Chamberlain of Japan

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The Grand Chamberlain of Japan (侍従?, Jijū, formerly read as omobito-machigimi) is a chief functionary of the Imperial court, and aide of the Emperor of Japan. He also keeps the Privy Seal and the State Seal and has been an official civil servant since the Meiji Period. Today, the Grand Chamberlain, assisted by a Vice-Grand Chamberlain, heads the Board of the Chamberlains, the division of the Imperial Household Agency, responsible for organising the daily life and schedule of the Emperor. In old Japanese, the Chamberlain was also known as Maetsukimi (公卿?).[1]


According to Taihō Code around the 8th century, it was presupposed that a chamberlain belonged to the Ministry of the Center. When the kurōdodokoro (蔵人所?) was installed during the Heian era, the Chamberlain's role was quickly reduced, limited to matters of courtesy. In 1869, the Chamberlain was brought within the Imperial Household Ministry. The position of Grand Chamberlain of Japan was placed within the merit system in 1871, and three people—Tokudaiji Sanetsune, Masataka Kawase, and Higashikuze Michitomi—were appointed. According to the Imperial Household Ministry regulations,[2] the Grand Chamberlain supervises chamberlains who closely attend the appointed person, reports to that person and announces their orders.

After World War II, the Chamberlains were organized into the Board of the Chamberlains, within the Imperial Household Agency, through the temporary Imperial Household office (宮内府?, kunaifu). After passage of the National Public Service Law (Shōwa 22 Law No. 120), the chamberlain became a special service national public servant. Although distinctions between first-class officials, second class officials, and so forth continued, the class publication to an appointment document[3] would no longer be carried out after the 2001 Central Government Reform. The grand chamberlain's job is that of an attestation official, and his appointment and dismissal are at the discretion of the Emperor.

Crown Prince[edit]

The Crown Prince of Japan is also served by a Chamberlain. This official is called East Palace Chamberlain (東宮侍従?, Tōgū-jijū) in Japanese because the Crown Prince lives in the East Palace (東宮?, Tōgū, and the Crown Prince was also called Tōgū). The Chief Chamberlain to the Crown Prince is the head of the Crown Prince's Household.[1]

List of Grand Chamberlains of Japan[edit]

(After Meiji Period)

Suzuki Kantarō, 1929–36

(After enforcing Constitution of Japan by the end of the World War II)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Organization and Functions of the Imperial Household Agency Archived September 6, 2006, at the Wayback Machine., official site of the Imperial Household Agency
  2. ^ 「侍従長ハ親任又ハ勅任トス常侍奉仕シ侍従職ヲ統轄シ便宜事ヲ奏シ旨ヲ宣ス」・「侍従ハ……奏任トス側近ノ事ヲ分掌ス」
  3. ^ written "The second class is appointed". Details: Refer to ja:認証官

External links[edit]