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Premodern Japan
Imperial seal of Japan
Part of a series on the politics and
government of Japan during the
Nara and Heian periods

Chancellor / Chief Minister
Minister of the LeftSadaijin
Minister of the RightUdaijin
Minister of the CenterNaidaijin
Major CounselorDainagon
Middle CounselorChūnagon
Minor CounselorShōnagon
Eight Ministries
Civil AdministrationJibu-shō
Popular AffairsMinbu-shō
Imperial HouseholdKunai-shō

Kugyō (公卿) is the collective term for the very few most powerful men attached to the court of the Emperor of Japan in pre-Meiji eras. The kugyō was broadly divided into two groups: the (), comprising the Chancellor of the Realm, the Minister of the Left, and the Minister of the Right; and the Kei (), comprising the Major Counsellor, the Middle Counsellor, the Court Councillor (参議, Sangi), and members of the Japanese court of the third rank or higher.

As part of the Meiji reforms, a single aristocratic class, the kazoku, was created in 1869 by merging the kuge (the court nobility in Kyoto, of which the kugyō was a part) and the daimyōs (the feudal land holders and warriors). In the 1870s, the organizational structure of the court itself was also modernized.

In the period after the Second World War, the kazoku was abolished, as a part of post-war Japanese reforms. The remaining political powers of the Emperor were transferred to the constitutional government of Japan, and the responsibility for state matters concerning the Emperor and the Imperial family was consolidated entirely into the Imperial Household Agency.


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