Bunin (appointment) (補任)

Bunin (appointment) is to grant government officials a government post or Ikai (Court rank). The ceremony for bunin is called Jimoku (ceremony for appointing officials).


Originally, the appointment of a government post was called `Bu,' while the conferment of a court rank was called `nin,' to make a distinction between them.
Later on, the distinction between them became unclear, and they came to be collectively called `Bunin.'

Bunin includes Chokunin (imperial appointment); the appointment by emperors, Sonin; the appointment through a report to the throne by Daijokan (Grand Council of State), Hannin; the direct appointment by Daijokan (Grand Council of State), and Hanpo; the appointment by Daijokan (Grand Council of State) through the selection of Shikibusho (the Ministry of Ceremonial) and Hyobusho (the Ministry of Military). Those names, with the exception of Hanpo which was abolished after the Meiji restoration, were taken over from Daijokan (Grand Council of State) to the cabinet (Japan) and were in effect until 1946.

The state of a person appointed to several government posts were called Kennin (serving two positions) or Kentai (filling two positions), while transferring to another government post was referred to as Tennin (general promotion) or Sennin (transfer to a different division) and a reappointment to the former government post was referred to as Kannin, Gennnin, (reappointment) or Genpo (.reassign).

Later, appointments to various posts of organizations of influential families including Sekkan-ke; line of regents and advisers, in no cho (the office of the abdicated monarch), Government, Shogunate were also referred to as bunin, and the appointments were made by bunin jo (appointment letter).

Bunin was considered as a benefit brought by an appointer, and therefore, the person who was appointed was expected to give the appointer jogo (ninkan) (recruiting officials for court works and spending the money they paid for the post for the work expenses) or rewards as a manner. The rewards that the appointer received made up an essential part of his income (such reward was not regarded as a bribe in Japan until modern times). Meanwhile, it was a custom to hold a ceremony such as a large-scale banquet (grand banquet) when someone was appointed to a minister or Konoe no daisho (Major Captain of the Palace Guards).

Records of Bunin (appointment)

Under the ritsuryo system (a system of centralized government based on the ritsuryo code), ministries in charge of personnel affairs including Nakatsukasasho (the Ministry of Central Affairs), Shikibu-sho (the Ministry of Ceremonial), Hyobusho (the Ministry of Military), Jibusho (the Ministry of Civil Administration) regularly developed records of personnel affairs twice a year for the reference for jimoku (appointment ceremonies) in the following year.
This is called Bunincho (Records of Bunin [appointment])
Nakatsukasasho (the Ministry of Central Affairs) developed the record of court ladies, and Shikibusho developed the records of Naige governmental officials and kokuga (provincial government office compounds) officials in the rank higher than the fifth rank and lower than Shisho (a person doing miscellaneous duties about documents) of ryoseikoku (province) in the court rank and also developed the record of Gunji (local magistrates) once a year, while Hyobusho (the Ministry of Military) developed the records of military officers and Jibusho (the Ministry of Civil Administration) developed the records of monks once a year. Those records were submitted to Kurododokoro (the Chamberlain's Office) in advance before presenting those records to the emperor on June 20 and on December 20 (the official submission of the records to Daijokan was made on January 1 [old calendar] and July 1 [old calendar] after `内裏分'). The official court rank, name, and appointed time of the appointed person were recorded in bunincho (Records of Bunin [appointment]), and the information of the person who left the job due to his death or transfer to another division within the same year was corrected with a red pen. Besides, the information of the person who was laid off due to the result of merit rating or the crime he committed was deleted from the Records of Bunin (appointment).

Apart from this, the record of appointments to government posts was summarized in the form of timeline for future reference. The records of court nobles including "Kugyo bunin" (directory of court nobles), "kokushi bunin" (directory of Kokushi [provincial governor]),"Kurodo bunin" (directory of chamberlain), "Benkan bunin" (directory of benkan [controller of the Oversight Department]), and "Ryakumyo dodai," the records of samurai families including "Shogun shikken (regent) sidai," "Kanto hyojoshu (a member of the Council of State) den," "Ryuei bunin (appointment)," and the records of temples including "Todaiji-bettoshidai (History of Todai-ji Temple betto),""Kofukuji Betto Shidai,""Tendai-zasu-ki" (Archives of Tendai-zasu), and "To-ji Choja Bunin" (records of the To-ji choja [the chief abbot of To-ji temple]) are well known.

[Original Japanese]