Shujishi (Chinese: 庶吉士; pinyin: shù jí shì; Manchu: ᡤᡝᡵᡝᠨ
ᡤᡳᠯᡨᡠᠰᡳ geren giltusi) which means "All good men of virtue" is a scholastic title during the Ming and Qing dynasty of China. It can be used to denote a group of people who hold this title as well as individuals who possess the title.
The name of this title traces its origin back to the Book of Documents (also known as the Shû King through the translation of James Legge) which is written in old Chinese language. In the chapter "The establishment of government"(立政), the phrase "All good men of constant virtue (庶常吉士)" which is pronounced as "Shuchangjishi" appeared during a conversation between Zhougong, a moral model of Confucianism, and King Cheng of Zhou, the ruler of China in the early 11th century BC. Zhougong asks his nephew King of China to appoint officials with great care and prudence. He elaborated on the subject of the selection of officials and its significance in relation to the well-being of the government. All good men of constant virtue, according to Zhougong, are the ones that are to be trusted and assigned with important tasks.
The Shujishi was installed in the year of 1385 by the decree of Emperor Taizu of Ming, it was the 18th year of his rule when Shujishi first appeared in the records of history. Novices of the Jinshi rank undergo a process of selection and some of them are bestowed the title Shujishi. Once became Shujishi, they work as apprentice in the Hanlin Academy with the purpose of perfecting their skills of administration. During the reign of emperor Yinzong of Ming, the definition of Shujishi was narrowed down. Jinshi from the second place(二甲) or the third place(三甲) who are outstanding in terms of virtue are selected to be Shujishi in the Hanlin Academy. These elite Jinshi are called "Academy's selection"(館選). The Jinshi who obtained top place in the imperial exams received more privileged titles such as Xiuzhuan(修撰) and Bianxiu(編修). However, Xiuzhuan and Bianxiu are distinct titles that are different from Shujishi.
A stricter standard was applied during the reign of emperor Shizong of Qing. All Shujishi hold the title for a term of three years before been officially examined. During the three year long period, they study with experienced scholars in the Hanlin Academy. These Shujishi who had not received an official examination were called Sanguan(散館). Once Sanguan's knowledge were examined, those who were able to achieve success in their study will be formally accepted as a scholar of the Hanlin academy while those who were inferior to their peer Shujishi will be allotted to other departments of government.
- James Legge, Translation of The Shu King.1879