Naidankata (内談方)

The Naidankata, that functioned from 1344 to 1349, was a Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) controlled deliberative organization managing the shomusata (trial dealing with land-related issues).

At the beginning of the Muromachi bakufu, Seii taishogun (great general) Takauji ASHIKAGA entrusted his real younger brother Tadayoshi ASHIKAGA with a civil administration and a part of the military administration. Tadayoshi had managed the shomusata by establishing the Hikitsukekata (adjudication office) based on an old system adopted by the Kamakura bakufu, however the business became gradually complicated. Furthermore, he was annoyed by a feud with KO no Moronao, a main retainer of the Ashikaga clan.

Therefore, Tadayoshi abolished the Hikitsukekata and instead established the Naidankata. Dividing the national land into three regions, the bakufu set up an office in each region, and appointed KO no Moronao, Tomosada UESUGI (the Futahashi Uesugi family) and Shigeyoshi UESUGI as the tonin (the director). They each managed the shomusata with ten subordinate Yoryudo (officer of the bakufu). In the original Hikitsukekata, the discussion and the shogun's ultimate decision-making (Tadayoshi made decision on behalf of shogun Takauji) on the settled items were thoroughly separated. Meanwhile, the newly established Naidankata was significant in some respects: Tadayoshi attended the discussion held at Naidankata and made an ultimate decision on the spot, Hikitsukekata had nearly a hundred members of naidanshu (judges) but the number was drastically reduced in the Naidankata to only thirty who were appointed by Yoryudo, moreover, attendance of Tadayoshi and his political rival KO no Moronao, a leader of opposition group, at the Naidankata gave no room to complain about the decision made by the Naidankata. Moreover, it is said that Tadayoshi tried to ensure his authority in decision making by gathering bushi (group of warriors) supporting him to the Naidankata, aiming to keep Moronao in check.

Consequently, in spite of success in enhancing its political influence on the shomusata, the Muromachi bakufu could not achieve another goal of putting a period to the confrontation between Tadayoshi and Moronao, it rather deteriorated. Murder of captive Shigeyoshi UESUGI by Moronao forced the Naidankata to stop functioning only five years after its establishment. It was not long before the Naidankata was effectively abolished because gokenin (vassal of the shogunate) belonged to the Tadayoshi group, the main members of the Naidankata, left the bakufu. Afterwards, Yoshiakira ASHIKAGA (later the second shogun), who took charge of the civil administration instead of Tadayoshi, restored the abolished Hikitsukekata without any reform, with the result that the discussion and the shogun's ultimate decision were separated again.

[Original Japanese]