Shikken (regent for the shogun) (執権)

Shikken is a name of a post in the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). Shikken supported Kamakura-dono (another name for shogun and it often meant the Kamakura bakufu as well) and controlled the affairs of state. Originally, Shikken was the name of the post which was the director of Board of Administration called Mandokoro-betto. During the Kamakura period, Mandokoro-betto in In-no-cho (department under the direct control of the retired emperor) was also called Shikken by following the way that the bakufu called it.


The first so-called "Shikken" was Tokimasa HOJO who was the father of Masako HOJO, the wife of the first shogun Yoritomo MINAMOTO. SinceTokimasa was appointed to the post of Shikken, he provided the Hojo family with a foothold of their political power. Since the second Shikken Yoshitoki HOJO started serving also as Samuraidokoro-betto (board of retainers), Shikken practically became the highest post in the Kamakura bakufu. After the third generation Sanetomo MINAMOTO died and the rule of Minamoto Shoguns came to an end, Shikken took the control of the bakufu.

After the sixth generation Nagatoki HOJO, Shikken had become appointed also from those other than Tokuso (the patrimonial head of the main branch of the Hojo clan), which was a mainline of the Hojo clan. Tokuso and the post of Shikken had become separated since then, and the actual power in the bakufu was held by Tokuso, then Shikken became only a nominal post. Moreover, during the days of Takatoki HOJO, the Nagasaki family at the butler-like position for the Hojo clan, which was called Uchi-Kanrei (head of Tokuso Family), started seizing power.

[Original Japanese]