Shibocho (死亡帳)

Shibocho refers to a register which was created annually between the times of having new family registers under the ancient Ritsuryo system.

This register was for submitting the name of a deceased person that had been already submitted to Kyoto and been recorded under the ancient family registration system, and had no descriptions about infants who had been born after having a new family register. Kandaicho no jo (勘大帳条, The articles of books) of "the Engishiki" (an ancient book for codes and procedures on national rites and prayers) had a description of 'Shibocho,' and miscellaneous public documents of "Seiji yoryaku" (examples of the politics in the Heian period) Vol. 57 had a description of 'Shibocho' among about 20 registers such as 'Godocho' (record of composite families organizing Go), 'Furonincho' (record of people escaping from their registered domicile) and so on.

Existing Shibocho
The following two articles exist.

Kawachi-no-kuni Taizeifu-Shibocho (record of the dead with unpaid tax in Kawachi Province) (owned by Tenri Central Library)
Bitchu-no-kuni Taizeifu-Shibocho (record of the dead with unpaid tax in Bitchu Province) (owned by Shoso-in Treasure Repository)
Both are Shosoin monjo (documents of Shosoin Treasure Repository). These two registers recorded people who deceased with an obligation of paying suikoto (loaned rice plant) (Taizei [the rice tax stored in provincial offices' warehouses]). The former recorded such people in 737, and the latter recorded such people in 739.

Kawachi-no-kuni Taizeifu-Shibocho
Uji (family names) listed in this register included 'Igaomi' (伊我臣), 'Amainukai' (牛鹿部), 'Ushikabe,' 'Kuramochimuraji,' 'Sakahito,' and 'Kusakabe.'
This register is valuable data showing the regionality of Kawachi Province (present-day Osaka Prefecture).

Bitchu-no-kuni Taizeifu-Shibocho
This register recorded 72 deceased persons in Kaya, Uzu (宇都), and Kuboya (area around present-day Okayama City and Soja City) of Bitchu Province (present-day Okayama Prefecture). Descriptions of 'Seikanjin' (people from China) and so on attached to Uji showed that the proportion of Immigrants to ancient Japan to the total was 20 percent in Kaya and 30 percent in Uzu, respectively.

Unearthed Shibocho (lacquer-infiltrating paper documents)
The following two were unearthed.

Remains of Nagaoka-kyo (the ancient capital of Nagaoka): Shibocho in 790
Remains of Akita-jo Castle: Shibocho Document No. 16
The lacquer-infiltrating paper document found in the 72nd research of Akita-jo Castle (Akita City, Akita Prefecture) in 1998 turned out to be Shibocho through decipherment using an infrared camera by Professor Minami HIRAKAWA of the National Museum of Japanese History. Another unearthed Shibocho was made of lacquer-infiltrating paper document found in the 341st research of Nagaoka-kyo (Muko City, Nagaokakyo City and Kyoto City in Kyoto Prefecture), but only some information, such as date of death, was found, because the document was found in several fragments. Shibocho unearthed from the Remains of Akita-jo Castle was the first one showing a series of information such as Kabane (hereditary title), head of Ko (smallest social organization unit in provincial administration), name of deceased person, age, classification, and date of death.

Remains of Nagaoka-kyo: Shibocho in 790
As stated above, the document was found in several fragments, which gave some information on the date of death (period approximately from July 23 to 28) for several people who deceased in July 790, and gave no information on their names, ages, and so on. The transliterated record was announced at a press conference by the Muko City Center For Archaeological operations and Muko City Board of Education on August 13, 1997.

Remains of Akita-jo Castle: Shibocho Document No. 16
To the head of Ko, '(unidentified) KOSHI NO KIMI,' the following persons were recorded: Two considered to be sons named 'Negira KOSHI NO KIMI' (age unknown) and 'Akimaro KOSHI NO KIMI' (seitei [age classification referring to a man from 21 to 60 years old]), and four women considered to be a wife, a mother, or father's wife named 'Koyame (unidentified) KIMI' (teijo [age classification referring to a woman from 21 to 60 years old:), 'Tsubuiratsume OHASSEBE' (52 years old, teijo), 'Tojime KUWABARA' (68 years old, old woman) and 'Yana something (unidentified) HATA' (age unknown). A date of death such as 'September 7 of the previous year,' 'June 10 of this year' or the like was described under each of the above descriptions.

There was a record that Ko headed by 'Takamaro ENUMA NO OMI' had a member of Ko, 'Kuromaro ENUMA NO OMI, aged 28, seitei, died on December 10 of the previous year.'
There was a record that Ko headed by 'Otsumaro ENUMA NO OMI' had members of Ko, 'Kojikamaro ENUMA NO OMI, aged 21, chunan (young man from seventeen to twenty years old), died on December 10 of the previous year' and 'Sakaibe no Sakutojime, aged 58, teijo, died on December 18 of the previous year.'
There was a record that Ko headed by 'Akanabe no umakai' had a member of Ko, 'Hatoribe no hakama (波加麻), aged 45, mildly handicapped, died on September 19 of the previous year.'
In addition, there found several fragments describing 'Hayashimuraji' (only the name of Uji was clarified), and deaths of several persons (only the date of death or the age was clarified).

Koshi no kimi
Koshi no kimi' consisted of Koshi (district called Koshi (越, 高志 and 古志 in Chinese characters) and Kimi (a kind of Kabane). According to Saidai-ji Monjo (documents of Saidai-ji Temple in Nara City) and unearthed articles of mokkan (a narrow strip of wood on which an official message is written) in the latter half of the eighth century, it is considered that 'Koshi no kimi' was a name of Uji distributed in the southern part of Echigo such as Kubiki County, Koshi County, and so on in Echigo Province in ancient times.

Enuma no omi
Enuma no omi' refers to a name of Uji based in Enuma County, Kaga Province. Omi showed Kabane. Kaga Province was established in 823 by separating two counties of Enuma and Kaga from Echizen Province.

According to existing historical data, a distribution of 'Ohassebe' concentrated in Togoku (the eastern part of Japan, particularly the Kanto region) such as two cases each in three provinces of Etchu, Shinano, and Kai, and also in the provinces of Totomi, Kozuke, Shimosa, and so on.

Year when Document No. 16 was created
It is judged that this Shibocho was created in the first half of the ninth century, because a year was described as 849 in Document No. 20 (back matter of a letter), and was described as 850 in Document No. 21 (letter), which were unearthed together. This Shibocho seems to have been created not far from the years of 849 and 850.

Characters of Document No. 16
This Shibocho had a different format from two other kinds of Shibocho which were Shosoin monjo, and adopted a form of name records of double-deck description in which the 'name and age of person' were described above the 'classification of age and date of death,' and a style of describing two lines under the name of a person. Guessing from unearthed relics from ancient remains such as mokkan and so on, it is considered that this Shibocho adopted a 'practical' description style which was characteristic of official documents retained in regional offices, not of documents sent to Kyoto.

This Shibocho described citizens in the area (around Akita County) controlled by Akita-jo Castle for one year from 'July of the previous year' to 'June of this year,' and was considered to be a transcript submitted to the provincial office of Dewa Province at that time (transferred in early ninth century).

Many of the people around then Akita County had ancestors coming from the Hokuriku region, such as Echigo Province, Kaga Province, and so on, and not a few of them had Uji originating from Togoku.

In Ko 'headed by KOSHI NO KIMI' (no given name), as many as six members died in one year, because the first half of the ninth century was a rare time in ancient Japanese history when natural disasters occurred continuously. Even in the Tohoku region, disasters and famines occurred one after the another, such as Great Earthquake in the Akita region in 830 (from "Ruiju Kokushi" [Classified National History]), Volcanic Eruption in Mutsu Province in 837, Famine in Dewa in 841, Famine in Mutsu in 843, Famine in Dewa in 846, Earthquake in Dewa in 850 (from "Shoku Nihon Koki" [Later Chronicle of Japan Continued] for five events from 837 to 850), and so on.
When contrasting the date of death with the deceased people by age and gender, many women and old people died from autumn to winter of the 'previous year,' and adult men died in June of 'this year.'

[Original Japanese]