Yoriki (a governmental post in the Edo bakufu) (与力)

Yoriki was a typical governmental post in the Edo bakufu. Yoriki (与力) was sometimes written as 寄騎, but the meaning of 与力 and that of 寄騎 depended on the era.

Before the Edo period,in order to organize sonae (back-up army), this term was also used for indicating a middle-class samurai, such as a head of ashigaru (foot soldiers) having themsleves under the control of an influential samurai.

In the medieval period

In the Kamakura period, both 与力 and 寄騎 were used simply refer to back-up soldiers, but later, these terms came to be more often used for indicating the lower-class samurai who followed daimyo or influential millitary commanders.

In the Sengoku period (period of warring states) (in Japan), these terms were often used for indicating "yori-ko" (寄子, where 子 indicates a child) (寄子 = local territory owners for influential military commanders (yori-oya: 寄親 where 親 indicates a parent)), not indicating lower-class samurai but local territoy owners. It was not rare that these territoty owners possessed land worth several thousand kanmon (kanmon: monetary unit at that time).

Furthermore, there were the yoriki-daimyo who were subordinated by a larger daimyo to reinforce his power. As a typical such example, Toshiie MAEDA was subordinated by Katsuie SHIBATA.

Daimyo in the Sengoku period racked their brains to prevent rebellion, considering that, when yori-ko (寄騎・寄子), territory owners were allowed to be integrated into yori-oya (寄親), the power of the yori-oya could become too big..

Therefore, the daimyo in the Sengoku period, who led yori-oya, did not make these territory owners (yori-ko) retainers of their retainers but their direct retainers, and then made the yori-ko subordinated by their senior vassals or influential military commanders (yori-oya) to use the military power of the local territory owners effectively. In particular, these tactics were often seen in the Gohojo clan, the Imagawa clan, and the Uesugi clan.

In the early-modern times

In the Edo bakufu, yoriki were posted together with doshin (officers under yoriki) to assist their senior officers.. In particular, machi-kata yoriki under machi-bugyo (the post in charge of townspeople's affairs or officers in the post) was famous, assisted machi-bugyo, and played the functions of administration, judicature, and police. In addition to ordinary yoriki who belonged to Bugyo-sho, there were also uchiyori who were private retainers of machi-bugyo. It could be considered that a yoriki was the head of a police station.

Yoriki was allowed to ride on a horse, and top-class yoriki officers earned a two hundred and several tens of rice crop, surpassing lower-class Hatamoto (direct retainers of the bakufu). However, yoriki were not allowed to have audience with Shogun nor to enter the Edo castle.

For a yoriki officer, a residence with around 300 tubo (approximately 3.3 square meters/tubo) of premises was given.

[Original Japanese]