Hyobusho (Ministry of Military) (兵部省)

Hyobusho (Tsuwamono no tsukasa or Ministry of Military) was an administrative organ taking in charge of military administration for the national defense in earlier times in Japan.

It was one of the government-regulated organizations in Japan under the Ritsuryo system (a system of centralized government based on the ritsuryo code). It was also one of the government offices in the Meiji period.

Hyobusho (under the Ritsuryo System)

It was one of the Hassho (eight ministries and agencies) under the Ritsuryo System. It presided over all the affairs related to military defense, such as personnel evaluation of military officers, conferment of a court rank, appointment to an office, supervision of eji (guards) in all provinces and administration of armaments. Under the Ritsuryo System, it administered five institutions, but later on, it administered only one institution (Hayato shi). After the Kamakura period, however, the real power passed into the hands of Seii Taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") and the duties of the Hyobusho were restricted.


The minister of Hyobusho was called Hyobukyo and was equivalent to Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) but it was the post held concurrently with the post of Kugyo (the top court officials) in general. This post was occasionally occupied by a member of Imperial family, in which case he was called Hyobukyo no Miya. Among the members of samurai family, only Yoshitaka OUCHI, who was a Sengoku daimyo (Japanese territorial lord in the Sengoku period), rose to the top and became the Hyobukyo.

The quota of each rank classified by Shitokan (four classifications of bureaucrats' ranks) including and lower than Taifu (Senior Assistant Minister) was as follows.
Hyobu Taifu (senior assistant minister of the Hyobusho Ministry of Military), equivalent to Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade)
One person/ea.
Hyobu Shoyu (junior assistant minister of the Hyobusho Ministry of War), equivalent to Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade)
One person/ea.
Hyobu Taijo (senior secretary of the Ministry of War), equivalent to Shorokuinoge (Senior Sixth Rank, Lower Grade)
One person
Hyobu Shojo (junior secretary of the Ministry of War), equivalent to Jurokuinojo (Junior Sixth Rank, Upper Grade)
Two persons
Hyobu Daisakan (senior alternate adjudicator of the Ministry of War), equivalent to Shoshichiinojo (Senior Seventh Rank, Upper Grade)
One person
Hyobu Shosakan (junior alternate adjudicator), equivalent to Shohachiinojo (Senior Eighth Rank, Upper Grade)
Three persons

Notes: Later, Gonkan (a government post added exceeding the fixed quota) was established in the rank of Taifu and Shoyu (Junior Assistant Minister).

Kanjin Zonin (lower-ranking government official)
Shojo (a low-rank official to convey petitions)
Shibu (low rank bureaucrats)
Kanjin shicho (a manservant doing odd jobs)

Busani or military officer without post (civil officer was under the control of Saniryo which was the office controlling Sani [courtier without post]).

The government officials who belonged to Hikan (low-level bureaucrat) of Hyobusho.

Hyomashi (Office of Military Horses)
It was later annexed to Meryo (the section taking care of imperial horses).
Kusuishi (Drums and Fifes Office)
It was later annexed to Hyogoryo or Tsuwamono no kura no tsukasa (Bureau of Military Storehouses)
Zoheishi (Weapons-manufacturing Office)
It was later annexed to Hyogoryo or Tsuwamono no kura no tsukasa (Bureau of Military Storehouses).
It was later abolished.
It was later abolished.
Hayahito no tsukasa
It was transferred from Emonfu (Headquarters of the Outer Palace Guards).

Hyobusho (in the Meiji period)

It was one of the government offices established in the Meiji period. It was an institution which governed the national defense and the maintenance of public order. It was the equivalent of the present-day Ministry of Defense.

As a result of the Restoration of Imperial Rule (of Japan), Seii Taishogun was abolished, which restored the authority into the other ministries of the Imperial Court. It was also established as an institution presiding over military defense in place of the former one called Gunmukan (Department of Military Affairs) as a result of the major reform of regulations for governmental organizations on July 8, 1869. At this time, the post of Hyobukyo was filled by Imperial Prince Komatsunomiya Akihito. However, it was not him but the vice-ministers, Taifu (Masujiro OMURA, Issei MAEBARA, Aritomo YAMAGATA) who had the real executive power. On February 1872, Hyobusho was abolished. Instead, the Department of War and the Department of the Navy were newly established at the request of Satsuma clique and Choshu clique.

[Original Japanese]