Doboshu (同朋衆)

Doboshu were people who had the responsibility for miscellaneous duties and entertainment near the shogun since the Muromachi period. It originated from excellent entertainers who gathered together in Ji sect founded by Ippen. Doboshu were also called Amishu and Obozushu. It was abolished in 1866.

In the Ji sect, there is a custom of identifying themselves as Amigo (the pseudonym of Ami), but even if they use Amigo, it is not always true that they are a Buddhist monk of the Ji sect. Examples are Kanami, Zeami and Doboshu in the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun).

The transition of the system

Following the end of the Kamakura period, many of the Jinso (monks who accompanied samurai into war) were Buddhist monks from the Ji sect, so their connections with samurai (buke) families became stronger; in times of peace, they provided samurai warriors with entertainment by making use of their abilities in the performing arts, while also fulfilling their duties as aides and intermediaries.

The origin of the system of Doboshu began when Yoriyuki HOSOKAWA became a shitsuji (steward), had 6 Buddhist monks, and had them serve Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA. Dobo were in charge of performing arts such as sarugaku and landscape gardening, and during the reign of Yoshimasa ASHIKAGA, Noami (one of the major Doboshu) with a good judgment concerning imported goods from China made selections of Higashiyama gomotsu (tools for tea ceremonies, etc. held by Yoshimasa). In addition, it is said that the stone gardens of the Ryoan-ji and Daisen-in Temples were made by Soami (one of the major Doboshu), and thought to have had a great influence on forming Higashiyama culture.

Subsequently, Doboshu also served Nobunaga ODA and Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI. During the reign of the Tokugawa clan, the system began in 1580 when TANI Shinrokuro Masatsugi (later his last name became UCHIDA) changed his name into Zenami and started serving Ieyasu TOKUGAWA as Doboshu. And then, Doboshu managed Edo-jo Castle, directed and supervised the Okubozushu, serving under the Wakadoshiyori (a managerial position in Edo bakufu) in the Edo bakufu.

Main Doboshu

Maiami (Tea ceremony)
Noami (karamono (things from China), tea ceremony, ink painting, renga (linked verse), flower arrangement)
Geiami (karamono, tea ceremony, ink painting)
Soami (karamono, tea ceremony, ink painting, flower arrangement, landscape)
Kanami (Sarugaku (a form of theatre popular in Japan))
Zeami (Sarugakuno)
Onami (Sarugakuno)
Zenami (sakutei (landscape gardener), renga)
Juami (igo (game of go))

[Original Japanese]