Myoho hakase (Professor of Law) (明法博士)

Myoho hakase was an official post affiliated with the Daigaku-ryo (Bureau of Education) under the ancient Japanese ritsuryo system (a system of centralized government based on the ritsuryo code). The post itself was Ryoge no kan (a post outside of the ritsuryo system). At any one time, there could be only two Myoho hakase and the position was initially appointed to court officials with a rank of Shoshichiinoge (Senior Seventh Rank, Lower Grade).

The post was later monopolized by people from distinguished families.

In a kyakushiki (amendment of the ritsuryo code) on September 3, 728, Myoho hakase was instituted at the same time as Monjo hakase (Professor of Literature). The post was originally called Ritsugaku hakase (Professor of Law) but the name was changed shortly after the Myohosho (students studying law) was established on April 22, 730. Its official position was to teach the law (Myobodo (the study of codes)) at a university in addition to compiling and interpreting the ritsuryo code and kyakushiki. 2 Myoho Tokugyosho (distinguished scholars) and 10 Myohosho (later becoming 20) were placed as pupils under a Myoho hakase. Later on they were given the important duty of drawing up a Myobo kanmon, which expressed their opinions concerning legal matters, and submitting it to a court council such as the Jin no sadame (ancient cabinet council). During the middle of the Heian period, Myoho hakase tended to be a hereditary post for the Sanuki and Koremune clans, but from the medieval period, both clans were replaced and it became a hereditary post for the Sakagami and Nakahara clans of high reputation.

[Original Japanese]