Boji (ぼう示)

The term "Boji" means a notice put up at shishi (northern, southern, eastern and western boundary) of a territory or the important positions of a boundary.

It was put up in order to show a boundary of the precincts of temples/shrines or that of the land where shoen (manor), which accomplished ichienshihai (complete rule over the land), could exert its exclusive right. Under normal circumstances, poles made of wood or stone were put up as boji though natural objects (rocks or trees) sometimes played the role of boji. When a shoen was acknowledged, boji was put up in the presence of the envoy of the lord of a shoen, an envoy of the Imperial Court and an official from the kokuga (provincial government). Boji was put up in order to clarify a boundary so that a boundary dispute could be prevented. However, it was sometimes pulled out due to the policy change arising from the change of kokushi (provincial governor) or a backroom maneuver by a counterparty of boundary dispute. As the authority of the Imperial Court was not backed by coercive power during medieval times, the authority of boji was not absolute. Therefore, the lord or administrator of shoen was required to prepare a manorial map and use it as evidence along with boji.

[Original Japanese]