- The Human Geographical Society of Japan
- 人文地理 (ISSN:00187216)
- vol.50, no.1, pp.1-22, 1998-02-28 (Released:2009-04-28)
The administrative area of Kohri, the early form of ‘county’ in late seventh century Japan, has been regarded as a succession to the territory previoasly held by a specific powerful clan. This thought is based upon the fact that many Kohri were established according to the applications by the clans. However the existence of such applications did not always mean that the territory of Kohri coincided with that of the clan, and the relation between the territory of Kohri and that of the powerful clan has not yet effectively been inquired.In this paper, the author has surveyed the distribution of ancient tombs and has reexamined the folklore on the powerful clans in the provinces of Tango, Wakasa, Hitachi, Ise and Harima. As a result, Kohri can be classified into four types: A) those consisting of the area ruled by specific powerful clan; B) those containing the area ruled by specific powerful clan as a part; C) those containing the areas ruled by plural powerful clans; D) and those not containing the specific areas ruled by powerful clans. Among these types, the old image of the territory of Kohri assumed they were all type A. However it is remarkable that there were many cases of types B, C and D. This means that the territory of Kohri was demarcated not only by succeeding to the territory of a specific powerful clan, but also by following a policy of the ancient state.Examining historical records, it has been found that type B was standard, but A was not. The process of the establishment of Kohri is summarized as follows: (1) In 646, members of specific powerful clan (Kuninomiyatsuko) in each area were appointed as local government officials, and new local administrative districts were established. (2) Considering the number of Kuninomiyatsuko, the territories of these local administrative districts might be wider than the areas originally ruled by them. (3) In 649, these local administrative districts were rearranged to Kohri. (4) Consequently the type B is regarded as the basic type of Kohri, and other types are later versions which evolved in the period of re-dividing Kohri in and after 653. (5) It is supposed that powerful clans, who missed the positions of officers of Kohri in the first stage, demanded such positions for keeping their powers in their territory, or that the necessity arose to control the territory of Kohri more smoothly.The territory of Kohri is fundamentally a region that was formed by the political intention of the ancient state, and the character as a formal region is stronger than that as a substantive region.