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Government during the Heian period was based on the Ritsuryō (律令) system, which defined a criminal code (律, Ritsu) and an administrative code (令 Ryō). The Taihō-ritsuryō (大宝律令, 701) re-statement established two branches of government: the Department of Worship (神祇官, Jingi-kan) and the Department of State (太政官, Daijō-kan). The Jingi-kan was the higher branch, taking precedence over the Daijō-kan and handled all spiritual, religious, or ritualistic matters. The Daijō-kan handled all secular and administrative matters.

By the time the Engishiki (延喜式) was implemented in 967, many of the Bureaus and Offices of the original code had merged with others or disappeared.

Below an attempt to give an overview of the different ministries and offices that were defined in the original Code (blue), and what was left of them by the time of the Engishiki (green). Physical locations of most Ministries, Bureaus and Offices in the capital, especially those still existent by the time the Engishiki was written, are known. Clicking on an institution in the schematic below will take you to my interactive Heiankyō map and highlight its location.

To view the complete schematic in a separate window, click >HERE<.

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Generally, each institute consisted of four layers or ranks (四等官, Shitōkan): Kami (長官), Suke (次官), Jō (判官) and Sakan (主典). A layer could comprise of one or multiple officials or none at all and official's titles of the same layer varied between institutes. For example: the Kami (長官) of a Ministry (省, Shō) was called a Minister (卿, Kyō), while that of a Bureau (寮, Ryō) was called Chief (頭, Kami). As mentioned before, clicking on an institution in the scheme will open its location and more detailed information in a separate window. Officials are colored according to their rank within their respective institutes.

Court Ranks

# 位階 (ikai) romaji Notable persons*
1 一位 正一位 shō ichi-i
2 従一位 ju ichi-i Taira no Kiyomori (平清盛), Taira no Munemori (平宗盛)
3 二位 正二位 shō ni-i Taira no Shigemori (平重盛)
4 従二位 ju ni-i Taira no Tokiko (平時子)
5 三位 正三位 shō san-mi
6 従三位 ju san-mi Taira no Koremori (平維盛)
7 四位 正四位上 shō shi-i no jō
8 正四位下 shō shi-i no ge
9 従四位上 ju shi-i no jō
10 従四位下 ju shi-i no ge
11 五位 正五位上 shō go-i no jō
12 正五位下 shō go-i no ge
13 従五位上 ju go-i no jō
14 従五位下 ju go-i no ge
15 六位 正六位上 shō roku-i no jō
16 正六位下 shō roku-i no ge
17 従六位上 ju roku-i no jō
18 従六位下 ju roku-i no ge
19 七位 正七位上 shō shichi-i no jō
20 正七位下 shō shichi-i no ge
21 従七位上 ju shichi-i no jō
22 従七位下 ju shichi-i no ge
23 八位 正八位上 shō hachi-i no jō
24 正八位下 shō hachi-i no ge
25 従八位上 ju hachi-i no jō
26 従八位下 ju hachi-i no ge
27 初位 大初位上 dai so-i no jō
28 大初位下 dai so-i no ge
29 少初位上 shō so-i no jō
30 少初位下 shō so-i no ge

*Highest rank obtained by said person. ph: posthumously awarded.