In the Sengoku period (1467 – 1603), Toyotomi Hideyoshi caused a transformation of the han system. The feudal system based on land became an abstraction based on periodic cadastral surveys and projected agricultural yields.
In Japan, a feudal domain was defined in terms of projected annual income. This was different from the feudalism of the West. For example, early Japanologists such as Appert and Papinot made a point of highlighting the annual koku yields which were allocated for the Shimazu clan at Satsuma Domain since the 12th century.
In the Edo period, the domains of daimyōs were defined in terms of kokudaka, not land area. Imperial provincial subdivisions and shogunal domain subdivisions were complementary systems. For example, when the shōgun ordered daimyōs to make a census of its people or to make maps, the work was organized along the borders of the provincial kuni.
In the Meiji period from 1869 to 1871, the title of daimyō in the han system was han-chiji (藩知事) or chihanji (知藩事).
In 1871, almost all of the domains were disbanded; and the prefectures of Japan replaced the han system. At the same time, the Meiji government created the Ryūkyū Domain which existed from 1872 through 1879.
- Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Han" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 283.
- Mass, Jeffrey P. and William B. Hauser. (1987). The Bakufu in Japanese History, p. 150.
- Appert, Georges. (1888). "Shimazu" in Ancien Japon, pp. 77; compare Papinot, Jacques Edmond Joseph. (1906). Dictionnaire d’histoire et de géographie du Japon; Papinot, (2003). Nobiliare du Japon, p. 55; retrieved 2013-3-23.
- Totman, Conrad. (1993). Early Modern Japan, p. 119.
- Elison, George and Bardwell L. Smith (1987). Warlords, Artists, & Commoners: Japan in the Sixteenth Century, p. 17.
- Roberts, Luke S. (2002). Mercantilism in a Japanese Domain: the merchant origins of economic nationalism in 18th-century Tosa, p. 6
- Lebra, Takie S. (1995). Above the Clouds: Status Culture of the Modern Japanese Nobility, p. 29
- Matsumura, Wendy. (2007). Becoming Okinawan: Japanese Capitalism and Changing Representations of Okinawa, p. 38.