Junii (Junior Second Rank) (従二位)

Junii (Junior Second Rank) was a court rank and shinkai (ranks granted to Shinto gods) in Japan. It ranked below Shonii (Senior Second Rank) and above Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank).

Under the ritsuryo system, it was granted mainly to naidaijin (Minister of the Center), kurodo no betto (Super intendant of the Chamberlain's office), as well as the legal wife of minister. One of the notable was TAIRA no Tokiko, the legal wife of TAIRA no Kiyomori, who was granted junii and called Nii-no-ama.

Junii was such a high rank for court nobles that members of the Shogun family had not received it even among samurai during the Kamakura period through to the Muromachi period, except for the midaidokoro, the legal wife of the Shogun, being granted the rank the first since Masako HOJO
The one in charge of kanrei (shogunal deputy) in the Muromachi bakufu was promoted up to the rank of sanmi, the Kamakura kubo, the Ashikaga shogun family, was granted jusanmi. As the Sengoku Period (the Period of Warring States) started, regulation of the Muromachi bakufu which had been responsible for conferring ranks and titles collapsed, then gradually the powerful daimyo (Japanese feudal lord) actively contributed money directly to the Imperial Court to seek office, resulting in an unprecedented appointment and Yoshitaka OUCHI, the most powerful shugo daimyo (Japanese territorial lord as provincial constable), was granted junii. Furthermore, since Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI had received an imperial proclamation to become kanpaku (chief advisor to the Emperor), and powerful families and their vassals were promoted to junii, some samurai were ranked equal to or higher than nii (Second Rank). After the Edo period, the Tokugawa clan and the families reached gokui (their best rank) and gokkan (their best position), for example the Tokugawa gosanke (the three privileged branches of the Tokugawa family) and gosankyo (the other three Tokugawa families) were promoted as high as junii dainagon (chief councilor of state).

[Original Japanese]