Yoriki were the chief assistants to magistrates.

Duties Edit

Yoriki would perform investigative and police work for their lords, such as finding witnesses to crimes and recording their testimonies, handling prisoners and conducting questioning (including torture), and overseeing the doshin in their master's service. [1]

The yoriki were the samurai who actually enforced the laws and prepared the cases instead of rendering judgment. However, the yoriki did not enjoy the diplomatic immunity that magistrates had from local daimyo. As such, they had to be careful in the execution of their duties, lest they run afoul of local law enforcement. Despite this, yoriki had a great share of autonomy in the execution of their assignments.[citation needed]

Commonly charged with inspecting the travel papers of all those who passed their waystations, it was required that anyone passing through a village with a Yoriki in it would have to pay them a visit and inform them of their intentions and destination. [2]

Loyalty Edit

Like a magistrate would to a Chief Magistrate, yoriki generally swore fealty to the magistrates they served. Unlike magistrates, however, yoriki were hired directly by their superiors. Each magistrate was responsible for finding and paying his own yoriki. [1]

Out of Clan Service Edit

While clan magistrates were nearly always members of the clan they serve, yoriki to those magistrates were often of different clans. This allowed magistrates to hire personnel with specific knowledge and abilities -- a Scorpion's knowledge of the criminal underworld, or an Isawa's knowledge of spellcraft, for instance -- that might otherwise be unavailable from members of their own clans.[citation needed]

External Links Edit


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Way of the Magistrate, by Scott Gearin (Imperial Herald #10)
  2. GM's Survival Guide, p. 87

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