Ministry of Popular Affairs
Chancellor / Chief Minister
|Minister of the Left||Sadaijin|
|Minister of the Right||Udaijin|
|Minister of the Center||Naidaijin|
- one of the Eight Ministries (八省?) of the Japanese imperial court, established by the Taihō Code of early 8th century, and continued under the Ritsuryō legal system.
- A short-lived ministry during the Meiji period (Aug-Sep 1869, Aug 1870-Sep 1871 ).
The ministry, established by the Taihō Code and Ritsuryō laws, was one of the Eight Ministries, in the wing of four ministries reporting to the Controlling Board of the Left (左弁官局 Sabenkankyoku?) out of eight ministries. As the name indicates, this body was concerned with oversight over the affairs of the common people, viewed as taxable producers of goods. The ministry maintained various records: the population census sent from the provinces, cadastral (real estate) records, and tax accounting records.
The Yōrō Code (a revised version of the Taihō Code that created the ministry), stipulates the powers vested in the ministry, under its Official Appointments statute (職員令 Shikiin-ryō?, "Article for the Ministry of Popular Affairs"). There it is stated that :
"the ministry is responsible for the registers of populations,[a] the labour tax, family obligations [i.e. exemptions from labour tax in deserving cases, such as that of a son the sole support of aged parents, etc.];servants and slaves [who being unfree and propertyless were untaxable]; bridges and roads, harbours, fences, bays, lakes, mountains, rivers, woods, and swamps etc.; rice lands in all provinces."—Sansom tr.
In the above "all provinces" does not include the capital. The census for the aristocracy who had clan names (uji or kabane) etc. was under the purview of the Jibu-shō (Ministry of Civil Administration). And the ministry was not "directly repsonsible for the upkeep of roads, bridgees, etc.," but merely kept such records for taxation and tax transportation tracking purposes.
Popular Affairs certificate
The ministry issued order certificates or charters called the minbushō-fu (民部省符 "Popular Affairs certificate"?) to officials and provincial governors (kokushi). The shōen system recognized private ownership of reclaimed rice-paddy lands, but did not automatically confer tax-exemption (as some misleading dictionary definitions suggest). From the early Heian Period, the tax-exempt or leniency status was ratified by the certificate or charter (kanshōfu (官省符?)) issued either by this ministry or the Great Council (daijō-kan) itself. (See kanshōfu-shō (官省符荘?)).[b]
In the Jōgan (貞観?) period (859-877) occurred a breakdown of the Ritsuryō system under the Fujiwara no Yoshifusa regime, with authorities of the ministries absorbed by the Great Council. The decree of Jōgan 4, VII, 27 (August 826)[c] essentially stripped the ministry of its control over the tax-leniency policy, ordaining that all applications for tax relief would be decided completely by the Great Council of State (daijō-kan), and its ruling delivered directly to the countries by the Great Council's certificate (daijō-kan fu). The ministry still issued certificates for exemptions on the shōen estates, but this was just rubberstamping decisions from above, as before. These changes in the exercise of administration were codified in the Jogan shiki (貞観式 "Procedures of the Jogan Era"?) and later Engishiki.[d] The ministry was thus reduced to processing clerical responsibilities concerning the provinces.
- Minbu-kyō (民部卿?) - "Minister of Popular Affairs"
- aliases: "Chief administrator of the ministry of civil services"
- Minbu-no-tayū (民部大輔?) - "Senior Assistant Minister of Popular Affairs"
- aliases: "Vice-Minister"
- aliases: "Assistant Vice-Minister"
Under the Ministry were two bureaus:
The Shukei-ryō, or Kazue-no-tsukasa (主計寮?), the "Bureau of Computation" or "Bureau of Statistics." was in charge of two forms of taxes, the chō (調 "handicraft tax"?) and the yō (庸corvée?). The yō was a form of conscripted compulsory labor, or more often the goods paid to be exempt from the obligation.
The Shuzei-ryō or Chikara-ryō (主税寮?), the "Tax Bureau," was in charge of the third form of tax, the so (租 "land tax (paid by rice)"?). The three forms of taxes were know as Soyōchō (租庸調?) under the Ritsuryō system.
- Kazue-no-kami (主計頭?) - "Director"
- Kazue-no-suke (主計助?) -|"Assistant director"
- Kazue-no-taijō (主計大允?) - "Secretary"
- Kazue-no-shōjō (主計少允?) - "Assistant Secretary" 
- Kazue-no-dai-sakan (主計大属?) - "Senior Clerk"
- Kazue-no-shōzoku (主計少属?) - "Junior Clerk"
- Sanshi (算師?) (x 2) - "Accountants" 
- trained mathematicians who calculated tax revenue and expenditures.
- The director was in charge of dispensing and receipt from the government granaries. so
- Chikara-no-suke (主計助?) -|"Assistant director"
- Chikara-no-taijō (主税大允?) - "Secretary"
- Chikara-no-shōjō (主税少允?) - "Assistant Secretary" 
- Chikara-no-dai-sakan (主税大属?) - "Senior Clerk"
- Chikara-no-shōzoku (主税少属?) - "Junior Clerk"
- Sanshi (算師?) (x 2) - "Accountants" 
- trained mathematicians who kept tax records.
The Rinin (廩院?) was an ancillary facility to this ministry that stored a portion of the corvée tax (yō of soyōchō) and nenryō shōmai (年料舂米 "yearly assessed polished rice"?), which were distributed during ceremonies and functions.[e]
Personages who held offices
- Ariwara no Yukihira (Ariwara no Yukihira?), minister (883-887), known as Zai Minbukyō ("Zai" being the Chinese reading of the first letter of his surname).
- Sugawara no Michizane (菅原道真?), junior assistant minister (874), minister (896).
- Fujiwara no Tadabumi (藤原忠文?) 873-947, aka "Uji no Minbukyō" or "the Uji Director (of the Ministry of Popular Affairs).
- The fictional Fujiwara no Koremitsu (藤原惟光?), foster brother of Hikaru Genji was Minbu no taifu.
- Fujiwara no Tameie (1198-1275) was nominal minister, but governance had already shifted to samurai in the Kamakura period
List of translated aliases
- Bureau of Civil Affairs
- Popular Affairs Department
- Popular Affairs Ministry
- Ministry of Popular Affairs
- Ministry of Population
- Department of Revenue and Census
- Ministry of Civil Administration
- Ministry of Civil Services
- Ministry of Personnel
- The word (in) all provinces (諸国?) appears at the beginning of the original text, and so "aller Provinzen" appears here in Dettmer 2009, p. 226, but Sansom leaves ".. in all provinces" to the end of paragraph.
- The Ministry of Popular Affairs (which dealt with the common people and not the gentry) did not have the decision-power to issue such charter on its own initiative. It merely drafted and rubberstamped the charter at the behest of the Great Council. 坂本賞三 (1985), 荘園制成立と王朝国家 (snippet), 塙書房
- in volume 6 of Ruijū fusen shō ("assorted orders abridged"))
- There is a shift in terminology. The exemption from kanmotsu (官物?), which are mentioned in the Jōgan decree and the Engishiki, was understood to include the fuyu (不輸 "tax privlieges"?) rights
- This differs from the Ōiryō, the granary of the Imperial Household Ministry.
- Sansom 1932, pp. 87–88, vol. IX; Samson does not redundantly print the Japanese 8-fold for each ministry. For the Japanese equivalent, consult pp. 71-77; pp. 77-82; pp.82-83 (overview and first two ministries).
- "Ministry of Popular Affairs"
- Sansom 1978, p. 104
- 竹内, 理三 (Rizō, Takeuchi), ed. (1974) , 角川日本史辞典 (2 ed.), 角川書店, p. 976, ISBN 4040305027
- Organizational chart diagram, Deal 2006, p. 90
- Miller 1979, pp. 124–128
- Heading: "職員令 21 民部省条... 掌.." (Yōrō code text)押部, 佳周 (Oshibe Yoshikane) (1981), 日本律令成立の研究 (Nihon ritsuryō seiritsu no kenkyū) (snippet), 塙書房, p. 100
- Dettmer 2009, p. 226, note 405
- Sato, Elizabeth (1974), "Early Development of the Shōen", in John Whitney; Jeffrey P., Medieval Japan: Essays in Institutional History, Stanford University Press, p. 96
- Entry for "貞観時代 (Jōgan jidai)" in Kadokawa historical dictionary
- 早川, 庄八 (1997) , "制について", 日本古代の文書と典籍 (吉川弘文館): 55–56; Originally published 1978 in 『古代史論叢』 2 (中)
- 和田, 英松 (Wada, Hidematsu) (1926), 官職要解 : 修訂 (Kanshoku yōkai: shūtei 3rd ed.) (NDL), 明治書院, pp. 69–71
- Titsingh 1834, p. 428 Totsomg gives Japanese representation next to each French name of office, but the latter does not correspond well with modern English translations.
- Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, p. 272.
- Borgen 1994, p. 118; quote: "(Year) 877, Michizane was named junior assistant minister of ceremonial."
- Murase 2001, p. 5; "Senior Secretary in the Bureau of Popular Affairss"
- McCullough 1999, p. 112
- 佐藤, 信 (1997) , "日本古代の宮都と木簡", 2(下), 吉川弘文館, p. 62, Originally 1984 "民部省廩院について" in 土田直鎮先生還暦記念会編』, Vol. 2(下)
- Florenz, Karl (1906), Geschichte der japanischen Litteratur, C. F. Amelangs, p. 242
- Dykstra, Yoshiko Kurata (tr.) (2003), The Konjaku tales (snippet), Kansai Gaidai University Publication, pp. 270–271
- Royall 2003;Commissioner of Civil Affairs (probably Koremitsu), p.228. Minbu no Taifu = Commissioner of Civil Affairs p.1162
- Nussbaum, p. 210
- Whitehouse 2010, p. 138
- Van Goethem 2008, p. 96 (Popular Affairs minister)
- McCullough & McCullough 1980, pp. 810
- Ooms 2009, p. 112, this source inconsitently use ministry or department for various shō.
- Borgen 1994, p. 117ff
- Versucher 2007, p. 319
- Kawakami 1903, pp. 36–7
- Ministry of Civil Administration, Sheffield.
- Naoki 1993, pp. 234
- Translations of primary sources
- Sansom, George Bailey (1932). "Early Japanese Law and Administration". Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan (Second series) 9: 67–110. (Yōrō Code administrative laws and ministerial organization, as preserved in Ryō no Gige, excerpted translation and summary.)
- Dettmer, ed. (2009), Der Yōrō-Kodex, die Gebote: Einleitung und Übersetzung des Ryō-no-gige (format) 1, Hans Adalbert, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, pp. 226–, ISBN 3447059400 (German)
- Secondary sources
- Deal, William E. (2006), Handbook to Life in Medieval and Early Modern Japan (preview), Infobase Publishing, ISBN 0-816-07485-2 13-ISBN 978-0-816-07485-3 (organizational chart)
- Ito, Hirobumi (1889), Commentaries on the Constitution of the Empire of Japan (Google), Translated by Itō Miyoji, Tokyo: Igirisu-Hōritsu Gakko, p. 87
- Kawakami, Kiyoshi Karl (1903), The Political Ideas of Modern Japan, Tokyo: Shokwabo, OCLC 466275784
- — Iowa City, Iowa: University of Iowa Press (1903) Internet Archive, full text
- McCullough, Helen Craig; McCullough, William H. (1980), A Tale of Flowering Fortunes: Annals of Japan; Aristocratic Life 1, Stanford University Press, ISBN 0-804-71039-2 13-ISBN 978-0-804-71039-8
- McCullough, William H. (1999), "Chapter 2: The Capital and its Society" (preview), in Hall, John Whitney; Shively, Donald H.; McCullough, William H., The Cambridge History of Japan 2, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-55028-9 13-ISBN 978-0-521-55028-4 (organizational chart)
- Miller, Richard J. (1979). "Japan's first bureaucracy : a study of eighth-century government" (snippet). China-Japan Program 19: 124–128.
- e-text at Cornell digital collection
- Naoki, Kōjirō (1993), "4. The Nara state" (preview), in Hall, John W., The Cambridge History of Japan: Ancient Japan (Cambridge University Press) 1: 260–, ISBN 0-521-22352-0 13-ISBN 978-0-521-22352-2
- Nussbaum, Käthe; Roth, eds. (2005), Japan Encyclopedia, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-01753-6, OCLC 48943301 13-ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5
- Titsingh, Isaac (1834), Annales des empereurs du Japon (google), Paris: Royal Asiatic Society, Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland, OCLC 5850691 (French) (tr. of Nihon Odai Ichiran)
- Ooms, Herman (2009), Imperial Politics and Symbolics in Ancient Japan: The Tenmu Dynasty, 650-800 (preview), University of Hawaii Press, ISBN 0-824-83235-3 13-ISBN 978-0-824-83235-3
- Reischauer, Robert Karl (1937), Early Japanese history, c. 40 B.C.-A.D. 1167 (snippet), Princeton University Press
- Ury, Marian. (1999). "Chinese Learning and Intellectual Life," The Cambridge history of Japan: Heian Japan. Vol. II. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10-ISBN 0-521-22353-9/ 13-ISBN 978-0-521-22353-9
- Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki: A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns. New York: Columbia University Press. 10-ISBN 0-231-04940-4; 13-ISBN 978-0-231-04940-5; OCLC 59145842
- additional sources used to compile English translated names.
- Borgen, Robert (1994), Sugawara No Michizane and the Early Heian Court (preview), University of Hawaii Press, ISBN 0-824-81590-4 13-ISBN 978-0-824-81590-5
- McCullough, Helen Craig (1990), Classical Japanese Prose: An Anthology, Stanford University Press, p. 173, ISBN 0-804-71960-8 13-ISBN 978-0-804-71960-5
- Tyler, Royall (tr.) (2003), The tale of Genji, Murasaki Shikibu, Penguin, pp. 1161–2, ISBN 014243714X
- Van Goethem, Ellen (2008), Nagaoka:Japan's Forgotten Capital (preview), Stone Bridge Press, Inc., ISBN 1-880-65662-0 13-ISBN 978-1-880-65662-4
- Versucher, Charlotte (2007), "Life of Commoners in the Provinces" (preview), in Adolphson, Mikael S.; Edward, Kames; Matsumoto, Heian Japan: Centers and Peripheries, University of Hawaii Press, ISBN 0-824-83013-X 13-ISBN 978-0-824-83013-7
- Whitehouse, Wilfrid (2010), Ochikubo Monogatari or The Tale of the Lady Ochikubo: A Tenth Century Japanese Novel / Chikamatsu Monzaemon (preview), Taylor & Francis, ISBN 0-203-84350-9 13-ISBN 978-0-203-84350-5