Kangakuin (勧学院)

Kangakuin was the Fujiwara clan's Daigaku-besso (academic facility for nobles) in the Heian period. Since it was located on the south side of Daigaku-ryo (the government facility to educate students who would later become bureaucrats) (the old address was go-cho, ichi-bo, Sakyo (west area of capital Kyoto)), it was also called Daigaku Nanso (facilities of Daigaku-ryo in the south).


Kangakuin was established by the Fujiwara no Fuyutsugu in 821, and officially approved in or prior to 872. Daigaku-besso were dormitories for students from powerful clans.

Although students at Daigaku-ryo had to live within Daigaku-ryo as a general rule, once a dormitory was approved as a Daigaku-besso, students living in it became as qualified as those who lived in Daigaku-ryo to sit for the classes and examinations of Daigaku-ryo. Later, their students were given a special privilege (called 'Nenkyo') by the Imperial Court to be appointed to a rural bureaucratic post without sitting for the appointment examinations. Money for study was provided for deserving students, who were eligible to be appointed as a monjosho (student of literary studies in the Imperial University). On celebratory occasions involving court nobles of the Fujiwara clan, there were customary events called 'Kangakuin no ayumi' in which all the officials and students visited them to offer their congratulations and the court nobles gave banquets by return.

Kangakuin was operated by the Toshi Choja (the chief of the Fujiwara clan) who controlled the appointment and dismissal of individuals to the following posts: Kugyo Betto (the head principal) to which one of the Dainagon (chief councilor of state) of the Fujiwara clan was appointed, Ben no Betto (a second principal) to which members of the Benkan (the Board of Controllers) were appointed, among other officials. It was extremely rich compared to other Daigaku-besso, because it was financially supported by the donations from Shoen (manors) owned by the Fujiwara clan.

It had also an office in addition to that belonging to the dormitory which functioned as the Ujinoin where administrative and clerical work for the clan was conducted. Specifically, such clerical work was related to the ceremonies of Kofuku-ji Temple, the family temple of the Fujiwara clan, and Kasuga-taisha Shrine which enshrined the guardian god of the clan. It also managed Enmeiin (the hospital for the Fujiwara clan). Shitabumi (the administrative documents) created in Kangakuin, were attached to the Toshi Choja's Choja-sen (documents issued by Uji no Choja).

It is said to have disappeared along with the demise of the aristocratic society, except for the name 'Kangakuin' which lives on in the name of the educational facilities for monks set up inside major temples such as Kofuku-ji Temple.


Uji no Choja (chief of the clan)
Kugyo Betto (the head principal having the high rank of the Great Councilor in the government)
Ben no Betto (a second principal having a high rank in the government)
Rokui Betto (a second principal having a low rank in the government)
Ukan Betto (a second principal having a post in the government)
Mukan Betto (a second principal having no post in the government)

Chiinji (vice-principals, of which there were six)
Anju (officers who recorded and stored documents)

Zoshiki (low-level functionaries)
Jicho (unpaid workers)

Gakuto (head student): the representative of the students who lived in the dormitory


Enmeiin was a facility for the hospitalization of patients in the clan established by FUJIWARA no Yoshimi in 859. This probably helped to secure support from those families of the clan left out in the cold, and to tightly unite the whole clan.

[Original Japanese]