Shiki and Kyaku

Shiki and Kyaku

Shiki and Kyaku

Shiki and Kyaku (Admnistrative/Ceremonial Procedures and Penal Codes) are two different types of legal documents made to implement the laws of the late 7th and early 8th centuries. The first Shiki and Kyaku were completed in the Kōnin Era, the second in the Jōgan Era.

The Engi Shiki and Engi Kyaku and the third enstallments during the Engi Era.1

Shiki and Kyaku
Copy of the Engi Shiki.

Engi Shiki

The Engi Shiki (Engi Rites – 延喜式) is a collection of 50 legal texts compiled by Fujiwara no Tokihira until 909 and then Fujiwara no Tadahira until 927. They cover Shinto ceremonies and customs, as well as containing Norito. It is considered one of Shinto’s sacred texts.2

Its creation was ordered by Emperor Daigo. The first 10 books, cover festivals and ceremonies under the Jingikan. The 11th book covers proecdures for the Dajōkan with the other 39 on the eight mnisteries and other bureaus of government.1

Specific information from this text includes:

Engi Kyaku

The Engi Kyaku was compiled between 905 and 907.1

Kōnin Shiki

The Kōnin Shiki (Commentaries on the Nihongi) is a commentary, compiled between AD810-824. It describes the Nihongi as “selected afresh” meaning the work was not a new composition but a compilation of old texts and stories.

It also informs us that when it was completed it was laid before Empress Genshō in AD720 by Prince Toneri and Ō no Yasumaro.4

External Links

  • You can find scanned copies of Volumes 1-50 on the Waseda University: HERE.


1. Kodansha. (1993) ”Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia”. Tokyo: Kodansha Ltd.
2. Louis Frederic, translated by Kathe Roth (2002) “Japan Encyclopedia”. London: Harvard University Press.
3. Yasumaro. O, translated by Gustav Heldt. (2014) “Kojiki. An Account of Ancient Matters”. New York: Columbia University Press.
4. Aston. W.G. (1896) “Nihongi Volume 1: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to AD697”. Tuttle Publishing.

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