Jinshin-koseki (family registries in Jinshin) (壬申戸籍)

Jinshin-koseki is the family register compiled in 1872 based on the Family Registration Law of 1871.
From the Oriental zodiac 'Jinshin' of its compiled year, it is called a 'Jinshin-koseki.'


Instead of Shumon-Ninbetsu-Aratame-Cho (The Village People Register of Religious Faith and Relationship) at the Edo period, it was calculated in units of doors from the imperial family to commoners. Moreover, unlike population surveys by country conducted by the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) it was innovative, adding up on the uniform standard throughout the country. With this family register, the overall population of Japan at that time was totaled with 33.11 million people.

The population from 1873 to 1919 have been calculated based on the increase and decrease in relation to the Jinshin-koseki. Since the number of migrations reached a considerable number without notifications of moving-out or moving-in, the error in the population by region expanded year by year. Moreover, because the Jinshin-koseki itself was a totalization of family registers in public offices, not based on a direct survey of population, omissions that cannot be ignored were left behind.

Since estimation values came to be posted besides total values in the following statistics, the problem of errors became large gradually until the national census in 1920. The total population in 1872 was estimated to 3480 million, but there is still a discussion about this estimate.

There were many defects in the Family Registration Law of 1871 to begin with, and since many functions (certificates of seal impressions, certificates of land titles, etc.) were added to it, it became complicated. Moreover, because the description form was not in particular installed as long as the sufficient requirements were met, there was a difference between provinces in details of the format. In addition, even the regulation to modify it every 6 years after 1871 was observed only once in accordance with the implementation of the large and small divisions system, and it was regarded as the family register with many problems. The officer in charge of the family register basically managed this family register before 1878, and the public office managed it after the rural districts and villages system was enforced.

Imperial family, the peerage, warrior class, sotsuzoku (low-ranking samurai), goshi (country samurai), former Shinto priests, Buddhist priests, nuns, commoners were separately added up in the Jinshin-koseki. Although Burakumin (modern-day descendants of Japan's feudal outcast group) was then registered as commoners based on the Lowly People Liberation Law, they were registered as new commoners, Eta (one group comprising the lowest rank of Japan's Edo-period caste system (people whose work usually involved handling human bodies or animal carcasses)), Hinin (one group comprising the lowest rank of Japan's Edo-period caste system (often ex-convicts or vagrants)), etc., in the family register of certain areas, leaving a strong sense of discrimination (a part of which was also registered in the family register or the social status registration of 1886).

Besides, trades were also included in the registration form, Rokudaka (stipends) were mainly described for the peerage and the warrior class and commoners were described as farmers, craftsmen, merchants or others, including their job types.

Moreover, there were descriptions of Buddhist temples and ujigami (a guardian god or spirit of a particular place in the Shinto religion) in this family register in order to maintain the religious doctrine by the follower (it was abolished in 1885). In addition, mistresses were also allowed to be registered in the family register as family members of the relation in the second degree (it was abolished in 1882). Those who were employees and retainers, even if they were not related, were also registered in the family register of those who raised them as additional registrants (it was forbidden in 1882).
(Abolished in 1896)

The family register in the Jinshin style was changed to that in a uniform format in 1886, and as transferring gradually progressed from November in the same year, this style came to be treated as that of the revised original family register based on the Family Registration Law in 1896.

An incident happened in 1968 where this family register was to be used to find out whether or not a person was from Burakumin, which caused reading it prohibited and in the same year even the public viewing itself came to be prohibited, resulting in the sealed storage.

It is severely kept by the Legislative Bureau in various places at present, and it is impossible to read the family record itself. There is a voice looking for a permit inspection for the learning study purpose, too.

Until today there were cases in 2001 and 2004 where information disclosure of the Jinshin-koseki was claimed, but they were rejected in reports.

[Original Japanese]