Bunji Imperial Sanction (文治の勅許)

Bunji Imperial Sanction was the imperial sanction in Japan to permit placement and appointment and dismissal of shugo (military governor) and jitoshiki (manager and lord of manor) in various districts given to MINAMOTO no Yoritomo by the Imperial Court on December 28, 1185.

In the article of December 12 in the the "Azuma Kagami" (The Mirror of the East), the official historical material of Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), the background to place shugo and jito (manager and lord of manor) in kokufu (provincial office) and shoen (manor in medieval Japan) in the various districts under the Kamakura bakufu was described as the following.

In a word, there were many turbulences in various districts before Yoritomo formed influence in Togoku (the eastern part of Japan, particularly Kanto region), and it led to attrition of the districts to suppress by dispatching Togoku Samurai (a group of samurai in the eastern part of Japan). So, by having OE no Hiromoto who was Yoritomo's trusted retainer submit the plan, Yoritomo should request the permission to the Imperial Court to place shugo and jito in kokufu and shoen in the various districts.

The following was stated in the article of December 28.

It described the scene of the application to request the permission to place shugo and jito submitted to the palace by Tokimasa HOJO dispatched to Kyoto by Yoritomo, and it could suspect that the application was submitted to Emperor Goshirakawa via FUJIWARA no Tsunefusa.

Regarding this application, the following was indicated about the application to place shugo and jito in the article of December 28 in the "Gyokuyo," Diary of Kanezane KUJO, the regent of this time.

In the diary, Kanezane KUJO, the writer of the diary, stated the details of the application submitted to FUJIWARA no Tsunefusa, Chunagon (vice-councilor of state) who was In no Kinshin (the Retired Emperor's courtier) by roju (vassal) included Tokimasa HOJO who were dispatched as Yoritomo's local governor. Also, it stated the surprising condition where the application to place shugo and jito was meant to request the permission to collect annual land tax of the districts and to have rights including the right to manage the land. Kanezane KUJO was close to Yoritomo and understanding for Kamakura bakufu. As the Kanezane was surprised, it seemed that the application to place shugo and jito included the request of capacity and power that could change the influence of the Imperial Court towards the various districts dramatically.

In fact, this application was given the order as the Bunji Imperial Sanction, the placement and appointment and dismissal of shugo and jito served an important role to form the basis of the bakufu authorities in the sense of exerting the local police power leaving it to the bakufu and enforcing honryo-ando (acknowledgment for inherited estate) and shinon-kyuyo (granting new domains) to gokenin (an immediate vassal of the shogunate in the Kamakura and Muromachi through Edo periods).

[Original Japanese]