SigakuKenkyu_156_1.pdf 1.32 MB
Fundamental Study on the Eso-gun Hyakushō Ikki, Bingo Province in 1867
Shortly before dawn on January 25th, 1867, a peasants' uprising broke out in the southern part of Hiroshima-han's Eso-gun—which lies within the Chugoku Sanchi—and quickly spread over the entire gun. The aim of the present essey is to consider the character and basis of this Eso-gun Hyakusho Ikki.
Insofar as the Eso-gun uprising (1) failed to extend outside Eso-gun itself, and (2) was mobilized by the traditional technique of having the ikki mob move from one village to another, it is possible to regard it as traditional peasants uprising. However, inasmuch as the movement also reflected the inherent contradictions between village officials and the general peasantry —with the ikki's demans including the restoration of pawned land, the cancellation of debts, and the equalization of taxes (jinarashi)—it can also be regarded as a social reform movement (Yonaoshi sōdō). In that sense, the Eso-gun uprising represents a transition from the traditional hyakushō ikki to the more progressive yonaoshi sōdō. Together with the uchikowashi movement that broke out in Takehara Shimoichi in the same year, then, this ikki reveals the first development in Hiroshima-han of a general situation that would generate reform.
The basic contradiction developing in the villages of Eso-gun, however,was not between village officials and an emerging semi-proletariat, but rather between the officials and the general peasantry. It was the result not of the development of commercial farming, but of an agricultural poverty born of excessive exploitation and the breakdown of the han's agrarian policy. The differentiation taking place among the peasantry of Eso-gun, therefore, was antipodal to that taking place along the coast of the Inland Sea, and we cannot detect in it the development of a "new class relationship," i. e., the emergence of a capitalist class relationship, in Eso-gun.