Shonagon (Post in Daijokan) (少納言)

Shonagon was a post in Daijokan, which was the highest organization in the Imperial Court. Its Chinese name in the Tang dynasty, i.e., Chinese style name, was Kyujichu. Shonagon corresponds to Jo among the four officials. Its corresponding court rank was Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade). The prescribed number of the position was three, but Ingai no shonagon and gon no shonagon were extraordinary established in some periods.

Together with Sabenkankyoku and Ubenkankyoku, Shonagon configured Shonagonkyoku, which was one of three Kyoku (bureaus) of Daijokan engaged in business under Giseikan (Daijin, Dainagon, Chunagon, Sangi), and had Geki, Shisho and Tsukaibe as its subordinates.

Their major duties were clerical works related with official documents of imperial edicts, maintenance and keeping of the seal of Emperor, the seal of Daijokan, and bells Ekirei. As Shonagon was defined as the official position to 'report minor matters to the emperor and announce the emperor's messages on minor matters' in the Taiho ritsuryo legal code, Shonagon functioned like private secretaries closely attending the emperor while concurrently holding the position of chamberlain, but the duties of chamberlain were so complicated that their duties of Shonagon were gradually absorbed by their subordinates Geki. Further, when Kurododokoro, an extra statutory office, was established, the status and duties of Shonagon as personal attendants to the emperor were significantly absorbed by Kurododokoro so that Confucians were mostly appointed Shonagon to merely maintain and keep the seals and bells. As the practical business of Shonagon was performed by Daigeki and Shogeki (prescribed number was two for each), Shonagonkyoku began to be called Gekikyoku.

In and after the late medieval period, Shonagon was known as the official position appointed to the court nobles from the Funabashi family in the Kiyohara clan line, after having served as a tutor to the emperor.