Hitsuke-tozoku-aratame-kata (literally, investigative division for arson and organized robbery) (火付盗賊改方)

The Hitsuke-tozoku-aratame-kata post was for mostly cracking down such felonies as arson, robbers (burglars) and gambling. Originally, with this post being a temporary one, the officers in this post were selected from Osakitegumigashira and Mochigumigashira, both of which belonged to the standing army of the bakufu. In historical dramas, this post or an officer in this post is sometimes called "Katoaratame" or "Kato."

After the conflagration in the Meireki era (1655 - 1658), many arsonists and burglars appeared in Edo. Therefore, the bakufu established the "Tozokuaratame" post as the one dedicated for cracking down these serious crimes in 1665. After that, the "Hitsukearatame" post was established in 1683. Nakayama Kageyu, who was feared as a "Oni-kageyu" (fiendish kageyu) is known as the head of Hitsuke-tozoku-aratame-kata officers. However, at that time, the Hitsukearatame post and the Tozokuaratame post were not integrated, and it is said that the person was Naofusa NAKAYAMA, who assumed the first Hitsukearatame post, or Naomori NAKAYAMA, who was his father and was appointed to the Tおzokuaratame post on the same day. In 1699, the Tozokuarateme post and the Hituskearatame post were abolished, and the jobs came to be covered by three Bugyo posts (Jishabugyo (for handling shrine and temple affairs), Kanjobugyo(for handling financial affairs), and Machibugyo (for handling townspeople's affairs). However, in 1702 when the incident of raiding Kira's residence occurred, the Tozokuaratame post was restored, and the Bakuuchiaratame post (for cracking down gambling) was newly established. In the next year, the Hitsukearatame post was restored. In 1718, the Tozokuarateme post and the Hituskearatame post were integrated into the "Hitsuke-tozoku-aratame" post, with the post assumed by Sente-gashira (the head of sentegumi (a group of persons guarding Edo) additionally. However, this post became independent of Sente-gashira in 1862. The jobs of the Bakuuchiaratame post were transferred to the town magistrate post, in the year when the "Hitsuke-tozoku-aratame" post was introduced.

With no specific office provided, the residence of Sentegumi-gashira, for example, was used as the office. The organization of the sente-gumi (consisting of five to ten Yoriki officers (assistants) and 30 to 50 Doshin offices (placed under Yoriki)) was used as it was. However, persons having lots of experience in the cracking-down operations sometimes remained in the post even after the head of the Hitsuke-tozoku-aratame" post changed. Meakashi (persons hired temporarily) were also used as in the town magistrate's office. Nobutame HASEGAWA, who assumed the post from 1787 to 1795, is famous.

The Hitsuke-tozoku-aratame-kata post was provided with the right to investigate crimes, such as theft, burglary, and arson, but with almost no jurisdiction. Therefore, when making a judgment for a suspect who should have been administered to a punishment above the Tataki punishment (basically, beating), the matter had to be submitted for the judgment of Roju (the second-highest post in the bakufu government). The Hitsuke-tozoku-aratame-kata officers belonged to the bankata (guardians), who were military officers, and therefore, their cracking-down operations were relentless and were feared by the general public. It is recorded that they were disliked by the officers at the town magistrate offices who were engaged in investigations of crimes. Perhaps due to such a situation, villain's roles were often assigned to them, for example, in period dramas.

The head of the Hitsuke-tozoku-aratame-kata post was also in charge of Kayakukata-ninsokuyoseba, which was the facility to correct criminals' behaviors and to train them for jobs. However, except Heizo HASEGAWA, the first manager of Ninsokuyoseba, the manager was placed under the town magistrate as Yoseba-bugyo, the head of an organization separated from the Hitsuke-tozoku-aratame-kata post.

History of the establishment of the post
The town magistrate officers belonged to the Yaku-gata group consisted of civil officers, and the Hitsuke-tozoku-aratame-kata officers belonged to the Ban-gata group consisted of military officers. One reason for this situation was that "robbers" in the early Edo period were mostly groups of armed robbers, and when they resisted, the town magistrate officers, being unarmed, could not control them (although provided with a sword as a samurai, doshin officers in the town magistrate used to capture criminals alive with jitte (short one hook truncheon) and ladders, without using the sword. In addition, criminals often set fire on the building after committing a crime in it to disrupt the investigation. Therefore, this post was established as the riot police that could crack down these criminals with arms and was provided with investigation right as well.

The abolishment of and the reestablishment of the post
The Hitsuke-tozoku-aratame-kata officers were permitted to take any questionable person into custody forcibly, even if the person was an ordinary person in towns, a samurai or a priest. Therefore, many adverse effects, for example, of arresting a wrong person due to relentless cracking-down operations,, were caused, and therefore, the post remained abolished for a while but was reestablished in 1702. It is said that two Honyaku-kayaku (kayaku means a temporary post to be assumed additionally) officers (with a term of one year) and two tobun-kayaku officers (with a term of half of a year) were employed customarily. The tobunkayaku officers were appointed to the post in the autumn - winter season when many fires occurred. In addition, the number of these officers was sometimes increased under chaotic situations, for example, when destructive riots occurred frequently in the Edo city area. In 1862, the post became the one to be assumed independently, not to be assumed additionally as well as temporarily.

[Original Japanese]