Daijokan chuke (太政官厨家)

The Daijokan chuke essentially indicated the kitchen that belonged to the Daijokan (Grand Council of State), but in ancient times the term referred to the government officials who administered the Daijokan kitchen.

The primary duties of the Daijokan chuke were to provide any equipment or novelties needed in order to prepare food served at conferences and events in the Daijokan. Concurrently, other duties included the administration of jishi (land rent paid by farmers) on koden (or joden) (field administered directly by a ruler) that were set aside to cover their food and expenses, they also handled payments of wages in rice and jifuku (seasonal clothing) for everyone from Daijokan officials under the Benkan (division of the Daijokan responsible for controlling central and provincial governmental offices) to servants who did menial labor.

According to the Engishiki (codes and procedures on national rites and prayers), one officer at a time from the Shonagon (lesser councilor of state), Benkan (oversight department), Geki (Secretary of the Grand Council of State) and Shi (Officials in charge of records) each held the position of Betto as the person in charge concurrently with their normal position. Following this example, officers were assigned one at a time as an azukari (deputy) of Shisho (official in charge of miscellaneous documents) at the Shonagon and Benkan bureaus. The duty was part of a shift system with a term of one year each, ending every year in February at the Rekken Ceremony (an annual ritual during the Heian and Nara Periods in which officers were evaluated for promotions).

Koden Jishi (land taxes) were delivered to the Daijokan chuke in the form of shomai (rice that has been pounded in a mortar) and keika (軽貨) along with reishinnomotsu (例進納物) from various provinces. Later on, however, due to the collapse of the handensei (state controlled land allotment system), the increase of iden (fields allotted according to court rank) and Kokushi (provincial governors) converting jishi to shozei (rice taxed by provincial offices), the number of joden, which were essentially the extra fields of handen (allotted fields), were gradually decreased along with their jishi. As a result, a variety of Shoen (manor) called a Ben no ho was established in place of the joden. Although it was originally intended for the Daijokan chuke to be administered jointly by the Shonagon and Benkan bureaus, it ended up being solely administered by the Benkan bureau once the Shonagon and Shonagon bureau lost their substance due to the establishment of the Kurododokoro (Board of Archivists). In addition, remaining joden and Ben no ho effectively became territory of the Ozuki clan who passed their service as Kanmu (also known as Sadaishi which was the senior recorder of the left) from one generation to the next.

[Original Japanese]