Gyobu-sho (刑部省)

Gyobu-sho (Ministry of Justice) was a government-regulated organization in Japan under the Ritsuryo system (a system of centralized government based on the ritsuryo codes). Gyobu-sho was also one of the central ministries in the Meiji period.

Gyobu-sho (in the Ritsuryo system)
Gyobu-sho was one of the eight central ministries under the Ritsuryo system. With administering the entire judicial affairs, Gyobu-sho engaged in the trials of serious incidents, the management of prisons and the execution of punishments. However, as for minor offences, each government official had jurisdiction independently. Since the post of Kebiishi (officials with judicial and police powers) was provided in the Heian period, the Kebiishi deprived most of the businesses entrusted to Gyobu-sho, with the result that Gyobu-sho became the nominal ministry.


Besides Shitokan (four classifications of bureaucrats' ranks), there were additional posts such as Hanji (Judicial Officer) for judging criminals as Honkan (a general term of government posts excluding Shitokan), as well as Tokibe that engaged in interrogating criminals. The departments of Hanji and Tokibe were regarded as different departments from Gyobu-sho to some degree.

The Gyobu-Kyo, the Secretary of Gyobu-sho, corresponded to Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade). TAIRA no Tadamori counted among successive Gyobu-Kyo. However, the Kugyo (high court noble) with a rank equivalent to or higher than Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) frequently served as the Gyobu-Kyo concurrently.

The following is the composition of the personnel equivalent to or lower than Taifu (Senior Assistant Minister).

Taifu (corresponding to Shogoinoge [Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade]) - one person
Shofu (Junior Assistant Minister, corresponding to Jugoinoge [Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade]) - one person
Taijo (Senior Secretary, corresponding to Shorokuinoge [Senior Sixth Rank, Lower Grade]) - two people
Shojo (Junior Secretary, corresponding to Jurokuinojo [Junior Sixth Rank, Upper Grade]) -two people
Daisakan (Senior Alternate Adjudicator, corresponding to Shoshichiinojo [Senior Seventh Rank, Upper Grade]) - two people
Shosakan (Junior Alternate Adjudicator, corresponding to Shohachiinojo [Senior Eighth Rank, Upper Grade]) - two people

Dai-Hanji (highest judge, corresponding to Shorokuinoge) - one person
Chu-Hanji (middle judge, corresponding to Shorokuinoge) - one person
Sho-Hanji (lower judge, corresponding to Jurokuinoge [Junior Sixth Rank, Lower Grade]) - two people
Hanji-Daisakan (secretary of judge, corresponding to Shoshichiinoge [Senior Seventh Rank, Lower Grade])
Hanji-Shosakan (junior secretary of judge, corresponding to Shohachiinoge [Senior Eighth Rank, Lower Grade])

Dai-Tokibe (highest interrogator, corresponding to Jushichiinoge [Junior Seventh Rank, Lower Grade])
Chu-Tokibe (middle interrogator, corresponding to Shohachiinoge)
Sho-Tokibe (lowest interrogator, corresponding to Juhachiinoge [Junior Eighth Rank, Lower Grade])

Lower class clerical workers

Shisho (officials doing miscellaneous duties about documents)
Shojo (low-ranked officials to convey petitions)
Shibu (low-ranked bureaucrats)
Jikicho (factotum)

Note: The supernumerary post called Gonkan was later attached to Taifu and Shofu.

Government officials working under high-ranking personnel in Gyobu-sho

Shugoku-shi (or Hitoya-no-tsukasa) - officials supervising prison
Zoshoku-shi (or Agomono-no-tsukasa) - officials dealing with stolen goods
It was absorbed to Gyobu-sho during the rule of the Emperor Heizei.

Gyobu-sho (in the Meiji period)
Gyobu-sho was one of the ministries established in Dajokan (Grand Council of State) on August 15, 1869, having authority over trials, execution of punishments, translation of laws and ordinances adopted in Western countries, etc. After combining with Danjodai (Board of Censors) on August 24, 1871, Gyobu-sho was renamed Shiho-sho (Ministry of Justice).

[Original Japanese]