Torimi (鳥見)

Torimi (officer for falconry) is a position in the Edo shogunate. The duties were to manage the falcon hunting grounds and to prepare for falcon hunting by the shogun. Falconry dates back to the medieval times when similar positions could be found in feudal domains.

In contrast to the takajo (hawker) in charge of training the birds, the torimi was responsible for supervising the bird habitat in the hunting grounds in order to guide the shogun to locations with a high percentage of prey. Once a hunting ground was established, the torimi took charge of preventing poaching, feeding birds to become prey and mobilizing people from neighboring villages and securing safety. Because the torimi required extensive knowledge and experience in hunting, the post was regarded a skilled post and was very often hereditary.

Due to instances of the torimi entering the premises of samurai and daimyo estates in order to "inspect the bird habitat" and also due to the exceptionally large stipend of 80 bales of rice, it has been said that the torimi served as intelligence officers as well.

Although the post is believed to have been created because falconry was the favorite sport of shoguns since Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, it did not become an official position until 1643 when 10 torimis were appointed under the wakadoshiyori. The sport was abolished under Tsunayoshi TOKUGAWA's edict prohibiting harm on living things but was restored and expanded under the reign of Yoshimune TOKUGAWA. It was later abolished permanently in December 1967 when Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA decided to adopt the Western military system.

Torimi stationed at the hunting ground hired men from neighboring villages as "takaban," which posed a heavy burden on the appointees and at times caused villagers to riot, due in part to the mobilization of villagers during the shogun's hunt.

Principal posts

Torimi-gashira (torimi-kumigashira) earned 200 bales of rice, stipend for 5 dependents and salary of 20 ryo (gold pieces)
2 persons
Torimi earned 80 bales of rice, stipend for 5 dependents and 18 ryo for using post horses.
10 at the start, increasing to 32
9 Torimi trainees
7 Torimi stationed at hunting grounds

[Original Japanese]