Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The formation of Shikoku

   Hello. This time I am going to write about how Shikoku was established. Ok, let's start a history class, shall we?

   In the late 7th century, the four prefectures of Shikoku were formed. Before that, powerful families governed each area as Kuninomiyatsuko(*1). For example, in Kochi there were Tosano- kuninomiyatsuko and Hatano-kuninomiyatsuko. After that, in the late 7th century, the four countries of Iyono-Kuni (present-day Ehime prefecture), Sanukino-Kuni (Kagawa pref.), Awano-Kuni (Tokushima pref.) and Tosano-Kuni (Kochi pref.) were established in the Shikoku region under the Ritsuryo-sei(*2) system. Then, in the Edo period there were lots of Han (*3) in Japan, but the number of Han in each Kuni (country) was different. For example in Tosano-Kuni there was only Tosa-Han, but in Sanukino-Kuni there were nine. (By the way, in this period Katsutoyo Yamauchi,who is a kind of cult-figure now, governed Kochi as a Daimyo (*4).)

   In the Meiji period, at first there were twelve prefectures in Shikoku, but after amalgamations under the Haihan-Chiken (*5) reform, the four present-day prefectures were formed. This is a really rough historical outline of Shikoku. You can find lots more interesting things if you look. For example, there were 302(!) prefectures in Japan soon after the Haihan-Chiken reform. Each ‘country’ has its own history. So the more you know about Japan, the more enjoyable things you will find. I hope that by learning about many different things, you will enjoy your time in Kochi even more!
(*1)Kuninomiyatsuko : the name of a position in theYamato regime
(*2)Ritsuryo-sei : a kind of system to control the people in that period
(*3)Han : a local government like a small country, controlled by a Daimyo
(*4)Daimyo : samurai who were given lands of over 10,000 Koku# by the Bakufu Shogunate.
(#This is a kind of measuring system. In that period, all value was converted into an amount
based on the rice production in the area. This was equivalent to today’s currency.)
(*5)Haihan Chiken : one of the political reforms of theMeiji era. This promoted the centralisation of power and abolished the Han, replacing them with prefectures.
Taken from vol.13 PDF

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