Buninjo (appointment letter) (補任状)

Buninjo (appointment letter) is a generic term of documents issued by an appointer when a specific person is appointed to a governmental post, Ikai (Court rank), and various posts.

Under the ritsuryo system (a system of centralized government based on the ritsuryo code), a ceremony in which Iki (a letter of appointment) is awarded for Ikai, and a notification of a governmental post by senji (imperial decree) and its incidental ceremony are implemented at the time of appointment. Little is known about the case that a letter is issued for a specific person. However, after the middle of the Heian Period when the procedures of the ritsuryo system (a system of centralized government based on the ritsuryo code) became relaxed, the case that an appointment was made by the issued appointment letter appeared. The important appointments were made by Iki (a letter of appointment) or by imperial decree, but common appointments were generally made by kuzen (oral decree). When an appointment for various posts of an influential family is made by themselves, buninjo was used.

The form of bunijo is not based on a specific form, but the buninjo contains the term, `appointment' in a sentence or in a document to make a clear distinction between the buninjo and other documents. The bunijno is based on various forms such as imperial decree, kudashibumi (document issued by a superior or office), and migyosho (a document for informing people of the decision of Third Rank or upper people). It varies depending on the period. Under the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) and the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), kudashibumi (edict from a senior official in government or military which had the status of a binding official document) from the shogun family or Mandokoro were buninjo while autographic signature, Shuinjo(a shogunal license for foreign trade), kokuinjyo were used by shugo daimyo (shugo, which were Japanese provincial military governors, that became daimyo, which were Japanese feudal lords), daimyo (Japanese territorial lord) in the Sengoku period, and under the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). When a chief priest in the court rank lower than gozan (Zen temples highly ranked by the government) is appointed, a document called kojo (an official writ of appointment to the chief priest of Zen temple) is issued. The special buninjo called `Inari no kumon' is issued when an influential monk assumes another post as a chief priest of a temple where he doesn't actually live. On top of those buninjo, buninjo such as andojo (a letter to secure safety) or ate okonai jo existed as well.