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History Kugyō (公卿)

Kugyō (公卿) – a collective term for the few most powerful men attached to the court of the Emperor of Japan in the pre-Meiji era.



Kugyō (公卿) is the collective term for the few most powerful men attached to the court of the Emperor of Japan in the pre-Meiji era. The term generally referred to the Kō (公) and Kei (卿) court officials. It denoted a court rank between First Rank and Third Rank under the Ritsuryō system, as opposed to the lower court nobility, thus being the collective term for the upper court nobility. However, some holders of the Fourth Rank were later included. In 1869, following the Meiji Restoration , the court nobility and daimyo were merged into a new peerage, the kazoku.

The kugyō generally refers to two groups of court officials:
  • the Kō (公), comprising the Chancellor of the Realm, the Minister of the Left, and the Minister of the Right; and
  • the Kei (卿), comprising the Major Counsellor, the Middle Counsellor, and the Associate Counselors, who held the court rank of Third Rank or higher.

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