Zushoryo (the Bureau of Drawings and Books) (図書寮)

Zushoryo was one of the institutions belonging to Nakatsukasasho (Ministry of Central Affairs) in the Ritsuryo system (a system of centralized government based on the ritsuryo code) in Japan. And in the Imperial Household Agency after the Meiji period, the institution of the same name institution was set up.

Official duties

The first official duty of Zushoryo was to control the state's library and it played a role of national library. Additionally, it also controlled the scriptures of Confucianism and Buddhism and Buddha statues and so on. For assisting the administrative work, shashoshu who copied books or sokoshu who did bookbinding belonged to this. Furthermore, the work of compiling history books was also one of the official duties, as described in the "Yoro ritsuryo code" (code promulgated in the Yoro period). In the actual work of compiling history books, the office work was done by establishing the institution (Senkokushisho [History Compilation Bureau]) (and official documents and records which were necessary for compiling history books were collected in Naiki [secretary of the Ministry of Central Affairs] or Geki [Secretary of the Grand Council of State], which was the reason why Zushoryo did not involve with the work of compiling history books). Also, during the Heian period the administration of library was taken over to the institutions such as Gosho-dokoro (an office to maintain books in the Imperial Court), Uchi no goshodokoro(the place that keeps Emperor's books), Ippon-goshodokoro and so on and lost substance.

The second official duty of Zushoryo was to produce paper, ink, ink brush and so on. Later these became central duties of Zushoryo.

Kamiyain (the official paper-making establishment in the Heian period)

Kamiyain mainly produced paper in bessho (affiliated organization) of Zushoryo. In the ninth century when the facilities were well-furnished, it produced papers of good quality and they were called 'kamiya-gami' (kamiya paper). Kamiko (hereditary artisans for paper making under government management) of Shinabe (technicians in offices) did the practical work.


Kami (director) (corresponding to Jugoinojo [Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade]) one member. Suke (deputy director) (corresponding to Shorokuinoge [Senior Sixth Rank, Lower Grade]) one member. Daijo (senior secretary) (corresponding to Shoshichiinoge [Senior Seventh Rank, Lower Grade]) one member, shojo (junior secretary) (corresponding to Jushichiinoge [Junior Seventh Rank, Lower Grade]) one member. Daisakan (senior clerk) (corresponding to Juhachiinojo [Junior Eighth Rank, Upper Grade]), Shosakan (junior clerk) (corresponding to Juhachiinoge [Junior Eighth Rank, Lower Grade]) one member.

Shibu (low rank bureaucrats)
Jikicho (factotum)

Zoshishu (paper maker)
Zobokushu (ink maker)
Zohitsushu (ink brush maker)


Zushoryo in Kunaisho (Ministry of the Sovereign's Household).

It was established as a ministry in Kunaisho during Meiji period. Led by Zusho no kami (Director of the Bureau of Drawings and Books), it edited and controlled Kotofu (the genealogy of the Imperial Family) or fact records and so on, and administered the authentic texts of Imperial family-related laws such as Imperial House Act and so on, or precious books kept in Imperial Court. In 1949, it was integrated with Shoryoryo (the Bureau for managing imperial mausoleums) and became Imperial Household Archives.

[Original Japanese]