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The Uji () were kinship groups, also at times known as shisei.2 The origins of the title appear to be of korean linguistical descent and not a native term developed in Japan.3

Before the Nara Period they were extended familiy groups which included servants.12 This system served to act as replacement to the older ujizoku system where only family from the direct line were included as part of the uji.1

Traditionally the head of the uji was called the uji no kami with family members being the ujibito. Those that served them usually formed part of the group called Be.12

It was the role of the uji no kami to honor the families titulary kami, or ujigami.

The Yamato Court would bestow titles upon them known as kabane.1 These titles were numerous and the one granted was dependant on the persons political role and social status.3

Prior to the Taika Reforms the uji system affected all parts of the Yamato States organisational structure.1

At court the uji were broken into two classes. Those that were involved in the politics of court life, and those who were service nobility (tomo no miyatsuko).3


1. Louis Frederic, translated by Kathe Roth (2002) “Japan Encyclopedia”. London: Harvard University Press.
2. Kodansha. (1993) ”Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia”. Tokyo: Kodansha Ltd.
3. Borgen, R. (1975) “The Origins of the Sugawara. A History of the Haji Family”. Monumenta Nipponica. Vol.30 No.4 pp.405-422

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