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Pre-modern Japan

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Dainagon (大納言 ?), often translated as "Major Counselor" or "Great Councillor," was a government post of the Japanese ritsuryo governmental system, which was in place for much of the classical and feudal periods. The title is a composite created from dai- (meaning "great" or "first") and -nagon (meaning "counselor").[1]

The post was created in 702 by the Taihō Code, and evolved out of the earlier post Oimonomōsu-tsukasa. Holders of the office were of the Senior Third Rank. They assisted the Minister of the Left (the Sadaijin) and the Minister of the Right (the Udaijin).[2]

By the mid-17th century, the Dainagon counselor or state, was expected to work closely the Minister of the Center (the Naidaijin), whose position ranked just below the Udaijin and the Sadaijin. This court position evolved to ensure that someone will be always prepared to replace or assist the main court officials if, for any reason, it should be impossible for one of the two senior counselors to devote himself to his duties and responsibilities in all matters. Thus, the Dainagon ranked just above all other kuge in the kugyō except the Daijō-daijin, Udaijin, Sadaijin, and Naidaijin.[3]

This ancient office would have been roughly equivalent to that of vice-minister in the modern cabinet system. It was abolished in 1871.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Titsingh, I. (1834). Annales des emperors du Japon, p. 425.
  2. ^ Screech, T. Secret Memoirs of the Shoguns: Isaac Titsingh and Japan, 1779-1822, p. 157.
  3. ^ Titsingh, p. 426
  4. ^ Unterstein (in German): Ranks in Ancient and Meiji Japan (in English and French), pp. 6, 27.




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