Jifuku (Clothes of the Season) (時服)

"Jifuku" means the clothes, or allocations of these clothes, bestowed by the Imperial Court to the Emperor's family members and their retainers in spring and autumn or in summer and winter, every year. Especially, the clothes awarded to koshin (Emperor's family members) were called "Oroku" (王禄), a part of which given especially to a princess (a title without the imperial proclamation for an entitlement of an Imperial Princess) was called "Oroku"(女王禄) (same in pronunciation but different in writing).

According to the rules specified in "Rokuryo" (the "rules on stipends"), koshin (Emperor's family members) of more than thirteen years old were entitled to receive such jifuku materials in spring as two rolls of thick silk fabrics, two spools of yarn, four pieces of about 15m long cloth and ten spades, and in autumn such jifuku materials as two rolls of thick silk fabrics, two tons (old measuring unit in the ancient Japan) of cotton, six pieces of cloth and four pieces of iron products.
The purpose of this jifuku system was to financially support koshin (Emperor's family members) holding no official post nor court rank (particularly, imperial princesses and other female royalties)
If any koshin member holding a government post, was promoted to goi (the fifth rank) or higher position, he was entitled to receive either jifuku or kiroku (stipends) whichever higher it may be, according to the "Ryo-no-gige" (commentary on the Ryo), although the "Engishiki"(an ancient book for codes and procedures on national rites and prayers) says both jifuku and kiroku were given to him.

In 787, or 6th year of the Enryaku era, if any Shoo (a prince without imperial proclamation) of rokui (the sixth rank) was assigned to any government post of the same sixth rank, he could receive kiroku (a stipend paid to government officers) corresponding to his post, while other Shoo ranked at shichii (the seventh rank) or lower position was presented with jifuku instead of kiroku. In 801, jifuku was bestowed on some members of the Imperial Family who were assigned to some jobs for the government but could not receive kiroku (stipend) due to shortage of their service days.

Jifuku was sometimes granted to specific retainers on a temporary basis in the sense of incentive award, according to the Article of November 20, 760 (old calendar) in the "Shoku Nihon-gi" (the "Chronicle of Japan, Continued"). Sho (Mikotonori, or an edict of the Emperor) of October 17, 808, decided to include many other officials as recipients of jifuku (clothes of the season) and started in the beginning to bestow Summer clothes for the months from December to the next May and Winter clothes for the months from June to November to such retainers, both full-timers and part-timers, as those who attended their offices more than 120 days a year, various guards who served more than 80 days a year, chamberlains and deputy chamberlains who worked more than 40 nights a year, and Nakatsukasanojo (Secretaries of Ministry of Central Affairs) or udoneri (Ministerial equerries) who served more than 50 nights a year. But, later in the year of 809, another Sho (Mikotonori, or an Emperor's edict) was proclaimed to adjust details of necessary service days of civil officers to those of various guards and also set new rules on initial salaries of new comers.

In 812, jifuku bestowal to court ladies of goi (Fifth Rank) and higher ranks resumed, which had been suspended since the Daido era, and, in 820, detailed regulations on allocations of jifuku were set up in a form. In 870, Toyosaki-o proposed to limit the number of recipients of stipends among O clan to 429, and his proposal was accepted, while further confinement was posed, as described in "the Engishiki" (an ancient book for codes and procedures on national rites and prayers), to limit the number of princesses entitled to stipends to 262, in both cases of which replenishment could be done only when vacancy occurred.

According to "the Engishiki," jifuku was bestowed on Shoo (princes without imperial proclamation) of more than twelve years old, and more specifically the second generation princes received six rolls (about 50 yards) of silk cloth, twelve spools of yarn, eighteen pieces of about 15m long cloth procured as tax, and thirty spades, while princes of more than four generations were presented with jifuku in accordance with the Ryo (administrative law of Ritsuryo code). As for autumn and winter seasons, cottons and iron products were given as jifuku instead of yarns and spades, respectively. "The Engishiki" also described to suspend supplying jifuku to any shoo prince who became a priest, together with other provisions on numbers of salaried officials and quantities of cotton, silk and other textile fabrics awarded to them. Subsequently, this custom of jifuku went out of fashion, except only the ceremonies of Oroku (allocations of cloth to imperial princesses without proclamation) held on January 8, the next day of Aouma-no-Sechie (the seasonal court banquet appreciating an auspicious white or light gray horse, held on January 7 every year) and on the day of snake in the middle of November, the next day of the Niiname-sai festival (a ceremonial offering by the Emperor of newly harvested rice to the deity). This ceremony of Oroku (allocations of cloth to imperial princesses without proclamation) was held at the courtyard of Shishinden (the throne hall) and two rolls (about 50m) of silk cloth and six tons (ancient Japanese measuring unit) of cottons were presented. Being attended by the Emperor and Empress, together with nyogo (Emperor's consorts) and naishi no tsukasa (female court attendants), the imperial princesses were seated at akuza (sitting places in a temporary house set in a ceremonial courtyard) in the order of generations, not of ages. As a court official called each name of the princesses in accordance with a name list, the called princess would respond aloud and proceed to receive the Oroku gifts, with which they retired from the ceremony. When no Sechie was held, the ceremony of Oroku was also cancelled.

In addition, in the Edo Period, seii-taishogun (literally, a great general who subdues the barbarians) presented wadded kosode (a kimono with short sleeves) as jifuku to daimyo (feudal lords) and hatamoto (direct retainers of the shogunate).

[Original Japanese]