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The Rōjū (老中?), usually translated as Elder, was one of the highest-ranking government posts in Tokugawa Japan. The term refers either to individual Elders, or to the Council as a whole; under the first two shoguns, there were only two Rōjū. The number was then increased to five, and later reduced to four.

The Elders had a number of responsibilities, most clearly delineated in the 1634 ordinance that reorganized the government and created a number of new posts:

  1. Relations with the Throne, the Court, and the Prince-Abbots.
  2. Supervision of those daimyo who controlled lands worth at least 10,000 koku.
  3. Managing the forms taken by official documents in official communications.
  4. Supervision of the internal affairs of the Shogun's domains.
  5. Coinage, public works, and enfiefment.
  6. Governmental relations and supervision of monasteries and shrines.
  7. Compilation of maps, charts, and other government records.

The Rōjū served not simultaneously, but in rotation, each serving the Shogun for a month at a time, communicating with the Shogun through a chamberlain, calledSoba-yōnin. However, the Rōjū also served as members of the Hyōjōsho council, along with the Ō-Metsuke and representatives of various Bugyō (Commissions or Departments). As part of the Hyōjōsho, the Rōjū sometimes served a role similar to that of a supreme court, deciding succession disputes and other such disputed matters of state.

Under the reign of Tokugawa Tsunayoshi (1680–1709), however, the Rōjū lost nearly all their power, as the Shogun began to work more closely with the Tairō, Chamberlains, and others, including Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu, who held the power of a Tairō, but not the title. The Rōjū became little more than messengers, going through the motions of their proper roles as intermediaries between the Shogun and other offices, but not being able to exercise any power to change or decide policy. As Arai Hakuseki, a major Confucian poet and politician of the time wrote, "All the Rōjū did was to pass on his [Yoshiyasu's] instructions" (Sansom 141). Even after Tsunayoshi's death, the Rōjū did not regain their former power. They continued to exist, however, as a government post and a council with, officially if not in fact, all the powers and responsibilities they originally held, through the Edo period.

The Wakadoshiyori (若年寄?), or "Junior Elders", were high government officials in 17th-century Tokugawa Japan. The position was established around 1631, but appointments were irregular until 1662.

The four to six Wakadoshiyori were subordinates to the Rōjū, or "Elders", and were responsible for a variety of duties. There were periods when the number ofwakadoshiyori rose to 6 or 7 at one time.[1]

The wakadoshiyori ranked below the rōjū in status, but they ranked above the jisha-bugyō. These officials were tasked with supervising the activities of members of the feudal class below daimyō status[1] — and this would include the hatamoto (the shogun's direct retainers), craftsmen, physicians, public works and vassals of the shogun whose annual income was less than 10,000 koku.

They also oversaw the activities of offices in the great castle cities of the country, including Kyoto and Osaka.


Kaketomi dera

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Shōkozan Tōkei-ji

Tokei-ji Kita-kamakura 2.jpg

Tōkei-ji in Kita-kamakura



Rinzai, Engaku-ji School




Hōjō Sadatoki, Kakusan-ni


1367 Yamanouchi, Kamakura

Kanagawa 247-0062





Shōkozan Tōkei-ji (松岡山東慶寺?), also known as Kakekomi-dera (駆け込み寺?) or Enkiri-dera (縁切り寺?)), is a Buddhist temple and a former nunnery, the only survivor of a network of five nunneries called Amagozan (尼五山?), in the city of Kamakura in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. It is part of the Rinzai school of Zen's Engaku-ji branch, and was opened by Hōjō Sadatoki in 1285. It is best known as a historic refuge for women who were abused by their husbands.[1] It is for this reason sometimes referred to as the "Divorce Temple".