Soi (rank of Buddhist priest) (僧位)

Soi (rank of Buddhist priest) is the Ikai (Court rank) assigned to Buddhist monks in Japan.

There had been something like soi, but in 760, Denbo-I and Shugyo-I were placed under Daihossi-I, and four types of ikai (Hosshi-I, 満位, 住位, and 入位) were placed respectively under Denbo-I and Shugyo-I. In 864, as soi that corresponds to Sogo (Office of Monastic Affairs), Hoindaiwajo-I (hoin for short) was given to Sojo (high-ranking Buddhist priest), Hogenwajo-I (hogen for short) to Sozu (second-ranking Buddhist priest), and Hokkyo-shonin-i (Hokkyo for short) to risshi (third-ranking Buddhist priest). After the late Heian period, after Jocho was ordained, busshi (sculptors of Buddhist Statues) and renga poets (linked-verse poets) were also ordained. In the early-modern times, more Eshi painters were assigned. Not only Goyo-eshi (purveying painters to the government) but also nongovernmental eshi painters were ordained. In the case of nongovernmental eshi painters, the procedures were laborious. The eshi painter must specify a monzeki temple (a temple of high rank where members of imperial family and nobility enter the priesthood) as a contact, borrow the name of a hatamoto (direct retainers of the bakufu, which is a form of Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) etc. in a position of authority, ask master etc. to be a guarantee to submit application to machi-bugyo (town magistrate) for approval, then the application was returned to the temple again for evaluation, and finally imperial decree of appointment was given through buke tenso (liaison officers between the imperial court and the military government).

[Original Japanese]