Shoshii (Senior Fourth Rank) (正四位)

Shoshii (Senior Fourth Rank) is one of the ranks in the ranking order (ikai) and the ranking order of Shinto gods (shinkai) in Japan.

It is the rank below Jusanminoge (Lower Grade Junior Third Rank) and Jushiinojo (Upper Junior Fourth Rank). In the case of posthumous honors, it is called Zoshoshii (Zo Senior Fourth Rank).

Shoshii (Senior Fourth Rank)
Shoshii was divided into upper and lower, and ranked below Jusanmi no ge and above Jushiinojo under the Ritsuryo system. With regard to the order of merit, it is equivalent to the Third Order of Merit, while with regard to official ranks, Shoshiinojo (Upper Grade Fourth Rank) was equivalent to Nakatsukasasho (Inner Ministry) and Sangi (advisor), and Shoshiinoge (Lower Grade Fourth Rank) was equivalent to the posts of Kotaishinofu (one of the teachers of the crown prince) and Kyo (Minister) who was the head of the 8 Ministries - Ministry of Ministry of Administration (Shikibusho), Ministry of the Ceremonies (Jibusho), Ministry of Registration (Minbusho), Ministry of the Military (Hyobusho), Ministry of Justice (Gyobusho), Ministry of Finance (Okurasho), Minister of the Imperial Palace (Kunaikyo).

As with Jushii (Junior Fourth Rank), it is fundamental that the title of respect, "ason," of those who are ranked in Shii (Fourth Rank) is put after their surname and imina, as done by the self-declared ason (a prestigious title in the Nara period). One example of this was Shoshiinoge Iyo no kami MINAMOTO no Yoriyoshi Ason.

However, even if they were ranked Shoshii, when they became sangi, and were raised to kugyo, the title of respect was 'ason' after their surname and 'kyo' after their imina.

Shoshii was the peak rank, i.e. the highest rank, for a family which was not permitted to ascend to kugyo, and many leading warriors of the Seiwa-Genji (Minamoto clan) and Kawachi-Genji (Minamoto clan) were prominent. In the Seiwa-Genji, MINAMOTO no Mitsunaka who was a son of MINAMOTO no Tsunemoto, and Mitsunaka's eldest son, the leader of the Settsu-Genji (Minamoto clan), MINAMOTO no Yorimitsu, and Mitsunaka's fourth son, the leader of the Kawachi-Genji, MINAMOTO no Yorinobu, as well as leaders of the Kawachi-Genji such as MINAMOTO no Yoriyoshi and MINAMOTO no Yoshiie ascended to that rank. In the Kanmu-Heishi (Taira clan), TAIRA no Tadamori from the Ise-Heishi (Taira clan) ascended to Shoshii and was named Gyobukyo (official of the Ministry of Justice).

Moreover, as it became a custom that Konoe no daisho (Major Captain of Palace Guard) who was originally supposed to be ranked as Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) also held the post of Minister, it also became a rule that someone ranked as Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) was named Konoe no chujo (Middle Captain of Palace Guard) and became Sanmi chujo (Third Rank Middle Captain), and someone ranked as Shoshii (Senior Fourth Rank) often came to be named Konoe shosho (Minor Captain of Palace Guard) such as Hideyasu YUKI.

In the Edo period, the following daimyo families were allowed to ascend to the rank: the head of Mito Tokugawa family of Mito Domain from three branch families, Echizen Matsudaira family of the Fukui Domain (4 out of 15 heads of family) from the kamon daimyo, Ii clan of Hikone Domain from the fudai daimyo (3 out of 17 heads of family), Maeda clan of Kaga Domain and Shimazu clan of Satsuma Domain from the tozama daimyo (only Narinobu SHIMAZU of 12 heads of family), and DATE clan of Sendai Domain (only Yoshikuni DATE of successive daimyos).

After the beginning of the Meiji period, Shoshii (Senior Fourth Rank) was conferred as a posthumous honor on those who had accomplished a great deed, except for those who had already received a rank above Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank), kazoku (new nobility) such as kugyo and daimyo, and especially on people of merit who had died during the 'Revere the Emperor, Expel the Barbarian'-Period and the Meiji Restoration.

The government regarded Shoshii (Senior Fourth Rank) as the first rank awarded to the deputy secretary and those of the rank of General (taisho) in the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy. In addition, there are many examples where Diet members were awarded a rank between Juichii (Junior First Rank) and Shoshii (Senior Fourth Rank) according to their careers and achievements.

Under the current Honors System, when those credited with the Second Order of Merit die, they are awarded the rank.. Major examples are members of the House of Councilors and university professor with great achievements.

[Original Japanese]