Tandai (探題)

"Tandai" (探題) is a position set in a Buddhist temple. The role of a Tandai is a Buddhist monk who judges the validity of answers to questions in the dialogue to examine the qualification as a monk.

Positions of Tandai set within the Kamakura and Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). These will be explained in detail in the following sentences.

Tandai was an important position set within the Kamakura and Muromachi bakufu to make decisions on government affairs. It is inferred that tandai was originally used in Buddhist terminology and then converted into a position to make important decisions involving the administration of justice. In the Kamakura bakufu, the Shikken (shogun regent) and Rensho (associate of the Shikken) were called tandai, and the title was given to the position set in Kyoto and Saigoku (the western part of Japan, especially in Kyushu but ranging as far east as Kinki) which had the wide range of rights for jurisdiction and military control. In the Muromachi bakufu, although positions called Shitsuji and Kanrei that were equivalent to the Shikken in the Kamakura bakufu were established, they were not referred to as tandai; instead, tandai was the title used for the position that held extensive executive power in Saigoku and the Ou region (the northern part of Japan).

The Kamakura Bakufu
Rensho and Shikken
Rokuhara Tandai (local commissioner in Rokuhara, located in Kyoto)
Nagato Tandai (local commissioner in Nagato, located in the western part of Japan)
Chinzei Tandai (local commissioner in Kyushu, located in the southern part of Japan)

The Muromachi Bakufu
Oshu Tandai (local commissioner in Oshu, located in the northern Japan)
Ushu Tandai (local commissioner in Ushu, located in the western part of Oshu)
Chugoku Tandai or Saigoku Tandai (local commissioner in Chugoku and Saigoku, located in the western part of the main island of Japan)
Shikoku Tandai (local commissioner in Shikoku, located in the island off the southern coast of the Chugoku region)
Kyushu Tandai (local commissioner in Kyushu, located in the southern part of Japan)