Tomo bugyo

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  • Japanese: 鞆奉行 (Tomo bugyô)

The Tomo bugyô, or Tomo Magistrate, was the chief official in the Edo period port-town of Tomonoura (today part of Fukuyama City, Hiroshima prefecture).

Tomo was ruled in the early decades of the 17th century by a short succession of lords, or castellans. Ôzaki Genba was granted Tomo as his sub-fief (and Tomo castle as his seat) by Fukushima Masanori; he was succeeded by Mizuno Katsutoshi in 1619. Katsutoshi was followed, however, by a man named Hagi Shin'emon becoming the first Tomo bugyô, overseeing the town not as a lord or castellan but as a magistrate, and though Hagi inherited Mizuno's residence, it was from then on referred to as a "mansion" (yashiki), and not as the castle.

The magistrate's staff consisted of some ten or so officials, roughly six of whom were metsuke (inspectors). This included a number of low-ranking samurai (okachi) as well as townsmen. Towards the very end of the Edo period (that is, by the 1850s), the number of metsuke had increased to ten. Roughly twenty ashigaru also served under the Tomo bugyô.

The office communicated regularly with town elders (shukurô), and worked to address the concerns and desires of the people of the port-town.

The magistrate himself earned a stipend which varied over the course of the period. In 1685, Tomo bugyô Ikuhara Kanyazaemon enjoyed a stipend of 300 koku; however, for many Tomo bugyô over the course of the period, they held 250 koku stipends as a result of their lineage, and earned an additional 100 koku as Magistrate.


  • Aono Shunsui 青野春水, "Edo jidai Tomo-chô no seiritsu to kôzô" 江戸時代鞆町の成立と構造, Tomo no tsu Nakamura-ke monjo mokuroku IV 鞆の津中村家文書目録 IV (2009), 252-254.