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Performing the Great PeacePolitical Space and Open Secrets in Tokugawa Japan$
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Luke S. Roberts

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835132

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835132.001.0001

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Territorial Border Disputes

Territorial Border Disputes

(p.105) 4 Territorial Border Disputes
Performing the Great Peace

Luke S. Roberts

University of Hawai'i Press

Land was second only to inheritance politics in its ability to excite passions and inspire violence in Tokugawa Japan, and a chief task of the Tokugawa government was to mediate struggles over territorial control. This chapter examines three seventeenth-century boundary disputes to uncover the interplay between omote constraints and naishō activity in the Tokugawa legal system. All three cases reveal a network of constraints that encouraged settlement out of court or by court-brokered mediation, designed to preserve the appearance of peace and harmony despite the highly litigious reality. They illustrate how the political process behind the suits helped strengthen “inside” identities through the management of information. The first two disputes represent conflicts between daimyo, one resolved in court and one resolved through out-of-court settlement. The third case explores how villagers used the politics of omote and naishō to challenge and defeat their own daimyo in Tokugawa court.

Keywords:   Tokugawa legal system, boundary disputes, omote, naisho, daimyo

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