CHOSOKABE MOTOCHIKA

From the Chosokabe-shi Okitegaki 1596

 

- It should be the primary concern of everyone to train himself unceasingly in military accomplishment. Those who tend to excel their fellows in this should be given additional income. Particular attention should be paid to musketry, archery, and horsemanship. The military code is contained in a separate document.

- It is only natural that services are demanded of those who hold fiefs, and they must be carried out to the letter regardless of whether they are large or small. Anyone late for logging or construction work will be required to repeat the duty period as punishment. And anyone who comes short of the food and provisions requested of him for work detail will be required to supply as much again.

- In regard to those who abscond: offenders must be punished whatever their excuse and so also their relatives. Proper reward should be given neighbors or friends who report anyone whose behavior causes suspicion that he is planning to desert. Those who have knowledge of such intent and fail to report it will receive the same punishment as the offender. Furthermore, a man who reports late for lumbering or construction and leaves without getting permission from the magistrate will have his lands declared forfeited. If a man deserts directly to another province, punishment will also be imposed on his relatives. Similarly, if a man's retainer (hikan) deserts [from labor duty], the master will be penalized threefold.

- Heavy drinking is prohibited for all people, high and low, to say nothing of all magistrates. Furthermore: With regards to drunkards, the fine for minor offenses will be three kan of coins, and appropriate punishment (seibai) will be imposed for severe offenses. A man who cuts or strikes others [while drunk] will have his head cut off.

- As to illicit relations with another's wife: Although it is obvious, unless the guilty pair kill themselves, both of them should be executed. If approval of relatives is obtained, revenge may be undertaken, but unnatural cruelty will constitute a crime. If the husband fails to kill the man, or if he is away at the time the offense becomes known, the people of the village should kill the offender. In addition: If a woman has a reputation, the [marriage] contract is to be broken.

- When there is not a man in the house, no males-masseurs, peddlers, traveling sarugaku performers and musicians, solicitors for religious contributions (banjin) or even relatives-shall set foot in the house. If someone is ill and if the relatives approve, a visit may be made, but then only in daytime. Even the magistrate must carry on his business outside the gate. However, this does not apply to parents, sons, and brothers [of the household head].

- Whoever discovers that anyone, whether vassal or farmer, is concealing the existence of [untaxed] fields and reports it to the lord, will be rewarded strikingly. Acting on such information, the magistrate will base his ruling on the land survey register. If it becomes clear that a vassal concealed the field, he will be severely punished. And if it is a farmer who concealed it, he will be forced to pay double the tax due since the land survey, after which he will be banished. If he pleads hardship at this, he will have his head cut off.

- With regard to family succession: It is necessary to notify the lord and receive his permission, even if the heir is the head's real child. It is strictly forbidden to decide succession matters privately. Furthermore: One must also request permission to become guardian for a minor.

- As regards family name and succession designation for loyal retainers: If a vassal commits a crime and has to be punished, his family name will not be affected if the offense was a minor one. But if he commits a major crime, his punishment should include the loss of his family name.