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History Bugyō

Bugyō (奉行) was a title assigned to samurai officials during the feudal period of Japan. Bugyō is often translated as commissioner, magistrate, or governor, and other terms would be added to the title to describe a given official's tasks or jurisdiction more specifically.

In the Heian period (794–1185), the post or title of bugyō would be applied only to an official with a set task; once that task was complete, the officer would cease to be called bugyō. However, in the Kamakura period (1185–1333) and later, continuing through the end of the Edo period (1603–1868), posts and titles came to be created more permanently. Over time, there came to be 36 bugyō in the bureaucracy of the Kamakura shogunate. In 1434, Ashikaga Yoshinori established the Tosen-bugyō to regulate foreign affairs for the Ashikaga shogunate. In 1587, an invading Japanese army occupied Seoul; one of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's first acts was to create a bugyō for the city, replicating a familiar pattern in an unfamiliar setting.

During the Edo period, the number of bugyō reached its most significant extent as the bureaucracy of the Tokugawa shogunate expanded on an ad hoc basis, responding to perceived needs and changing circumstances.

n the early years of the Meiji Restoration , the title of bugyō continued to be used for government offices and conventional practices where nothing else had been created to replace the existing Tokugawa system. For example, the commander-in-chief of artillery under the early Meiji government was called the Hohei-bugyō. As the new government passed numerous reforms, the term bugyō was soon phased out of use.

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