The Nara Peerage (奈良華族)

The Nara Peerage refers to a family line and its people, who returned to the court noble society and entitled to be the peerage after the Meiji Restoration due to the special circumstances described below.

Summary

After the restoration of the Imperial rule, the Meiji government emphasized on Shinto as a Japanese indigenous religious belief and employed opinions from scholars of Japanese classical literature to create a principal of the separation of Buddhism and Shintoism. It is well-known that priests at the Kofuku-ji Temple quickly perceived such a movement and thoroughly conducted Haibutsu-kishaku (anti-Buddhist movement), and as a part of coping procedures, priests, who were from court nobles serving as monzeki (successor of a temple) or Inge (supporter for monzeki, rank lower than monzeki) for Kofuku-ji Temple, returned to secular life simultaneously.
They were treated as kuge (court nobles) under the new government and were incorporated into the peerage as the Tosho Family class (the hereditary lineage of Court nobles occupying relatively high ranks) or a lifetime peerage in 1868, and with the implementation of the peerage system in 1884, they were granted a barony as 'those who established their family after the Meiji Restoration.'
This is the so-called Nara peerage.

There was a difference in treatment between the Fujiwara clan and the others in the Nara peerage. After exclaustration, Fujiwara clan members became Shinto priests for the Kasuga-Taisha Shrine, becoming ujigami (guardian gods) and were syncretized with the Kofuku-ji Temple; they then attained the status of the Tosho Family as an independent family branch. At this time individuals outside of the Fujiwara clan, who had originally gained lifetime peerage because they returned to their parental home in Kyoto after exclaustration, were endowed with a perpetual peerage afterwards.