Dazai Gonnosochi (大宰権帥)

Dazai Gonnosochi was the Provisional Governor General of Daziafu in Kyushu. The first Dazai Gonnosochi was the Imperial Prince Abo shinno who was demoted to the position in 810 for his implication in the Kusuko Incident, the second Dazai Gonnosochi was FUJIWARA no Tsunetsugu who was appointed in 837 in recognition of his services as an ambassador to the Tang Dynasty, and the third Dazai Gonnosochi was a son of the Imperial Prince Abo shinno, ARIWARA no Yukihira who was appointed in 873; therefore, ARIWARA no Yukihira is considered virtually the first Dazai Gonnosochi because he was appointed the position for no special reason unlike his predecessors.

Summary

Dazaifu was headed by the Governor General, Dazai no sochi, and the Provisional Governor General, Dazai Gonnosochi. Dazaifu was the general headquarters of the Imperial Western Defense army and controlled over the military power in the Kyushu area. Dazai no sochi was regarded as the head of Dazaifu, but as there was a convention to appoint the Imperial family members to the position after the Konin era, the virtual control was held by Dazai Gonnosochi. Therefore, Dazai Gonnosochi was the virtual head of Dazaifu. After this period, it became a practice that Dazai Gonnosochi and Dazai Daini, an undersecretary to Dazai no sochi, were not appointed at the same time.

As all the interests of trade with the Song dynasty of China were held by Dazaifu, the former Chunagon (vice-councilor of state) and Dainagon (chief councilor of state) frequently became Dazai Gonnosochi for the interests. Examples of that kind of Dazai Gonnosochi includes FUJIWARA no Takaie who successfully commanded the army to repulse the pirates that tried to invade the northern Kyushu, TACHIBANA no Kimiyori who fought against FUJIWARA no Sumitomo when Sumitomo conquered Dazaifu, and OE no Masafusa who was active during the reign of the cloistered Emperor Shirakawa Hoo.

In contrast, Dazai Gonnosochi was sometimes the position to which the former Ministers who had fallen in the central government were demoted. Examples of that kind of Dazai Gonnosochi includes the Imperial Prince Abo shinno, SUGAWARA no Michizane, MINAMOTO no Takaakira, FUJIWARA no Korechika, and FUJIWARA no Motofusa. Although those demoted nobles were titled Dazai Ingainosochi to be distinguished from the regular Dazai no sochi and Dazai Gonnosochi (e.g., FUJIWARA no Toyonari, FUJIWARA no Hamanari, and FUJIWARA no Yoshino were appointed Dazai Ingainosochi), the above-mentioned Imperial Prince Abo was especially titled 'Dazai Gonnosochi' to be distinguished from the traditional Dazai Ingainosochi by taking account of the fact that he was punished for the Incident which had nothing to do with him in fact and that he was a son of the cloistered emperor. In the middle of the Heian period, Ingainosochi became not to be differentiated from Gonnosochi so that both of them were titled 'Gonnosochi'. Accordingly, some of those who were appointed the regular Dazai Gonnosochi worried about their reputation such that TAIRA no Korenaka appealed to the government to appoint him Dazai no sochi.

Later, the authority of Dazai Gonnosochi was absorbed into the local resident officials who assisted Dazai Gonnosochi; MINAMOTO no Shigetaka during the Hoan era was the last Dazai Gonnosochi who served in the office at Dazaifu, and thereafter, Dazai Gonnosochi became held by absentee officials (During the Jisho era, FUJIWARA no Motofusa was demoted to Dazai Gonnosochi and FUJIWARA no Takasue was appointed Dazai no sochi to keep an eye on Motofusa, but as Motofusa entered into priesthood in Bizen Province on the way to Dazaifu and permitted to stay there, the dispatch of the two officials was canceled.)