Chihanji (governor in the early Meiji period) (知藩事)

Chihanji was a name for a local government official position in the early Meiji period. It was the predecessor of Kenrei (prefectural governors). It is also called Han-chiji (governors of domains).

On July 25, 1869, 274 former feudal domain lords, who returned their territories and people to the Chotei (Imperial Court), were appointed to the position of Chihanji. With this, the Fu-han-ken sanchisei (Fu-han-ken tripartite governance system) was established.

Chihanji had a range of responsibilities from taking care of economy such as taxation, compulsory labor and productivity improvement, administration of justice such as punishment and reward, to military affairs, education, and the family register survey.

The position of the Chihanji was allowed to be inherited as it was traditionally for the domain lords and they were also allowed to have their own military and judicial systems. On the other hand, however, the Karoku (hereditary stipend) for the Chihanji was set to 10% of the gross yield of their domain, separated from the domain's finance, and the Chihanji had to follow the rules set by the central government about the systems of office organization, salary and military in their domains, leaving the internal affairs to be under scrutiny.

At that time, the land of domains and tenryo (a Shogunal demesne) were intricate; and collecting nengu (land tax) was totally inefficient. Therefore, they needed to stabilize the state's financial affairs and establish centralization by the new Meiji government. Due to these circumstances, Haihan-chiken (abolition of feudal domains and establishment of prefectures) were conducted on August 29, 1871, when all the Chihanji lost their positions and finished their roles to become the peerage.

Chihanji and Han-chiji (governor of domain)
When the official name was used on its own, it was 'Chihanji'. For example, in the Imperial edict for the abolition of domains and the establishment of prefectures in 1871 states 'Recently, I appoint Chihanji'.

When it was used with the name of the domain, it was 'xx Han-chiji'. For example, the document issued from Daijokan (Grand Council of State) to Michiaki HACHISUKA was addressed as 'To Hachisuka Tokushima Han-chiji (chiji of the Tokushima Domain)'.