The Dismantled Feudal Violent Apparatuses

Max Weber, quoting Leon Trotsky’s “Every state is based on force,” defined the modern state as “a human community that (successfully) lays claim to the monopoly of legitimate physical violence within a particular territory.” In other words, the arming of the early modern dispossessed was a violent device that was incompatible with the development of the military power of the modern state. This was also true from the perspective of the Marxist view of the state, whereby the eta-yaku and kawata-yaku in the capture of criminals and the execution of sentences were violent apparatuses of feudal lords. The transition from early modernity to late modernity was a process of dismantling those. It is not abstract, but very concrete. According to a document in the Fuchi Ruisan, this can be clearly seen in 1868, when the new government ordered Dan Naiki (originally Danzaemon of Asakusa) to hand over all the rifles and guns given to him as a head of the eta by the old shogunate.

Two factors can be pointed out regarding this process. The first is that the dismantling of the violent apparatus of feudal power has taken the form of a functional differentiation in the construction of the nation-state. The judiciary was separated from the military and a modern legal system was introduced; the police system, which began with the establishment of rasotsu (patrolling officers) in 1871, was reorganized by the Ministry of Justice into a national police organization, the Keiho-ryo (a national police control head quoter), in 1872, and with it the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. Police administration thus became centrally administered by the state. At the beginning of the police system, no one became a police officer, as most of the population saw the patrolemen as an extension of the role of senmin. Therefore, even in Hiroshima Prefecture, the former serfs were temporarily employed. The hachiya, the formerly the senmin in Shimane prefecture, who had previously been full-time workers, applied for employment, but did not pass the recruitment examinations because they did not meet the eligibility requirements. Furthermore, their policing and arrest methods, which were not in accordance with modern criminal law, caused them to be forced out of their positions.

Carl von Clausewitz stated that soldiers are recruited, paid with clothing and weapons, ad trained. In addition, they sleep, eat, drink and march. These are for the purpose of fighting whenever and wherever they are required. The difference between a late modern army and a hereditary feudal army is clearly illustrated in this statement. The early modern senmin were soldiers who lived with their families and belonged to the local community. It was an existence that contradicted the modern army. This prevented the incorporation of the Early Modern Displaced Persons into the modern army. It was the same as that which prevented the transition of the old samurai corps into the modern military. The feudal military form of organization, which was based on the mustering of armies and the summoning of vassals and jurymen, turned during the “military revolution” to the demilitarization of the nobility and the creation of standing armies under the king's control, and state investment in military technology (artillery, warships, fortifications, etc.) made feudal tactics no longer obsolete. The outdated katana were no longer to be found, replaced by the rifle and machineguns. As a result, former senmin as bodies were completely dismantled and relegated to the margins of society.

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