Jugon hakase (呪禁博士)

The jugon hakase (Master Sorcerer) was an official for the Bureau of Medicine under the Ritsuryo system. In addition to handling jugon (magic spells and charms), he was also in charge of training the jugonshi (sorcerers). There was just one fixed position for the jugon hakase, which was equivalent to Jushichiinojo (Junior Seventh Rank, Upper Grade).

The jugon hakase first appears in the written record in the section of the "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan) detailing the year 691 that Chobu MOKUSO (木素丁武) and Banshu SATAKU (沙宅万首) were the jugon hakase.

Under the Ritsuryo system, the jugon hakase was considered indispensable for his spells, medical treatments of the sick and efforts to make childbirth safer, and at the same time, given the fact that the jugonshi were also casting Daoist incantations in order to ensure the stability and peace of the realm, jugon (the art of sorcery) was ranked among the 'kokka yodo' (arts vital to the state), along with astronomy and calendrical science. The position of jugon hakase was also ranked, together with i hakase (Master of medicine), shin hakase (Master of acupuncture), and anma hakase (Master of massage) as one of the medical professions.

The most outstanding of the jugonshi was appointed jugon hakase, who would then work to train and cultivate the jugonsei (apprentice sorcerers, for whom there were six fixed positions in the government), who were chosen from among the families of doctors or pharmacists. But with the later occurrence of the Enmi kotoku jiken (an incident in which a witch doctor committed murder), jugon itself began to be seen as dangerous, and furthermore the practice of jugon was abandoned by the end of the eighth century due to the rise of onmyodo (the yin-yang arts of magic and divination), which also derived from Daoist incantations; by the dawn of the ninth century, even the institution of the jugon hakase had disappeared.

[Original Japanese]