Kidendo is a subject in the daigakuryo (Bureau of Education under the ritsuryo system (a system of centralized government based on the ritsuryo code)) in Japan under the Ritsuryo system in which history (mainly Chinese history) was taught. Later, it was merged with Monjodo (Literature), a subject which dealt with Chinese literature, becoming a subject teaching both history and Chinese literature. The subject was called 'Kidendo,' whereas the title, hakase, became 'Monjo hakase,' although they were also commonly known as 'Monjodo' and 'Kiden hakase' (professor of history) (however, there is a theory saying that the names, 'Kidendo' and 'Monjodo,' did not exist at the time of the merger).
Meanwhile, there was a time after the Meiji period when this fact was misunderstood, as monjodo integrated kidendo and became 'monjodo' and 'monjo hakase,' although the name 'monjodo' was just a popular name.
The names for the subject and the title after their merger used in this section will be 'kidendo' and 'monjo hakase,' respectively, according to their original names.
Monjodo and kidendo
It is thought that in the early daigakuryo, myogyodo, which was the study of Confucian classics, was centered on supplementary subjects: myobodo to teach the Ritsuryo codes and sando to teach arithmetic, added from practical viewpoints. Meanwhile, it is also thought that other subjects such as literature were incorporated into the education program, as it was revealed from the content of "Ryonoshuge" (Commentaries on the Civil Statutes) that there were some questions from Wen Xuan (a book), as well as Erya, in examinations to appoint shusai (Daigaku student who passed a subject of the official appointment test) (the Imperial Examination) and shinshi (Daigaku student who passed a subject of the official appointment test).
On August 30, 728, monjo hakase (Shoshichiinoge (Senior Seventh Rank, Lower Grade)) which was a ryoge no kan (class outside of the Ritsuryo system) was established by allotting one of the Myogyodo chokko (teacher of Myogyodo) (a separate position of Myogyo hakase (Doctor of Confucian classics)). Two years later, on April 18, 730, 20 monjosho (student of literary studies in the Imperial University) were appointed and the top two were chosen as Monjo tokugosho (Distinguished Scholars of Letters), becoming the candidates for Monjo hakase. Meanwhile, as the daigaku education at that time was modeled on that of the Tang Dynasty, they had myogyodo, which taught Confucianism, as a main subject, and sando, which was a technical subject as a second. However, according to Senjoryo, which provided the regulations for the recruitment and promotion of government officials, there were four kinds of examinations for 'Shusai, Myogyo, Shinshi and Myobo,' although the three other than myogyo were in name only (as there were no organizations equivalent to private schools in Japan at that time, there were no other institutions or organizations than daigakuryo which could educate applicants for the officials recruitment examinations). It is understood that, under such circumstances, monjo hakase was established to educate applicants to take examinations of shusai who would discuss horyakusaku (national strategy) and those of shinshi who would deal with jimusaku (general policies), and myobo hakase, to educate myobo applicants. At first, these two hakase were only there at the daigakuryo to support myogyodo. Also, at first, 'only sons of hakucho (ordinary people or inferior servants) and zonin (lower-ranking government official)' were qualified for monjosho, as there was a clear distinction that sons of nobles became myogyosho and others became monjosho. To put it differently, if they were recognized as capable, even sons of lower-ranking government officials or common people were able to become monjosho. As a matter of fact, HARUSUMI no Yoshitada, a son of a sakan (kokushi (provincial governors)), which was the lowest ranked local official, became monjosho and monjo hakase and then was promoted to sangi (councilor). Meanwhile, ISAYAMA no Fumitsugu was appointed as daigaku no suke (Assistant Director of the Bureau of Education) in 812 during his service as kiden hakase, but he was granted for the first time the kabane (hereditary title) of muraji (one of the ancient Japanese hereditary titles denoting rank and political standing) six months before that, and from this we can assume that he had entered the daigakuryo as hakucho (ordinary people or something similar) and had the position of a professor there. Also, there is another theory saying that it was subjects to nurture court poets that were originally limited to sons of hakucho and zonin, not those for officials. In addition, there is a theory which claims that the name 'monjodo' was only a popular name or which even denies the existence of the name (in the first place, the names of subjects were officially adopted during the Jogan era (or clearly specified for the first time in "Joganshiki Code"), which was much later than this time, and if this is true, there must have been 'monjo ka' but not 'monjodo').
It was when KIBI no Makibi, who was a Japanese envoy to Tang Dynasty China, brought back well organized Chinese historiography from Tang (Kibidaijin Sanshi hitsu (the authenticated Chinese history of Minister Kibi)) in 735 that monjo hakase began lecturing on history, too. As Chinese historiography was written in a style called kidentai (biographical historiography), it was also called 'kiden,' becoming a synonym for history (study).
Later, as a knowledge of Chinese historiography was considered important for making official documents or as a kind of political study, those who wished to join the monjoka (monjodo) kept coming endlessly, becoming an obstacle for the lectures of literature, which was the original specialty of monjo hakase. Because of this, on March 4, 808, one person from myogyo chokko was again allotted to establish an independent official, kiden hakase (equivalent of Shoshichiinoge), and two types of students, Kiden Tokugosho (student of history) and Kiden no sho (student of history) were also created. This is how the name, 'kidendo,' was established (however, as "Kodaiki" (The Chronicle of the Emperors) states that there was 'Kiden jusha hajime' (Start of Confucianism Class) in June, 805 (old lunar calendar), there is a possibility that an expert in teaching kiden had already been set up before kiden hakase). In kidendo, lectures on Chinese historiography and "Wen Xuan" were carried out. Meanwhile, with a change in quality of the ritsuryo political system, what was required in the society of nobles and government officials changed from the ability of business writing to that of literary writing, such as composing Chinese poetry. In particular, the Emperor Saga valued literature and compiled three imperial anthologies of Chinese poetry called "Ryounshu" (A collection from above the clouds), "Keikokushu" (A collection of managing the country) and "Bunka shureishu" (second imperial kanshi collection), seeking the basis of the Chinese literature education, which was necessary for Chinese poetry making, in the history education based on Chinese historiography. Therefore, monjo hakase's rank was raised to Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) in 821. It was a higher rank than myogyo hakase, who was considered to be the head among hakase, and was the only rank which was equivalent to the nobles among hakase. Under such circumstances, daijokanpu (official documents issued by Daijokan, Grand Council of State) issued on December 23, 820 laid down that the then existing policies underwent a complete change, limiting monjosho only to sons from respectable families (nobles). Although this was abolished due to monjo hakase MIYAKO no Haraaka's report to the throne in 827 after the merger of the two subjects ("Honcho monzui" (anthology of waka poems and prose written in classical Chinese), as Haraaka died two years before, it may have been done when he was alive), sons of nobles were subsequently allowed to be adopted as monjosho and monjosho from hakucho families were put under pressure from monjosho from the noble families. It triggered the monopoly of kiden no sho and monjosho, which played a role in recruiting talents from the middle- and low-classes through different processes from regular appointments, by sons of the nobles, resulting in their hereditary positions, monjo hakase and below. Also, what was required of kidendo changed to the historical knowledge that could be used in Chinese poetry and therefore drew much attention from the emperors and the nobles. Through these changes, the differences between kidendo and monjodo gradually became vague. On April 20, 834, kidendo and monjodo were merged (if one accepts the theory that their names were not established as 'do,' kidenka and monjoka were merged).
Following this, kiden hakase's seat was merged into that of monjo hakase (from one person to two people), and kiden tokugosho and kiden no sho were merged into monjo tokugosho and monjosho respectively. The subject name became 'kidendo (kidenka)' and 'monjo hakase' was adopted as a title, although the officially abolished names, 'monjodo (monjoka)' and 'kiden hakase,' remained as common names.
This can be understood as them trying to keep balance between the fact that monjo hakase existed before the establishment of kidendo and that they were the positions set for studying 'kiden.'
However, as all other subject names and titles of hakase corresponded with each other (myogyo hakase for myogyodo, san hakase (professor of mathematics) for sando and myobo hakase for myobodo in which once the title of ritsugaku hakase (professor of the law in the Ritsuryo system) was used but changed to myobo hakase later on), it left room for misunderstanding after the Meiji period that monjodo and kidendo existed separately and kidendo was absorbed into monjodo.
Meanwhile, in reality, there are some accounts in "Sandaijitsuroku" in which both myogyo and kiden appear, and there is also a description in "Nihongi Ryaku" (Summary of Japanese Chronologies) that 'kidenmyogyodo' students were ordered from the daigakuryo to attend lectures on the chronicles of Japan on April 10, 964, and a similar account can also be found in "Ruijufusensho" (a collection of statute books dating from the years 737 to 1093).
In addition, an imperial decree issued on September 25, 969 recorded in "Ruijufusensho" (a collection of statute books dating from the years 737 to 1093) clearly states the word 'kidendo.'
In contrast, although we can also find the word 'monjodo' in the records ('monjo' used in SUGAWARA no Michizane's sojo (documents reported to the Emperor) dated March 29, 884 discussing the situation surrounding subjects in "Kanke bunso" (an anthology of Chinese-style poetry by SUGAWARA no Michizane) is thought to mean monjodo), it was transitional and after entering the 10th century, only 'kidendo' was used in official occasions. The term 'monjodo' may have been used as a common name; however, it is believed that 'monjodo' was never used as an official name for the subject.
Kidendo after the merger
Monjo hakase SUGAWARA no Kiyokimi, who was active at the time of the merger of kidendo, also served as daigaku no kami (Director of the Bureau of Education), contributing to the development of the subject and founding a school to the north of the daigakuryo called monjoin. Later, the Sugawara clan produced four monjo hakase, Kiyokimi, SUGAWARA no Koreyoshi, SUGAWARA no Michizane and SUGAWARA no Atsushige and monjoin was granted the position of daigaku jikiso (official dormitory) (it is said that daigaku besso (academic facility for nobles) was built in rivalry with it). The materials used as textbooks were 'Sanshi' (three historical records of ancient China), which included "Shiki" (Records of the Grand Historian: Han Dynasty and Qin Dynasty), "Kanjo" (Historical records of the Han Dynasty) and "Gokanjo" (Historical records of the Later Han Dynasty) from history and "Wen Xuan" as a main book, and others such as "Sanguo Zhi" (History of the Three Kingdoms), "Jin shu" (History of the Jin Dynasty) and Erya from literature. Also, the fact that monjo hakase and kiden students (monjosho) played roles in lectures on the chronicles of Japan (lectures on "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan)) (in particular, YATABE no Nazane (gimonjosho (student passed Ryoshi) later, Dainaiki (Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Central Affairs)) who attended the lecture on the chronicles of Japan in the Gangyo era and later compiled 'Nihonshoki Shiki' (The Private Record of Chronicles of Japan) is well known) and that kiden students joined the staff of the Senkokushisho (History Compilation Bureau), which involved compiling the national history, shows that they probably had lectures on "Rikkokushi" (the Six National Histories), which includes "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan) and others.
Until the end of the Jogan era, the establishment was settled in two monjo hakase, 20 monjosho (including 2 monjo tokugosho) and 20 gimonjosho (the monjosho reserve); however, as people would be ranked as nobles when becoming monjo hakase with distinguished achievements in the study, the position was endlessly sought after, resulting in the introduction of an examination system. First, gimonjosho were chosen in the examination at the daigakuryo, which asked questions about Chinese historiography. Following this, gimonjosho, those who enjoyed On I (the automatic promotion of persons at the age of 21, whose parents are from the Imperial Prince to the fifth rank, or whose grandparents are above upper third rank) and those who were given permission by imperial decree would take Shoshi (an examination held by Shikibusho for determining whether applicants are employable) on poetry, which was held directly by the Shikibu sho (the Ministry of Ceremonial) and those who passed this examination became monjosho (a record shows that in exceptional cases, students were promoted to monjo tokugosho). Excellent students among monjosho were granted gakumonryo (the scholarship for Monjosho who study at Daigakuryo in the Heian period) from the Kokusoin (Imperial Granary) and were called Kyuryo gakusei (students who were selected for Kyuryo (scholarship)). As the number of monjo tokugosho was very limited and there was a tradition of choosing kyuryo gakusei primarily from them, those students who remained monjosho for a long time were sometimes appointed to government posts with their teacher's recommendation before finishing their study. After a certain period of time studying as Monjo tokugosho (their third, fifth and seventh year etc.), they took the official appointment examination for the "shusai" rank (both hosakushi examination and taisaku examination) and wrote two articles in the horyakusaku examination. Those who passed the exams would be appointed as kyokan (an official of the Capital) in the next jimoku (appointment ceremonies) and it would open the door to monjo hakase for them in the future. Also, through these processes, the official appointment examination for the "shinshi" rank was phased out and only the official appointment examination for the "shusai" rank was left as an official examination to recruit government officials, which resulted in the word 'shusai' becoming a synonym of monjo tokugosho and 'shinshi,' monjosho.
Later, as those who experienced monjo hakase, instead of those who experienced myogyo hakase, began dominating important positions such as daigaku no kami, jidoku (imperial tutor) and shikibu no taifu (Senior Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Ceremonial) and some were even promoted to kugyo, monjodo sometimes became involved in Confucianism, which was under myogyodo's control. Also, writing kiden kanmon (report about histories), which was a task of kiden hakase, was handed over to monjo hakase.
However, there came the trend of forming kinds of academic cliques as the families which produced excellent scholars, such as the above mentioned Sugawara clan as well as the Oe clan and families like the Fujiwara clan (mainly Hino Line of the Northern House of the Fujiwara clan, the Southern House of the Fujiwara clan and the Ceremonial House of the Fujiwara clan), which were able to receive similar education at Kangakuin (educational institutions) despite their not being kyuryo gakusei, started to pass down monjo hakase and monjosho and monjo hakase began recommending their followers to the positions. Also, as mentioned before, monjosho and monjo tokugosho preferred getting government posts with their teacher's recommendation to taking the difficult official appointment examination for the "shusai" rank. Following this, the examination gradually became superficial: it is said ("Godansho" (an ancient journal)) that OE no Masahira, who took the horyakushi exam in 979, had been informed what would be on the exam from his examiner, SUGAWARA no Fumitoki, while in the 11th century, even the jujo system (a system in which those who could not pass the exam after taking it a certain number of times would be granted special acceptance) was introduced. In addition, there were cases in which students taking the exam conspired with certain nobles and persons of influence would exercise the power to let the students get through shoshi as well as the difficult official appointment examination for the "shusai" rank in exchange for some benefits from those students. Articles in "Shoyuki" (Diary of FUJIWARA no Sanesuke) dated January 14, 989 and the next day states that Gon Chunagon (a provisional vice-councilor of state) FUJIWARA no Michinaga got disowned by his father, Sessho (regent) FUJIWARA no Kaneie: it was because Michinaga ordered the capture of Shikibu shoyu (Junior Assistant of the Ministry of Ceremonial) TACHIBANA no Yoshinobu and brought him forcibly to his house when he got upset knowing that Nagasuke KANNABI, whom Michinaga recommended, failed the shoshi exam. Furthermore, "Heihanki" (diary of TAIRA no Nobunori) tells that in the shoshi exams in 1154, certain numbers of seats had been allotted to Kanpaku (chief adviser to the Emperor) FUJIWARA no Tadamichi, Sadaijin (minister of the left) FUJIWARA no Yorinaga, the Emperor Sutoku, shikibusho and leaders of the daigakuryo beforehand, and they held the exams (a few centuries later, according to "Keirinihosho" from the 15th century, the seats were allotted as follows: two for Senji (emperor), one for 院御 (the retired Emperor and the Cloistered Emperor), one for Denka (sessho and kanpaku), three for Shokan (Shikibu no taifu and Shikibu shoyu), two for two hakese (monjo hakese) and three for 判儒 (examiners)).
In addition, new trends of studies substantially stopped coming in from China after the mid Heian period following the discontinuance of Japanese envoys to the Tang Dynasty. This cut off any possible development of kidendo and the subject became one in which only traditions were maintained, resulting in domination by certain monjo hakase families and making it their kagaku (hereditary learning). Following this, the cases in which monjo hakase were recruited from other families than those which inherited positions of hakase died out and each hakase established their own government-backed school operated by themselves at their homes, providing education. Therefore, although kidendo and monjo hakase continued until the end of the Edo period, it is thought that their existence as an actual subject lasted only until the end of the Heian period.