The jizamurai (地侍) were lower-ranking samurai and upper-level peasants of smaller rural domains in feudal Japan.[1] They often used their relatively small plots of land for intensive and diversified forms of agriculture.

One of the primary causes for the rise in the number of smaller land holders was a decline in the custom of primogeniture. Towards the end of the Kamakura period, inheritance began to be split among a lord's sons, making each heir's holdings, and thus their power, smaller.

Over time, many of these smaller fiefs came to be dominated by the shugo, constables who were administrators appointed by the shogunate to oversee the provinces. Resentful and mistrustful of the interference of government officials, people under their control banded together into leagues called ikki. The uprisings that resulted, particularly when the shugo tried to seize control of entire provinces, were also called ikki; some of the largest and most famous took place in Wakasa Province in the 1350s.[2] Another major uprising occurred in Kaga Province in 1487–1488, where the jizamurai partook in a massive rebellion that resulted in the overthrow of the government and the creation of a de-facto independent confederacy in the province. In the late 15th century, jizamurai also formed ikki in Iga and Kōka, the military forces of which became known as ninja and gave name to the ninjutsu styles of Iga-ryū and Kōga-ryū.

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ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Harold Britho, 'The Han', in John Whitney Hall, ed., The Cambridge History of Japan, volume 4: Early Modern Period (Cambridge UP, 1988), 183–234,
  2. ^ Sansom, George (1961). A History of Japan, 1334–1615. Stanford University Press. p. 200–202, 207. ISBN 0804705259.