Asuka Kiyomihara Code

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The Asuka Kiyomihara Code (飛鳥浄御原令?, Asuka Kiyomihara-ryō) refers to a collection of governing rules compiled and promulgated in 689, one of the first, if not the first collection of Ritsuryō laws in classical Japan.[1] This also marks the initial appearance of the central administrative body called the Daijō-kan (Council of State) composed of the three ministers—the Daijō-daijin (Chancellor), the Sadaijin (Minister of the Left) and the Udaijin (Minister of the Right).[2]

In 662, Emperor Tenji is said to have compiled the first Japanese legal code known to modern historians. The Ōmi-ryō, consisting of 22 volumes, was promulgated in the last year of Tenji's reign.[3] This legal codification is no longer extant, but it is said to have been refined in what is known as the Asuka Kiyomihara ritsu-ryō of 689.[2] The compilation was commenced in 681 under Emperor Tenmu. The Emperor died in 686, but the finalization of the Code took a few more years. It was promulgated in 689. These are understood to have been a forerunner of the Taihō ritsu-ryō of 701.[4]

Although not "finalized" (not incorporating a penal code, a ritsu, for instance), the code already incorporated several important regulations (for instance compulsory registration for citizens), which paved the way for the more complete Taihō Code.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Farris, William Wayne. (1998). Sacred Texts and Buried Treasures: Issues in the Historical Archaeology of Ancient Japan. p. 104.
  2. ^ a b c Hall, John Whitney et al. (1993). The Cambridge History of Japan, p. 232.
  3. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 52.
  4. ^ Varley, John. (1980). A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns: "Jinnō Shōtōki" of Kitabatake Chikafusa, p. 136 n43.