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Land Administration in Medieval Japan: Ito no shô in Chikuzen Province, 1131–1336

Land Administration in Medieval Japan: Ito no shô in Chikuzen Province, 1131–1336

By Judith Fröhlich

History: The Journal of the Historical Association, Vol. 88:239 (2003)

Abstract: The topic of land administration is central in historical studies of medieval Japan, since it provides insight into the social and economic development during the medieval period and highlights the lives of various social groups, courtiers, clerics, warriors and peasants. Based on the case of Ito no shô, an estate in northern Kyushu, this article analyses the establishment of a wide system of land administration under courtiers and central religious institutions during the twelfth century and its decline during the thirteenth century. The concurrent rise of local land managers and their social and economic activities during the thirteenth century are also explored. Finally, an assessment is made of the impact of the Mongol invasions of 1274 and 1281 on economic and social development during the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, in particular the loss of influence of central authorities in regions remote from the capital and the formation of rural communities under the leadership of local warriors.

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