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Author Ehlers, Maren Annika
Title Poor relief and the negotiation of local order in early modern Japan
book jacket
Descript 407 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 72-09, Section: A, page: 3454
Adviser: David L. Howell
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Princeton University, 2011
This dissertation examines poor relief in the institutional context of the early modern Japanese state. It argues that poor relief during the Tokugawa period (1603--1867) was shaped by a style of government that worked through ties of duty and privilege between the warrior authorities and the autonomous status groups under their control, such as neighborhoods of townspeople, peasant villages, professional guilds, and religious orders. Rather than discussing government policies or the initiatives of subjects in isolation, this study explores the links between the two through a local case study of Ono domain in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. It relies primarily on the journals of the castle town elders and a variety of other administrative documents
The government of Ono, a small domain in Echizen province, took an active interest in poor relief, both to prevent unrest and because the moral economy dictated that rulers protect their people during times of distress. However, implementation depended to a large extent on the services and self-governing capacities of status groups. Two of the chapters concentrate on individual status groups whose existence hinged on the fact that their members were recipients of relief: the beggar (hinin) guild, and the guilds of male and female blind professionals (zat o and goze). These associations enjoyed official begging rights, but were also expected to control and relieve beggars and other people who were excluded from mutual help within town and village communities
The remaining two chapters each center on a broader category of welfare (beggar relief and famine relief) to show how the status order was able to tie together disparate mechanisms and actors of relief. Many formal relief schemes, such as rice gruel kitchens for beggars, famine relief for townspeople, and the beggar hospice, were collaborative efforts of the domain government, mendicant guilds, and associations of wealthy commoners. The status-based model of poor relief remained relevant until the end of the early modern period, as Ono domain increasingly mobilized the charity of rich commoners and stepped up its reliance on the hinin guild as a vagrant police
School code: 0181
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 72-09A
Subject History, Asia, Australia and Oceania
Asian Studies
History, Modern
Political Science, Public Administration
Sociology, Public and Social Welfare
Sociology, Social Structure and Development
Alt Author Princeton University
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