Department of Japanese History,
Rokuigekisi, Sengoku, Both stations, Benkankyoku Secretariat, Gekikyoku Secretariat
Research on low-ranking officials in the 16th century has been stagnant due mainly to an absence of contemporaneous staff records.
Accordingly, this paper examines the history, responsibilities, and terms of service at the Rokuishi and Rokuigeki that emerged in the 16th century with the hope of laying a foundation for elucidating the actual situation of the Gekikyoku and Benkankyoku.
Our examination confirmed that during this period, members of the main lineage of the Nakahara Hayato family and Shu lineage of the Kiyohara family served as the Rokuigeki Secretariat.
Nakahara Yasumasa of the main lineage of the Hayato Nakahara family, and Katayoshi Kiyohara, from the Ken lineage of the Kiyohara family, became priests and retired in the early 17th century. A new family of Rokuigeki Secretariat then appeared from a side lineage of the Nakahara family, which had produced Kurodo-shutsuno or brewers’ treasurers, and from another side lineage of the Nakahara family, which had become country samurai in the suburbs of Kyoto. From the end of the 16th century to the beginning of the 17th century, the Benkankyoku was served by four families; Abe, Takahashi, Mushiga lineage of Oduki, and Miyoshi. In other words, the organizational personnel of the two bureaus was still unstable during the period from the mid-15th century to the end of the 16th century.
It can also be confirmed from the history of the 16th century that most of the time the secretariat served both bureaus. When the practice of serving both bureaus persisted, both bureaus were operated by a large number of specific family members who aspired to achieve the position of Gokuro, or head chamberlain. The structure of taking positions as lower-ranking officials as opportunities to learn about their family business eventually disintegrated. During this period, instead of a few members of the family monopolizing the echelons from the lower to the upper ranks, a large number of the family members who were in charge shared the responsibilities beyond the scopes of the bureaus to learn their family business and reach the top Gokuro post. In this way, the two bureaus were able to overcome their structural deficiencies, such as shortages of personnel from excessive taking of positions as lower-ranking officials resulting in management by a small number of family members. The two bureaus survived to early modern times without experiencing organizational elimination, consolidation or restructuring.