Daijokan-so (Daijokans Report to the Emperor) (太政官奏)

"Daijokan-so" meant for Daijokan (the Grand Council of State) to submit its reports to the Emperor, or the relevant reports, which were operative within the framework of Ritsuryo system (a centralized government system under the Ritsuryo Code). It was also called 'Kanso' which, subsequently, became the term for Daijokan (the Grand Council of State) to submit to the Emperor any petition regarding local administration that the Daijokan had received from any provincial government under Ritsuryo system.


According to Kushiki-ryo (the law concerning official documentary forms) contained in "the Yoro Ritsuryo Code" under the Ritsuryo law system, there existed three kinds of Daijokan-so, namely Ronso, Soji and Binso.

Ronso meant for Daijokan (the Grand Council of State) to submit its report to the Emperor on state rituals, establishment or abolition of provinces, districts or government offices, execution of deportation or expulsion, allotment of more than 100 war horses, and other important matters proposed or discussed by ministers and other members of Daijokan, except for such matters as particular to Daijokan itself that were excluded from the subjects of Ronso. A documentary form of Ronso was stipulated in Daijokan-so as to start with an opening sentence 'Daijokan kashiko mosu'(Daijokan has much pleasure in this writing), being accompanied by signatures of Daijo-daijin (the Grand Minister of State) and other legislatures including ministers and dainagon (Chief Councilors of State), and then followed by Sobun (a report to the throne), thus taking a form to report collective opinions of all legislatures of Daijokan.
When approved by the Emperor, the document of Sobun (reports to the Emperor) would be marked up with gokaku, an imperial ideogram in Chinese character Kanji of 'Bun' or 'Ka' (literally, 'listened' or 'permitted') below the date of approval (though this procedure was sometimes simplified by the Emperor's oral reply only.)

Soji meant for Daijokan (the Grand Council of State) to submit its report to the Emperor on the affairs which had been decided by any official or any province and reported to Daijokan in the form of Ge (a style of official documents made by any government official or province and addressed to Daijokan). Though Daijokan could add any opinion on the document of Soji, it basically had an opening sentence "Daijokan kashiko mosu" ("The Grand Council has much pleasure in this writing"), being followed by the contents of Ge document, and finally closed by signatures of legislatures. Therefore, contents of each Ge document remained almost unchanged from original contents reported to Daijokan.

Binso meant for Shonagon (the Minor Councilor of State) to submit his report to the Emperor on daily affairs including miscellaneous duties in the imperial court. Its opening sentence was 'Daijokan-so' (Daijokan have the pleasure in reporting to the Emperor as follows), and it was closed by 'Kashiko mosu' (literally, Respectfully we have reported).

Ronso and Soji documents were usually drafted by Dainagon (the Chief Councilor of State), and their closing words were 'Kashikokumo mosikiku tokorowo motte kashiko mosu' (literally, Respectfully we have reported what we have respectfully heard). When Soji and Binso documents were approved by the Emperor, the drafter official would mark up 'Choku wo uketamawaru ni so ni yore' (literally, we have received the Emperor's order in accordance with the report we have made to the Emperor) instead of Gokaku (a Chinese ideogram to certify imperial approval).
When a Binso document was not approved by the Emperor, Shonagon (the Minor Councilor of State) who drafted the document would write on it 'the Emperor ordered disposal of this document.'

According to "Ruiju Sandaikyaku" (the assorted regulations from three reigns compiled in the Heian Period), the affairs written in the approved Ronso, Soji and Binso documents usually became effective as they were, but there were some cases that benkan (an official of Daijokan) newly made up Daijokanpu (the official documents of Daijokan office) attached with the main sentences of their report to the Emperor and made it operative.

Kanso' (submission of reports to the Emperor from Daijokan (the Grand Council of State) in the Heian Period)

From around the last half of ninth century in the early Heian Period, when regency was introduced to Japanese politics, it became called just 'Kanso' for Daijokan (the Grand Council of State) to submit to the Emperor the reports which it had received from various provinces. In one theory, the origin of this term "Kanso" is said as a simplified form of official Soji, and in another theory, it is said to have originated in a formalization of casual Sojo (a report to the Emperor) not based on Kushiki Ryo (the law concerning official documentary forms of state affairs).

To the Emperor who showed up in Seiryoden (an imperial summer house) or Shishinden (a hall for state ceremonies), Shikiji-kugyo (high-ranked nobles engaged in submission of reports to the Emperor) of Daijokan (the Grand Council of State) submitted sobun (reports to the Emperor) to receive chokusai (an imperial decision). In ancient times, any noble ranked higher than Chunagon (vice councilor of state) was entitled to do Kanso (submission of a report to the Emperor), but after the reign of Emperor Daigo, the post eligible for Kanso became limited to certain Shikiji-kugyo (high-ranked nobles engaged in submission of reports to the Emperor) who were ranked higher than Dainagon (chief councilor of State) and designated by imperial decree as 'Kanso-kojisha' (literally, attendants in charge of submission of reports to the Emperor), so that even ministers were not allowed to do Kanso unless they were so designated by imperial decrees.

Kanso (submission of report to the Emperor) was performed on the occasion of Kansei (cabinet council held in Daijokan office) or Jin no Sadame (cabinet council held in Konoefu (Headquarters of Inner Palace Guards)). First, Shikiji-kugyo (high-ranked nobles engaged in submission of reports to the Emperor) gathered at Jin-no-za (a court set in Konoefu, Headquarters of Inner Palace Guards) would check and confirm Sobun (contents of the reports to the Emperor), and then let Fuhito (a clerical officer under Ritsuryo system) carry the Sobun to the Inner Palace, after that the Shikiji-kugyo would visit the Inner Palace. Shikiji-kugyo (high-ranked nobles engaged in submission of reports to the Emperor) would receive the Sobun (the reports to be submitted to the Emperor) from Fuhito (the clerical officer who brought the Sobun in advance) at Iba (archery hall) in the Imperial Court, and submit the Sobun to the Emperor after holding them with Fuzue or Bunjo (a cane to pinch papers) in front of the Emperor. After reading and confirming all Sobun (the reports submitted to the Emperor), the Emperor would temporarily return them to Shikiji-kugyo (high-ranked nobles engaged in cabinet council). Shikiji-kugyo (high-ranked nobles engaged in submission of reports to the Emperor) would read aloud each sobun (a report to the Emperor) one by one, to which the Emperor gave his decision to approve them or not, or to request for a report from specialists concerning relevant precedents. After the completion of the ritual, Shikiji-kugyo (high ranked nobles engaged in submission of reports to the Emperor) would consign the sobun (reports approved by the Emperor) to Fuhito (the clerical officer) at the archery hall, who had once passed the sobun over to Shikiji-kugyo before the approval of the Emperor at the same archery hall, and return to Jin-no-za (their court set in Konoefu, headquarters of Inner Palace Guards). After confirming contents of each sobun approved by the Emperor, Shikiji-kugyou would hand them down one by one to Fuhito notifying the result of imperial decision on each sobun. Fuhito, the clerical official who received the sobun again from Shikiji-kugyo would exit from Jin-no-za (the court of Shikiji-kugyo) to submit relevant sobun with remarks of imperial decision to Kuroudo (chamberlain of imperial court) as well as to Shikiji-kugyo and Benkan (a division of Daijokan, the Grand Council of State, responsible for controlling central and provincial government affairs). Sessho (the regent,) if available, was engaged in reading the sobun (reports to be submitted to the Emperor) on behalf of the Emperor at Jikiro (a station for ministers and counselors) or Satodai (a palace outside the Imperial enclosure), or Kanpaku (the chief adviser to the Emperor,) if available, checked personally contents of the sobun before they were submitted to the Emperor.

Several or ten reports were submitted at a time to obtain decision of the Emperor, and main subjects of which were major provincial affairs that needed judgement of central government, such as Fukan-denden (a report about uncultivable lands), Fudoso-kaiyo (a request to open a door of storage house of rice paid as tax) and others. However, this custom of Kanso (submission of reports to the Emperor) decreased its importance and eventually became just a formality. Nevertheless, this Kanso (submission of reports to the Emperor) was treated as a symbol of imperial prerogatives, along with Jimoku (a ceremony of appointment of officials). As in the past days, important petitions from various provisions were occasionally taken up as the subjects of Kanso (submission of reports to the Emperor). According to "Shoyuki" (the diary of FUJIWARA no Sanesuke), suspension of Kanso (submission of records to the Emperor) due to eye disease of Emperor Sanjo caused the stagnancy of local administration, which made Kokushi (provincial governors) frustrated and triggered Michinaga FUJIWARA's accession to the post of quasi-regent in 1015.

[Original Japanese]