Uji no shaku (氏爵)

Uji no shaku refers to conferring a rank of Jugoi (Junior Fifth Rank) on one person each annually from among persons ranked Shorokuinojo (Senior Sixth Rank, Upper Grade) in the O clan, Minamoto clan, Taira clan, Fujiwara clan, Tachibana clan and others when the investiture was conducted on January 6 (old calendar) of every year from the Heian period. Since the conferment of Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) was called joshaku (conferring a peerage), this was called uji no shaku as an annual promotion conducted to each clan. Its other name was uji no kyo.

As well as Oni no sei (the automatic promotion of the persons at the age of 21, whose parents were from Imperial Prince to the fifth rank, or whose grandparents were upper than third rank), uji no shaku was a privilege for powerful clans, and Jimoku (ceremony for appointing officials) was held in accordance with a recommendation of uji no choja (the head of the clan). Each clan usually had more than one person ranked Shorokuinojo (Senior Sixth Rank, Upper Grade) at any time, and it is considered that a person trying to newly acquire a post of government official submitted a request called moshibumi (general term for a request or petition submitted by a lower authority to a higher) to uji no choja, and uji no choja selected an eligible person. In the first place, the authority of uji no choja was on a declining trend in the Heian period, and possessing influence on personnel affairs for the said clans under the system of uji no shaku resulted in restrengthening the authority of uji no choja.

[Original Japanese]