Chokushisho (Bureau of Edicts) (勅旨省)

Chokushisho was an extra statutory office established in the latter half of the Nara period under the ritsuryo system. Chokushisho attended the emperors and ex-emperors and managed to implement the imperial orders smoothly; it also administered and managed the Imperial estate.

Summary

Empress Koken abdicated the throne in favor of Emperor Junin because of illness; however, she recovered from the illness due to Buddhist priest Dokyo's prayer and began positively intervening in the Emperor Junin's administration. Gradually, confrontation emerged between the Retired Empress Koken and the Emperor Junin. There the Retired Empress established Chokushisho in 762. Chokushisho functioned as the Retired Empress's secretariat office, procured goods and services over the head of the Great Council of State. Even after the Retired Empress ascended the throne again, Chokushisho remained as Dokyo's strong organization. After Emperor Konin was enthroned (succeeding to Empress Shotoku), Chokushisho kept functioning as a procurement office, though the size was reduced.

Regulations for Chokushisho were mostly unknown--It was supposedly staffed by one Kyo (Minister), one Taifu (Senior Assistant Minister), two Shoyu (Junior Assistant Minister), two Taijo (Senior Secretary), two Shojo (Junior Secretary), two Daisakan (Senior Recorder), and two Shosakan (Junior Recorder). FUJIWARA no Tadamaro was the only Chokushisho official whose name appears in a record: He served as Chokushi-Kyo and died in 779 during his service.

Under the control of Dokyo, major organizations such as Zogusho (Ministry of Making and Mending Palaces), Nijusho (Ministry of Royal Pages), Hoogushiki (a post of domestic governing institution for Dokyo), Zojishi (officials in charge of building temples), Konoehei-Ryoge no kan (a post outside the original Ritsuryo code created by Imperial edicts) were established one after the other, and that weighed on the Imperial Court financially: In 782, an administrative reform was carried out and Chokushisho was abolished, with its business succeeded by Chokushisho (Imperial Decree Office). Later, Kurodo dokoro (Board of Archivists) was established and took over the Chokushisho. This organization is considered to have imitated Shibi chudai, which transmitted orders from Empress Dowager Komyo.