Omote bozu

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  • Other Names: 御城坊主 (oshiro bouzu)
  • Japanese: 表坊主 (omote bouzu)

The omote-bôzu was a post within Edo castle. Working under the supervision & authority of the dômei gashira, the omote bôzu waited upon the various daimyô and officials who visited the castle. This included guiding visitors to the appropriate rooms, and providing additional spaces for them to change clothes, and to rest. The omote bôzu, with a shorn head and dressed in the fashion of a Buddhist monk, also served food and tea to the guests, and helped them with their clothes and swords.

While the more than 200 omote bôzu operated in the "front" (omote) and comparatively public parts of the castle, another 100 or so individuals called oku bôzu performed similar work in the rear, "interior" (oku), private parts of the castle. Both the Honmaru palace (incl. the main shogunal administrative and residential areas) and the Nishi-no-maru palace (that of the shogunal heir) had omote and oku bôzu working there. Meanwhile, cha bôzu, or "tea monks," oversaw the tea rooms and tea ceremonies of the castle.

Omote bôzu were often thanked or paid for their help by the daimyô, who might invite the omote bôzu to his daimyô mansion, for a banquet and/or to receive a gift of money or goods.


  • "Omote bôzu," Digital Daijisen, Shogakukan.
  • "Chabôzu," Sekai daihyakka jiten, Hitachi Solutions, 2013.
  • Yamamoto Hirofumi, Sankin kôtai, Kodansha gendai shinsho (1998), 184-186.
  • Yamamoto Hirofumi, Edo jidai - shôgun bushi tachi no jitsuzô, Tokyo Shoseki (2008), 70.