugu TANUMA involved in the shogunate government, due to political instability that existed at that time, many Mushuku flew in and around Edo and became to commit various atrocious crime. Thus the bakufu, to prevent such crime, was taking various political measures.

A mushuku who had committed crime and been arrested was called by a name with prefixed name of his native place, such as "Bushu-Mushuku-Gonbei" (homeless Gonbei from Bushu) or "Joshu-Mushuku-Jirokichi" (homeless Jirokichi from Joshu).

[Original Japanese]