History of Asia

Is it really an animal protection law? Was Tsunayoshi Tokugawa's decree of mercy on living creatures a bad law?

Throughout the Edo period, no policy is as famous as the decree of mercy on living creatures.

I think that many 15th shoguns know only the name of Tsunayoshi next to Ieyasu and Iemitsu. It turns out that Tsunayoshi's decree of mercy on living creatures is an impactful policy.

  • If you kill a dog, you'll be decapitated
  • If you kill a mosquito, exile

5th Shogun Tsunayoshi Has been said to have made.

The decree of mercy on living things has been said to be a bad law, but it is being reviewed in the same way as Tsunayoshi.

The first decree of mercy on living creatures was a horse protection decree

When I hear this policy, I remember dogs, but at first it was a horse protection order.

Hatamotos of Edo have to ride horses in case of emergency. However, with the continuation of the world of Taihei Tenka, the need for horses has disappeared.

Furthermore, the lives of Hatamoto and his friends, who depended on the shogunate's annual tribute rice, gradually became difficult and they could not afford to keep horses. As a result, there will be no end to those who abandon horses. Moreover, instead of just throwing it away, he cut the muscles of the horse's legs and left it to immobilize.

This is an obvious animal cruelty, and Tsunayoshi, who could not see such a situation, said [ Horse protection order ] I mentioned it as.

We have set up dog houses in various parts of Edo to protect them.

There were many stray dogs in Edo before the decree of mercy on living things was issued.

The cause was that the hunting dog kept in the daimyo mansion escaped from the mansion and became wild. These stray dogs often harm the townspeople, and in 1688, the stray dogs rampaged near the present Tokorozawa, killing four people and injuring six.

On the other hand, among the samurai, such stray dogs are used to try out swords . Some people will do it.

To overcome such a situation, Tsunayoshi builds a vast dog mansion in Edo.

He said he built the facility near what is now Nakano, which housed about 40,000 dogs.

Actually, it does not fit there, and the number of facilities will increase one by one, and the cost of managing dogs will weigh heavily on the finances of the Shogunate.

The law that has made the pet owners responsible for the daimyo who have increased the number of stray dogs in the town of Edo is the decree of mercy on living creatures.

Even in modern times, some people are willing to throw away their pets that they can no longer keep, or bring them to a health center and poison them. It is premature to conclude that the decree of mercy on living creatures, which was born to crack down on such people in the Edo period, is a bad law.

"Abandoned animals" include abandoned children and abandoned sick people

This law has the image of animal welfare, but it also includes humans.

At that time, there was a tendency to throw away one's own children and the sick without hesitation. Even if a person fell down on the road, there were many things I didn't see because I didn't want to get involved. This law also regulated such vulnerable people.

With that in mind, isn't there a law for people like this, let alone a bad law?

It is no exaggeration to say that it is an education of the lives of living things.

It seems that 69 cases were actually punished ...

A total of 69 cases have been punished by this decree of mercy on living creatures.
The breakdown is 46 cases for samurai, 15 cases for tradesmen, 6 cases for farmers, and 2 cases for temples.

In particular, there are many violations of the samurai who are in a position to take the initiative in observing this law and have the townspeople protect it. It seems that the disposal was also severe. On the other hand, ordinary people are relatively lightly sentenced, and unless they are very malicious, they are heavy and seem to have been exiled to the island.

The decree of mercy on living creatures came into effect for 22 years. Among them, if we consider 69 cases, it is about 3 cases per year. It seems that many people were punished by this law, but it wasn't.

If a samurai is cut off under this law, he will be seppuku. He was still good at seppuku, and he was sometimes beheaded because he couldn't even protect the honor of the samurai.

Finally ...

It is said that through the decree of mercy on living things, the feeling of valuing plants and animals and respecting families and ancestors spread not only to the samurai but also to the common people.

It is said that when the Japanese learned the importance of life, they became the current form of entering the grave with their families from the feeling that they would all be together even if they went to the world.

It is the original purpose of the decree of mercy on living things to cherish and cherish all living things including human beings.

Japan is globally evaluated as having no looting or theft in the event of an earthquake. It is said that Tsunayoshi is responsible for the beauty of Japan. It was the beginning of the kind heart that the world praised because of the decree of mercy on living things, which was called this evil law.