Online ISSN : 2424-2616
Print ISSN : 0018-2478
ISSN-L : 0018-2478
Kuraryo : The significance of its roles on state domination
Tomohiro Furuoya
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1991 Volume 100 Issue 12 Pages 2036-2056,2152-


The author attempt to look at the way the Tenno dominated the people and society in ancient Japanese through a study of the Kuraryo (内蔵寮), the royal finance office, that existed before the ritsuryo (律令) regime was set up in Japan and was included in the ritsuryo bureaucracy. The allocating function of the Kuraryo had two characteristic features. The first is when the Tenno ordered the Okurasho (大蔵省) to allocate something, it was necessary to issue a document called Daijokanpu (太政官符). On the other hand, in the case of expenditures from the Kuraryo, the personal will of the Tenno was carried out directly under the provision of Ho-kuchoku-sakumotsu (奉口勅索物 : spoken orders of Tenno requiring some material or other) without passing through the Daijokan (太政官) or the Nakatsukasasho (中務省). The second has to do with items of expenditure. The Tenno bestowed government officials with gyofuku (御服) stored in the Kuraryo (clothing originally belonging to the Tenno) at sechie (節会: seasonal court banquets), or offers up mitekura (幣 : clothing for shrines) from the Kuraryo at shrine festivals, etc. These facts show that the Kuraryo contributed to uniting the governing classes through the giving of gyofuku, uniting the common people in shrine festivals, through the medium of the personality of Tenno. This is in marked contrast to the Okurasho, which unified the state financially through the medium of abstract and bureaucratic organs. Generally, state unity in ancient Japan is maintained by both bureaucratic organs and the personality of Tenno. Not only Kuraryo but also other domestic offices of the Tenno belonging to the Nakatsukasasho (中務省) and Kunaisho (宮内省) played important roles in the Tenno's personal role. In the Nara period, such functions of personal unification covered a wide range of state authority in spite of its diffuse and temporary nature. But in the early Heian period, especially the Konin era, it came to the surface in the state systems under a changed form. For example, from that times, gifts to government officials at sechie gatherings changed from gyofuku in the Kuraryo to clothing in the Okurasho in the form of allowances. On the other hand, gyofuku in the Kuraryo was given symbolically to officials only a sechie held on New Years Day, or was limited to upper-class aristocrats closely related to the Tenno at naien (内宴 : January inner court banquet) and rinji-en (臨時宴 : temporary banquets). These facts show that the whole bureaucracy as a governing classes was reorganized through the medium of abstract laws and institutions, and only upperclass aristocrats were united through the personality of the Tenno. The same phenomena are observed in hobei (offering of clothes) from the Kuraryo to shrines of clans related to Tenno by blood and to tombs of former Tennos. Nevertheless, considering hobei from Kuraryo for shrine festivals like the Kamo-no-matsuri (賀茂祭) established in the early Heian period, it was still necessary to create fields in which the personality of the Tenno was dominant in order to make the people recognize the legitimacy that the Tenno is authority, though rule impersonal bureaucratic domination was becoming more and more dominant during that time.

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© 1991 The Historical Society of Japan
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