Medieval Asia also has streamline payroll processing which was based on the agricultural power quite more sophisticated than in the West.
Currency distribution that is based on the vigor of the agricultural sector is the primary format of some of the earliest civilizations in the world. Egypt is one example of a civilization that once relied on agricultural resources as a format for circulating intrinsic currency that fuels all manpower.
However, as Egyptians expanded beyond several hundred klicks from the Nile River, the agricultural type of legal tender can no longer sustain the growth and development. It is quite the same story in Greece and Mesopotamia. No other culture in the world has able to sustain the agriculture-based currency circulation better than East Asia, particularly China.
Although agriculture serves as the backbone of Chinese economy that determines payroll management services, they have experimented on other legal tenders aside from simple food currency (i.e. imperial tea bricks). But their practice of using raw agricultural goods as their primary legal tender is being maintained by one of their cultural descendants overseas – Japan.
For many centuries, the medieval Japanese society has been using rice as the currency used in exchange and as flexible payroll solutions for their elites, middle class and skilled working class citizens.
The Japanese called their currency koku, and this is terminology is better understood in the context of paying the elite samurai with their fixed salary rate. The samurai has been the ruling class of medieval Japan from 800 AD up until the late 1800’s – a period of domination that spanned over a millennia. Even when the medieval global superpower known as the Mongols invaded the whole of Japanese archipelago in the 14th Century, the rule of the samurai remained undisputed. Throughout this protracted period, the samurai elites are paid with rice currency.
The koku is a measurement of consumable amount of rice within the year. By principle, one koku is equivalent to one year of rice one person can consume within a year. One koku is roughly equivalent to about a weight of one hundred and fifty kilograms. The samurai official and his household shall receive an equivalent measure of koku appropriate to his rank and position. It is a highly bureaucratic arrangement dependent on the oversight of the feudal lord and his pages, all functioning as the HR system that administers the general funding of the realm.
What is unique about the koku is that this fixed currency also includes all other expenditures apart from the consumable rice. So if a samurai earns a mere twenty koku of rice, one would expect him to own a very meager household since he would have to deduct the consumption of rice and set a portion for legal tenders that will be exchanged as funds for other necessities. Aside from food (rice); cloth, fuel, and paper are among the basic things that a humble samurai household has to maintain. A samurai would also have to cover taxes, medicine and funeral service with his fixed koku.