The Assignment of Offices

The dimoku 除目, which I have translated here as ‘the assignment of offices’ was a biannual combination meeting and ceremony to decide upon which candidates should be assigned to provincial governorships and government posts. Originally only for positions below the rank of Minister (daijin 大臣), in later periods it was also used to assign ministerships and positions to palace ladies. Officially, it was carried out in the spring, usually in the First Month but occasionally as late as the Third, to assign governorships, and in the autumn, in the Tenth or Eleventh Months, to assign government positions, but in practice both types of offices were considered at both ceremonies. They were lengthy affairs, with the Regent, Ministers and other senior nobility gathering for three days in the spring and two in the autumn to discuss the merits of various candidates, decide who should get which post and present the results to the Emperor for his approval.

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