Naidaijin (inner minister) (内大臣)

Naidaijin is one of Japan's official titles. Duties varied throughout history.

It was a Japanese ministerial position that was outside of the Ritsuryo system (a system of centralized government based on the ritsuryo code). Comes after Sadaijin (minister of the left) and Udaijin (minister of the right).

An official post in the government of the Empire of Japan in the Meiji period. Established in 1885. Abolished in 1945.

The Ritsuryo System
A Naidaijin (also known as an uchinoomaetsugimi or uchinootodo) was a Japanese minister that was outside of the Ritsuryo system. The equivalent Chinese posts are Daifu, Naijosho, Naishokoku and Naibokuya.
At the level of Shonii/Junii (Senior/Junior Second Rank)

The Naidaijin would attend to government affairs if both the Sadaijin and Udaijin were unable to do so for some reason. Although it is Ryoge no kan (class outside of the Ritsuryo system), it was recorded that appointments were first made even before the Ritsuryo system was established. It is thought to have started with NAKATOMI no Kamatari (FUJIWARA no Kamatari), who was appointed to Naishin by three successive Emperors, Kotoku, Saimei and Tenchi from 645, was appointed to Naidaijin just before his death.

Later, although there were several instances of Naidaijin being placed for special reasons, it is thought that Naidaijin as a permanent official started with FUJIWARA no Michitaka in the middle Heian period. After that, appointments to Naidaijin mostly fell into the following four categories: appointments given to young nobles from the Sekkan-ke (the families which produced regents), which would qualify them to become Sessho Kanpaku (regent and chief adviser to the Emperor); appointments given as a reward to a shukuro (chief vassal) or noble with significant achievements; appointments given simply as a plum job for nobles at the level of head dainagon (a chief councilor of state) who would then become the "third Minister" (with the exception of the Daijo-daijin [grand minister of state]); or appointments given to the head of the samurai government or in a position to succeed him.

Abolished at the time of the Meiji Restoration. In the Azuchi-Momoyama period the greatest daimyo (Japanese territorial lord) under the Toyotomi administration, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, was appointed. After that, too, successive seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians"), such as Iemitsu TOKUGAWA, were appointed.

Important Naidaijin

Although FUJIWARA no Fusasaki, FUJIWARA no Nakamaro, and Dokyo did not take on the post of Naidaijin, they are listed as persons who entered posts with similar duties.

Meiji period
In the Empire of Japan during the Meiji period, the position of Naidaijin was an office of the imperial court and, not being a part of the cabinet, the Naidaijin was not one of the Ministers of Internal Affairs; a member of the Office of the Inner Minister, the holder of this post was always at the emperor's side to offer him counsel, managed the Seal of the State and the Imperial Seal, and handled imperial edicts. At first, right after Dajokan (Great Council of State) System was abolished, it also served as a post for dealing with the former Daijo-daijin Sanetomi SANJO. Entering the Showa period it replaced the genro (elder statesman), fulfilled a major role in recommending Prime Ministers, and held power not only in the imperial court, but in the government as well. In emergencies when Naidaijin was absent, the chairman of the Privy Council would temporarily become Naidaiji and assist the emperor. There was an example of this when, immediately after the February 26 Incident, Privy Council chairman Kitokuro ICHIKI became Naidaijin and resigned the same day.

Because the duties of Naidaijin, his authority, and the areas of which he could advise were extremely vague and abstract, to the degree that constitutional scholars are unable to clearly define them, it was an extremely special post, all of which depended on the person appointed and his trusting relationship with the emperor. Also, as a special case, Imperial Prince Sadanaru served as Naidaijin (1912-1915).

After the unconditional surrender in 1945, it was abolished by the General Headquarters of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (GHQ/SCAP).

For a list of successive Naidaijin, refer to Office of the Inner Minister.

[Original Japanese]