Document 5. Kyōto Prefecture Directive

This document reveals that the villages of Kamo and “one other” (unnamed, but Matsugasaki) were abolished in the third month of 1890. As Suzuki Gentoku was rewarded for seven years of service, he must have been head of these two villages since at least the fourth month of 1883. Kamo and Matsugasaki remain the names of wards of Kyōto City to this day. The vermillion seal of Kyōto Prefecture is simplified when compared to of 1888 and the handwriting of this record is atrocious. Suzuki Gentoku received thirty gold yen for his services. When inflation is considered, the the sum Gentoku received would be 968.78 dollars, which at the time was the monthly salary of bank presidents and government officials, or the amount of a first-class ticket on a ship from Nagasaki to Shangai.1









To: Suzuki Gentoku, the administrative head of Shimogamo and one other village, Otagi district.

In accordance with the directive regarding the establishment of towns and villages, your post will be abolished by the thirty-first day of the third month of the next year. For your seven years of service, you will receive thirty gold yen.

Seventh month, first day, Meiji 22 (1889) [Seal of Kyōto prefecture]

1. For 30 gold yen being the cost of a first-class ticket on a ship from Nagasaki to Shanghai, see Josua Fogel, Articulating the Sinosphere: Sino-Japanese relations in Space and Time (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009), p. 84. A bank president could earn 30-100 yen per month while a Meiji official (and author Shimei Futabatei) could receive a starting salary of 30 yen per month. Johannes Hirschmeier and Tsunehiko Yui, The Development of Japanese Business 1600-1973 (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1975), note 19, p. 143 and Marleigh Grayer Ryan, trans., Japan’s First Modern Novel: Ukigumo of Futabatei Shimei (New York: Columbia University Press, 1967), p. 139. A gold yen in 1889 was exchanged at .997 USD, and inflation calculators reveal that it would be worth 32.29 USD today (2022).