Cassandra Dierolf: Research Concerning Property and Inheritance Rights of Women in the 12th and 13th Centuries

11:15-11:45 Cassandra Dierolf, USC East Asian Studies Center

“Research Concerning Property and Inheritance Rights of Women in the 12th and 13th Centuries”

For my master’s thesis I have researched women’s property and inheritance rights as they appear in the laws of the later Heian and Kamakura Periods. First, I examined the law book known as the Hōsōshiyōshō written by the Sakanoue family in the very late Heian/very early Kamakura Period. The legal scholars of the Sakanoue family recorded the precedents set by and their understanding of laws concerning women’s property and inheritance rights as practiced by noble families of the time. Next, I examined the legal text known as the Goseibai shikimoku, established by the Kamakura bakufu to shape the process of lodging suits in bakufu courts by their houseman warriors in the Kamakura Period (1185-1333). I also researched what is known as the Tsuika hō, created after the Goseibai shikimoku, after a number of lawsuits occurred, and the rulings of those cases became new or supplementary laws. Within the Hōsōshiyōshō, the Goseibai shikimoku, and the Tsuika hō, there are a number of clauses that concern the rights of women in holding land. Particularly, in an examination of Clause 24 (est. 1232) of the Goseibai shikimoku, and Clauses 327 (est. 1239) and 330 (est. 1285) of the Tsuika hō, the limiting of women’s property rights over a fifty-year period is very clear. In this presentation, to illustrate the change in women’s property rights, these three clauses will be discussed in some detail.