Find the word definition


The was a Japanese guild for blind men, established in the 14th century by the biwa hōshi . Members performed a variety of roles, as itinerant musicians, masseurs, and acupuncturists. It received the patronage of the Muromachi and Edo shogunates, and remained active until the Meiji restoration, being eventually disbanded in 1871.

The organization was hierarchically structured. The primary ranks, known as , were (the highest), then , , and ; these were further subdivided into a total of 73 distinct grades. Total membership was usually around 3,000; it is not known what proportion of the total blind population this represents.

The Tōdōza accepted only male members; a separate organization, the , existed for blind women. There was additionally a further guild, the , similar to the Tōdōza but active mostly in the western regions of Japan.