Keishi (household superintendent) (家司)

Keishi (also called Ie no tsukasa) refers to personnel who are in charge of household management placed in a household of the Imperial Prince and Princess, or a Court noble or a samurai family of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) or higher as Shikiji (another term for a royal secretary, kurodo, especially one who is concurrently posted as a controller).

They were originally personnel established by the ritsuryo system (a system of centralized government based on the ritsuryo code). After the mid Heian Period, they were appointed privately from a Court noble, Kanjin (low to medium rank government official), or Jigenin (lower rank of ancient Japanese nobility), and the system that personnel of the national government double as Keishi, private household management personnel, was formed.


This was made by bringing the family property organization, which the Emperor's family and local ruling families owned before the ritsuryo system, in the state system. 'Karei Shikinryo (law stipulating duties of butlers)' was enacted, and Shitokan (four classifications of bureaucrats' ranks), which consists of Karei (Ie no kami), Fu (Suke), Ju (Matsurigotohito) and Shori (Sokan), was established, and personnel from the government were appointed, and further, Fumihakase and Chonai were appointed for the Imperial Prince's family, and Shijin for the retainers of the Fifth Rank or higher including a Court noble. In 719, households of the Fifth Rank or higher were allowed to have Jigyo, Boko and Joshin. Sani (courtier without post) of the Third Rank or higher, and the retainers of the Fourth and Fifth Rank were allowed to have Takushi. However, in the eighth century, household management personnel outside of the law called Chikeji and Chitakuji came to appear from Betto (superintendent) of Muhon-Shinno (Imperial Prince without court rank), and the Fourth and Fifth Rank.

In the 10th century, the distinction of Keishi and the household management personnel outside of the law became unclear, and Keishi required by the ritsuryo system were also appointed by Migyosho (a document for informing people of the decision of Third Rank or upper people) of the master. Further, the kenmon class (influential families) were formed by bringing local Gunji (district official) and rich and powerful class in the household management organization.

During the regents and chancellors period, Betto, Karei, Chikeji, Anju, Samurai and Shori were established as domestic governing institutions. And organizations including Mandokoro (Administrative Board), Samurai-dokoro (the Board of Retainers), Fudono (repository of documents) and Osamedono (treasury) were established as institutions for practical work. The personnel of the domestic governing institutions were in charge of operation of household management as personnel of the institutions for practical work.
But the personnel such as Betto and Karei appointed from Court nobles, and the Fourth and Fifth Rank government officials were called '(Kami) Keishi,' and Chikeji and the lower were called 'Shimo Keishi.'
Many Zuryo (provincial governor) were appointed as the Keishi of the Sekkan-ke (the families which produced the Regent and the Chief Adviser to the Emperor), and part of their earnings was contributed to the Sekkan-ke, and backed up their income. The Sekkan-ke had a big impact on the authority over personnel affairs of Kurodo (chamberlain) and Zuryo. Therefore, when the Sekkan-ke were fixed in the Kujo line, the Zuryo Keishi concentrated in the Sekkan-ke, and overwhelmed other Court nobles. However, in the Insei period (period of the government by the retired Emperor), the Sekkan-ke weakened, which made the number of Zuryo Keishi decrease. Instead, the Keishi serving for generations took charge of practical work of management of Shoen as Mandokoro personnel. On the other hand, Inshi, household management officials of the In no cho (Retired Emperor's Office) served as Kami/Shimo Keishi for Daijo Tenno (the retired Emperor).

In the long term, it is likely viewed that the Keishi system inheriting the ancient family property system came to be converted into the medieval master-servant system through the transformation in the Heian period.

The term 'Keishi' was hardly used along with the Mandokoro system in the nobility in the Muromachi Period, when the manorialism was going to dissolve. Instead, household management came to be operated by Kaboku (servant) mainly consisting of Shodaibu and Aosamurai (the former was only placed in the upper class Court nobles such as the Sekkan-ke).