- A philosophy and system of government administration introduced by the Tokugawa shogunate, based on the Chinese feng-chien (in Japanese: hoken) system of the Chou dynasty in China. It superseded the ritsuryo approach to government which had relied on the divine legitimation of the ruler and the integration of Buddhist and imperial law, and emphasised instead the role of the shogun in maintaining an immanent moral and social order based on the Confucian notion of the Will of Heaven and concomitant virtuous rule (tokuji) by the shogun and daimyo. Under the hoken system feudal authority was exercised in their separate fiefs (han) by about three hundred regional barons (daimyo) who were themselves controlled by strict laws promulgated and enforced by the Tokugawa bakufu in Edo. Although Buddhist temples became a medium of government control through the temple registration system (tera-uke) the traditional landed shrine-temple complexes (jisha) which had been subdued during the Tokugawa unification of Japan held much-reduced power and authority under the hoken system, as of course did the imperial court who were expected to observe the 'Rules for the Palace and Court' laid down by the shogunate.
A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. Brian Bocking.