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Dainagon
Dainagon
(大納言) was a counselor of the first rank in the Imperial court of Japan.[1] The role dates from the 7th century. This advisory position remained a part of the Imperial court from the 8th century until the Meiji period
Meiji period
in the 19th century.[2] The post was created in 702 by the Taihō Code, and evolved out of the earlier post Oimonomōsu-tsukasa. Holders of the office were of the Senior Third Rank. They assisted the Minister of the Left (the Sadaijin) and the Minister of the Right (the Udaijin).[3] By the mid-17th century, the Dainagon
Dainagon
counselor or state, was expected to work closely the Minister of the Center (the Naidaijin), whose position ranked just below the Udaijin
Udaijin
and the Sadaijin. This court position evolved to ensure that someone will be always prepared to replace or assist the main court officials if, for any reason, it should be impossible for one of the two senior counselors to devote himself to his duties and responsibilities in all matters.[4] The Dainagon
Dainagon
ranked just above all other kuge in the kugyō except the Daijō-daijin, Udaijin, Sadaijin, and Naidaijin. This ancient office would have been roughly equivalent to that of vice-minister in the modern cabinet system. It was abolished in 1871.[5]

Contents

1 Dainagon
Dainagon
in context

1.1 Highest Daijō-kan
Daijō-kan
officials 1.2 The Eight Ministries

2 See also 3 Notes 4 References 5 Further reading

Dainagon
Dainagon
in context[edit] Any exercise of meaningful powers of court officials in the pre-Meiji period reached its nadir during the years of the Tokugawa shogunate, and yet the core structures of ritsuryō government did manage to endure for centuries.[6] In order to appreciate the office of Dainagon, it is necessary to evaluate its role in the traditional Japanese context of a durable yet flexible framework. In this bureaucratic network and a hierarchy of functionaries, the Dainagon
Dainagon
functioned like mouthpieces to and from the board, and in consultation with the board.[7] The role of Dainagon
Dainagon
was an important element in the Daijō-kan (Council of State). The Daijō-kan
Daijō-kan
schema proved to be adaptable in the creation of constitutional government in the modern period.[8] Highest Daijō-kan
Daijō-kan
officials[edit] The highest positions in the court hierarchy can be cataloged.[9] A dry list provides a superficial glimpse inside the complexity and inter-connected relationships of the Imperial court structure.

Daijō-daijin
Daijō-daijin
(Chancellor of the Realm or Chief Minister).[10] Sadaijin
Sadaijin
(Minister of the Left).[10] Udaijin
Udaijin
(Minister of the Right).[10] Naidaijin
Naidaijin
(Minister of the Center).[10]

The next highest tier of officials were:

Dainagon
Dainagon
(Major counselor, chief counselor of state). There are commonly three Dainagon;[10] sometimes more.[11] Chūnagon
Chūnagon
(Middle counselor).[7] Shōnagon
Shōnagon
(Minor counselor); there are commonly three Shōnagon.[10]

Other high-ranking bureaucrats who function somewhat flexibly within the Daijō-kan
Daijō-kan
were;

Sangi (Associate counselor).[12] This office functions as a manager of Daijō-kan
Daijō-kan
activities within the palace.[4] Geki (外記) (Secretariat). These are specifically named men who act at the sole discretion of the emperor.[4]

The Eight Ministries[edit] The government ministries were eight semi-independent bureaucracies. A list alone cannot reveal much about the actual functioning of the Daijō-kan, but the broad hierarchical categories do suggest the way in which governmental functions were parsed:

Left

Ministry of the Center.[13] Ministry of Civil Services; also known as the "Ministry of Legislative Direction and Public Instruction".[13] Ministry of Ceremonies; also known as the "Ministry of the Interior".[14] Ministry of Taxation.[15]

Right

Ministry of the Military.[15] Ministry of Justice.[16] Ministry of the Treasury.[17] Ministry of the Imperial Household.[18]

The specific ministries above are not grouped arbitrarily. The two court officials below had responsibility for them as follows:

Major Controller of the Left (左大弁, Sadaiben)[19] This administrator was charged or tasked with supervising four ministries: Center, Civil Services, Ceremonies, and Taxation.[4] Major Controller of the Right (右大弁, Udaiben)[19] This administrator was charged or tasked with supervising four ministries: Military, Justice, Treasury and Imperial Household.[4]

See also[edit]

Daijō-kan Sesshō and Kampaku Kōkyū Kuge Imperial Household Agency

Notes[edit]

^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Nagon" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 685, p. 685, at Google Books; n.b., the title is a composite created from dai- (meaning "great" or "first") and -nagon (meaning "counselor") -- see Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, p. 426., p. 426, at Google Books ^ Nussbaum, "Dainagon" in p. 128, p. 128, at Google Books. ^ Screech, T. Secret Memoirs of the Shoguns: Isaac Titsingh
Isaac Titsingh
and Japan, 1779-1822, p. 157. ^ a b c d e Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, p. 426., p. 426, at Google Books ^ Unterstein (in German): Ranks in Ancient and Meiji Japan (in English and French), pp. 6, 27. ^ Dickson, Walter G. et al. (1898). "The Eight Boards of Government" in Japan, pp. 55-78., p. 56, at Google Books; excerpt at p. 56, "Klaproth has given in his "Annals of the Emperors" a sketch of these eight boards, with the offices under each. It is ... a concise account of the government of Japan. The study of such a subject is rather dry and uninteresting, but it is necessary for any one who wishes to make himself acquainted with Japanese history, either of the past or of the present day...." ^ a b Dickson, p. 60., p. 60, at Google Books ^ Ozaki, Yukio. (2001). The Autobiography of Ozaki Yukio: The Struggle for Constitutional Government in Japan pp. 10–11., p. 10, at Google Books ^ Titsingh, pp. 425-426., p. 425, at Google Books ^ a b c d e f Titsingh, p. 425, p. 425, at Google Books; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, p.272. ^ Unterstein (in German): Ranks in Ancient and Meiji Japan (in English and French), p. 6. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Sangi" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 817, p. 817, at Google Books. ^ a b Titsingh, pp. 427., p. 427, at Google Books ^ Titsingh, pp. 429., p. 429, at Google Books ^ a b Titsingh, pp. 430., p. 430, at Google Books ^ Titsingh, pp. 431., p. 431, at Google Books ^ Titsingh, pp. 432., p. 432, at Google Books ^ Titsingh, pp. 433., p. 433, at Google Books ^ a b Varley, p. 272.

References[edit]

Dickson, Walter G. and Mayo Williamson Hazeltine. (1898). "The Eight Boards of Government" in Japan. New York: P. F. Collier. OCLC
OCLC
285881 Nussbaum, Louis Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). "Chunagon" in Japan Encyclopedia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5; OCLC
OCLC
48943301 Ozaki, Yukio. (2001). The Autobiography of Ozaki Yukio: The Struggle for Constitutional Government in Japan, translated by Fujiko Hara. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691050959; OCLC 123043741 ____________. (1955). 尾崎咢堂全集. 第11卷, 咢堂自伝: 日本憲政史を語る (Ozaki gakudō zenshū. 11, Gakudō jiden: nihon kenseishi o kataru) Tokyo: Kōronsha. OCLC
OCLC
672920518 Sansom, George (1958). A History of Japan
History of Japan
to 1334.] Stanford: Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-0523-3; OCLC 224793047 Screech, Timon. (2006). Secret Memoirs of the Shoguns: Isaac Titsingh and Japan, 1779–1822. London: Routledge Curzon. ISBN 978-0-203-09985-8; OCLC
OCLC
65177072 Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Nihon Ōdai Ichiran; ou, Annales des empereurs du Japon. Paris: Royal Asiatic Society, Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. OCLC
OCLC
5850691 Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki: A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-04940-5; OCLC
OCLC
59145842-4

Further reading[edit]

Dickenson, Walter G. (1869). Japan: Being a Sketch of the History, Government and Officers of the Empire. London: W. Blackwood and Sons.

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