Kondei (regular soldiers guarding the Kokubu (ancient provincial offices) or Sekisho (checking stati (健児)

"Kondei" means well-equipped cohorts, which were organized as local military forces from the Nara period through the Heian period.

Cohorts were deployed throughout the country as the national military organization under the Ritsuryo system (a system of centralized government based on the ritsuryo codes), which began to take full effect at the beginning of the eighth century. A cohort was allocated to every three or four counties. According to its provisions, a cohort could commandeer one out of three adult men as a soldier. The Imperial decree issued on May 30, 734, said that kondei, choshi (non-regular soldiers) and senshi (soldiers guarding the Kyushu region) were exempted from a half amount of both so (rice tax) and zoyo (irregular corvee). Therefore, it's believed that the term "kondei" originally referred to a status or a position of a cohort soldier. In 738, the operation of kondei was totally suspended in all regions except for the Hokuriku-do and the Nankai-do Regions. With this suspension, nearly all kondei were temporarily abolished. Subsequently, the kondei system was partially revived in 762.

In the four provinces of Ise, Omi, Mino and Echizen, kondei were formed with people who were between 20 years old and 40 years old and were trained in archery and horseback riding, and they were selected from young members of gunji (local magistrate) families and peasants. Those four provinces, where kondei were revived, are all located between the Kinai region (provinces surrounding Kyoto and Nara) and Togoku (the eastern part of Japan, particularly the Kanto region). There is an opinion that these kondei were restored by the greatest mogul of that time, EMI no Oshikatsu (FUJIWARA no Nakamaro), who intended to reinforce the defenses against Togoku. At the end of the eighth century, Emperor Kanmu started a large-scale administrative reform in order to reconstruct the Ritsuryo system, which was becoming increasingly distant from the actual conditions. As part of that reform, in June 792, he discharged cohorts and soldiers deployed in all provinces except for Mutsu Province, Dewa Province, Sado Province, and provinces in the Saikai-do Region, and established the kondei system instead. This kondei system was established in the same way as the system of the year of 762, and consequently, people who were skilled in archery and horseback riding were selected from young members of gunji (local magistrate) families and peasants. It can be said that this system was the nationwide version of the older kondei system. As a result of this movement, peasants were relieved of most part of their burden of military service.

Meanwhile, as for those regions in which conventional cohorts and soldiers were not abolished, Sado Province and the Saika-do Region still faced potential threats from abroad, and Mutsu and Dewa Provinces continued fighting against Ezo. Since these regions required the maintenance of the conventional military system, they didn't introduce the kondei system, which would have meant a scaled down military force to them. It has been discovered that kondei soldiers were later included in the cohort system once the cohorts were revived, and subsequently, a special tax exemption system called kondei-den was established in order to maintain kondei, and approximately 3,600 kondei soldiers were deployed throughout the country (kondei were deployed in Mutsu, Dewa, and Sado Provinces as well, but not deployed in the Saikai-do Region) as a general rule in the tenth century.
(Reference is made to the Engishiki (an ancient book of codes and procedures on national rites and prayers).)

[Original Japanese]