In feudal Japan, a land steward appointed by the central military government to each of the estates (shoen) into which the countryside was divided. The jito collected taxes and maintained the peace; he was also entitled to a portion of the taxes collected. The position, created by Minamoto Yoritomo in 1184, came to be hereditary. As time went by, the jito came to have closer ties with local leaders than with the central government, which contributed to the weakening of the Kamakura shogunate (see Kamakura period).

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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