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The Rōjū (老中?), usually translated as Elder, was one of the highest-ranking government posts in Tokugawa Japan. The term refers either to individual Elders, or to the Council as a whole; under the first two shoguns, there were only two Rōjū. The number was then increased to five, and later reduced to four. The Tokugawa shogunate or Tokugawa bakufu (徳川幕府) (also known as the Edo bakufu) was a feudal military dictatorship of Japan established in 1603 by Tokugawa Ieyasu and ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family until 1868. ... In Japanese history, a shogun (将軍 shōgun) was the practical ruler of Japan for most of the time from 1192 to the Meiji Era beginning in 1868. ...

The Elders had a number of responsibilities, most clearly delineated in the 1634 ordinance that reorganized the government and created a number of new posts: Events Moses Amyrauts Traite de la predestination is published Curaçao captured by the Dutch Treaty of Polianovska First meeting of the Académie française The witchcraft affair at Loudun Jean Nicolet lands at Green Bay, Wisconsin Opening of Covent Garden Market in London English establish a settlement...

  1. Relations with the Throne, the Court, and the Prince-Abbots.
  2. Supervision of those daimyo who controlled lands worth at least 10,000 koku.
  3. Managing the forms taken by official documents in official communications.
  4. Supervision of the internal affairs of the Shogun's domains.
  5. Coinage, public works, and enfiefment.
  6. Governmental relations and supervision of monasteries and shrines.
  7. Compilation of maps, charts, and other government records.

The Rōjū served not simultaneously, but in rotation, each serving the Shogun for a month at a time, communicating with the Shogun through a chamberlain, called Soba-yōnin. However, the Rōjū also served as members of the Hyōjōsho council, along with the Ō-Metsuke and representatives of various Bugyō (Commissions or Departments). As part of the Hyōjōsho, the Rōjū sometimes served a role similar to that of a Supreme Court, deciding succession disputes and other such disputed matters of state. His Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan The Emperor of Japan (天皇 tennō) is a constitutionally-recognized symbol of the Japanese nation and the unity of its people. ... Daimyo Matsudaira Katamori visits the residence of a retainer. ... A koku (石) is a quantity of rice, historically defined as enough rice to feed one person for one year, then as 180. ... The Hyōjōsho ), established in 1634, was the judicial council in Japan under the Tokugawa shogunate. ... Metsuke ) were the Inspectors of Tokugawa Japan. ... The supreme court in some countries, provinces, and states, is the highest court in that jurisdiction and functions as a court of last resort whose rulings cannot be appealed. ...

Under the reign of Tokugawa Tsunayoshi (1680-1709), however, the Rōjū lost nearly all their power, as the Shogun began to work more closely with the Tairō, Chamberlains, and others, including Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu, who held the power of a Tairō, but not the title. The Rōjū became little more than messengers, going through the motions of their proper roles as intermediaries between the Shogun and other offices, but not being able to exercise any power to change or decide policy. As Arai Hakuseki, a major Confucian poet and politician of the time wrote, "All the Rōjū did was to pass on his [Yoshiyasu's] instructions" (Sansom 141). Even after Tsunayoshi's death, the Rōjū did not regain their former power. They continued to exist, however, as a government post and a council with, officially if not in fact, all the powers and responsibilities they originally held, through the Edo period. Tokugawa Tsunayoshi (February 23, 1646–February 19, 1709) was the fifth shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan. ... Events First Portuguese governor was appointed to Macau The Swedish city Karlskrona was founded as the Royal Swedish Navy relocated there. ... // Events January 12 - Two-month freezing period begins in France - The coast of the Atlantic and Seine River freeze, crops fail and at least 24. ... Tairō (大老, lit. ... Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu (柳沢吉保, 1658 – 1714) was a member of the Tokugawa shogunate in Japan. ... Arai Hakuseki (新井 白石 March 24, 1657-June 29, 1725) is a Confucianist, poet and politician in Japan during the middle of Edo Period, who advised the Shogun, Ienobu. ... The Edo period (Japanese: 江戸時代, Edo-jidai), also called Tokugawa period, is a division of Japanese history running from 1600 to 1867. ...

The following is the list of roju.

incomplete Tanuma Okitsugu (田沼 意次 1719-88) is a roju (government official) of the Tokugawa shogunate who attempted to reform by introducing money economy. ... Matsudaira Sadanobu was the lord of Shirakawa han and the chief councilor of the Tokugawa Shogunate in the 1790s. ...


  • Sansom, George (1963). "A History of Japan: 1615-1867." Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.

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