Shogoi (正五位)

Shogoi (Senior Fifth Rank) is one of the ranks in Japan's aristocratic and religious hierarchies. It is positioned under Jushii (Junior Fourth Rank) and above Jugoi (Junior Fifth Rank). When conferred as a posthumous rank, it is called Zo-shogoi.

Shogoi was separated into senior and junior rank under the ritsuryo system (a system of centralized government based on the ritsuryo code) and conferred to bureaucrats in the ranks of Kyokan (official of the Capital), especially those equivalent to "Suke" or "Hangan." As examples, cited are Uchuben and Sachuben (Middle Controllers of the Right and of the Left) and Koben (Small Controllers) of the Daijokan (Grand Council of State), various Taifus (chiefs) of the Hassho (eight ministries and agencies), Daihanji (a judge), Daizen no daibu (Master of the Palace Table) of Shiki, Shosho (Minor Captain) of Konoefu (the Headquarters of the Inner Palace Guards), and Captain of Emonfu (Headquarters of the Outer Palace Guards) and Konoefu. Note that the Japanese name of the black-crowned night heron "Goisagi" comes from an ancient record of the bird given the Shogoi rank in the Heian Period.

In the warrior class, the rank was bestowed on the Hojo family in the Kamakura Period as well as on the daimyo lords under Toyotomo rule, but rarely to the samurai under the Edo shogunate system because conferment for the sumurai at the time was centered upon Jushiinoge (Junior Forth Rank, Lower Grade) and Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade). The principal holders of the rank in the Edo period were Jigekanjin (officials who served as Kyokumu and Kanmu that were central bodies of low-class officials in the medieval Imperial Palace, and their subordinate Rokuinogekishi) and the Taifu who served the families of Imperial Princes, Gosekke (the five families of the Fujiwara clan whose members were eligible for the positions of Sessho and Kanpaku) and Seiga family (one of the highest court noble families), showing that the rank was bestowed exclusively to those linked to the Imperial Court. In rare cases, the rank was given as additional honor to middle-rank and lower samurai, not being a chief retainer, who had made major contributions to the Meiji Restoration.

Today, the title is bestowed posthumously to persons as a honorific title for those who earned the status of professor emeritus at universities, junior colleges and colleges of technology and for those private business entrepreneurs who made outstanding achievements.

[Original Japanese]