Katanashi (Kessei) was one of the governmental affairs conducted at the Imperial Court during the Heian period.
It sometimes was the term used to designated the place where it was conducted (Katanashi-dokoro)
It is suggested that it was formed by the nominalization of the word 'Katanenasu,' meaning to generalize or summarize. The word 'katane' relates to opening up a document to read and then tying it up again, and this act had an important meaning in actuality for Katanashi.
The documents of issues from the government officials and provinces were organized by the Benkan (controllers) before they were sent to the Dajokan (Grand Council of State). This was Katanashi. Katanashi was called Kan katanashi if the meeting of Daijokan, 'Sei' was a Kansei (a council at the Dajokan Office) to be conducted at the Dajokan Office, and was called Geki (Secretary of the Grand Council of State) katanashi if it was a Gekisei (a council at the Geki office) conducted at the Geki Office. The Katanashi-dokoro where Katanashi was conducted was different depending upon where the 'Sei' was held (west corridor of the Dajokan Office for Kansei and Geki South Building, the annex on the south side of the Geki Office for Gekisei). However, in later years, Katanashi were held at the Geki South Building even for Kansei and other than the fact that the official seal of the Daijokan was stored at the Fumidono next to the Geki South Building, everything else was the same.
First, all of the Benkan and Shi (lower ranking official) (Ritsuryo system [a system of centralized government based on the ritsuryo code]) and as witnesses, Shonagon (lesser councilor of state) and Geki, sit in the Katanashi-dokoro. Next, the chief Shi holds a pole that has the document clipped to it and submits this to the Benkan. The Daiben (major controller) and other Benkan take it out and read through it, return it to the Shi and this is re-tied and shown to all of the Benkan. After the Shi reads out the document (called Katanemosu), then the Benkan confirm the documents that should be taken up to the Sei and the meeting ends. Later, after the Sei, those that have become Dajokanpu (official documents issued by Dajokan) are returned to the Benkan, who then perform the shoin (a ceremony to seal documents issued by the government) which was necessary for the kanpu (official documents). In times of emergencies, Sei were not held but an upper courtier who was waiting at the meeting would confirm this, and the Sangi (councilor) or Shonagon would ask the Benkan at the Katanashi-dokoro to attach the seal to the document and this procedure was called Katanashi shoin. In the late Heian period, Kansei and Gekisei declined and actual governmental affairs were often run by Katanashi shoin.