Hanke (Kuge) (半家 (公家))

Hanke (a kind of family status of the Court nobles) is a classification term for the court noble class established subsequent to the Kamakura period being the lowest-ranked family in social standing among Tosho-ke (high court nobility allowed to enter the Imperial Palace). Hanke invariably came from a clan whose surname was different from their real family name and served the Imperial Court using specific skills.

With respect to court ranks, Hanke attained promotion at the junior level to that of the house of Urin and as an important noble family. Some families advanced to Dainagon (chief councilor of state), the highest post attainable by appointment, without working their way up through Konoefu (the Headquarters of the Inner Palace Guards) or Benkan (Oversight Department: a division of the Dajokan responsible for controlling central and provincial governmental offices) but, while having joined the ranks of Kugyo (the top court officials), many Hanke families tended to stagnate at the level of Hisangi (advisor at large).

Hanke became referred to as viscount after the Meiji Restoration.

A List of Hanke

The Fujiwara Clan (two families)

The Takakura family: Takakura line of the Northern House of the Fujiwara clan. The Takakura family was founded by FUJIWARA no Nagasue, the descendant of FUJIWARA no Nagara, the child of FUJIWARA no Fuyutsugu. It was an old family. The family specialized in Yusoku-kojitsu (knowledge of court rules, ceremony, decorum and records of the past) and shozoku (costumes, clothing).

The Tominokoji family: A branch family of the Nijo family, Sekke (regents and advisors) descending from the Northern House of the Fujiwara clan. The Tominokoji family was founded by NIJO Michinao TOMINOKOJI, the second son of Michihira. It was an old family. The family specialized in waka and haiku poetry.

Seiwa-Genji (Minamoto clan) (one family)

The Takeuchi family: Sueharu TAKEUCHI, the descendant of MINAMOTO no Moriyoshi, the fourth son of MINAMOTO no Yoshimitsu, was the founder. It was an old family. The family specialized in Kyusen (Bow and arrow), Sho (Japanese flute) and waka.

Genji (Uda-Genji) (two families)

The Itsutsuji family: The founder was the same as that for the Niwata family. The Itsutsuji family was founded by MINAMOTO no Nakakane, the sixth generation descendant of MINAMOTO no Tokikata, the child of MINAMOTO no Masanobu. The family specialized in Kagura (sacred music and dancing performed at shrine).

The Jikoji family: A branch line of the Itsutsuji family. The Jikoji family was founded by Nakakiyo JIKOJI, the child of Tokane ITSUTSUJI. The family became extinct during the late Sengoku period which was subsequently restored by Fuyunaka JIKOJI during the early Edo period. It was a newly established family.

Genji (Kazan-Genji) (one family)

The Shirakawa family: MINAMOTO no Akiyasu, the descendant of Imperial Prince Kiyohito, was the founder. It was an old family. The Shirakawa family served as Jingi haku (a chief official in charge of matters relating to Shintoism) by succession being referred to as Hakke.

The Taira clan of the Takamune line (two families)

The Nishinotoin family: Kanmu-Heishi (Taira clan) of the Takamune line. The Nishinotoin family was founded by Yukitoki NISHINOTOIN. It was an old family.

The Iwai family: A branch line of the Nishinotoin family. The Iwai family was founded by Yukitoyo IWAI, the child of Tokitsune HIRAMATSU. It was a newly established family.

The Sugawara clan (six families)

The Takatsuji family: The main branch of the Sugawara clan
The Takatsuji family was founded by SUGAWARA no Koretsuna who was the child of SUGAWARA no Sadanori and grandchild of SUGAWARA no Michizane. It was an old family. The family specialized in Kidendo (the study of history). The family head served as Monjo hakase (professor of literature) by succession.

The Gojo family: A branch line of the Takatsuji family. The Gojo family was founded by Takanaga GOJO, the child of Tamenaga TAKATSUJI. It was an old family. The family specialized in the study of history.

{The Karahashi family}: The founder was the same as that for the Takatsuji family. The founder was Ariyoshi KARAHASHI, the son of SUGAWARA no Sadanori. It was an old family. The family specialized in the study of history.

The Higashibojo family: A branch line of the Gojo family. The founder was Shigenaga HIGASHIBOJO, the second son of Nagatsune GOJO. It was an old family. The family specialized in the study of history.

The Kiyooka family: A branch line of the GOJO family. The founder was Nagatoki KIYOOKA, the second son of Tameyasu GOJO. It was a newly established family. The family specialized in Confucianism.

The Kuwabara family: A branch line of the Gojo family. The founder was Nagayoshi KUWABARA, the fourth son of Tamenobu GOJO. The family specialized in Confucianism.

The Kiyohara clan (three families)

The Funabashi family: The main branch of the Kiyohara clan. The family began referring themselves to as FUNABASHI in times of Hidekata FUNABASHI, the descendant of KIYOHARA no Natsuno. It was an old family. The family specialized in Myogyo-do (the study of Confucian classics).

The Fusehara family: A branch line of the Funabashi family. The founder was Katatada FUSHIHARA, the second son of Hidekata FUNABASHI. It was a newly established family. The family specialized in the study of Confucian classics.

The Sawa family: A branch line of the Funabashi family. The founder was Tadakazu SAWA, the second son of Nobuyuki FUSHIHARA. It was a newly established family.

The Onakatomi clan (one family)

The Fujinami family: The main branch of the Onakatomi clan. The family began referring themselves as to FUJINAMI in times of Kagetada FUJINAMI, the descendant of ONAKATOMI no Kiyomaro. It was an old family. For generations, the family head served as the ritual performer and Jingikan (officer of the ritsuryo office in charge of the administration of Shinto worship) by succession.

The Urabe clan (four families)

The Yoshida family: The main branch of the Urabe clan. The family began referring to themselves as YOSHIDA in times of Kanehiro YOSHIDA. It was an old family. The family specialized in Jingido (the way of worship). For generations, the family head served as the administrator of Yoshida-jinja Shrine by succession.

The Hagiwara family: A branch line of the Yoshida family. The founder was the second son of Kaneharu YOSHIDA, Kaneyori HAGIWARA. It was a newly established family. The family specialized in the way of worship. For generations, the family head served as the administrator of Toyokuni-jinja Shrine (Kyoto City).

The Nishigori family: A branch line of the Yoshida family. The founder was the second son of Kazutsugu HAGIWARA, Tsuguhisa NISHIGORI. It was a newly established family.

The Fujii family: The founder was the same as that of the Yoshida family. Kanemitsu FUJII initially went by the surname of INOKUMA and subsequently referred to himself as FUJII. It was a newly established family. The family head served as Jingikan by succession. Performed administrative duties at Hirano-jinja Shrine.

The Abe clan (nobles) (two families)

The Tsuchimikado family: The main branch of the Abe clan. The founder was ABE no Seimei, the descendant of ABE no Kurahashimaro. It was an old family. The family specialized in tenmon (astronomy), rekido (learning of the calendar) and Onmyodo (the way of Yin and Yang; occult divination system based on the Taoist theory of the five elements).

The Kurahashi family: A branch line of the Tsuchimikado family. The founder was Yasuyoshi KURAHASHI, the son of Hisanaga TSUCHIMIKADO. It was a newly established family. The family specialized in Onmyodo.

The Tanba clan (one family)

The Nishiki-no-koji family: The main branch of the Tanba clan. The Nishiki-no-koji family became extinct during the late Sengoku period, but was subsequently restored by Yoritsune NISHIKINOKOJI, the child of Yorisuke KOMORI, during the mid-Edo period. It was an old family. The family specialized in medicine.

The Oe clan (one family)

The Kitakoji family: Toshinobu KITAKOJI, the child of OE no Masashige, started to refer to himself as KITAKOJI. Toshitsune KITAKOJI and Toshinori KITAKOJI of the branch family were subsequently promoted to join the ranks of Tosho-ke (high court nobility who were allowed to enter the Imperial Palace) during the late Edo period. The family specialized in literature.