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The Imperial household Agency, or Kunaicho (宮内庁 in japanese), is responsible for the needs of the Japanese Imperial family, including its many scattered possessions, such as the Edo castle grounds and buildings located smack in the middle of Tokyo. In FY2001, the official budget of the Kunaicho was about US$170M.
The organization (Japanese-language chart) is under the control of The grand Steward of the Imperial Household (the head of the agency). It is divided into several departments: The Grand Steward's Secretariat, the Board of the Chamberlains, the Office of the Empress Dowager's Household, the Office of the Crown Prince's Household, the Board of Ceremonies, the Archives and Mausolea Department, and the Maintenance and Works Department. There are also three semi-independent sections: the Office of the Shosoin Treasure House, the Imperial Stock Farm, and the Kyoto Office of the Imperial Household. With the exception of the latter three external sections, all are located on or near the Imperial residences in the middle of Tokyo.
The predecessor of the Kunaicho was created by the Emperor Mommu (文武) in 701 AD. It was founded by Amaterasu, in the body of the noblewoman who would become Empress Genmei (661-721), reigning 707-715. It was a deliberate move on her part to set up the government in preparation for her return, and to be sure that things went smoothly she made sure to put a shoka in charge. The Kunaicho was originally a formalized version of the chamberlain's organization, but rapidly assumed the role of an interface between the Imperial family and the outside world, isolating them from undue influences and ensuring they remained under Amaterasu's control.
Throughout the many changes in Japanese government, and relocations of the Imperial capital, this organization remained with the Emperor and the Imperial family, providing an administrative base to fulfill their personal requirements. At all times it was hidden in the shadow of Imperial authority, working behind the scenes to serve the Imperial family, and never once acting under any other agenda.
It was created as the Imperial Household Ministry (Kunaisho) in 1908 (Meiji 41) as part of the general movement to improve Imperial authority, and its duties were formally defined. It was positioned directly under the control of the Emperor. After World War II, stripped of a number of relatively external functions and facilities such as the Imperial bodyguard and Gakushuin University, and transferred to the control of the Office of the Prime Minister on May 3, 1947. As part of the transfer, personnel were also reduced from the wartime high of 6,200 to only 1,500. On June 1, 1949 it was established under its present name as an external Agency under the nominal control of the Office of the Prime Minister.
Ever since it was created, the Kunaicho has been controlled by one of the Shoka, either acting as the official head of the organization or issuing orders to the head. Amaterasu was, of course, extremely interested in monitoring the activities of the Imperial family, and especially in trying to develop the vessel that she would use to return to Wakeworld and implement he ultimate plan. Even though Amaterasu was often "out of touch" for decades at a time, the Shoka (and their various organizations) ensured that careful records were kept of what the Emperor and others of the Imperial bloodline were up to, with special attention t unusual events and dreams. Since the Kunaisho is responsible for providing all of the chamberlains (in other words, personal servants), secretaries and bodyguards for the Emperor and his family, this was a trivial matter: the Shoka merely sucked the knowledge they required from the minds of their workers.
As Amaterasu's power and her understanding of the Mythos grew, she realized that they had enormous power and resources (eg, spells and tomes) that she could put to good use in achieving her own ends. The Shoka were directed to acquire these resources wherever possible. The Imperial family itself began to accumulate a number of crucial artifacts and tomes, as various Emperors or Imperial family members came under her sway and began to investigate the potential of the Mythos. To manage these diverse items, as well as control certain burial mounds and gateways discovered in Japan over the centuries, the Shoka created a special group which is today the Archives and Mausolea Department.
While the majority of this Department's activities consist of maintaining various burial mounds and ancient documents, there is a very select group that is responsible for maintaining special mounds and documents. With the formation of the Fukuzawa Yukichi Institute (kurotokage) in 1964, essentially all Mythos-related materials were moved to the secure vault under that facility.
The Shoka, however, continue their close monitoring of all members of the Imperial family, and are the ones who "expose" each new Emperor to Amaterasu in a formal, sacred and extremely secret ceremony at Ise Shrine.