1 Governmental organization 2 Provincial organization and administration 3 Chinese influence 4 Chronology 5 Notes 6 References 7 See also
Map of provinces in 701–702
The country was divided into provinces called kuni (国), and the
central government appointed administrative governors, kokushi
(国司), divided into four levels (the Shitōkan), kami, suke, jo and
sakan to each province. The provinces were further divided into
districts called gun (郡) or kōri, which were administered by
locally appointed officials called gunji (郡司). These local
officials were primarily responsible for keeping the peace, collecting
taxes, recruiting labor for the corvée, and for keeping registers of
population and land allotment. Within the districts' further
subdivisions, local organization varied greatly, but often resembled
the arrangement of a township of fifty or so homes led by a headman.
The number of provinces was not fixed, however. As new land was
developed, new provinces came into being. At the time of the Code's
enactment, there were sixty-six provinces comprising 592 districts.
The Chinese system known as ritsuryō in
"The Reform of 645 was much more abrupt and radical than the similar change of 1868. In the former, the nation at large was morely [sic] passive, for a few statesmen accomplished the sweeping transformation. In 1868, although the Imperial throne was the inspiration of the movement, the actual work was participated [sic] by a considerable section of the nation. Moreover, the Japanese of the nineteenth century were more prepared, politically, socially, and intellectually, for their new life, than were those of the seventh for theirs. To say nothing of the training of the feudal regime which the former had received, they had been incomparably better trained mentally than their forefathers of 645, for there had been among them an intellectual revival, and some of them had sharpened their appetite for knowledge by studying Dutch books".
Any examinations of the earliest known texts become exercises in historiography—for example:
"Something must be said respecting the form in which the [Taihō] Code has come down to us. It exists only in the edition of 833, which contains, besides the text of 701, the official commentaries compiled in 718 and 833. The dates are not noted, and hence it will be an important question how much was the original law of 701. The work is written in three different types which interlace one another in each article, the first being the largest, the second smaller, and the third in the form of double-lined gloss. Of these, the first forms the main text, while the other two are comments on it. Of these, the first forms the main text, while the other two are comments on it. Of the latter, again, the second type occupies a far smaller portion of the commentary than the third. We establish that the third type was written after and the other two before 809, for an edict of that year cites passages from the latter two, but does not refer to the corresponding portion of the former which, if it had then existed, could not from its nature have escaped reference. This evidence would seem tantamount to saying that the third type represents the commentary of 833, for no other comment was made between 809 and 833 which has been accepted in the work of the latter year."
Although essential as a starting point, any list of serial events will reveal only part of the unfolding story - for example:
645, 6th month:
The three ministers appointed. The naming of the first year-period, Taika.
645, 8th month:
The eastern governors are appointed and instructions given to them. Appeals of the people from their group-heads to the government and Emperor granted. Status of the free and the unfree defined. The Buddhist church organized, protected and controlled.
645, 9th month:
The revolt and fall of Prince Furubito; an opposition party eliminated. Arms of the country collected. The powerful men forbidden to engross land.
646, 1st month:
The Decree of the Reform, abolishing miyake, tomo and the private estates, establishing salaries for the officers, defining the central region and the smaller administrative units, and regulating land-allotment and taxation. Armories ordered to be built in the kuni and kiri.
646, 3rd month:
The mita and miyake confiscated. Abuses of burial and marriage and some popular evil customs corrected.
646, 8th month: Intention of establishing a new order of rank and office announced. 647, 1st month: Intention of establishing a new order of rank and office announced. 647, 10th month: Thirteen cap-ranks established. 649, 2nd month: Nineteen cap-ranks established.
Eight departments and numerous offices established.
652, 4th month: The allotment of land completed, and the census made. Villages organized in units of five houses.
^ In the name "Taihō Code," the noun "Taihō" refers to the nengō
(Japanese era name) after "Shuchō" and before "Keiun." In other
Asakawa, Kan'ichi. (1903). The Early Institutional Life of Japan.
Tokyo: Shueisha. OCLC 4427686; see online, multi-formatted, full-text
book at openlibrary.org
Ferris, William Wayne. (1998). Sacred Texts and Buried Treasures:
Issues in the Historical Archaeology of Ancient Japan. Honolulu:
University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-2030-4 &
Louis-Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). Japan
encyclopedia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5; OCLC 58053128
Ponsonby-Fane, Richard Arthur Brabazon. (1959). The Imperial House of
Japan. Kyoto: Ponsonby Memorial Society. OCLC 194887
Sansom, George Bailey. (1958). A History of