Nyogo (rank of court lady) (女御)

Nyogo was one of the ranks and titles of the imperial consorts in the pre-modern days of Japan, and its role was to attend on the emperor in his bedroom. The word 'Nyogo' originated from the book 'Shurai,' which described about the governmental organizations of China (Zhou). The rank of Nyogo followed Kogo (the empress) and Chugu (the second consort).

The word 'Nyogo' first appeared in the article about Emperor Yuryaku in 'Nihonshoki,' but in fact, KI no Otona and Kudaranokonikishi kyoho who were made Nyogo during the reign of Emperor Kanmu were the beginning of Nyogo. The rank of Nyogo was low at first but gradually raised, and after the middle of the Heian period, it became customary that Kogo (empress) was promoted from Nyogo. Asako KUJO (Eisho kotaigo) who was Nyogo of Emperor Komei, was the last Nyogo.

The number of Nyogo ladies was not decided and when there were several Nyogo ladies, they were called after the name of their quarter in the place, i.e. 'Jokyoden Nyogo' (a Nyogo living in Jokyoden).

After the Onin War, even consorts from the regent families tended to choose to remain in the Nyogo rank, because it became difficult to put together a sum of money for the ceremonies that they had to have when they were promoted to Chugu.

[Original Japanese]