Ge (Official Documents) (解 (公文書))

A "ge" was an official document submitted by a lower grade governmental official (hikan) to a higher grade official (shokan) in the ritsuryo sytem (a system of centralized government based on the ritsuryo code).

Its form was ordained in Kushiki-ryo (Ritsuryo law) which had to begin with '(lower grade governmental official) 解申其事 (geshimosu sonokoto)', and after finishing the document, if the document was to Daijokan (Grand Council of State), it had to end with '謹解 (tsutsushinde gesu)', or if the document was to other officials, it had to end with '以解 (mottegesu)', and after the ending word, the date, the name of the writer and ranks and names of all the members of his office had to be written.

Since the hierarchical relationship among government officials was clearly defined in the ritsuryo system, the upper grade officials to whom lower grade officials had to submit ge were fixed accordingly, therefore, it was necessary to write the name of the reporter, lower grade official, while that of a receiver, higher grade official, was not written (Shoku [ritsuryo system]/Ryo [ritsuryo system]/Tsukasa/Gun->Hassho/Kokushi->Dajokan). However, as an exception, when Jingikan (officer of the institution for dedicating to religious ceremony) was to submit ge, they had to present it to Daijokan (Grand Council of State). Originally a cho (one of the styles of official documents in the ritsuryo system) was used for when Ryoge no kan (a post outside the original Ritsuryo code created by Imperial edicts) and temples and shrines submitted an official report to the Daijokan and a ji (an official document submitted to Guji [chief of those who serves shrine, controls festivals and general affairs] by the general public and lower grade officials) for individuals, however, in later years these monjo (written materials) were put together and dealt with as a ge. Furthermore, all monjo to be submitted from a person with a lower rank (including ordinary citizens) to a person with a higher rank came to be referred to as 'ge,' which was because all reports had been given orally before the ritsuryo system, and calling all monjo "ge" is said to be a reflection of the fact that the "ge" form put all the oral procedures for monjo in writing.

[Original Japanese]