Ministry of the Treasury

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

The Ministry of the Treasury (大蔵省, Ōkura-shō) (lit. the department of the great treasury) was a division of the eighth-century Japanese government of the Imperial Court in Kyoto,[1] instituted in the Asuka period and formalized during the Heian period. The Ministry was replaced in the Meiji period.


The nature of the ministry was modified in response to changing times. The ambit of the Ministry's activities encompasses, for example:

  • administration of public accounts[2]
  • oversight of tax collections and of offerings to the Emperor[2]
  • regulation of weights and measures[2]
  • control of the functuations in prices of commodities[2]
  • regulation and oversight of the coinage of gold, silver, copper, and iron money[2]
  • maintenance of the lists of artisans engaged in coinage-related activities[2]
  • regulation of activities in the manufacture of lacquer ware, weaving, and other kinds of industries[2]


The duties, responsibilities and focus of the ministry evolved over time. It was established as part of the Taika Reforms and Ritsuryō laws.[3] Since 1885, Ōkura-shō has been construed in reference to the Ministry of Finance, also called the Ōkura no Tsukasa.[4]


The court included a ministry dealing with military affairs.[3]

Amongst the significant daijō-kan officials serving in this ministry structure were:

  • Chief administrator of the ministry of the treasury (大蔵卿, Ōkura-kyō). This official supervises the receipt of tributes from the provinces and imposes tribute on others.[5]
  • Chief administrator of the ministry of the treasury (大蔵大輔, Ōkura-taifu)[5]
  • First assistant to the chief of the ministry of the treasury (大蔵少輔, Ōkura-shō)[5]
  • Second assistant to the chief of the ministry of the treasury (大蔵丞, Ōkura-no-jō), two positions[5]
  • Alternate assistant to the chief of the ministry of the treasury (大蔵録, Ōkura-no-sakan), two positions[5]
  • Collector of taxation from manufacturers and dyers (織部正, Oribe-no-kami)[5]
  • Assistant collector of taxation from manufacturers and dyers (織部佑, Oribe-no-jō)[5]
  • Alternate assistant collector of taxation from manufacturers and dyers (織部令史, Oribe-no-sakan)[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kawakami, Karl Kiyoshi. (1903). The Political Ideas of the Modern Japan, pp. 36-38., p. 36, at Google Books
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Kawakami, p. 38 n2,, p. 38, at Google Books citing Ito Hirobumi, Commentaries on the Japanese Constitution, p. 87 (1889).
  3. ^ a b Ministry of the Treasury, Sheffield.
  4. ^ Nussbaum, Louis Frédéric et al. (2005). "Ōkura-shō" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 749., p. 749, at Google Books
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, p. 432., p. 432, at Google Books