Jiju (chamberlain) (侍従)

The term "chamberlain" refers to a person who serves another person (generally a noble person) to take care of his or her personal affairs, and its Japanese equivalent term "jiju" also represents a chamberlain's service itself in a broad sense. In Japan, this term specially refers to a civil officer who serves an emperor or the rank of that person, and this section describes these. For details about aides-de-camp to the Emperor and details about chamberlains to the Crown Prince, refer to each section.

Chamberlains under a System of Centralized Government Based on the Ritsuryo Codes

Chamberlains were called 'maetsukimi,' 'omotobito,' or 'omotobitomachigi' in Japanese under a system of government based on the ritsuryo codes, and the tomyo (Tang name) of this position was shui.

According to the Taiho Code, chamberlains were equivalent to Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade), and they belonged to the Ministry of Central Affairs. Although the prescribed number of chamberlains was initially eight, it was changed as time went by, and eventually it was increased to a maximum number of 20. Three of them were also appointed as Shonagon (lesser councilor of state). A chamberlain always had a sword because his position was also regarded as an Imperial escort. Once the Kurodo-dokoro (Board of Archivists) was established in the Heian period, the role of chamberlains rapidly became less important, and eventually, Dainagon (chief councilor of state), Chunagon (vice-councilor of state) or Sangi (councillor) also served as chamberlain. Chamberlains were primarily in charge of preparation for ceremonies in the medieval period, and their original characteristics as an emperor's close staff were gradually lost.

In the period that eight chamberlains served at the Imperial Court, they also had 92 associate chamberlains, so there were 100 chamberlains in total. Officers who were at the Fourth or the Fifth Rank and had many years of career were selected from the hassho (literally, "eight ministries," which is a general term for Ministry of Central Affairs, Ministry of Ceremonial, Ministry of Civil Administration, Ministry of Popular Affairs, Ministry of Military, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of the Treasury, and Ministry of Imperial Household) and other agencies and appointed as associate chamberlains. Their function was to stay with the emperor and to address miscellaneous business.

Chamberlains after the Modern Era

In 1869, it was decided that chamberlains should belong to the Ministry of Imperial Household. A position called the Grand Chamberlain was established as a head of chamberlains in 1871, and Sanetsune TOKUDAIJI, Masataka KAWASE, and Michitomi HIGASHIKUZE assumed this position. The Regulations of the Ministry of Imperial Household (Imperial Household Order No. 3 of 1907) said as follows. "The Grand Chamberlain should be appointed personally or officially by the Emperor, and he should serve the Emperor all the time; additionally, he also has to take care of other chamberlains and report to the Emperor." "Chamberlains should be appointed with the Emperor's approval, and they should work together to address the Emperor's personal or private affairs."

After World War II, chamberlains temporarily belonged to the Imperial Household Office before they belonged to the Board of Chamberlains, the Imperial Household Agency. After the National Public Service Law (Act No. 120 of 1947) was put in force, the position of chamberlains was still a special position in government service exempted from the application of this law, and their classification such as the first grade officer and the second grade officer still existed (some descriptions such as "he was granted the second grade" were seen in official reports). However, their grades were no longer mentioned in any official reports after the reorganization of the central government ministries and agencies. As the position of the Grand Chamberlain is an attestation official, this position is appointed and dismissed by the Emperor.

Chamberlains in the Modern Period (except for the Grand Chamberlains)

Tetsutaro YAMAOKA: He was originally a vassal of the shogun in the Tokugawa shogunate.

Yasuaki KATO: He was a viscount. He used to be the load of the Ozu Domain, Iyo Province.

Yoshitake SHIMA: He became a chamberlain around 1870. He was a vice governor of Akita Prefecture and magistrate of the Hokkaido Development Commissioner.

Kototada FUJINAMI: He served as a probationary chamberlain from 1877 to 1879, and served as a chamberlain from 1879 to 1889. He was a viscount and the Imperial Court councilor.

Kuraji OGURA

Yahachi KAWAI: He was the Deputy Grand Chamberlain. He later became the president of the House of Councilors.

Osanaga KANROJI: He was the Deputy Grand Chamberlain and a chamberlain to the Crown Prince. He was a count, the chief priest of Meiji-Jingu Shrine, and a ritualist of the Imperial Court.

Torahiko NAGAZUMI: He served as the Deputy Grand Chamberlain and the chief ritualist of the Imperial Court. He was a school friend of Emperor Showa. He was the third son of the Army General named Naomichi OSAKO.

Shigemichi HOZUMI: He was a son of Shigeto HOZUMI.

Hajime SUZUKI: He became the Deputy Grand Chamberlain in April 1947. His career included various positions such as a pay officer at the rank of a first lieutenant, a secretary to the prime minister, and the commissioner of the Immigration Control Office. He was the eldest son of Kantaro SUZUKI, who served as the Grand Chamberlain and also became the Prime Minister.


Hideomi TEZUKA: He retired from the position of the Deputy Grand Chamberlain in March 2005.

Haruhiko CHIZAWA: He graduated Gakushuin University in 1964. He was appointed as a chamberlain in 1993. He became the Deputy Grand Chamberlain in 2005.

Nagaakira OKABE: He was the eighth son of Nagamoto OKABE, and he later became a professor at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies. His wife was the eldest daughter of Teruya IWASAKI.

Tadatomo HIROHATA: He was a captain of the Army and he also had a title of marquis.

Tadataka HIROHATA: He was a marquis. He assumed the master of the Empress Dowager's Household and the Deputy Grand Chamberlain.

Arimichi YAMAGATA: He had a title of prince and also served as a master of ceremonies.

Chamberlains to the Crown Prince

Sankichi TANOUCHI: He became a chamberlain to the Crown Prince in 1902. He was later granted the rank of Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank) and the First Order of Merit, and he was also appointed as the Army Major General.

Shigeto HOZUMI: He was a baron. He was appointed to be the Lord Steward to the Imperial Prince and the Grand Chamberlain to the Crown Prince in August 1945. He later became a Supreme Court judge.

[Original Japanese]