TaifuDaifuTayu (大夫)

Taifu refers to a social status of nobility with territory from the Zhou period to the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period in China.

Taifu/Daifu is one of the names of Kami (directors) in the ritsuryo system in Japan.

Derived from No.2, Tayu refers to the highest rank Yujo (a prostitute) in Yoshiwara in Edo (Tokyo Prefecture), and Shimabara in Kyoto, in the Edo period. This name was abolished in 1754, and was later replaced by the name, Oiran (a courtesan of the highest rank) in Yoshihara in Edo; however, the name 'Tayu' remained in Shimabara in Kyoto, where there are some still having the traditional name of Tayu. Refer to 太夫 (the highest rank of courtesans).

Derived from No.2, Tayu refers to the storyteller of Joruri (dramatic narrative chanted to a samisen accompaniment) after the Edo period.

Taifu/Daibu in China

Taifu is one of the names of social status in China. It was lower than Kyo (a minister) and higher than Shi (the elite class of Servicemen in the Zhou period). In the Zhou period, a small feudal lord who worked for the Zhou Dynasty or the lords was called Daibu (a master), and a senior Daibu was called Kyo (a minister) and participated in governmental affairs. When lords were autocratic, they were in some cases expelled by Daibu, resulting in making Daibu gain power to threaten their loads. Although some Daibu and Kyo declined later, it is said that, after that, the powerful peasantry formed a rank, Shi, and gained status.

In the Jin Dynasty (the Spring and Autumn period), the local area became called Daibu, which was then followed by other districts, leading to the centralized county and prefecture system.

Taifu/Daifu in Japan
According to "Kushiki-ryo" (law on state documentary forms in the Yoro Code), Taifu referred to a government official of: Sanmi (Third Rank) or higher in Daijokan (Grand Council of State); Shii (Fourth Rank) or higher in Ryo (bureau); and Goi (Fifth Rank) or higher among Kokushi (provincial governors) who were lower than 国司国等級区分 (the grade classification of Kuni [provinces] and Kokushi [provincial governors]). In other words, it refers to male government officials of Goi or higher. As a governmental post, it is called Daibu, and when it refers to Goi, it is called Taifu. When a person of Rokui (Sixth Rank) or higher is conferred Goi on, Taifu is added to the end of his government position (if Saemon no jo [third-ranked officer of the Left Division of Outer Palace Guards] rises to Goi, his job position becomes Saemon no taifu). When a person of Goi is Sani, a person without a post, the person is called Mukan no taifu (grandee-without-post).

A court lady of Goi or higher is called Myobu (refer to the section of Myobu for details).

[Original Japanese]