were officials in Classical Japan sent from the central government to oversee a province from around the 8th century, after the enactment of the Ritsuryō system. Kokushi held considerable power and responsibility according to the Ritsuryō, including tax collection, etc. The highest level for a Kokushi was Kami (守). So, for instance, the chief kokushi (governor) of Kai would have the title of Kai no Kami (甲斐守). In some cases, the Kami himself was living directly in the province he was charged with, delegating his powers to lower ranking officials. The highest official effectively in charge of the province was called Zuryō (受領).
Kokushi lost their power during the Kamakura Shogunate and furthermore during the Muromachi Shogunate to the Shugo. In subsequent generations, especially in the Edo period, a kokushi title remained as an honorific title.
Kokushi can refer to:
- 国師 - lit. Teacher of the Realm. An official or honorary title given to Buddhist masters in Japan.
- 国司 - An official position in the government of Classical Japan.
- 国司 - An official position in the government of the Ryūkyū Kingdom, akin to regent and often translated as "state instructor".
- 国史 - A type of Japanese historical writing that emerged in the Meiji period.
- 国士無双 - A yakuman in the game of mahjong
- Keiji Mutoh - a Japanese wrestler who uses "Kokushi" as his name in the ring.