The Info List - Shikibu-shō

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The Ministry of Ceremonial Affairs (式部省, Shikibu-shō) was one of eight ministries of the Japanese imperial court.


1 History 2 Name 3 Functions 4 Organisation 5 Office holders

5.1 Ministers 5.2 Vice-ministers 5.3 Secretaries

6 List of translated aliases 7 See also 8 Notes 9 References

9.1 Citations 9.2 Bibliography

History[edit] It was established by the Taihō Code
Taihō Code
of early 8th century.[1] The ministry was replaced in the Meiji period. The ministry was renamed Mombushō for a brief number of years after 758, but the original name was restored in 764.[2] The name has since remained unchanged until the Ritsuryō
system was abandoned during the Meiji period. Shikibu-shō
is also where the Lady Murasaki Shikibu
Murasaki Shikibu
derives her name, probably owing to the senior secretary post that her father and her husband once occupied in the ministry. It is also the origin of the name of Shikike, one of the four great branches of the Fujiwara clan. In the Edo period, titles related to the Shikibu-shō, such as Shikibu-tayū (式部大輔), were largely ceremonial and could be held by non-kuge, such as daimyō lords. Today's organisation is the Board of Ceremonies, a department of the Imperial Household Agency. Name[edit] The "Ministry of Ceremonial," can arguably be considered the standard translation, as Japanologist Sir George Bailey Sansom wrote in 1932 that this was "the usual rendering in English",[3] as well as being the coinage later adopted in the Appendix to Helen Craig McCullough's Eiga monogatari,[4] which remains as the standard "followed by numerous English-language authors" according to a more recent assessment.[5] However, Sansom issued the caveat that the use of the word "ceremony" is potentially misleading. Its function is not purely ceremonial, as will be discussed under the #Functions section. Given the dilemma, some commentators have chosen to apply an English name that attempted at a description of the true function, rather than a faithful literal translation. Further discussion, and a compilation of the numerous alternate English names are given in the section #List of translated aliases. Functions[edit] Sansom explains that Shiki actually denotes the "detailed procedure for the enforcement of ryō (the administrative code, as in Ritsuryō)".[6] For this reason, applying "the word 'ceremonial' is a little misleading" he warns. The minister, or the Shikibu-kyō (式部卿) had the grave authority to grade the performances of civil officers, recommend their appointments and awards, and decide on their ceremonial seniorities and privileges.[3][7][8][9] The ministry was also the supervisory body of the Daigaku-ryō (大学寮) or the State University,[7] and also conducted the civil examinations (Imperial examination).[8][a] The other body it oversaw was San-i-ryō or Sanni-ryō (散位寮) or "Bureau of Scattered Ranks"[10] which administrated officials of middling rank who had no specific appointments.[7] Sansom called it the "Bureau of Court Ranks".[3] Organisation[edit] The Shikibu-shō
(式部省) was headed by the minister, whose office was ordinarily filled by a son or close relative of the emperor, of the fourth grade or higher.[7][11]

Shikibu-kyō (式部卿) - "Minister of Ceremonial Affairs"

aliases: "Chief administrator of the ministry of civil services"[12]

Shikibu-no-tayū (式部大輔) - "Senior Assistant Minister of Ceremonial"[13]

aliases: "Vice-Minister"[3]

Shikibu-no-shōyū (式部少輔) - "Junior Assistant Minister of Ceremonial"[14]

aliases: "Junior Vice-Minister"[3]

Shikibu-no-daijō (式部大丞) (x 2) - "Senior Secretaries"[3][15]

Sometimes concurrently held by a rokui-no-kurōdo (六位蔵人) "Chamberlain of sixth grade" who then gained special privilege to ascend to the imperial court.[16] When irregularly occupied by a fifth rank, it bears the aliases: Shikibu-no-jō-no-shaku式部丞の爵[7] "A Secretary in the Ministry of Ceremonial who has been raised to the Fifth Rank";[17] Shikibu-no-jō-no-shaku式部丞の爵; Shikibu-no-taifu (式部丞の爵)[7] "Senior Secretary of the Fifth Rank".[17]

Shikibu-no-shōjō (式部少丞) (x 2) - "Junior Secretaries"[3] Shikibu-dairoku or Shikibu-no-dai-sakan (式部大録) (x 1) - "Senior Recorder"[18] Shikibu-shōroku or Shikibu-no-shō-sakan (式部少録) (x 3[3]) - "Junior Recorders"[18] Shishō (史生) (x 20) - "Scribes"[19] Shōshō (省掌) (x 2) - "Office keepers"[20] Shibu (使部) (x 80) - "Servants"[21]

Under the Ministry were two bureaus. One was educational and called the Daigaku-ryō (大学寮), literally "Bureau of the Greater Learning"[22] though often called "The Universities Bureau"[3] or simply the "University".[4] The other was the San-i-ryō or Sanni-ryō (散位寮) or "Bureau of Scattered Ranks".[10] Office holders[edit] Ministers[edit] The Shikibu-kyō (式部卿) or Minister Fujiwara no Umakai
Fujiwara no Umakai
(appointed <724), held this office, and the branch of the Fujiwara clan
Fujiwara clan
which he founded was named Shikke after him. Prince Shigeakira (ja) (<943)[23] held this office, which earned him the sobriquet Rihō Ō/Ribu Ō (吏部王) after the fancier name of the office written in Tang dynasty
Tang dynasty
Chinese style.[7] The same prince wrote a diary entitled The Rihō Ō ki (吏部王記)[7][24] Vice-ministers[edit] Shikibu-no-tayū (式部大輔) Minamoto no Yasumitsu (ja) 969,[25] though the man also nicknamed the Major Counselor of Momozono (桃園大納言) held numerous offices. Shikibu-no-shōyū (式部少輔) The junior vice ministership was once held by Sugawara no Michizane
Sugawara no Michizane
877,[14] also known as the deified Tenjin. Secretaries[edit] Shikibu-no-daijō (式部大丞) The father of Lady Murasaki, Fujiwara no Tametoki (984) was appointed Senior Secretary. Minamoto no Tadataka (ja) (1004) who appears in Sei Shōnagon's The Pillow Book is another example.[26] As were Tametoki and Tadataka just mentioned, men who concurrently held Shikibu-no-daijō with another office of rokui-no-kurōdo (六位蔵人) "Chamberlain of sixth grade" gained special permission to ascend the court, and were addressed as Denjō no jō (殿上の丞) "[16] The Senior secretaryship was normally filled by a noble of Junior Sixth Rank, Lower Grade (正六位下), but occasionally a fifth rank candidate was appointed. Such an overqualified nobleman may be referred to as Shikibu-no-jō-no-shaku (式部丞の爵), with an example of the expression occurring in The Pillow Book,[7] Things That Give a Vulgar Impression (146), as "A Secretary in the Ministry of Ceremonial who has been raised to the Fifth Rank" (Ivan Morris tr.) Such a nobleman is alternatively called a Shikibu-no-taifu (式部大夫),[7] with instances in the Imakagami, Ōkagami, Genpei Jōsuiki[7] as well as The Pillow Book, " Hateful Things
Hateful Things
(14)": "Senior Secretary of the Fifth Rank". List of translated aliases[edit] Shikibu-shō
has been rendered into English in numerous ways. These many aliases can for convenience's sake be categorized into either a "literal" translation camp or "semantic" translation camp, as Versucher (2008) has suggested in a review article:

"In general, authors writing in English translate Japanese offices either literally, like “Ministry of Rites” (sic.[b]) for Shikibushô (McCullough and McCullough), or semantically, like “Ministry of Personnel” for the same Shikibushô (Joan Piggott, The Emergence of Japanese Kingship, Stanford University Press, 1997)."[5]

Versucher's article quoted above notes that the translations of medieval Japanese offices appended in Helen Craig McCullough and her husband's translation of Eiga monogatari[4] are "followed by numerous English-language authors",[5] and the McCulloughs translate Shikibu-shō
as "Ministry of Ceremonial".[b]


Bureau of Ceremonials[15] Ceremonial Department[27] Department of Ceremonial[28] Department of Ceremonial (or Rites)[29] Department of Rites and Ceremonies [30] Ceremonies Ministry [31] Ministry of Ceremonial [4][32][33][34] Ministry of Ceremonials [35] Ministry of Ceremony [36] Ministry of Ceremonies [1][37][38][39] Ministry of Rites[2]


Department of Civil Affairs and Education [40] Ministry of Civil Administration[41] Ministry of Civil Services[12] Ministry of Personnel[42]

See also[edit]



^ Kawakami after Ito 1889, p. 86 n2 also name "(4)those relating to the appointment of stewards in the houses of Imperial Princes and in those of officials of and above the 3rd grade of rank; (5) those relating to pensions of all kinds and to donations;" ^ a b Verschuer misquotes it as "Ministry of Rites;" because the source she explicitly cites, McCullough & McCullough 1980, pp. 789–831, volume 2, Appendix A gives on p.808 "The Ministry of Ceremonial (Shikibushō)".

References[edit] Citations[edit]

^ a b Sansom 1978, p. 104 ^ a b Nussbaum, Louis Frédéric et al. (2005). "Shikibushō" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 856., p. 856, at Google Books ^ a b c d e f g h i Sansom 1932, p. 83, vol. IX ^ a b c d McCullough & McCullough 1980, p. 808 ^ a b c Verschuer, Charlotte von (2008). "La cour et l'administration du Japon à l'époque de Heian (review)" (muse). Monumenta Nipponica. 63 (2): 396–399. doi:10.1353/mni.0.0041.  ^ Sansom 1932, pp. 67–8 ^ a b c d e f g h i j k 和田 1926, pp. 69–71 ^ a b Kawakami 1903, p. 37 n2, copied verbatim from the cited source Ito Hirobumi, Commentaries on the Japanese Constitution (Ito 1889, p. 86 n2). The footnote is provided by translator Itō Miyoji and is not in Count Ito (late Prince Ito)'s original work. ^ Ury, Marian. (1999). "Chinese Learning and Intellectual Life," The Cambridge History of Japan: Heian Japan, p. 361. ^ a b Reischauer 1937, p. 88 ^ Titsingh 1834, p. 428 ^ a b Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, p. 272. ^ McCullough & McCullough 1980, pp. 805 ^ a b Borgen 1994, p. 124; quote: "(Year) 877, Michizane was named junior assistant minister of ceremonial." ^ a b Murase 2001, p. 5; "Senior Secretary in the Bureau of Ceremonials" ^ a b 和田 1926, pp. 71, quote:"また六位の藏人で、式部丞を兼ねた事があるが、それをば、殿上の丞というたのである" ^ a b Ivan Morris tr., The Pillow Book, Ch. 148. ^ a b Sansom 1932, pp. 83, 77, vol. IX ^ Sansom 1932, pp. 83,76, vol. IX ^ Sansom 1932, pp. 83, 78, vol. IX ^ Sansom 1932, pp. 83, 76, vol. IX ^ McCullough 1999, p. 117 ^ McCullough & McCullough 1980, pp. 74,80 ^ 重明, Prince of Japan, 906-954., 吏部王記 /Rihō Ō ki, OCLC 21583552 CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ McCullough & McCullough 1980, p. 99 ^ McCullough 1990, p. 173 ^ Whitehouse 2010, p. 138 ^ Ooms 2009, p. 238 ^ Wilson 2001, p. 21 ^ Li 2009, p. 193 ^ Van Goethem 2008, p. 120 ^ McCullough 1999, p. 112 ^ Borgen 1994, p. 12 ^ Deal 2006, p. 90 ^ Friday 1996, p. 67 ^ Spahn, Hadamitzky & Fujie-Winter 1996 ^ Smits 2007, p. 111 ^ Reichhold & Kawamura 2003 ^ Kornicki & McMullen 1996 ^ Kawakami 1903, pp. 36–7 ^ Ministry of Civil Administration, Sheffield. ^ Naoki 1993, pp. 234


Deal, William E. (2006), Handbook to Life in Medieval and Early Modern Japan (preview), Infobase Publishing, ISBN 0-816-07485-2  ISBN 978-0-816-07485-3 (organizational chart) Ito, Hirobumi (1889), Commentaries on the Constitution of the Empire of Japan (Google), Translated by Itō Miyoji, Tokyo: Igirisu-Hōritsu Gakko, p. 86  Kawakami, Kiyoshi Karl (1903), The Political Ideas of Modern Japan, Tokyo: Shokwabo, OCLC 466275784 

— Iowa City, Iowa: University of Iowa Press (1903) Internet Archive, full text

McCullough, Helen Craig; McCullough, William H. (1980), A Tale of Flowering Fortunes: Annals of Japan; Aristocratic Life, 1, Stanford University Press, ISBN 0-804-71039-2  ISBN 978-0-804-71039-8 McCullough, William H. (1999), "Chapter 2: The Capital and its Society", in Hall, John Whitney; Shively, Donald H.; McCullough, William H., The Cambridge History of Japan
History of Japan
(preview), 2, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-55028-9  ISBN 978-0-521-55028-4 (organizational chart) Naoki, Kōjirō (1993), Hall, John W., ed., The Cambridge History of Japan: Ancient Japan (preview), Cambridge University Press, 1, pp. 260–, ISBN 0-521-22352-0 https://books.google.com/books?id=A3_6lp8IOK8C&pg=PA260  Missing or empty title= (help); contribution= ignored (help) ISBN 978-0-521-22352-2 Nussbaum, Louis Frédéric; Roth, Käthe, eds. (2005), Japan Encyclopedia, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-01753-6, OCLC 48943301 https://books.google.com/books?id=p2QnPijAEmEC  Missing or empty title= (help) ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5 Sansom, George Bailey (1932). Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan (Second series). 9: 67–110 https://books.google.com/books?id=-k4gAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA67.  Missing or empty title= (help); contribution= ignored (help) Sansom, George Bailey (1978), Japan: A Short Cultural History, Stanford University Press, ISBN 0-804-70954-8  ISBN 978-0-804-70954-5 Titsingh, Isaac (1834), Annales des empereurs du Japon (Google) (in French), Paris: Royal Asiatic Society, Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland, OCLC 5850691  (tr. of Nihon Odai Ichiran) Ooms, Herman (2009), Imperial Politics and Symbolics in Ancient Japan: The Tenmu Dynasty, 650-800 (preview), University of Hawaii Press, ISBN 0-824-83235-3  ISBN 978-0-824-83235-3 Reischauer, Robert Karl (1937), Early Japanese history, c. 40 B.C.-A.D. 1167 (snippet), Princeton University Press  Ury, Marian. (1999). "Chinese Learning and Intellectual Life," The Cambridge history of Japan: Heian Japan. Vol. II. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-22353-9 ISBN 978-0-521-22353-9 Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki: A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-04940-4; ISBN 978-0-231-04940-5; OCLC

Japanese sources

和田, 英松 (Wada, Hidematsu) (1926), 官職要解 : 修訂 (Kanshoku yōkai: shūtei 3rd ed.) (NDL), 明治書院 

additional sources used to compile English translated names.

Borgen, Robert (1994), Sugawara No Michizane and the Early Heian Court (preview), University of Hawaii Press, ISBN 0-824-81590-4  ISBN 978-0-824-81590-5 Friday, Karl F. (1996), Hired Swords: The Rise of Private Warrior Power in Early Japan, Stanford University Press, ISBN 0-804-72696-5  ISBN 978-0-80472696-2 McCullough, Helen Craig (1990), Classical Japanese Prose: An Anthology, Stanford University Press, p. 173, ISBN 0-804-71960-8  ISBN 978-0-804-71960-5 Kornicki, P. F.; McMullen, I. J. (1996), Religion in Japan: Arrows to Heaven and Earth (preview), Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-55028-9  ISBN 978-0-521-55028-4 Li, Michelle Ilene Osterfel (2009), Ambiguous Bodies: Reading the Grotesque in Japanese Setsuwa Tales (preview), Stanford University Press, ISBN 978-0-804-77106-1  Murase, Miyeko (2001). The tale of Genji: legends and paintings. British Museum Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-807-61500-3.  Reichhold, Jane; Kawamura, Hatsue (2003), A String of Flowers, Untied--: Love Poems from the Tale of Genji /Murasaki Shikibu (preview), Stone Bridge Press, Inc., ISBN 978-1-880-65662-4  Smits, Ivo (2007), "The Way of the Literati", in Adolphson, Mikael S.; Edward, Kames; Matsumoto, Stacie, Heian Japan: Centers and Peripheries (preview), University of Hawaii Press, ISBN 978-0-824-83013-7  Spahn, Mark; Hadamitzky, Wolfgang; Fujie-Winter, Kimiko (1996), The Kanji Dictionary (漢字熟語字典), Tuttle Publishing, ISBN 978-0-804-82058-5  Van Goethem, Ellen (2008), Nagaoka:Japan's Forgotten Capital (preview), Stone Bridge Press, Inc., ISBN 1-880-65662-0  ISBN 978-1-880-65662-4 Whitehouse, Wilfrid (2010), Ochikubo Monogatari or The Tale of the Lady Ochikubo: A Tenth Century Japanese Novel / Chikamatsu Monzaemon (preview), Taylor & Francis, ISBN 0-203-84350-9  ISBN 978-0-203-84350-5 Wilson, William Ritchie (2001), Hōgen monogatari: tale of the disorder in Hōgen, East Asia Program, Cornell University, ISBN 1-885-44599-7  ISBN 978-1-885-44599-5

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