Kubo-okura (financial branch) (公方御倉)

The Kubo-okura was the financial branch of the Muromachi bakufu, in charge of managing revenues and expenditures. It was simply called "Okura." Its head called Kurabugyo (Okurabugyo) led the branch but, in fact, Nosenkata selected from private Doso (pawnbrokers and moneylenders) inside Kyoto City were commissioned by the Kurabugyo to handle accounting.

In the Middle Ages there was a high risk of experiencing misfortune, such as disasters and theft. Therefore some samurai warriors, court nobles, and common people living in Kyoto tried to avoid such a risk by placing their properties in the custody of the Doso, moneylenders such as pawnbrokers, or temples surrounded by well-defended stone walls and fences. So did the Imperial Court and the bakufu (feudal government), and for example those who managed money and properties of the Imperial Court were called Kinrimikura.

The Muromachi bakufu had its own warehouses in Shokoku-ji Temple, which was located next to its Hana no Gosho (residence of the Ashikaga Shogun family) and the family temple of Ashikaga family positioned to accede to the shogunate, and had their properties managed by the Momii clan that assumed the post of the Kurabugyo for generations
After the bakufu issued 'five rules regarding Doso and sake brewers scattered Rakuchu' in 1393 and started to levy the uniform yakusen tax on the Doso and sake brewers in Kyoto, Nosenkata (an institution to collect tax from moneylenders and sake breweries) was elected from leading Doso and sake brewers. The Doso and sake brewers that assumed the position of Nosenkata temporarily stored collected taxes in their own warehouse before transporting them to the government. In later years, they took charge of revenue and expenditures under the written order of the bakufu (steward of the bakufu or Kurabugyo) because doing so saved them transpiration of the tax to the government. This is believed to be the origin of the Kubo-okura (financial branch).

The Kubo-okura's responsibilities included the accounting of taxes (yakusen tax and munabetsu-sen) collected from sake brewers, Dokura and miso producers, the management of gifts to the government from all quarters (arms, paper, lacquer ware, clothes and other articles, that were used for government works and gifts to vassals or converted into money to hold Buddhist services and other events), and the management of official documents of the bakufu. As the Nosenkata was a moneylender, the bakufu, when in financial difficulty, is considered to have borrowed money from it like the general public did.

When the Nosenkata collected the tax and stored it in its warehouse, it sent the government a 'Uketori' (receipt). When the bakufu entrusted its properties to the okura, the Mandokoro (Administrative Board) prepared 'Okurijo' and send it to Kubo-okura with a 'Shitagaki' issued by the Kurabugyo along with the properties to be stored, and the Nosenkata of the Okura, in return, sent an 'Uketori' (receipt) to the government to acknowledge receipt. When the bakufu requested the Okura to disburse from its deposit, an official payment order was issued by the Mandokoro and jointly signed by the Kurabugyo. In later years, this system was simplified; an 'Uketori' (receipt) prepared by Mandokoro was sent to the Okura along with a 'Shitagaki' prepared by the Kurabugyo to substitute for the written order.

[Original Japanese]